Have you been bullied in the past? I certainly have.
I used to swim with the local team and I was really good friends with one of the girls there…until one day the dynamic switched. Suddenly I was being whispered about and having nasty comments shouted to me.
The changing rooms were the worst. I learnt to hide in a cubicle and get changed at lightning speed.
“She thinks she’s so special.”
“I don’t want to be anywhere near her.”
I wouldn’t give up training though. There was a part of me that was so determined not to let them win. One day, after 10 months of this, a coach overheard the bullying. A week later, a boy at school said to me, “you look like you are going to cry.” That’s how I felt all the time, like I was on the verge of crying and my body was betraying me. I could no longer hide it.
I ended up moving to a big swim club and from there I had a fantastic experience of being accepted and some great successes too. In theory, it all worked out great.
However, even though the bullying stopped, the comments continued. I spent the next two decades perfecting: pre-empting, worrying and ruminating.
I took over the role of bullying myself. Beating myself with a stick. Being my harshest critic.
If this feels familiar to you, it’s time to put the stick down.
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