"They thought I was stupid because I was deaf"
"I was struggling with bullying at school. It happened in primary and secondary school over many years. The bullies would call me all kinds of hurtful names like ugly and stupid. They thought I was stupid because I was deaf. Sometimes they would kick me or hit me and do actions like a stupid person and say that's what I was like.
"I felt alone because my friends were not making an effort to be friends with me. It wasn't just the kids, it was adults too sometimes.
"I was getting into trouble at school, sometimes shouting and getting angry at others. I got a bad reputation and felt bad about myself – it was an awful time. There just wasn't enough being done about the bullying.
"I tried communicating with the school via the BSL interpreters but it felt like they were discussing it between themselves (it felt like gossiping), and nothing was done to take me seriously or help me.
"I was staying at home a lot, doing very little and my school work was badly affected. This was partly because I could not trust the interpreters who were meant to help me in class to sign to me in BSL. I also felt uncomfortable asking questions.
"I was worried that I didn't want to disrupt the class too much, especially in front of some of the bullies who called me stupid. I had trouble focusing in class and often all I could think about was the bullying and loneliness, on top of the usual stresses of being a teenager. It was overwhelming for me, and I felt very depressed.
"I couldn't see a future for myself at all. Often I was told all the things I couldn't do because I was deaf and because the bullies said they were better than me, and I believed them.
"When I was 16, I realised how hurt I felt and I asked for help. I realised that bullying was not my fault. I felt I could take control and became less angry about how I was being treated.
"I felt I could report bullying and something would be done about it. I also had a safe place to go in the school when I felt scared.
"I heard of other black and deaf young people who had turned their lives around and were achieving a lot. That was so important to me. They became my role models. It really built up my confidence.
"People around me could see how much I changed. I've challenged those who said in the past that I couldn't do much with my life. I feel I can mix with the hearing world as well as the deaf world – which is really good.
"I feel equal to hearing people and my life is so much more positive. I feel that there are now many opportunities I didn't think were possible before. I want to travel, go to university and get into politics. I want to be the first black and deaf prime minister. Obama is a big inspiration to me. I think I can be a good role model, helping other young people see their potential and succeed too.
"Deaf young people, including those who have experienced difficulties such as bullying, should have the same opportunities as everyone else. They should be treated equally and with respect."
if you're worried about something
You're not alone. You can get support by:
- speaking to a counsellor on the phone, in a 1-2-1 counsellor chat or by email
- speaking to other young people on the message boards
- reading letters from young people on Ask Sam or writing one yourself
- using the Art box - sometimes it helps to express how you feel
- creating an account with us and using the mood tracker to see how your mood changes over time.
get help with discrimination
It's not ok to be bullied or treated differently because you are deaf. Find out how you can get advice and support.