Depression and Bullying
As adults, most of us are well aware that bullying is wrong, and there are many other problems associated with it. Depression is one of those issues that can last well into adulthood if not addressed as soon as possible. There are many effects that can cause all kinds of problems. They may:
1) not want to go to school
2) be unusually quiet or secretive
3) be more unhappy or anxious than usual, especially before or after school, sport or 4) wherever the bullying is happening
5) not have many friends
6) become more isolated – stop hanging around with friends or lose interest in school or social activities
7) seem over-sensitive or weepy
8) have angry outbursts
9) have trouble sleeping
10)complain about having headaches, stomach aches or other physical problems.
Depression is one of those side-effects that can cause serious long-term problems. Children that are verbally and physically bullied are at greater risk of developing depression and it can stay with them for years. In fact, one study has found that some people who were bullied as children are still experiencing mental health issues 40 years after being bullied. As you can imagine, that can truly be devastating to a person’s life and how well they are able to cope with the daily stresses well into adulthood. Depression can cause a wide-range of issues and in extreme circumstances, could lead to suicide. Suicide is devastating to not only the person that commits the act, but to their family as well.
The effects of bullying can be catastrophic and depression can be a major side-effect. Depression, if left untreated, can cause major problems throughout your child’s life – from the teenage years and well into adulthood. He or she will not only do poorly in school, which can affect their ability to attend college, but they may also have a difficult time navigating life in general. As they grow older, the depression will often get worse and many will turn to alcohol and drugs as a coping mechanism. This can lead to serious mental health issues. Helping your child is paramount.
Starting at home, the members of your family should be 100% supportive of your child even during difficult times. If the affected child has siblings, speak with them separately and explain to them what is going on. Make sure to ask them to be patient with their brother or sister and be supportive.
Next, you will need the help of your school counselor and other staff. Because your child will still need to attend school with their bully, they will need a support system there. This will prevent future bullying and help your child cope with their depression. The next member of your support team will be the professional help that you will seek for your child. Depression specialists will help your child or teen recover by getting them in a therapy program. It takes a village to fight depression, so getting as many people involved in your child’s recovery is important.
I personally suffered from serious depression from middle school through when I left high school in the eleventh grade. I dropped out half way through the eleventh grade. The bullying and the depression had become so severe that I did not think I could take it anymore. I was born with Tourettes syndrome and was not diagnosed until I was in my middle forties. The bullying and the depression became so bad that I tried to commit suicide three times between the ages of 19 and 31. I was never able to hold a job. In fact, between the day I was discharged from the military in late June of 1971 to the day I was diagnosed in March of 1992 I was fired more than 200 times because I never fit in anywhere.
The bullying and the depression had seriously affected even my ability to learn how to socialize. I am extremely lucky in the respect that I had the emotional fortitude to keep going and not give up. Not everyone is that lucky. I am now the owner of a successful business in which I try to help other children that are being bullied.
So, if you have any question about whether your child is being bullied, particularly if they exhibit signs of depression. The worst thing you can do is ignore it.