"Impact of bullying on mental health?"

It's no secret that when I was in school I got bullied pretty horrifically. The one thing I'm always quick to say is that no, I don't think the bullying is what caused my mental illness. However, what I do know is that it exacerbated it, and contributed to me dropping out of school before attaining my qualifications.

The bullying is what resulted in me having a panic attack in the toilets whilst avoiding going to class. The bullying is what caused the blood to drain from my face every time I saw someone in my school's uniform walking down the street. The bullying is what caused me to stop leaving the house altogether.

As for the long-term effects of bullying, it's probably why I'm scared of confrontation now. It's probably a big part of why I struggled to work in retail environments when I turned 18; for some reason, shoppers think it's okay to talk down to employees. I suspect it's the reason I couldn't look my second employer in the eye and make myself heard every time he pulled me aside to tell me off for doing something wrong when I hadn't been sufficiently trained.

Then, of course, there are the effects of the two faced people who smiled at me right up until they felt they had enough information to be able to spread rumours and make my experience of school that bit worse. I'm quick to distance myself from people if ever I feel like they might turn on me in that way - too quick. I'm almost scared to help people, even if they ask me to because it's led to me being stabbed in the back too many times.

Every time I post something that could be seen as controversial, I brace myself for back-lash...and then I'm surprised when it doesn't come.

I guess the major thing that's come from the bullying is anxiety surrounding relationships, anxiety surrounding education and employment, and a constant need to watch my back. It's so difficult not to regard everyone I meet with suspicion at this stage, simply because I know the sort of people I've attracted all my life. I think it'll take a long time for that to heal if indeed it ever does.