You would think that with so much media coverage, bullying would be on its way out. The unfortunate reality is that it’s as present as ever. Whatever bullies try to achieve, they continuously find different outlets to torment the lives of others and honestly, I don’t know why. Mobile phones, chat rooms, social media apps, it’s all there. We, as people, as parents; know about it and do our best to provide what we can in prevention. But what happens when it’s us that are the victims? How can we prepare others to rise above the anguish when we are on the receiving end?
You take them by the proverbial balls and move them aside.
Our feature this week decided to remain anonymous therefore we have changed her name and not added any pictures but here’s her story.
Let’s take it back a bit. Having served ten plus years in the public sector, Kay knew her job, in, out, up and down. She often leads the day, would cover sickness, did the dreaded 22 hour shifts and took them all in her stride. She was adored by her clients and their families for having the knack of working with difficult people and having the understanding required to meet their needs. Balancing work with family life looked to come easy as she brought up four kids on her own. Four great kids. She was like the heroine in a fairy-tale.
However, with every fairy-tale, there is usually a villain somewhere. Lurking in the shadows watching your every moved, calculating your down fall, all while masquerading as a friendly, supportive face. Somewhere in Kay’s amazing life, cracks because to show and these were quickly picked up, discredited and morphed into problems that didn’t exist before. The specifics need to remain anonymous, but the effects will last for some time. Having been a victim of bullying myself, I understand how things domino out of control. Someone says one thing then does another to save themselves and make you look bad.
Things eventually came to a head late last year when one of Kay’s closest family members moved abroad. While she was proud of him for taking such an opportunity, inside, it cut Kay to pieces. Her family was the reason she worked and the reason she was strong. Somehow, seeing one leave and move so far away, inevitably caused her to crash out emotionally. Unable to focus properly and missing her kin terribly, Kay could feel the pressure mounting against her and she found it harder to concentrate with work and daily tasks. Her power wall began to come down and her feelings were exposed.
This is when the villains, the ones who have been watching from a far make their move. Seeing how fragile someone has become should have sent up alarm bells for support but instead opened up a chapter in Kay’s life she would rather forget. She has asked for this to remain private and of course we respect her.
Having dealt with the digs of people for a few years, Kay was able to brush them off and continue. But this time, those digs were too much and she suffered a breakdown.
Turning to her GP in a search for support, she was diagnosed with social anxiety and agoraphobia caused by bullying and was prescribed medication, which she had a life-threatening reaction too. She was hospitalized shortly after. She recounts her struggles during a 5-month absence. Refusing to leave the house and see her friends, terrified people were laughing at her if she needed to go to the shops, avoiding social situations.
Kay says, “One day I just decided I have to pull myself together. Slowly returned to work, that first day was daunting. I decided 2 months ago to wean myself off medication and the improvement has been immense! I don’t think I mix well with meds. I’m always that one in a million who has the worst side effects but obviously, we’re all different.”
The effects of adult bullying are often hidden or put down to stress, leaving the culprits free to ruin someone else’s life. Cleverly hidden under red tape and fancy jargon or simply written off as a personality trait, whatever you call it, it’s all the same. Kay lost nearly a year of her life because of this but she’s not going to give in anymore. She credits her friends who call just to talk with finding her strength again.
“It helps to just talk. If anyone experiences anxiety you can overcome it. It takes time but keep positive and stay strong. “
DeAnna’s (Blue Chameleon blog series) Focuses on rebuilding self-confidence after suffering through difficult times. DeAnna lives in Cambridge, England with her family, cats and dog. She credits a portion of happiness to her partner, Pete, punctuation manager, chief tea maker, and bringer of toast.