Sunday, 28 September 2014

WHEN SCHOOL'S A NIGHTMARE…

School can be pretty awesome… but what happens when it's not? When we asked if any CC readers had ever dreaded going to school, we didn't expect quite so many responses. Here, some of the girls discuss their experiences…

Gina says:
I hated school for ages when I was in primary because there was one boy who was absolutely horrible to me. I was small for my age and he'd chase me with sticks and twigs and once got me in a headlock with his arm around my throat. Luckily my mum was picking my sister up from morning nursery and saw him. She marched over and screamed at him, and I never had any bother with him after that.

Sandie says:
Bullying is the problem for me too, Gina. I'm in High School, but it's an exam year so I have to keep on going in. I put on a fake face to get through the day sometimes - not for myself, but for others. Other people don't need to see the broken person behind the mask. All I can think about is leaving school altogether… there's no other way out.

Karen says:
That sounds awful, Sandie. Have you tried telling a guidance teacher? For me it wasn't so much bullying… I began dreading school when my dad got ill. I was so worried about him I couldn't concentrate on schoolwork, and I'd get really anxious and have panic attacks. School seemed to trigger it, but thankfully things have eased off.

Ashleigh says:
I can identify with that. I have panic attacks and there was a time last year when I was only managing two lessons a day. It was everything - the bus, the lessons, the classmates. This year is making me feel anxious already, as many classes have changed around and there are some aggressive people in one  group. Last year I had what we called a 'get-out-of-class-free' card, which meant I could escape when I felt an attack coming on. I also went to maths club at lunchtimes and that helped… better than facing the dining hall.

Lindsey says:
I'm having a problem right now. It started with a jokey comment - I thought I was being funny, but my friend didn't. I apologised the next day but she hates me now and has got all our mutual friends to blank me. I spend break and lunch alone and nobody wants me tagging alone. I'd rather be at home curled up in bed than at school and feeling so alone. I wish I could go back in time - I'd never have said anything.

Kate says:
Lindsey, a joke can backfire, can't it? I hope things get better for you. My story is that I was bullied really badly - I got so scared that I'd make up excuses not to go to school, pretend to be ill. I never knew why the bullies picked on me; maybe because I was small or maybe because I never talked? I don't speak much because I'm shy… I'm scared to. I can speak to people if I've known them for ages, but otherwise I just don't speak. It's called elective mutism. If I had to go to school, I'd sometimes just go to the girls loos and sit there and cry.

Biba says:
I was pretty much the same, Kate. From the age of seven to fourteen, I was bullied really badly - when I was eight, my teacher actually bullied me. She picked on me for being deaf and made me afraid to speak in class, put me in a lower maths and reading group than I should have been and generally made my life a misery. I used to throw up from nerves every morning. My mum spoke to the school but nobody was willing to help me. I had one close friend, but that was another source of bullying as people labelled us gay. By twelve, things were going downhill and I often feigned illness because I couldn't face another day of bullying. At thirteen, I had a breakdown and took some days off school… when I returned, the main bully was super-nice to me. She was terrified she'd bullied me so badly that i was going to kill myself or something. I was referred to CAMHS (Child & Adolescent Mental Heath Services) and began going to counselling - that did help, but I also learned to deflect comments with wit, sarcasm and clever observations.

Kate says:
I still go to CAMHS counselling, Biba. I don't think my bullies would have cared if I had tried to kill myself… I never spoke, so they probably didn't know how scared I was. I'm at college now and things are better - nobody really bothers with bullying here. We're probably a bit too old for name calling.

Biba says:
I'm at college too, and I'm not bullied any more either… I get stared at quite a lot, but I can live with that. I guess I'm just too gorgeous not to be stared at! You may think your bullies didn't care, Kate, but they would have been in pieces if you'd harmed yourself. They will have been aware that they were being cruel, but nobody ever thinks they'll be the one to push someone that far. It does happen, though, and it's horrific when it does. And not just the bullies, either - everyone you knew would have been devastated.

Kate says:
Thanks for saying that, Biba. I think things are settling… I just blend into the background and nobody seems to notice me at college, but I kind of like that, to be honest. It works for me, and I do have a good friend. I wish I'd know back then that things would get better.

All names have been changed to protect identities of the posters. Pics posed by models.
Photos by Laurel S. Models: Heather, Katie, Roisin and Laurel.

Have you been struggling with problems of bullying or anxiety? Tell your parents and confide in a guidance tutor, school counsellor or any trusted teacher. You can find help and support outside of school, too… try these support groups:
BeatBullying: www.beatbullying.org
ChildLine: 0800 1111
Young Minds: www.youngminds.org.uk

Cathy says:
These true stories show that school isn't all plain sailing… but also that there IS hope, if you speak out and ask for help and support. It may not be an instant answer, but as Kate says, things often do get better, and meanwhile there are lots of places which can help. Have YOU ever dreaded school? COMMENT BELOW to share YOUR experience or show your support for the girls in our discussion...

10 comments:

  1. I used to be bullied at two of my primary schools although I never knew why. On my first day ever at school there was a really horrible teacher who tolled us to walk to the line but I skipped (Big Deal) and she came up and shouted as loud as she could in my face the whole school sore! I was crying for hours! So its not just the pupils who can be mean. But luckily my mum was a dinner lady at the school and when I tolled her she wen't and shouted at the teacher louder than she did at me! And that was that! So remember its always good to tell your parent or carer if something is bothering you. Smiles Rosie!

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  2. I hate bullies.I know what it feels like to feel alone.I used to dread lunch in school.

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    1. I hope everyone things ok now Kate. Stay strong, Hamdi:)xxx

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  3. I hope things stay good for all of your life, girls. I was never seriously bullied, but people used to tease me in primary because I loved horses. They used to be rude about it, and not listen to what I had to say because they thought i had a one track mind... Maybe that's what made me want to be a writer, to share my stories with people who hadn't labelled me. and I don't even write about horses. In first year I got teased a bit with the horse meat scandal, but it didn't really affect me much at first. One boy was really bad, he was one of those quiet messer/bully types. Those always scare me, because you never know what they might do. One day, he stood in front of my locker (which was at the bottom) and refused to move, taunting me where everyone could hear. That's when I cracked. I spilled to the year head about his hate, the seemingly harmless taunts from my classmates, the constant whispers whenever I read something I wrote... May I just add that most of these people liked me, they thought they were having a bit of fun. Two years later, I still get the occasional comment from the boy and his friends, but I couldn't care less, and they know it. They also know not to mess with my friends after someone posted something rude about one of them on FaceBook... I marched up to him ( I'm a foot shorter and all), and told him what I thought of him in front of the other popular kids. He acted like he couldn't care less, but I knew he was embarrassed. So the teases have more or less stopped, people leave my friends alone... I even dedicated my second book to my first year class! (I haven't told them yet though...) Méabh.

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  4. high school is always a nightmare

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  5. I'm often bullied because I'm Indian, and my skin is darker than my classmate's. I try to deflect the comments, and laugh it off, but it hurts when kids are racist. I didn't have friends before, because I was too introverted, but now I'm better and more outgoing. I made some really good friends, who are like my brothers and sisters, and now I love school, because I get to meet awesome kids like my friends! Things do get better, it's true.

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  6. I got bullied and had no friends through intermediate (year7/8 or form 1&2). when i got to highschool, i decided that all needed to change, so i tried to get new friends, which was ok for a bit. after a while i realised they were bullying others and then they started to bully me too. i kept hanging around with them because i didnt want no friends. bad move. i dreaded school so often. in my final year, i hung out alo ne because it was better than them. but i couldnt avoid them. eventually, i realised i couldnt pull a sickie every day so i dropped out. now im at a new school, with one good friend (my boyfriend) but everyone else is kind too. i guess its just luck, or fate <3

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  7. I've never been bullied, but I find it hard to make friends. Everyone is really nice, but whenever I'm around people I feel like they are staring at me and judging me. I hope that I'll be able to talk to more people in the future, I don't want to regret my high school life.

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  8. Stay Strong girls!

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