Chris Sherlock shares his story.

From bullied boy to the broadcast booth

Chris Sherlock on leaving school, mental health and opening up on air

By Darragh Nolan

ENTERING secondary school is a significant milestone of youth. It’s one of those little steps on the road to adulthood, a nudge in the direction of maturity.

It is often a difficult transition. Unfamiliar surroundings, strange people, a move from being the senior pupils in primary school to back down the totem pole.

All the more difficult when you’re a victim of bullying, as Galway broadcaster Chris Sherlock was. His time as a first year was marred by run-ins with bullies that went far beyond teasing and name-calling.

‘Bad luck’

“THERE were two different scenarios … the first one, I was on the phone with my mother. The phone was taken off me by these older kids and thrown against the wall, and one of them started choking me.”

Chris, as is often the case, covered up what had happened. For fear of making things worse for himself, he bottled up his feelings. After time out of school, getting little sleep and pretending to be sick, he returned. It wasn’t long before another incident truly made matters worse.

“The second time, I was on my way to class and there was a group of older kids waiting for me on the stairs. One of them pulled my shirt up over my head and physically pushed me down the stairs.

“I hit the steps as I went down. I was bruised all over, with grazes on my elbows. I needed medical attention from a nurse.”

Putting his injuries down to “clumsiness”, he continued to put off opening up about what had really happened. Relieved that he could spend another few days at home, it wasn’t until he tried to return to school that something started to give.

Read the full feature in this week's edition of The Tuam Herald, on sale in shops and online