In this section, young people share stories about the ways they got through some of the hardest times in their lives.
We begin this section with tips on how young people have been able to overcome bullying, then we move into tips for surviving depression, and eight survival tips for when life is full of drama.
How we overcome bullying
Hi. Some of us have had to deal with terrible bullying. Sometimes people who were once our friends then become really cruel. Sometimes it is physical, they hit you. Sometimes it is words, like ‘You are a terrorist’. It can be really frightening. They find you wherever you go. When it goes on for a long time it feels like you are climbing a mountain. It can feel like forever. It can make you feel upset. It can make you hate yourself. It can make you think everything was your fault.
But it’s not. We want to share with you some of the ways we overcome bullying. These are some of our tips. We hope they are helpful to you…
When I would come home after a bad day at school, I’d try to forget. Sometimes I’d lie on the couch. I’d close my eyes and try to go to sleep. I’d tell myself, ‘just don’t think about it’. I’d try to think of something else like being an actress one day. I’d imagine being in a movie … I’d imagine the first scene … Happy stuff. And then I’d fall asleep for 3 or 4 hours. It would depend a bit if my little sisters were screaming or not :). Sometimes I’d fall asleep listening to them. And when I woke up it would be different. It’s going to be another day, I’d tell myself. It’s going to be better.
Remembering primary school
I’m in Year 8 and when it was really bad, I’d remember primary school where everyone respected each other. It was fun then. We looked out for each other. I remember during sports events, when we would play other schools at basketball, sometimes the other teams would try to start a fight. But we would pull each other back. At primary school we respected each other. Sometimes this was good to remember.
Listening to artists not cruel words
Music can calm me down. There are times when it’s better to listen to artists rather than to other people. There are some teachers at school who let me put my earphones in while we are doing an exercise. I don’t put them in while the teacher is talking! But at other times. And it meant I did not have to hear those who were being cruel. I could listen to Justin Bieber instead! He was much better to listen to. My parents listen to Bosnian music and go to hear singers at the club. My dad likes old Bosnian folk songs. We might like different music but my whole family knows sometimes it’s better to listen to artists rather than cruel words.
Gifts of protection
My grandma lives in Bosnia. When she heard I was having a hard time she sent me gifts for protection. She sent me a necklace which has an old Bosnian symbol on it. Wearing it during those times was like having a good memory with me. During difficult times I would hold it, look at it. She also sent me a Ronaldo Real Madrid football top! I wear it when I am sleeping sometimes. I love it. My grandmother has been through wars. She lost her house. She lost her mother. She knows about needing protection. The necklace and the top made me happy. And it made my grandma happy that I loved them so much.
Having friends outside school
When things were so hard at school, I kept going to Bosnian community events, like dances. I would see my cousins there and other friends who are not at my school. They would make me feel welcome. It made a big difference to have friends outside of school. I’d recommend that to everyone.
One teacher listened to me and took action
There was one teacher who knew what I was going through. He was there for me, he was on my side. He moved me out of the classes where the others were being cruel to me. He listened to me and came up with a plan of action. And the Community Liaison officer from the Education Department helped a lot too. I was scared to do anything because I thought it would get worse. She told me, ‘It can’t get any worse. We must take action.’
Never ignore it
If I was to offer advice to teachers about bullying, I would say, ‘never ignore it’. If you ignore it, it is only going to get worse. And to other students I would say, ‘tell someone’.
Welcoming new students
I volunteer on the school open days to meet with new students, especially the new Bosnian students. I show them the special places in the school where I like to go – such as the gardens. And I let them know that when they come to the school, I will always be there if they need help. If anything happens for them, I will offer to go with them to report it to the teacher I know we can trust. He was like a lifeline for me and now I will be a lifeline for the new students.
Climbing Mt Lofty
During the worst times, our family friend, who has known me since I was one year old, would take me and my sister and brother to walk up Mt Lofty. On these walks we would connect with nature, switch off and look at different things. We would leave early and getting to the top was really hard work! When we made it, then we would have ice-blocks, before walking back down. Getting through the bullying was like climbing a huge mountain. But I have made it now.
These are some of the ways we overcome bullying:
- Remembering primary school
- Listening to artists not cruel words
- Gifts of protection
- Having friends outside school
- One teacher listened to me and took action
- Never ignore it
- Welcoming new students
- Climbing Mt Lofty
We hope these are helpful to other students. We would like to hear your ideas!
Listen to a reflection from our friends in Singapore: