It’s Time to Talk day (or, rather, it’s not, but I shared this on my Facebook yesterday and I write precious little at the moment, so every word needs saving). There’s no point in talking unless someone is there to listen.
I’ve talked and talked and talked about mental health – and specifically the bullying that ruined my mental health – but it’s just wasted breath unless somebody listens.
I tried to talk about being bullied at school too. At first, I was persuaded – by the people who were bullying me – that I deserved what had happened. Eventually, I was given a pass to get into the library whenever I needed and told that I had to ignore the childish people who were spreading rumours that I was a) secretly male and b) carrying a teacher’s baby (top tip, people, you can’t do both – probably make a choice and stick to it). Even now, I struggle to write it down because it really, really hurts.
Nobody ever listened. At least, the people I told never listened. I was too embarrassed to tell the people who would have listened, imagining I had let them down or that they would think it my fault.
And that’s why I won’t stop talking.
I am lucky. I am surrounded by incredible friends, family and colleagues. I do a job I love. I’ve got a bloody cracking sense of humour. I have been given the confidence to talk my the people who surround me and the bullying is just a memory; a scar.
If you’re a teacher, or you have children or you know other human beings, please, please listen to them. Please, please believe them if they tell you they are being bullied or that something is wrong. Please, please believe and understand that mental health is a serious part of wellbeing.
If you are struggling, or living a nightmare, or you don’t know where to turn, please speak out.
You are valued: as much as you deserve to speak out, you deserve to be heard.