I know how it feels to be bullied. It feels lonely.
Bullies made me feel like I wasn’t safe at school, like I didn’t belong, so I used to walk for hours trying to shake off the feelings of loneliness. On my own I was safe, but it didn’t make the problem go away. It ended up getting to me so much that I started self-harming and I honestly thought about ending things a few times.
The bullying made me feel nervous about everything and, though I knew I needed it, I didn’t think I could ask anyone for help. I started to give up on life, I didn’t expect to pass any exams, to make anything of myself. I basically thought nothing good would ever happen to me. I wasn’t really taking part in my own life, just living through it.
Just when I thought I’d hit rock bottom, I got some shocking news. But bullies don’t care what is going on in your life, so they didn’t stop just because my mum was diagnosed with cancer. It seemed like the world was closing in around me. My dad wasn’t around so I felt like it was up to me to look after my mum and my brothers and sisters. It was overwhelming.
It was around this time that I heard about The Prince’s Trust xl club at school. I decided to sign up because it was something different and I thought to myself, why not? I was really nervous before I started because I didn’t know who was going to be in the class with me or what I was going to be doing, but I wanted to give it a shot.
I was amazed at the difference I noticed in myself, even by the end of the first lesson. I felt much more relaxed and started to enjoy myself and I started to feel more involved in school life through the projects we worked on. Whether it was delivering roses for Valentine’s Day, setting up a school recycling scheme or organising a coffee morning for Macmillan Cancer, I felt like a valued member of a team for the first time.
Even when I lost my mum to cancer, I didn’t fall apart. I think xl gave me the confidence to deal with the toughest of situations and I even started thinking about the future. I looked for work experience so I could build my CV and planned my next steps towards the life I wanted. I no longer felt alone, I had people to support me.I looked for work experience so I could build my CV and planned my next steps towards the life I wanted. I no longer felt alone, I had people to support me. I think the best thing I did through xl though was going to Loch Eil to attend a three week adventure course with The Outward Bound Trust, where we went on expeditions and did kayaking, swimming and climbing. People accepted me for who I am which was amazing. I was sponsored through a project run by The Outward Bound Trust, called Scotland’s Next Generation.
My favorite part of xl was seeing the impact that I could make on other people in such a short space of time, and how much my own decisions can impact on my situation.
I learnt that I could change myself and now, thanks to xl, I’m working towards my IT Diploma. I’m passionate about helping others, and I help to raise money for those affected by cancer or poverty. I hope to one day set up my own business and donate some of the profit to charity. I know you can beat bullies, by finding your place in the world. I feel like I’m well on the way to finding mine.
Click play below to view my story and to see just how much the Prince’s Trust helped me.