My name is Angela Wilson I'm a former team GB swimmer that competed in the European,World and Commonwealth Games in the early nineties. I went on from a successful swimming career to start my own swim school which I franchised in 2014. In 18 months I've signed 18 franchises and been recognized for a national business award for entrepreneur of the year with Lloyd s bank! On reading this it sounds like a success story well to some extent it is! What I havent mentioned is I have Autism Aspergers and ADHD.
I started swimming competitively at 5 years of age. I had always dreamed of being the best swimmer in the world and strived to always succeed and do my best. The problem with this is when you have talent and are successful people tend to not like you. I was bullied from 7 years of age until I was 19. I experienced verbal, emotional and physical abuse just because I was talented and slightly different. I used my swimming as a way of escaping from the pain of being bullied. I answered my bullies not with words but in the pool when I raced. The more they tortured me the harder I swam. My childhood was a very lonely and difficult time because of the bullying and because I was misunderstood due to my special needs.
I didn't allow the bullying or my needs to get in the way of my fulfilling my dreams. I may not have won an Olympic medal but I learnt how to be successful and change people's opinions of me. Today I am a successful business woman and reached a high level in my swimming.
I am also a mother to a beautiful 7 year old girl who has Autism, Aspergers and ADHD. I was fortunate enough to have adopted her when she was only 11 months old. My advice to anyone who is being bullied is don't allow the words to get into your mind where you actually believe them rather than your own dreams.