This is a relatable event for many.
The National Center for Educational Statistics released statistics in 2019 that stated 20.2% of students reported being bullied. Male students reported higher levels of bullying than females in general, and 41% of said students reported that they felt bullying would happen again for them. That same 1/5 students expressed that they were predominantly cyberbullied.
These are statistics I can entirely relate to, because I was also bullied in my tweens.
My school years were an incredibly hard time for me. I was what you can classify as a pretty quirky girl. Hell, I’m still quirky, but these days I can own it unapologetically. And I’m not talking that cute quirky, like Zooey Deschanel quirky. I’m talking about the strange quirky that a lot of teenagers would view as weird.
The negative effects of bullying are clear and dangerous.
The Centers for Disease Control reported that students who have experienced bullying are at higher risk for depression, anxiety, sleep difficulties, lower academic achievement, and dropping out of school.
The National Center for Educational Statistics, 2019 also expressed that:
Bullied students indicate that bullying has a negative effect on how they feel about themselves (27%), their relationships with friends and family (19%), their school work (19%), and physical health (14%).
This was a feeling that many can resonate with, and I certainly fall into that category.
One of my biggest downfalls in school was that no matter how hard I tried I simply always failed at being anything other than authentically myself. So while I was desperate to fit in, and just be like all the other girls, I still stuck out like a sore thumb — my efforts were embarrassingly recognized as my trying too hard.
At times I experienced personal shame because of that fact -- bullying made me feel ashamed of the parts of myself that make me unique and special. The parts of myself that I love most.
And as is the case with most social hierarchies, especially when it hormonal young girls, there always has to be someone on the bottom in order for there to be someone on the top.
Not only are the negative side-effects psychological, but they are also physical.
The National Center for Educational Statistics, 2019 report, stated:
Of those students who reported being bullied, 13% were made fun of, called names, or insulted; 13% were the subject of rumors; 5% were pushed, shoved, tripped, or spit on; and 5% were excluded from activities on purpose.
I can tick off most of the items on this list. I had many friends in later years who expressed they were made fun of, excluded, insulted, and called many names.
When a young person is spending a majority of their waking hours in an environment that is an incredibly unenjoyable place, and even at times can be hostile, it not a pleasant existent.
I used to stay home sick, often, to avoid going to school because I was so terrified of being bullied. Stomachaches and nausea are common symptoms of students experiencing bullying, compared to non-bullied individuals.
Not to mention the mental health struggles that come along with being bullied, resulting in very real, physical health struggles that follow people further into adulthood.
While my years of being bullied in school were incredibly unenjoyable, like many others who have been bullied, things got better after I left school.
For one, the very things that I was once bullied over became parts of myself that I now love.
Long-term psychological effects are absolutely a reality that victims of bullying face. Such effects include:
• Chronic depression
• Increased risk of suicidal thoughts, suicide plans, and suicide attempts
• Anxiety disorders
• Post-traumatic stress disorder
• Poor general health
• Self-destructive behavior, including self-harm
• Substance abuse
• Difficulty establishing trusting, reciprocal friendships and relationships
Bullying is generally considered to be an event that happens only in school, and that afterward it no longer bothers a person, but this is not the case. Some forms of bullying can result in legitimately traumatic events which can follow an individual into their adulthood.
The above list demonstrates the severity of the lasting effects, both psychological and physical, that can result from childhood bullying. This is not a topic that can be looked upon lightly.
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