Bullying, body image and getting better: Aditi’s story
Ahead of World Mental Health Day, client Aditi shares her mental health experiences and encourages others to reach out and get help if they need it.
I’m 14 and I’m in Year 10 now.
I think I’ve always been struggling with my mental health since Year 4, but during the start of Year 9 it plummeted even more.
In primary school, people would often make comments about my skin colour and how dark my complexion was, because the people around then were people with lighter skin tones so that’s why I was discriminated against. They would often make comments about my features and they would make fun of my nose and how dark my hair was because they all had light or brown hair.
They even made a hate book against me where they detailed a plan about how they wanted to assault me.
I ended up telling a teacher and the girls who took part in it were suspended for two weeks. It was mainly just consequences for them but they didn’t really do anything to help me cope from it.
During Year 9 I realised I needed support with my mental health.
I had a bit of support from my school because I started counselling there. I was referred to Mind in Bradford by the CPS worker.
Over the past few months I’ve been having one-to-one support with Sanna from Know Your Mind. We talk about my past and Sanna gives me advice on how to move on from it in a positive way and use it more as a learning experience. It helps me become more positive overall because I don’t really look back and focus on the negatives, and instead I just focus on how it helps me grow more as a person.
Every week we set some goals that we decide together, and they’ll be about taking my mask off for a day or two or one period in school or during lunch. Before I used to wear a mask all the time, but I can take it off sometimes in school now. It’s helped me build more confidence. Before, I used to eat meals alone upstairs, and I don’t know why I was so used to that, but then eventually I started eating with my brother first and then as a family during the holidays. It’s helped me become more close to them, because meal times are really important with your family.
Before starting the sessions I wasn’t going into school much, but the sessions motivated me to go in more because I felt like I would benefit from it a lot, so it was worth attending to see if anything would improve, and things did improve.
In one session I was writing about aspects of my past that were bothering me and I put them in a mind map on a piece of paper, and when I was done writing about all of it we quickly went through it and then we were able to start ripping it up. It was symbolic in a way, it’s like shredding up your past memories.
I didn’t really open up about my mental health before these sessions. It was really hard to talk about it with other people. Sanna is the only person I feel comfortable talking about it with.
If you’re struggling with your mental health I think you should reach out to someone you trust because if you just stay quiet about it then you’re going to suffer in silence. It’s better to talk to someone about it so then you have the appropriate support around you.
Aditi had 8-weeks of one-to-one support from a Community Wellbeing Worker with our Know Your Mind service. This service is for children and young people in Central Bradford who are struggling with their mental health and wellbeing.
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Posted on: 5th October 2022