‘Facebook trolls forced me to quit school’

LucyTraynor left school after being targeted by bullies. Picture: Hemedia
LucyTraynor left school after being targeted by bullies. Picture: Hemedia
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A SCOTS teenager yesterday told how she had to quit school after she was bullied by cruel Facebook trolls.

Lucy Traynor, 16, of Aberdeen, became depressed after a series of vile attacks on the social networking site – being ridiculed as a “hunchback” and “a freak” after being diagnosed with a spinal condition.

Talented swimmer Lucy revealed she had considered taking her own life but that the love and support she got from her parents helped her through the bullying.

She said: “It made me feel awful. I hated myself and I lost all my confidence.

“There was one girl in particular who made my life very hard. She used Facebook to make comments like “hunchback” or “the freak”.

“It didn’t go as far as it could have because I was so upset that my parents intervened.”

At the time of the cyber-bullying Lucy was training five days a week to try and become a professional swimmer.

Her mother was concerned about her protruding shoulder blade and her uneven hips and Lucy started experiencing excruciating pains down one side of her back and she began to lose her pace at training.

Lucy visited a doctor who told her she had scoliosis, a painful condition which causes the spine to excessively curve sideways. If untreated, in some cases it can lead to fatal heart and lung problems.

While Lucy was waiting to see if she needed an operation to fix her spine – which would stop her from swimming professionally in the future – she began to receive abuse from pupils at her school

Depressed and demoralised, Lucy decided to leave the school she attended she began taking lessons at home.

She said: “I was so upset when I was told about my spine.

“I had always loved being the centre of attention and having my family watch me swim.

“When I was told that swimming and excessive exercise would put more pressure on my spine and it was something I should consider giving up – I was devastated.

“I was scared to look in the mirror and I was terrified about what I was going to be sent next.

“Facebook made my life very difficult. I ended up studying at home.”

But one year on, Lucy’s life has turned around. She has found alternative treatment at a specialist clinic in London which means she no longer requires an operation and she has returned to school and swimming.

Lucy said she is now as happy as she has ever been, although she hasn’t reactivated her account on Facebook.

She said: “I’m so relieved to get back to what I love. I really didn’t want to have surgery.

“Swimming is my life. I was terrified of being different. I wanted to be normal again.

“I don’t use Facebook any more. And since I have had the treatment on my back I feel normal again.

“My back was treated at the clinic but they also really helped with all of my psychological issues.”