“It was like a giant punch in the stomach, a slap in the face, and it hurt just as much as the physical thing – more in fact” - Ellie’s story

Jacqueline Hitchcock Wyatt and her daughter Ellie.Photo: Bill Smith

Jacqueline Hitchcock Wyatt and her daughter Ellie.Photo: Bill Smith - Credit: Bill Smith - Archant

Ellie Hitchcock-Wyatt has been bullied throughout her time in education. Here she talks about her experiences.

'I've been bullied most of my life, so I know how it feels and the effect that it can have on a person and the way they feel about themselves, but I was very lucky in that I had my family behind me all the way.

'Countless times, I found myself excluded from playground games, being given the painfully lame excuse 'this game is special, for just us so there isn't really a place for you'. This meant that most of the time I was alone during the lunch hour, and after a while I just ended up talking to teachers, or got used to hanging around by myself. This made me feel really depressed, and greatly affected my self esteem, so I slowly became more and more introverted. Having no friends made me feel worthless and lonely. Most children can't wait for the lunch hour and a break between lessons, but for me, each minute felt like an hour. I felt so alone. I tried moving schools. I just remember the day I said goodbye to all my old classmates. I came up to say goodbye, and they all turned their backs on me. It was like a giant punch in the stomach, a slap in the face, and it hurt just as much as the physical thing – more in fact.

'Nevertheless, I hoped that a new start would help me and change things for the better. Initially it did, as being the new girl attracted some attention from my classmates, but after a while the novelty wore off. I couldn't understand why no one wanted to be friends with me. I tried to be friendly, but being quieter than the rest meant that I was normally overlooked. I came to the conclusion that it must be my fault. There must be something wrong with me otherwise this wouldn't keep happening, and someone would want to be my friend. One day I couldn't stop crying all the way to school so my mum took me home and phoned a psychologist. She gave me some of the best advice I had ever been given. She told me to accept the fact that I was different from others, and to enjoy and embrace it. I should celebrate it, and learn to love myself. About the same time my granny suggested we watch Ugly Betty because she said Betty reminded her of me! She said Betty wasn't really ugly, she was wonderful but she was also always different from everyone else, just like me, so perhaps I could learn from watching the programme. I absolutely loved it immediately. Betty made me laugh so much because however horrible people were to her, she always managed to know how to deal with them and she never let their nastiness get to her. She loved herself just the way she was so I wanted to as well! I began to realise that I needed to accept myself just the way I was and I gradually became more confident at school. I found that the more confident I became, the more people wanted to be friends with me.'

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