Bullying. It's an awful word isn't it? Chances are, yourself or someone you may know has been a victim of this horrible thing.
I'm Joshua, not a victim but a survivor of bullying, a survivor of discrimination, and a survivor of hate. This is my story!
With a string of medical conditions including Asperger's Syndrome and Tourette's Syndrome, I was always the pick of the school to be bullied. Though things took a drastic turn back in September 2011, aged 13, when I was bullied out of high school and into home education. My Tourette's took a very noticeable direction, with a tic sounding as I was clearing my throat, but many times worse. Before I left school I was followed around the playground, with a dozen pupils following me, mocking me every single time I ticked. For me, this was hell!
When I left school and was studying in my house, this felt like Heaven. I was in the surroundings I felt most comfortable, with the people I loved, and with some of the most caring, patient tutors. Though this peace and happiness could only last so long.
I received a message on BlackBerry Messenger, thinking this was from my small, select group of friends. Now I must say, they were included in what I got sent. I opened up the app, and listened to a voice-note sent by the class. "Touretted Retard. Kill yourself! Twitchy. Twitchy. Twitchy." I thought to myself, "Did I just hear that right? I don't think I'm hallucinating?"
It felt as if my life was crumbling around me. These were some of the people I went right through nursery and school with. I'd known them almost 10 years!
I logged on Facebook for the daily happenings. Something was brought to my attention. A thread of threatening online comment, about me. Users saying they were going to kill me. Looking directions to my house. Mocking who I was. Death-threats from one person almost double my age. I'd finally hit rock bottom!
My mental health quickly deteriorated rapidly to the point I shaved my head and walked down to a local bridge, and was there hoping to die. My life flashed before my eyes. But this was it, I said to myself. Let me die.
It was only when a police officer snuck up, and got me off the bridge. He saved my life, and I owe all my thanks to him.
I was hospitalised.
Fast-forward three years later.
I'm a new man! I've found my passions through Vlogging on my YouTube Channel, 'The Hewitt Collective.' Documenting my life's adventures from a relief trip to Uganda, to hostelling in Norway, from difficult stages in my life, and to some of the best. I use this platform to try and motivate and inspire those of all ages and backgrounds that life gets better.
I found this path after becoming inspired by work from Influencers such as Ben Brown, Nicole Eddy, Zoe Sugg, and Alfie Deyes. I'm extremely thankful for their influence in my life.
My advice to young people being bullied is to believe in you! Do what you love, follow your passions and love yourself. You are a wonderful person with so much potential. You are loved, and you are loving. Be the change!