Bullying, Stomas & Stigma

A black and white photo of me to the left holding a sign with hashtags written on, like #bagsoutforsteven. My stripey top is pulled up to reveal my stoma bag. To the right is the post title : Bullying, stomas & stigma
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To say that kids can be cruel is an understatement, and the impact is has on the recipient can be painfully damaging to say the least.

Having a stoma can be hard for anyone. I can only imagine what it’s like for a child.

10 year old Steven Bridges in Kentucky hanged himself. He went through over 26 surgeries and was bullied for having a colostomy bag.

I dream of a world without such ignorance and cruelty. You are forever a warrior, Steven. 🌹

A black and white photo of me to the left holding a sign with hashtags written on, like #bagsoutforsteven. My stripey top is pulled up to reveal my stoma bag.

Every image, every post, every conversation… it all adds up. Raise awareness, promote openness, work towards more acceptance & understanding. We’re all human. There should be no shame or embarrassment. But there is.

It took guts (not literally, as I don’t have half of mine anymore!) for me to post this, but it’s worth it. I never want to glamorise chronic illness or stomas, because it’s far from a life of glitz and glitter. I want to be honest, about the painful times and depression and the struggles that can all come with it. This is about breaking the barriers that keep us from being open, it’s about breaking down stigma & showing each other, and ourselves, more compassion.

To those who have been bullied, you are far smarter, more compassionate, more courageous & tolerant than the words and actions of ignorance. Hang in there. ♥




  1. January 29, 2019 / 4:10 pm

    Such a sad story about that young man. What a shame. There is far too much bullying of late. Here in America it’s about politics for the most part. Hatred rages and I’m sick of it.

    Have a fabulous day, my friend. ♥

    • February 2, 2019 / 5:02 pm

      There is far too much bullying, too much ignorance and hate, too, among children and adults. You’re absolutely right, Sandee. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, and let’s hope that bit by bit we can all cultivate a little more understanding and compassion towards each other  ♥

  2. January 29, 2019 / 4:11 pm

    A powerful story, thanks for sharing

    • February 2, 2019 / 5:00 pm

      Powerful and very sad. Thank you for reading, John.

  3. January 29, 2019 / 4:12 pm

    It’s the bullies that have the problem! The more we can get that across to EVERYONE, the better.

    • February 2, 2019 / 5:00 pm

      You’re right, it is their problem. It doesn’t feel that way when you’re on the receiving end of it, and the bullies don’t realise the potentially devastating impact they’re having. That’s children and adults, too. Thank you so much for sharing, Cathy, it’s much appreciated  ♥

  4. January 29, 2019 / 4:16 pm

    Thank you for sharing Caz. Bullies. Such a sad, low self esteem life they lead…

    • February 2, 2019 / 4:59 pm

      I agree, bullying another to make themselves feel better. Pretty pathetic, and for what? They don’t realise the damage they cause, and that goes for adults, too. Thank you, Toni.xx

  5. Ashleyleia
    January 29, 2019 / 4:37 pm

    You are a rockstar! Ignorance is no match for warriors speaking up.

    • February 2, 2019 / 4:57 pm

      You, I and the rest of the chronic illness community or those who have experienced bullying will roar and speak up until we’re heard! Thanks lovely  ♥

  6. January 29, 2019 / 4:39 pm

    Sadly there will always be ignorant people in this world I believe it is passed on down through the generations. It never ceases to shock me how some people can behave. This sort of behaviour needs to be stopped and we all have a responsibility to make sure it does.

    I’ve got to say though Caz you look beautiful exactly as you are. 🌹 Great post.

    • February 2, 2019 / 4:56 pm

      You’re right, it can be passed through generations and sadly not enough is done by adults, who need to be the ones to take action. Thank you so much lovely, I really appreciate your comment  ♥

  7. January 29, 2019 / 5:14 pm

    Jesus, this is terrible. Kids can be so cruel.

    And you my dear Caz, are one brave girl. I’m saying it because I’ve been there so trust me, I know.

    • February 2, 2019 / 4:55 pm

      They really can be cruel. Aw, that’s very kind of you. I’m trying to take compliments rather than challenge them, so I’ll just say ‘thank you’.  ♥

      • October 10, 2019 / 4:52 pm

        Thanks for sharing Caz, even though very sad. Thank you also for educating me on Stoma over the years!. Hope you’ve had an ok day today.xx

  8. January 29, 2019 / 5:50 pm

    This was a senseless death. As I tweeted, child bullying must STOP! Let’s start by re-educating adults. The kids can’t work it out among themselves.

    • February 2, 2019 / 4:54 pm

      Exactly, more needs to be done at the adult level, you’re right. Thank you, Darnell, I appreciate your comment on this as it’s such an important topic.

  9. January 29, 2019 / 6:46 pm

    Sadly, I can relate to this. It’s so good you give Steven your voice,. Thanks, Caz!

    • February 2, 2019 / 4:53 pm

      I’m sorry that you can. I also know the impact of bullying, and sadly too many have to go through it. Thank you, Viola.xx

  10. January 29, 2019 / 7:47 pm

    That’s so sad. An important first step against any kind of bullying is to address it and call it out, so thank you for writing this post. X

    • February 2, 2019 / 4:53 pm

      You’re right, it needs to be called out. Thank you for reading & the comment, Kirsty, it’s much appreciated 🙂

  11. January 29, 2019 / 8:10 pm

    It broke my heart when I heard his story on the news. He had gone through so much as a child, it’s sickening that more wasn’t done to help him and keep him safe.

    • February 2, 2019 / 4:22 pm

      That’s it, he went through a heck of a lot and all of that alone made him a warrior, he should have been praised but instead he was bullied. More should have been done. Thank you for reading & sharing your thoughts, Alice, it’s appreciated xx

  12. January 29, 2019 / 8:26 pm

    You are such an amazing young woman Caz, and you continue to inspire me daily with your bravery and your determination to make the world a better place for your fellow humans. This is such a heartbreaking story. Bullying is such a pervasive problem in our society, and the thought that this young man felt he had no other options for escaping it is just soul-wrenching. Thank you for standing up and making your voice heard. Love and blessings to you sweet friend!

    • February 2, 2019 / 4:20 pm

      You are, truly, far too kind when it comes to what you think of me but I am trying to learn to gracefully accept compliments, so I will stick to ‘thank you’! You’re right, bullying is pervasive, and it’s awful that it doesn’t stop at children, either. Every little helps I think with things like this in terms of highlighting the issues and opening the dialogue. Thank you so much for reading & for the wonderful comment, Terri. I hope you have a restful weekend  ♥

  13. January 29, 2019 / 8:27 pm

    This is, indeed, a horrid tale. Whilst the problem originates with the bullies, the person being bullied often pays dearly.. Bullies eventually become adults. Even then they don’t always stop, and obviously they don’t set a good example for their own children. It all needs to stop, and your post today is a huge step toward that end. Thank you for sharing.

    • February 1, 2019 / 8:19 pm

      You’re right, many will continue that behaviour on to their adult lives, affecting not only those they bully but families, friends, children. Thank you for reading & sharing your thoughts, George. I hope you are keeping as well as possible.x

  14. January 29, 2019 / 8:53 pm

    The hateful bullying that goes on in this world is sickening. I am fed up with Facebook and other forms of social media (not purposely) facilitated bullying.

    Bravo Caz. I know it was not anything thing for you to do.

    • February 1, 2019 / 6:03 pm

      It’s not easy, but it’s important. And you’re right, it’s sickening. Too often the Internet is an easier way to fuel it because pathetic bullies feel less threatened using it, and they grow in confidence when they can get away with it online. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, it’s much appreciated. xx

  15. January 29, 2019 / 9:34 pm

    I read your piece on Facebook. This is such an incredible post. Strength! You are all in Caz, you go girl! xo

    • February 1, 2019 / 6:12 pm

      Thank you, Kim, you’re quite the rockstar & I appreciate the enthusiasm! 🙂

  16. January 29, 2019 / 10:37 pm

    The Bridges family did not deserve such devastation and the circumstances were heart-wrenching.
    You are truly strong, courageous and willing to put yourself out there to help others. You are wonderful.

    • February 1, 2019 / 6:11 pm

      Aw, that’s incredibly kind of you to say. But if I were the child I was (painfully shy, social phobia) and I had my bag then, I would have crumbled. My heart really does go to children who are going through illness, and bullying at any age is abhorrent. Thank you so much for the comment, it’s much appreciated ♥ xx

  17. January 30, 2019 / 3:07 am

    I’m reminded, in a big way, Caz, regarding this year’s Australian Open Tennis Championships. For the first time ever the ‘Wheelies’ – those competitors in wheel chairs – had prime time viewing on our TVs, with two of the ‘main stream’ commentators doing the honours. And, what a great championship it was. We, Keith and I, thoroughly enjoyed it. This is to continue next year with the possibility of more television coverage.
    The reason I mention this is because this, what you (and others) are doing, is the way to a more open, valued, equitable life for us all. It is only by having these discussions that ‘change’ can take place – hallelujah!

    • February 1, 2019 / 6:09 pm

      That’s fantastic of the Australian Open Tennis Championships! You’re absolutely right, it’s through these discussions, these posts, these stories and experiences shared that there’s more openness and a chance towards more compassion and equality. Thank you so much for sharing, Carolyn, I really appreciate it! =]

  18. January 30, 2019 / 6:42 am

    His story is heartbreaking. Kids and the world can be cruel. Bullying leaves such a strong impact on the person and the ones who bully almost never pay or even recognize their actions. Thank you for this post.


    • February 1, 2019 / 6:08 pm

      Exactly. Thank you for reading, Khanak.

  19. January 30, 2019 / 7:05 am

    I read about that, it was so sad… I thought of you, and my brother, and how you guys are so open about your bags, and it’s sad that this kid didn’t get to experience that kind of acceptance and pride for who he is. People are so mean, I was bullied a lot at his age for just about any reason these horrible kids could think of. I hear stories like this, and stories of crazed loners going on mass murdering sprees, and I keep think that either one of those could have been me had my life not taken a few of the turns that it did. Thank you for sharing.

    • February 1, 2019 / 6:06 pm

      I don’t know how I’d fare in the ‘real world’ with my stoma, nor if I were back to being a child and managing it in school. Online, it’s easier to get a foothold on it, to come to accept it and be more confident. That poor boy didn’t get a chance, and it’s utterly intolerable. I’m glad your life took the turns it did. It’s wonderful to have you as a positive influence and part of the blogging world. Thank you for the comment =]

  20. January 30, 2019 / 10:53 am

    Caz you are such an inspiration! It should never be something to be ashamed of! Xx

    • February 1, 2019 / 5:20 pm

      It shouldn’t be something to be ashamed of, you’re right. Sometimes it’s easier to say these things to someone else rather than apply them to ourselves, too (like saying you shouldn’t worry about your weight to a friend, but worrying about your own). Thanks, Chloe! xx

  21. January 30, 2019 / 2:58 pm

    It is so sad when you hear such stories, and his parents, I wonder if they knew.

    • February 1, 2019 / 5:18 pm

      It’s heartbreaking. I don’t know sometimes with bullying, whether parents knowing necessarily helps. In my case, when I went through bullying, it was good to have someone to tell some of the things to, but they couldn’t stop it. But every little helps, be that with parenting of those who may bully (teaching more compassion, raising awareness), teaching (spotting problems and doing something about it), etc. Thank you, Esther.xx

  22. January 30, 2019 / 11:37 pm

    Caz, thanks so much for bringing this to our attention. I don’t see a reblog button on your site – would love if you’d guest blog post on mine re: this or any other subject you’d like – can be a reworking of something you’ve already written. Have found it’s always total win-win – my folks get to know your wonderfulness & yours meet my place.

    Pls forgive if I’ve already sent you link to flexible guidelines https://happinessbetweentails.com/2018/01/29/got-1-to-3-great-photos-or-illustrations-an-article-300-words-or-less-that-youd-like-published-on-happiness-between-tails/

    Regardless, wishing you the best & am so impressed with your bravery, dear <3

    • February 1, 2019 / 5:16 pm

      Aw thank you so much lovely, that means a lot. I’m glad to be in the position to raise a little awareness, so I want to do what I can, even if it’s not much. I’m not sure why there’s no reblog button… I’ll have to ask Mr Google if he knows how to add one! I’m so sorry, I meant to contribute something before but got a little stumped at the time. I’m happy to submit something, I’ll get back to you soon! In the mean time, have a restful weekend xx

  23. January 31, 2019 / 2:45 am

    So glad you shared this. Steven’s story makes me so sad. People shouldn’t have to worry about how others will react to the lifesaving devices they need.

    • February 1, 2019 / 5:01 pm

      Exactly, what others think should be our last concern and yet it can have a huge effect. Thank you for reading, Lindsay.xx

  24. February 1, 2019 / 2:52 pm

    Such a powerful and sad story Caz and I applaud you for raising awareness on behalf of this little boy and others xxxxx

    • February 1, 2019 / 5:00 pm

      There are no words sometimes for how awful something is, and it should never have happened. More awareness & a little more compassion are definitely needed. Thanks, Jen. I hope you’re resting snug and comfy at home now! 🙂

  25. BereavedDad
    February 1, 2019 / 6:16 pm

    Just awful. Kids just reflect society. Too much intolerance, too much hate, not enough respect. Nobody should have to suffer like this. World needs more people like you. Thank you and look after yourself

    • February 5, 2019 / 11:48 pm

      You’re right, they do reflect society and the standards, the role models, are not good enough by far. Thank you for such a heartfelt comment, it’s much appreciated.x

    • February 2, 2019 / 4:14 pm

      Right back at you, Michele! Thank you for reading lovely  ♥

  26. February 2, 2019 / 12:13 pm

    Hi Inme,

    You caught me up early here in Mexico. Couldn’t sleep. I’m working on Malverde Days. I’d like to think you actual read my stories. You have such a kind face and a good ethic. Hope you are happy, healthy, wealthy and wise and two our of four is not bad. Thanks. duke

    • February 2, 2019 / 4:12 pm

      I do, and I did leave a comment on one of your pieces, I’m hoping you got that okay. Thank you for visiting & commenting – Have a good weekend, Duke! =]

    • February 2, 2019 / 4:11 pm

      I’m not sure about that but I’m trying to learn to take compliments, so I’ll just say ‘thank you’. And thank you so much for reading – I hope you have a lovely, restful weekend 🙂

  27. February 2, 2019 / 3:16 pm

    Really sad and heartbreaking story about the lil boy who went through so much and succumbed to bullying.Thanks for spreading the awareness Caz.Keep going strong.

    • February 5, 2019 / 11:44 pm

      Heartbreaking indeed. Thanks for taking the time to read and for the great comment, Nisha xx

  28. February 2, 2019 / 5:18 pm

    Cheers to you for sharing this because bullying needs to be recognized for the terrible behavior that it is! The recipients are being abused by cowards who usually work in pairs, or groups, and get others to abuse the victim, as well. Like I’ve always said (well, said for about 6 months, now), bullies are not bad*sses, they are cowards. It is their victims who are the bad*sses. ♥️ 💜 ❤️ Nika

    • February 5, 2019 / 11:45 pm

      It should be recognised more for the atrocious thing it is, you’re right. Cowards to the core. The victims really are the badasses, they’re the tough cookies who grow stronger from the shit they go through, and they, hopefully, use that experience to make them more compassionate, caring people as a result. Thanks so much for the wonderful comment, Nika xx

  29. February 3, 2019 / 8:46 am

    Bullying is so cruel! It robs life!
    So glad you share your story…. your TRUE story!
    Me and God love you, Caz! Just the way you are!

    • February 5, 2019 / 11:46 pm

      Thank you so much, Gail, that means a lot. You have a beautiful heart.  ♥

  30. February 3, 2019 / 9:28 pm

    Admiro tu valentía. Soy profesora y comontal te diré que la educación y el respeto debe empezar en la casa con la familia y esto hoy en día no es así. Ya no conocemos el significado de la palabra comprensión. Somos tan hipócritas que creemos que nunca vamos a tener problemas. Un abrazo

    • February 5, 2019 / 11:47 pm

      You are right, respect should start at home. Sadly, there is not enough understanding in the world. Thank you so much for the wonderful comment, I truly appreciate it x

  31. February 6, 2019 / 5:04 pm

    I truly believe that people like you are really inspiring! 🙂 Thank you for sharing this picture with us 🙂

    • February 14, 2019 / 7:45 pm

      Aw, that’s very kind of you to say so. Thank you for the lovely comment, Giulia 🙂

  32. February 7, 2019 / 5:05 pm

    When I saw your Instagram post it really saddened me. A life cut so short and such a sadness held within the little boy that no one so young should ever know… Thanks again for all you do to help others Caz xo

    • February 14, 2019 / 7:44 pm

      Very sad indeed. I wish I could do more, but I guess all many of us can do is a little, and hopefully bit by bit these things add up. Thanks, Christy 🙂

  33. February 9, 2019 / 11:49 am

    Oh my goodness, that poor little chap, absoluetly heartbreaking. Good on you for your bravery in speaking up and for being Stevens voice..Wishing you good health xx #blogcrush

    • February 14, 2019 / 7:44 pm

      It really is heartbreaking, that little dude was a warrior for everything he’d been through and certainly deserved more than what he got for it. Thank you for reading & the lovely comment, Jennifer xx

  34. February 14, 2019 / 2:46 pm

    So glad you did use the bravery needed to post this , it’s so important. Someone loved this post so much they added it to our #blogcrush linky

    • February 14, 2019 / 7:40 pm

      Aw that’s very kind, thank you. It’s definitely important, and I’d like to hope that bit by bit there’s more understanding and compassion around things like this, and less bullying. And thanks for letting me know it’s been added to your #blogcrush clink. Have a lovely rest of your week 🙂

  35. March 27, 2019 / 7:20 am

    Thanks so much for sharing your story and Stevens.
    My dad has a colostomy bag and I know it can be hard sometimes… I can only begin to imagine what it must be like to have one as a kid.
    Unfortunately people will always find a reason to bully others.
    If you have time, go check my new post – I’ve been away for a while but I’m finally back!

    • March 27, 2019 / 5:14 pm

      I’m sorry your dad will know all too well the challenges with a stoma. How’s he getting on with his? Like you, I can only imagine what it’s like for a kid. Thanks for the comment, Christy, I appreciate it 🙂

  36. April 1, 2019 / 6:44 pm

    God bless you for being courageous enough to share this post! There should not be any shame as there is nothing to be ashamed of. I am so deeply sorry for the loss of this precious child. No one deserves such treatment! Bullying is never okay. No matter the circumstances. Feeling alone in your battle is a depressing situation.

    Much love to you, Caz. You’re beautiful 🙂 Inside and out.

    • April 3, 2019 / 11:29 am

      You have said it so incredibly well – there shouldn’t be shame because there’s nothing to be ashamed of, and bullying is never okay. Thank you so much for such a wonderful, kind comment, it is truly appreciated  ♥ xx

  37. October 10, 2019 / 7:45 pm

    Oh, that poor boy. I can remember this campaign earlier in the year. It is awful that he was bullied because of a health issue. So, so sad.

    Bullying for any reason is wrong and has a lasting impact.

    • October 12, 2019 / 3:29 pm

      Absolutely, incredibly sad. Bullying can have indelible consequences and I don’t think it can ever be overestimated just how wrong and dangerous it can be. Thank you for the comment, Liz xx

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