Bullying has been a major issue for a long time; it can come in many forms and can have awful effects on the victims of bullying. During this month, November, the EMA team have been focusing on stress, what may be causing stress and how to deal with that stress. From the 16th to the 20th of November it is Anti-bullying Week, so we wanted to talk about the intense stress a bullying victim might go through. To do so, we reached out to Gemma Orton, the Managing Director of Mocha Marketing. Gemma experienced bullying during her time in school and has shared how she coped with the stress of being bullied and how that affected her mental health, as well as offering some advice to anyone who may be in a similar situation now.
1. How would you describe you coped with the stress of being bullied?
I didn’t deal with it very well at the time in all honesty, but I hope that by speaking about it now will help others to deal with it much better than what I did.
I unfortunately suffered with depression when I was a young teenager, around 14/15, and I visited a counsellor for around a year. This experience taught me the importance of talking; something which I have been an advocate of ever since.
2. If you could say something to yourself during that time, what would it be?
‘You are a beautiful person and so much better than what these people say about you’.
Largely because of the bullying, I had a very low self-esteem which followed me for years.
I don’t believe that many bullies really consider what they do to a person’s mental health - not just at the time, but later in life.
3. If you could say something to the bullies, what would you say?
I think that bullies have their own troubles and mental health challenges which drive them to take it out on others … so I would say that they need to have a think about what is going on in their own life which makes them want to be so mean.
4. In terms of how you deal with stress or anyone who is being cruel, how do you now deal with it, is it different to how you used to deal with it?
I would deal with it very differently to how I used to. I think the biggest difference is that I now have the confidence to address the situation head-on, and 9 times out of 10, that will nip whatever is going on in the bud. Bullies are actually cowards and once confronted, tend to turn their focus elsewhere.
5. What advice would you give to someone who is dealing with extreme stress as a result of bullying?
I would strongly suggest that they speak about what is going on, with family, friends, professionals. The more we share our problems and heartaches, the easier we will find it to deal with … the biggest hurdle is speaking out if it’s not something that comes naturally to that person - but if there’s something that I can promise, it really is that a problem shared is a problem halved.
Sharing isn’t always easy; we want to say a big thank you to Gemma for doing so!
If you’d like to hear Gemma talk about her experience head over to EMA’s LinkedIn page. We also want to highlight what Gemma spoke about; we strongly encourage you to speak out if you are a victim of bullying. If you are one of our learners, your mentors are there to be an aid to you, to listen and help you in any way they can. It’s important to remember you are not alone.