BULLYING is known to affect people’s confidence, but one Gosport mum has spoken out about the physical effect of bullies.
During national anti-bullying week, Charlotte Brighton has shared how she was bullied as a teenager at Neville Lovett School in Fareham by a group of girls ridiculing and threatening her.
One day, three bullies followed her home and held her against a wall. She told her mum who spoke to the school and the culprits got suspended for two weeks, but when they returned they called Charlotte a ‘grass’ and the bullying continued.
The now 33-year-old, whose maiden name was Charlotte Gibbs, said: ‘Those sorts of people don’t care if they get told off. It needs to be something that’s talked about a lot in school, the effects it can have, because they might think twice.’
This bullying went on throughout secondary school, and aged 14 she started to become unwell with regular stomach pains before being diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome.
‘My social life plummeted, often too scared to go to various places in case I ended up on the toilet,’ she said.
‘I'd go to a friend's house and end up full of embarrassment as I’d suddenly get a flare up fuelled by anxiety.’
At college, Charlotte lost weight from not eating as she did not want to be ill and ended up not achieving as well as she could have.
After losing a close family member, Charlotte saw a counsellor who delved into her past and realised that bullying was the source of her condition.
Charlotte said the anxiety led to her gut constantly being stuck in ‘fight or flight’ mode and functioning incorrectly.
With support from her husband Gary, Charlotte manages her condition but believes children should be educated about the effects of bullying from a young age.
The mum-of-two said: ‘I’m fed up of hearing more and more stories of kids taking their own lives because of bullying, if I can stop one bully it will be worth it.
‘I will never tolerate bullying. If my children are bullied I will stop at nothing to ensure it is stopped. If they become bullies I will do everything in my power to correct this.’