I first realised something wasn't quite right when I was 13 years old. I was being bullied at school, every day without fail, even at home when MSN was a thing. It was constant. I obviously expected to feel upset and down about the issues I was having with the bullying, but I was prepared for the impact it would have on the rest of my life.
I lost interest in everything I usually enjoyed doing; writing, reading, art—I wanted to be an artist. I wanted to travel the world, showcasing my work in galleries in New York, Paris and anywhere else I just randomly decided I wanted to go. But I was suffering. Mentally and academically. A young teenager with depression wasn't really something that was spoken about a lot 10 years ago, it was practically unheard of. Doctors just said I was upset, and feeling low, but I knew it was much more than that.
There's one day in particular that I don't think I'll ever forget. It was the first day I genuinely thought about ending it all.
Where I used to live with my mum, there was the main river that ran through the city that I had to cross. But I remember just stopping on the bridge. Just thinking about how easy it would be to put an end to all this. And if I did, I wouldn't have to put up with the bullying anymore. But then I asked myself, would the girls that tormented me religiously even care that I was gone? Would they feel guilty? Part of me wanted to jump just to find out the answers to those questions.
I got as close to the edge as I could, but then I pictured my mum. Then my grandma. I couldn't do it. So I suffered another day of torment and what could only be described as mental.
It wasn't until my last year of high school that I told my mum just how bad I was feeling, but I don't think she really knew how to handle it. I'd shut myself in my room and sit behind the door so she couldn't get in. I couldn't bare to be around anyone. I couldn't face going into school anymore. School is meant to be a happy place, a safe place. I didn't feel either of those things.
As you can imagine, the school did nothing about it. They said they'd keep an eye on me during break and lunch, but that wasn't enough. That wasn't where it all happened. It was during class. The journey to and from school. And online. There came a point where I wanted to get the police involved, but that just seemed like too much hassle. I didn't have the energy or willpower to deal with any more worry.
The end of the school year came slowly, and I couldn't have been more relieved! I didn't have to endure that bus journey, with food and pens being thrown at me. I didn't have to face those girls. I didn't have to deal with hours and hours of verbal and physical abuse anymore. 3 years I went through this without anyone noticing just how bad it was. How could people be so oblivious to something right in from of their eyes?
I thought my mood would lift. I thought I was going to be okay. I was wrong. This was just the beginning.