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Cyberbullying and Depression

6
jenniferannesm2
Both of these can be really hard to talk about. A lot of new studies have shown that cyberbullied teens are more likely to get depressed than others. So what things about cyberbullying make people, especially teens, depressed?

For me, feeling alone was the worst part. I felt more isolated because I couldnt see the person who was doing all this, and with computers and photo apps, the pictures were totally changed and sent to hundreds of people. So then everybody knew. I was so embarrassed I didn't want to tell anybody, and I started to get depressed because I kept it all inside. Finally, my family noticed I wasn't okay, and I talked to them. It helped and I'm doing a lot better. not keeping inside by myself is what helped the most.
2
Suzanne
Sorry to hear what you went through : (
I think cyberbullying causes depression and actually far more serious problems that are yet to be proven such as psychosis and schizophrenia. You mentioned how many people 'saw' the photos and that's what does all the damage, the idea that the whole world can see the abusive material stops you rationalising the situation. In actual fact far less people actually see the abusive material but the damage is done in the victims head. Great topic Jennifer and welcome to our community : )
3
wakamint
In the journal from JAMA Pediatrics(June 22) Cyberbullying and depression went hand-in-hand. Its not imagined. Whether cyberbullying is a direct cause of depression is hard to prove, but overtime continued bullying deepens the depression. What's worse, in the case of cyberbullying ,many children/young adults suffer in silence. Girls are twice as likely to get depressed than boys. (Hormonal,social interactions maybe contributing factors).
Opening up to the family is the key to start the healing process from depression as noted in JENNIFERANNESM2 post. Children/Young Adults are in the period of self-discovery/awareness which is fuel to a cyberbully, so the teaching of safe internet use is a must(either from the parents, or an organization like Cybersmile) A secure, warm,& loving relationship with a parent can be a protective factor against depression.
Depression is a deep sadness. That sadness needs to be overcome. "Life has knocked me down a few times. It showed me things I never wanted to see. I experienced sadness and failures. But one thing for sure, I always get up!"
3
jenniferannesm2
I'm not at all surprised the two are linked. Feeling alone and suffering in silence are major symptoms of both cyberbullying and depression, so it makes sense that one would lead to the other. Feeling alone was was the worst part of it for me, but I'm curious about other people's experiences. There are so many parts of cyberbullying that could lead to depression like feeling helpless/hopeless or always feeling under attack. If anyone is willing to share some of their story, that would be great, but you totally don't have to because I know it's hard. I'm just thinking if we talk about it more then we can bring more understanding about it.
7
rashisama
Since I have depression, when I'm bullied it hits me harder than most. I have a hard time getting over it and reach out for support from my friends online.I'm still working on overcoming depression, I've had it for half of my life and when people put me down it puts me in a bad place but thankfully I have friends who are willing to help me. So, I guess my online presence is a double edged sword, on the one hand I have near constant support when I need it. On the other, I can be put down and laughed at by people I will never meet. It makes me sad that people find the time and energy to be nasty online.
But, for a solution for anyone in a bullied situation, have a group of friends you trust, online or other. Talk to them when you're sad and listen to their troubles. Maybe leave the site that's causing the problem for a bit and go on Youtube or something and listen to music or watch cat videos. Or unplug completely and read for a bit. If the bully really won't stop, block and report them.
For the depression side of things, try to keep your online dealing as positive as you can. With depression, people sometimes don't want to leave the house so the internet can be thair "window to the world". Make that window a positive and beautiful place and if you see a storm (bullying) close the blinds a bit and listen to the rain (calm down and find something positive)
2
Reflective_Joy
What a fantastic and important post!

Some really great advice on here.

Rashisama, I really like what you wrote that the internet for those with depression is like a "window to the world and make that window a positive and beautiful place"
I think you captured that beautifully.

Friends, parents and places like cybersmile are great resources when it's all getting a bit much. But remember, if you feel like you're struggling with depression, seek out help from someone you trust. If you feel you can't go to your parents or friends then your school counselor, your GP or call the kids help phone or Samaritans hotlines.

Feel free to mention it on here as well and we can provide you with the relevant hotlines and resources in your area.
1
jenniferannesm2
Rashisama, thank you for sharing your story. It really validated my experience. I'm dealing with depression too- have been for years. Things seem to dig a little deeper than they used and I have to be really aware of self-care. I am so glad you such a great support group. They sound amazing! I have my family and (something that was a happy surprise), I had kept in touch with a couple of my sorority sisters and shared my story. They stepped up, encouraged me to get in touch with my other close friends, and now I have a support group of my sorority sisters all over the world who are there if I need them. Support can come from a lot of places, and as Canadian_SW says, there are always resources if you need them, especially if you're feeling overwhelmed.

Online presence is a double-edged sword! I went through FB privacy rules and figured out how to lock my profile completely. Only people I have friended can see anything. Anyone else can only see my name, a picture of London, and a smaller picture of the English Rugby Team. I try to control what I see as much as possible so I pretty much stick to reading and replying to my friends' posts, and for right now, I'm okay with that limited view of the Internet. My sister finds the most hilarious videos of animals and other positive things and sends them to me. I still get to spend time on the computer but it's not so scary. I agree that sometimes it's best to just turn the computer off and walk away.

I found that it really help,too, if you block possibly upsetting channels on your TV. There were things that I would see just flipping through the channels that would really upset me and bring me down. I blocked the news channels, all the nature channels (if I see an animal get hurt, I completely fall apart), or anything that might be scary. I had to learn that I had new limits. Knowing what they were and respecting them in order to protect myself has been one of the most powerful ways to take care of my self.
2
jenniferannesm2
A little idea that helped me when when I was in a bad place:

A few years ago, when the bullying was bad, I had to have surgery on my shoulder (kickboxing sounded like a good idea at the time). I was really scared, so I got a little 4x6 plain paper notebook and taped happy pictures to the pages. I had some of my family and friends, my kitty, favorite places I'd visited, silly pictures, even screen caps from my favorite movies (To Kill A Mockingbird was a necessity). I tucked it in the small of my back and got to take it into surgery with me. I went to sleep knowing I had my Positivity Book with me. Now I carry it with me everywhere for when I need a mood boost.

Anybody else have any little positivity things they do that helps when they're down? I bet together we could come up with some good ones!
2
wakamint
When I find myself in this situation, I find doing something good for another helps. It can be small gesture..a hug,doing a chore, making a sandwich, saying "I love you"..Or bigger like helping out at the shelter. Whatever it is, when you see the change in the person's eyes, a small glimpse of joy and love, you share that emotion, and that helps burst that downer-cocoon that surrounds you. Doing for others is the best medicine for me. At the end of the day a hot cup of tea or a hot bath makes it a good day.
1
jenniferannesm2
Wakamint, what a beautiful way to counteract the negativity of bullying by doing positive things for others! That not only shows your inner kindness but your refusal to give in to negativity. Good for you! I read somewhere that people who volunteer in any capacity are happier, have a better quality of life, and even live longer. When I was a teacher, I remember seeing a student's eyes light up when they finally understood something they'd struggled with, and I felt the same way you did- bursting out of that negative shell by seeing that. Thank you so much for sharing your story and your path. This, along with your advise about opening up and telling your story, have reaffirmed things for me, as I'm sure it will for others. (Also, my family lived in England when I was very little, and I was raised believing that a hot cup of tea and a hot bath was the best self-care ever). :)
2
astragulas
I got bullied a lot online, it really got to me being that I am dealing with bipolar depression or disorder whichever one you'd prefer to call it, the things they said although they weren't true would eat away at me and I would think that what they were saying to me was what I really was as a person. No matter how many times people would tell me good things about myself I would believe those that bullied me over those who were genuinely concerned for my safety the ones who didn't want me to hurt myself. I struggle everyday with my suicidal tendencies but I haven't made an attempt on my life in a while. Now whenever someone tries to send me hate I either delete it or log off my computer and listen to music, music makes everything feel better.

What part of England did you live in? I am from the West Midlands? Hot tea and a hot bath is the best thing there is to make one feel better or make the time pass.
0
CybersmileTeam

In reply to astragulas

Thank you ASTRAGULAS and welcome to our community. If you ever need any support feel free to email [email protected] to be allocated a trained support advisor.
1
jenniferannesm2
I am so impressed and grateful for your strength and your honesty. Thank you for sharing with us. I want you to know I respect your journey and I hear you and your story. You aren't alone in this. The Cybersmile team is here anytime you want to talk.

I'm worried that you're often suicidal. I was too because I didn't know how else to make it stop. Can we make a deal? If you really feel like you can't take anymore that you'll call 999 or email [email protected] and connect with someone here. I want you to be okay.

You explain it so well how the words of the bullies eat away at you and are so much easier to believe than the good stuff. I don't know why that is, but that happened to me too. I'm going to ask my counselor about that. You're doing exactly the right thing- just shut off the computer and walk away.

What kind of music do you like? I grew up on 1960s British Invasion music. I got to the Beatles and kind of stopped there. My Dad taught at University of Manchester and we lived in Cheadle Cheshire. West Midlands has some beautiful little historic places tucked away. We visited some of them when I studied there.

When I was studying there in college I lived in North London, in Finchley (Northern Line, Woodside Park woo-hoo). I loved it and petitioned the school to stay longer, but they said no, and I've been trying to get back ever since :)

If you feel like, and you don't have to, I'd love it if you would send me an update and let me know how you're doing. In the meantime, tea and a hot bath!
2
jenniferannesm2

In reply to *CybersmileTeam*

Thank you Cybersmile team for reminding everyone that support is just an email away at [email protected] There are awesome people who will get you to a support advisor ASAP.
1
jenniferannesm2
People have some wacky ideas about depression. Have you heard things like "Just snap out of it" or "Stop being lazy!"? I had a man stop me on the street and say, "For #%<^ sake, smile." What are the kind of things you've heard?

Of course we would magically fix it if it were that easy!! Remember that depression is a real illness. The brain gets sick like any other part of the body. The difference is that the brain is in charge of the physical and emotional, so when it gets sick, your who being is affected.

Physically, you might feel tired, have changes in your sleep and appetite, etc. Emotionally, you'll probably feel a deep sadness, overwhelmed, alone, and you might want to hurt yourself. Again if you need help, please ask for it. There are people everywhere who are ready to help.

Most people know what the symptoms of depression are, but I was thinking part of the stigma of depression is because most people don't know what causes it, and why it's a medical problem, not because the person is weak or lazy.

There's a chemical in your brain called serotonin. It's sort of the "ok,we're cool" chemical that keeps everything in balance. Your brain uses some, then makes some so the level is pretty constant.

But when life happens like a trauma, a death in the family, being under sustained stress (like being bullied), your brain starts using more and more serotonin to try to keep everything balanced. Eventually serotonin levels get so low, you lose the "okay,we're cool" feeling, your brain can't function okay, and you start feeling the depression symptoms.

If these symptoms get worse or last for more than (I think they say) three weeks, you need to get some professional help. Your brain is too overwhelmed to bounce back on its own. Fortunately, there are ways to treat it. There's a light at the end of the tunnel. I promise.

Does this make sense? Anybody have questions or corrections or ideas? This is Basic Depression 101, so feel free to add anything. I also wanted to open up a chat about medications and that stigma, but I've already written so much. If you want to start a discussion, that would be great!
1
kirsty123
Hi when i got cyberbullied it caused me lots of diffrent kinds of depression like bipolar for starters i wish there was a way to stop cyberbullying for good
2
heidilynnrussell
One thing I wonder as I read through the (wonderful) responses to this thread ... Is it possible that people can't or won't "unplug," because they're afraid that if they do, they will lose connection and feel lonely?
I just sincerely wonder if it makes it more difficult for people. We say all the time, "unplug," if you're being cyberbullied. But sometimes I wonder if it's tough to "unplug" if people actually have an emotional NEED to be in contact with others on the Internet.
For example, in my particular instance, I am an extrovert with an introvert's job -- I write at home full-time for a living. This means that I have to force myself to get involved with others outside of my home -- I don't have a regular office where I am interacting with people on a regular basis. My contact with others is usually restricted to the phone, the INTERNET, my child's school and my church. So I will find myself on Twitter, particularly if I'm knee-deep into a writing project that requires a lot of solitude. I thrive off of interaction with others, and this keeps me connected.
Now if a person is being cyberbullied, perhaps they feel that being on the Internet is their only option for having "friends" or being with people.
If that's you, please realize that there are other ways that you can connect. You CAN unplug and take a break from the cyberbullies. It is possible. Look around for ways that you can volunteer in your school or in the community. I have a teenage niece who was cyberbullied and volunteers at the local vet's office, helping to give dogs baths! She loves it and is learning about becoming a vet, too.
This is just one little observation -- if you think unplugging will be too difficult, just try to find one thing you can do outside of your home, away from any computers or your phone or tablet. Help out in your church, or take a music lesson, or try a new hobby somewhere. You might really be surprised that after a while, the cyberbullying becomes not so important anymore. :-)
2
jenniferannesm2
I'm also a writer who works from home, and for most of the day the only one I have to talk to is my cat. It would be really hard for me to disconnect, especially when I'm working on a project. I need that connection with other people, but I'm always really careful and do my best to protect myself.

Someone else on this thread also mentioned that helping others made her feel better, which benefits everyone involved. For me, animals are so healing because they love without question and give so much back. How brilliant that your niece is volunteering at the vet!

You make a great point that the Internet doesn't have to be the ONLY way to connect with the outside world. I love your ideas about other ways to get out into the world even just a little bit. Thank you for sharing!!
2
jenniferannesm2
Kirsty123
I wish we could stop Cyberbullying too. It causes so much pain. Has the bullying stopped? I hope that it is and you're managing your depression okay. Take good care and you can always contact us here at [email protected] if you need someone to talk to. :)
1
Reflective_Joy
Excellent point ladies!

Definitely hard to unplug and I know a lot of people offer that as a quick solution for cyberbullying. But the way we communicate has changed so drastically that's easier said then done. Especially for young people. They will lose a large part of their social network and peers if they do. So it's definitely about boundaries and as you said Heidi, to take breaks and find activities outside of the digital world. I think we have had so many changes digitally, that it has been difficult for people to find that happy medium. But I think it's slowing down in the sense that we now have more continuity when it comes to social media etc. So hopefully this will help people find that balance now that it's no longer a phenomenon.
1
Surferchickita
Really sorry to hear what you went through, and I'm glad you got some help and things have improved. Unfortunately, although the world has changed and it still changing into a more diverse and accepting one; there are still a great deal of people who can't be nice to others. I suffered bullying for most of my life, it's better than it was now, but only because I am too old for school (I'm a Gemmasaurus Rex now :P). I do also suffer from depression, anxiety and PTSD, although the PTSD is related to other experiences it has never stopped the stigma attached with having a "mental illness" don't like to use that term but you get what I mean. I personally think the best thing to do, is to carry on using services such as this one, they are great for building confidence and enabling people to get the courage to tell someone else. That's the first step to reaching a place where you can be happy, grab life by the hours and do whatever you want to do. No one is ever alone, you don't have to be anymore, there are plenty of people who can't be nice but there are also plenty of people who can be, don't forget that :)
1
Petula

In reply to kirsty123

I don't think we ever will stop cyberbullying for good Kirsty, but we are leaning more about how to cope with it and deal with the effects so that it does not affect us so much.
2
kitty
When I was bullied I always urt myself tell I came here then everyone made me happy but I was bullied in school, by my house and during lunch so I always thought it ws my fault bit it really wasn't then every ome here makes me sooo hapoy now
0
Frank
No matter what the cause, depression can be treated effectively but so many times the person is so caught up in the cycle of self doubt and low confidence that they are afraid to get help. All it takes is a search on google for dealing with depression and you can find all sorts of self help stuff as well as services in your area. The internet has the capability to cause pain through being bullied or abused but it can also be the key to getting help.
1
sophia
Be aware of how people choose to communicate. What their body language are saying. A bent head. Tucked shoulders. Lack of eye-contact. Writ-drawn from it's surroundings. Spending time on it's own. Could all be a sign of someone needing our help. Perhaps with just a little Hello (No need to sing) just saying. Or a Hello, with a question. Asking how things are. Could all contribute to something better and create a beautiful smile on someone's face. Perhaps not forever (even thou that might what we wished for) but at least for a minute or two. ❤
3
Aileen
Hi everyone!
Sophia, your post really made me think of the Swedish anti-bullying campaign (that they have run with for years on tv and radio) and it is "simply" to say Hello to any and every kid at your school. They encurage children to see everyone - even if you may not be friends with them - a smile, a Hi as you pass someone in recess or in the school grounds as you arrive/leave school. Somethimes it is easy to forget that the majority of kids are kind and descent (as sometimes bullies make the most noise). But just reminding children to see one another and that to just give a smile and a friendly hello to other kids can actuallt mean a whole lot to the kid reciving that smile and/or hello!

Everyone, keep staying amazing!
~Aileen
2
sophia
Hi Aileen.
Thank you for highlighting such a great add and solution to a good environment. Makes me a bit proud of being Swedish, all thou I know things aren't completely perfect. We still have a lot of work to do. Filling in forms and answering questions could be one way. But basic I think it starts with our own attitudes towards each other. Being a helping hand instead of a clunch fist or in this case a happy cybersmiler instead of a mean typer. Can all make a big difference.

I do hope Valentine's Day can be a good time for everyone to experience some cybersmile kindness. 😊❤
1
jenniferannesm2
I think one of the worst parts of depression is how isolating it is. A lot of that has to do with not wanting to talk about it because of the stigma of mental illness in our society (which is getting a little better, but not fast enough). That's why places like this forum make me so happy because can reach out, and as Sophia brilliantly said, they find a "happy cybersmile instead of a mean typer."

I love the positive messages both Sophia and Aileen posted about remembering that most people are kind, and whether someone posts here or notices the kid who is bullied and might need help, they are helping to end that isolation that feeds depression and combat bullying.

So I don't know what the point of this post is except to thank everyone who is brave enough to reach out when they are hurting and for all the kind people who started cybersmile.org who are here to help.
0
Dasiydo
I was feel sad because of my depression because of my Disability of be half deaf and having dyspraxia but I was bullying online and at bus stop too. I didn't want go out and stayed in scare go out and won't go work or college because bullying there. I don't know if should say but decided one day noughting got set up group for talk and cafe and talk about worry use. Now I learn support for these groups I was trying do volunteer of Befriended but got rejected because I half deaf So sadly say I on my own to these groups. I want help others
0
Dasiydo
When I depressed making mistake not tell any was cyber bullying and report abuse didn't work for me in past and won't listern to my side story. I felt loney and just didn't go out world for 7 years but then re-home Eddie my pattdale terrier dog and Darcy my border terrier dog had kennel cough if things could not get wose My dad, grandma die and neaubrough complain about Darcy barking in garden order put health dog for barking in garden by Stoke on Trent connial never forgive them for at. I became volutar of Richard fellowship but sadly close down because didn't get Staffordshire link Marking space recovery mealth health treat there Richmond fellowship Volunteer badly at most use move out flat more back with our parants. Sorry crying here but things haven't got better for me things get wose I been bully by work,college, can't do volunteer roll befriended because I half deaf and even bullying by some school children on public buses ( There no school bus anymore Disability Adult and school children had travel on same bus don't go well when hide disability stand up on bus all school children seat down) I won't say things be called because too awful for words. I one luck one I got friends all over Stafford Staffordshire and go out for cafe and cooking going different groups in cafe someone talk too. I got cats too Sydnee and Annbel talk to them my family just say " Pull self together you week" I had enough bullying lost few friends because of it So now want make internet safe place Yes my Facebook was temporarily lock out too. I don't give make new friends try ingone the bullied , if go on public bus make sure group of friends, I going around Staffordshire farm too and go round cafe talk to my friends Recovery mealth health and hide disability of Dyspraxia and half deaf waiting for sign language Crouse learn Markton sign language and BSL sign language but still waiting. So luck got kind friends in real world.