I have suffered with my mental health since I was younger. I was bullied in high school for being too fat, for being too smelly, for being a slut, because my face didn’t fit and I wasn’t popular. In fact, at times it was those meant to be my friends who were the bullies. I began self harming when I was 12 years old. I didn’t know how to deal with these words that people said about me, and self harming was a distraction and made if a physical pain that I could control.
Of course, this didn’t tackle the problem, simply created something else I had to hide. My self esteem and confidence took a blow. I wouldn’t go out if I knew the bullies would be there, and it could become isolating. I was bounced around CAMHS and my GP, but they didn’t have any advice to tackle the problems I was having, only the symptoms of self harm. I wish there had been more services around like ‘Inspire’ when I was growing up, because it could have given me more confidence in myself and allowed me to take control of my own mental health.
Life as a teenager is very different these days, with the introduction of Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. This opens up more avenues for teens to be ‘shamed’ for how they look or how they act. I was mocked because I didn’t have designer clothes and my favourite jumper had hippos on it. The transition from primary school to secondary school brings with it these new challenges on what is accepted as ‘cool’ or ‘on trend’ (I fear I am neither of these as I write this).
The pressures to conform as an adult can be overwhelming, so I can only imagine how difficult it must be for adolescent girls to do this. Children have to grow up far too quickly, and deal with things we didn’t have to until a much later age. I fear I am showing my age with what I write, but want to follow it up, that if you’re aged between 14-19, and you’re suffering with mental health issues, then please get in touch with the Inspire team via firstname.lastname@example.org call 01606 557666.