J A Browne

Anti-Bullying Week – Dog Days Are Over

Anti-Bullying Week – Dog Days Are Over

There’s a brilliant track by Florence and the Machine called Dog Days Are Over.

Although this song isn’t about bullying, it is about finding happiness, even during difficult circumstances. It’s about times of hurt and struggle coming to an end. And, ultimately, it’s about keeping going and never giving up because the ‘dog days’ i.e., the bad days will pass and things do get better. I can attest to that. It’s true.

One lyric in the song is particularly pertinant. 

“You can’t carry it with you if you want to survive.”

If we say that the “it” is bullying, then we can interpret the meaning – or, at least, I do – as being able to let it go. Drop the horrendous, upsetting baggage that the burden of bullying brings and leave it behind. Easier said that done, though.

However, songs are powerful. Looking back (and I don’t intend to do so for long), I can see why certain songs, lyrics connect with me. Linkin’ Park’s Crawling resonates deeply.

“To find myself again, my walls are closing in… I’ve felt this way before, so insecure.”

Courtesy of Spotify/Florence and the Machine

The only way I felt I could handle the trauma of being bullied was through books, writing stories and poems, and reading. When my walls closed in on me, I escaped into books.

Stories were my safe place and a place where my imagination ran wild. The freedom that stories give is nothing short of palpable. A lot like music.


Artist unknown.

It’s no wonder I’ve became an author because the power of my imagination was the ultimate escape hatch. The doorway to magical libraries, Narnia, pirate ships, mazes and magic carpets. You name it, I’ve probably imagined an adventure there at some point.

When I was reading or writing stories or just escaping into my own imagination, I was safe and happy. There were no bullies to hide from. Only white witches handing out Turkish Delight – my favourite btw.

Books fuelled my imagination and as an author, I use that fuel to lose myself in my own adventures besides my own characters: Hannah; a girl with the potential to save worlds and her best friend, a magical fox called Alpha.

It’s where I went to find myself. 

When you’re being bullied or have experienced it, it has the power to distort who you see in the mirror. Who you believe you are. It makes you question yourself and the beliefs you hold about yourself.

Your vision of who you are becomes clouded.

Like ink being dropped into a glass of water. It’s hard to see yourself clearly.

This is my fault.

I deserve this somehow.



The secret to seeing who you are clearly again is, firstly, to pour all the pain out. To someone you trust completely. It might just be that person you trust has a tap from which you can refill with fresh water. It’s a good time to open the floodgates and let it all out.


If you feel unable to speak to someone, try this. This is what I did.

Fill the glass with you – things you love until the glass overflows and the water runs clear or clear enough. I escaped into books, writing stories and poems, drawing and acting out stories. Singing (or howling would be more accurate) at the top of my lungs and dancing around the house.

For you, it might be singing, football, drawing, charity work, pottery, painting, being with your pet (now that love is powerful!), walking, running, or a sport you love. Anything you’re passionate about – fill the deep wells with in you because water is the most powerful source of life on Earth. 

And know this, once you can see yourself clearly in the glass, in the reflections, the person looking back at you will be stronger than you ever imagined possible. I know. I’ve done it. And you can do.


My final thought brings me back to that lyric by Florence.

Being a writer, I can’t help but edit…

“You can’t carry it with you if you want to survive.”

You can't carry it with you if you want to THRIVE

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