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A British study published in The American Journal of Psychiatry utilized data from the British National Child Development Study which followed participants for 50 years starting in 1958. Parents of the more than 7,500 participants reported “bullying exposure” at 7 and 11 years old, according to the study. Follow-ups were conducted between ages 23 and 50.

Researchers found that participants who experienced bullying in childhood “had increased levels of psychological distress at ages 23 and 50. Interestingly, there were common outcomes at varying ages.  At age 23, participants were experiencing “psychological distress” as well as problems with their general health. At age 45, participants shared suicidality and disorders of depression or anxiety. Additionally, there was a trend of a dependency on alcohol. At age 50, participants were already seeing problems with their “cognitive functioning, socioeconomic status, social relationships, and well-being…”, in addition to “a lack of social relationships, economic hardship, and poor perceived quality of life…”

From childhood to middle age, middle age to older adult years, bullying has an effect on our mental health, our physical health, and the way we live our lives. Bullying is what is called a “soul wound”, leaving a scar on the very perceptions we hold dear about ourselves, our lives, and our worth in our lives. When someone has the audacity to try and make us feel like we are worth bullying- that we are worth harming and humiliating- someone is telling us we aren’t worth being treated nicely with love, compassion, and care. We take in these harmful negative messages and make them our own. Until we can learn to tell our own story and define ourselves on our own terms, the painful messages from our bullies take hold of our lives. The emotional pain of a soul wound like being bullied leaves a gaping hole in our spirit, desperate to be filled. Mental illness, substance abuse, process disorders- many self-destructive behavioral patterns will arise to try and fill the pain. Only when we walk through the pain and come out the other side of recovery can we finally put our bullying at peace.

If you or someone you know has struggled immensely with trauma, help is available. Call The Guest House Ocala today for information on our residential treatment programs for trauma, addiction, and related mental health issues. 1-855-483-7800