Categories
Bullying Identity Mental Health My Story

‘School was a Very Difficult Place for me to Navigate’ – Autism, Disordered Eating and Bipolar: Joe Plumb Shares His Story

Autism, Disordered Eating and Bipolar – Joe Plumb shares his story

From the very first day of school I was treated differently. Other kids didn’t seem to want to talk or interact with me and neither me or my parents understood why.

I felt so alone.

At the age of six, I was diagnosed with Autism, a social-communication disorder. Although I am really low on the autistic spectrum, people are still able to notice the subtle difference in my characteristics. Because of this, school was a very difficult place for me to navigate. I received both verbal and physical abuse, not only from other students but also from teachers – the people I was supposed to be able to depend on for support.

Things got worse during secondary school; I was beaten up, cyber-bullied and even received death threats. I started to skip meals and purge, because of the remarks people made about my looks. I felt so depressed and started to self-harm. At the time, I couldn’t see a way out – I felt like I had no one to turn to, no means of escaping the misery. I was suffering in silence – too embarrassed to speak up or tell anyone what was happening to me. At my lowest ebb, I tried to take my own life.

Because of my erratic behaviour and intention to harm myself, I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and put into the care of a psychiatric hospital for almost three years. Looking back now, I wish I had opened up and told somebody what I was going through, maybe I would have been able to process what was happening to me if I had just sought help.

Personally, I found my eating disorder the hardest thing to open up about, mainly because of the stigma attached to it. I honestly thought ‘no way could a guy have an eating disorder’, even though I was living proof that we could! I just tried to shrug it off as something else, rather than label it. In my mind, it was something women and women only suffered with; traditional stereotypes that enforce how a man should look, or act, makes us feel as though these things can’t happen to us, and if they do, then we can’t talk about it without compromising our masculinity, or being judged. It’s ridiculous. Talking about my problems has made my life so much better.

I now campaign and run my own organisation, helping hundreds of people open up and talk about their feelings. I want to make people realise they are not alone! I implore those that are being bullied, or suffering from a mental illness, to not be afraid to speak up! Help is out there! Things do, and will get better. Stay strong.

Written by Joe Plumb

Follow Joe on Twitter: @TheJoePlumb 

RSS FORUM CHATS

  • Laughing at pain
    today was grade 8 farewell. The teachers gushed on and on about what good leaders we have been. How, in any universe, could that be. My class has been inappropriate and stupid and disrespectful. But they called us angels? It was kind of sad hearing how much teachers worshipped the bullies.
  • I don't know if I'm bi
    I'm very confused about my sexuallity, very recently I've been feeling bi but then another minute I feel straight. I also have classmates that can be very judgmental and I feel if I tell my classmates they be unsupportive, I want to come out but don't know how to please help my bi crisis.
  • Should I leave my bsf?
    So, I have an issue. My now partner of almost 2 years (we’re doing a break rn so kinda my partner), anyways, they don’t like me talking to my ex. The ex in question is my bsf of 8+ years. Me and this ex dated for a year and a few days. I was never […]
  • Hi :)
    I’d prefer to keep my name confidential, but hi :) My pronouns are she/they, and I’m very gay. I’m 17 and just tryna figure stuff out. Hope i can get advice that helps me :)
  • Confused about sexuality and Christian
    I'm a female currently in a long term relationship with a man. I've only dated men. I have been interested in women but my religion goes against it. I'm not sure how to navigate these feelings. I am unsure about my current relationship in many aspects and would like to date other men and possibly […]
  • Break through!!!!
    Yesterday ended up being great because my dad finally made his opinion clear! He says he would support me if i came out, but he doesn't like it when people force it on others! (which i think doesn't make sense) but all is good now