For the last twenty two of my thirty one years on this planet, bullying has been on my mind. I've suffered it, in some circumstances I've done it, and now with two children I consider its practise. It's almost never far from the news and again it seems another British teenager has lost their life because of it.
Leaving my parents and the comfort of my home was the first wrench. Entering the playground felt more like walking into a battlefield. Seeing the different groups, the popular, the pretty, the sporty and then finally the geeks - where I usually ended up. The next obstacle was walking into class and praying someone would sit next to me.
For 20 years I spoke through my skin because I couldn't find the right words. Instead of a best friend to play with, I had a pair of scissors. And instead of a voice, I got stuck on a merry-go-round of bottling things in and bleeding them out. The question I often get asked is 'why'; what could make me feel so low that I would want to drag a blade across my own flesh. Having had nearly two decades to gnaw over an answer, I'm still not really sure, other than - being brutally honest - I think I liked it. It wasn't about the injury I inflicted though, cutting never deviated towards sadomasochism, it was about searching for contentment.
Schools, you either love them or hate them, a little bit like Marmite I guess. Some say school years are the best years of your life, some even say school reminds them of their youth. But what do you think of when you reminisce about your youth? Do you see school as a good thing or do you feel let down by your school?
Being diagnosed with Mental Health, in particular Depression and Anxiety at the age of 14 years was not easy to cope with. I worried about telling other people that I had Mental Health, it was never taught on the school curriculum and it appeared to me at the time, that many wouldn't understand the condition.
Everyone on this planet has a childhood story about low self-esteem and we often don't realise how damaging they can be in later life. Even the great and the good like Jen Lawrence, Jessie J and Rebecca Adlington have all come out saying they had troubled teen years. Low self-esteem is a major cause of eating disorders, depression, anxiety and addictions.