Below is the article that will be a feature piece in June’s newsletter, hope you like it and can relate to it.
It was the title that caught my eye. I had never read or seen published a personal account of school bullying from a victim’s perspective before, especially from a Melbournian. Being a victim of bullying myself, I was compelled to read this book.
Lisa’s bullying started at Sandringham Secondary College where she was taunted by “homies” (kids wearing baggy pants etc). It began with various unrepeatable name calling and pushing whenever they could sense an opportunity. The bullying then escalated to insulting graffiti about Lisa around the school and threats to kill. Her daily rituals included having food and rubbish thrown at her and having to sit opposite the staff room to feel safe.
When Lisa confronted teachers about the bullying the general response was “It will blow over” and “Why don’t you watch some funny TV shows like The Nanny”. Lisa’s mother expected her to endure the bullying as she herself would have done and forced her to continue to attend Sandringham SC.
Lisa describes an attack on her where before 100 onlookers, her head was thrown against a door six times rendering her unconscious. She was subsequently moved to another school where she began to experience symptoms of the mental illness schizo-affective disorder (a cross between bipolar disorder and schizophrenia) resulting in her new friends abandoning her.
Lisa left school at year 10 aged 16. She sought help for her uncontrollable thoughts and moods through The Kids Help Line and was subsequently put on medication for her disorder. The book reflects the battles with her illness which she still suffers to this day aged 27.
Having sought legal advice about her bullying experience, Lisa successfully sued The Education Department and Sandringham SC for failure to provide her with a duty of care and was awarded $76,000.00.
To me the heroicness in this girl in writing her story and confronting her demons is extraordinary. For 25 years I have put my high school bullying at the back of my mind but through reading this book am suddenly filled with hope and inspiration to tell my own story. If Lisa can do it, so can I and so can YOU!.
I have since been in touch with Lisa to congratulate her on her success with the court case but most of all the enormous courage and bravery she has shown in exposing her bullying experience. Her valour to come “out of the well” has changed my life for the better.
The effects of ongoing bullying can be long term with the harm to the health and wellbeing of the victim lasting into adult life. Bullying damages self esteem, increases anxiety and can cause serious depression and as experienced by Lisa, serious mental illness. Recent research has revealed that being bullied in childhood doubles a young person’s risk of having psychotic symptoms in early adolescence. It is known that victims of bullying may also experience the following in later life:
• Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome;
• Hyper alertness;
• Being easily startled or emotionally distant;
• Difficult trusting people;
• Lingering feelings of anger and bitterness and desire for revenge;
• Avoidance of new social situations;
• Perception of self as easy to victimise.
Help for young people:
Evelyn Field – Psychologist & writer of Bully Busting & Bully Blocking
Headspace – www.headspace.com.au
Kids Help Line: 1800 551 800
Unfortunately I have been unable to find any organisations or websites specifically assisting adults who have experienced school bullying in their younger years.
Written by Lisa Jns
A book review on Out of the Well – a Teenagers Battle with School Bullying and Depression. Written by a Melbourne bullying victim subjected to school bullying as a teenager at Sandringham Secondary College and the effects the bullying had on her as a young person and as an adult today including her battle with Schizo-affective Disorder and PTSD.