The long term effects of bullying


Photo Courtesy of USA Today

Middle school years are quite often years that we’d like to ignore. We, as humans, are still developing and life can be confusing for many of us, especially as we become adults. We all read stories where the mean bullies steal lunch money from the protagonist or beat someone up just for fun, and although bullying is still quite common at school, this portrayal is not exactly accurate.
Being a junior in high school, I’m not constantly being bullied or even being bullied at all for the matter, as I am able to handle situations and interactions better than I did in my middle school years. However, only recently I was able to stop and think about how much school bullying has actually affected me and my state of mind.
When I stop and think about my past, I notice how much the words people threw at me stung. I recalled several people pointing out my pimples, causing me to later beg my mom to buy me special acne cream that burned on my face every night. I remembered my friend making fun of me for wearing lip gloss to school one morning which even now makes me uncomfortable to wear any form of makeup to school. There were so many instances when people pulled up my social media posts to my face and told me I looked stupid or hideous, the list goes on and on.
The worst form of bullying I ever experienced was in my seventh grade science class. Science was never really my strong suit, so I relied on my groupmates to help me get through the worksheet. During the entirety of the class, they kept giggling and I didn’t understand why. At the very end the boy across from me laughed so hard and pointed at me saying “How could you be so gullible? We’ve been giving you the wrong information the whole time and you just believed us!” Mortified, I started crying in the middle of class. He just continued to laugh. I now still struggle with my confidence when I attempt or work on any assignment. I constantly feel that I’m doing my work wrong and that I’m going to fail.
Overall, I find myself quite lucky that my experiences with bullying were not extreme, but even then, I can see the impact that it has had on me. Between my fear of failure, lack of confidence in anything I do, including my appearance and studies, bullying has affected me.
According to, one out of every five students experience bullying. People get called names, are insulted and are even being pushed or shoved. 42% of bullying simply happens inside the classroom, which is so upsetting that this so often happens in a place that is supposed to feel safe and comfortable. Students who experience bullying are at more of an increased risk of having depression, anxiety, sleep difficulties and dropping out of school.
We need to do better as individuals. Before making certain comments or statements about a person, we have to think about how these words might affect them. The fact that I could quote exactly what this boy told me five years ago just goes to show how much that hurt me. There is absolutely no harm in being nicer to people and it goes a long way.