Johnytalker is a storyteller, but he was also bullied by a boy. He was born in Limpopo Polokwane and spent his formative years living with his mother and father, they were both unemployed.
At primary school, when he was nine years old, he was bullied by his classmate. He would call him fatty because he was overweight. He would pick on him and hit him without reason. He used to say that he was only playing. Johny would actually bruise when he was hit. He would also spit at him. He did not think much of it because he did not know what bullying was. At his school, there was no talk of bullying.
It got to the point where his parents noticed the bruise and asked him what had happened. He guessed they thought that it was more than just playing and they went to the school principal. The principal addressed him and the bullying stopped. It was strange, he could now have a normal conversation with the bully but he still felt uncomfortable around him.
Life carried on as normal, until he reached the next grade when he was reminded of the bully’s words. In the middle of the year, he confessed to his first friend that he liked him and he got rejected, but not in a mean way. He said okay and that he accepted his decision. But then, randomly, thoughts began to appear in his mind and made his chest tighten, like something was pressing on it. It was an extremely weird feeling. The thoughts in his mind said constantly “He didn’t like me because he sees me as fat”. He became stressed.
One day his friend told him to stop thinking too much and that he’d end up hurting himself; he was referring to cutting.
For a short while, it made him think that he was actually bad and that the behaviour was not acceptable, but when he got home he thought about what he did and he had this urge to do it again. This time, he did it more than once. Initially, he questioned why he was cutting himself but that thought quickly disappeared.
The ongoing turmoil of negative emotions was coming and the cutting calmed him.
After some time Johnytalker lost so much weight. Everyone was shocked by his weight loss, like they were thinking “What happened to Johnytalker?” He was the same person and he didn’t even realise the change.
In the same year, he got his second friend. A few months into the friendship, problems came up and those problems were mainly because of him being jealous.
Even though he shed the extra kilograms, inside he still felt very insecure. They had a fight and he told him that he was going to kill himself, instead he started cutting again. Since he had not done it in a long time, he wasn’t sure if he wanted to do it.
A former teacher helped him and realised that when children are experiencing such bullying some people are not taking the issue seriously. According to the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) the stats are scary. We need to support them, be vigilant to this epidemic. We need to get help if we cannot help ourselves. We need to count on our friends and families to assist us.
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