The Gintlemen, Adrian: The MH THING!
This week Adrian sits down to talk about his own battles – bullying, mental health and school.
As mentioned in my introduction I have long battled with my mental health. Until 18 months ago I was a “just get on with it” kind of guy, it will pass etc. Then things from the past emerged to haunt me, and I couldn’t give anymore without breaking.
My first real memories of feeling low stem from my junior school days. My parents being most inconsiderate, decided to better their lives and leave a leafy part of Staffordshire for an equally leafy part of Shropshire.
We moved to a quiet little village outside the growing new town of Telford.
And then I started school, part way through the first of three school years that still now bring a shiver. Firstly, everyone had grown up together, played together, primary schooled together. Then there was me, awkward and ginger. We lived only 300 yards from the school gates, yet in that small journey on a daily basis I was subjected to hairism, earism, new-boy-ism!
It went from verbal, to physical, then the norm – the same three lads, one older, one younger, one the same age.
I tried everything just to fit in. Sadly my parents were not of the wealthy who inhabited most of the village. They were working class, and had my baby brother and then sister to deal with.
Did I feel sorry for myself? Could I mistake that for depression? Possibly yes – but at ten, and without the mediums of today (the net was nothing more than a type of curtain) I had no idea. I kind of guessed it was the norm, and that as the years go by it will softly disappear and then stop.
Nobody new joined the school after me, my behaviour was the key to getting attention. When I got in trouble and explained to my mum what was going on she marched round to the school to see the headmaster. He was a WW2 veteran, a POW in Japan for the last 2 years, he was not what you would call modern, and his answer to my woes? I was asking for it. From then on the reaction to parental intervention ensured fresh tortures. Chinese burns, wedgies, blooded noses. I became introverted, ideal just before secondary school where 900 children were allowed to attend not 60. I read comics, I imagined, I escaped through my mind to far away galaxies, created massive space operas in my mind. I devoured page after page of science fiction books till I had a reading age 5 years ahead of my 11. I failed my 11 plus, so it was to be secondary modern for me, a fresh start I thought, new people, new friends, getting a bus, having 10p sewn in my blazer for emergencies.
I was ready to be accepted, sadly however … nobody was ready to accept me…
To be continued.