PTSD & Bullying
Today's topic is a bit of a serious one but I think I should share it with you guys!
I came across an insta post on my work colleague’s story about PTSD and as I read the symptoms I was shocked. I had even experienced some. See I don't know if it was just me but I thought PTSD was mostly about war veterans coming back and being unable to adjust to daily life after what they had seen and then ending up on the streets, homeless!
When actually you can develop PTSD after any sort of trauma.
So today I've decided to talk about bullying and PTSD and how the two interlink.
I’m considered an adult now in my country (🇬🇧)
I turned 18 during lockdown so I’ve put my school days right behind me and all that I've experienced between the ages of 11-16 by society’s standards should be forgotten. However that’s not true. I used to have flashbacks to my school days and wonder ‘why didn’t I do this or that?’ Also before you pity me - I am not a victim, yes I was bullied but I am not a victim. I say this because I may’ve been the quiet girl in class but I was not a pushover. Some people confuse the two. There is usually a reason behind bullying and so I asked the bullies.
Yes, after getting a pair of right-handed scissors lobbed at my head during english class I turned around and asked them, ‘Why do you target me?’
I got no response just laughter but I felt better for asking.
Now I can confidently say that these girls were jealous of me but at the time I couldn't see that.
In my final year of secondary school,
I was basically a loner but I had a boyfriend who lived up in London and he was a year (grade) above me so I toughed it out and went down the ‘who needs fake friends when I've got an amazing boyfriend’ line. FORGIVE ME I WAS 15!! People left me alone for a while - until somebody stalked my insta and told everyone I was dating a ‘terrorist’ - they would whisper his name when I walked past, I went from being ‘bullied’ by my friendship circle to the entire year group. My school was predominantly white and so being the first girl dating a British desi muslim boy was big news to them.
Now onto the PTSD part, research has shown that 40.5% of girls and 27.6% of boys show PTSD symptoms at the time of being bullied. This can follow them into adulthood and the child can be triggered by just remembering a past event or by related stimuli such as visiting their school as an adult. One symptom is reliving the traumatic event - through nightmares and/or flashbacks. Another is anxiety, this could stop them from trying to socialise again, in fear their next friend will potentially bully them. Physical bullying and emotional bullying are two very different forms however emotional bullying is worse since you have no proof, it's not like you can record what people are saying about you and teachers just tell you ‘get over it, words don’t hurt.’ Whereas if somebody punches you and gives you a black eye then I think it’s easier to sort that type of issue out. I realise that this topic is so broad and I can only write so much.
Some people claim that you can have some symptoms and still overcome your past, and heal - this is called resilience. This is where I’m currently at in my early adulthood, letting go of everything and healing because when I start University I really want to be my true, confident and happy-go-lucky, slightly crazy self, not the quiet girl I was forced into being by society! I hope this helps anyone else who has ever experienced any form of bullying or helps you look out for people in your schools! I actively encourage you to do more than be a bystander because if you don’t you’re equally as bad as those who bully!!
If I never got bullied then I don’t think I’d be the same person I am today. Going through hell made me realise how strong I was. It also taught me that you should stand up for what you believe in even if it means standing alone.
Sending love and light to all of you beautiful souls!
Please let me know if you want a part 2 with more statistics etc since this was very brief but personal!!