Bullying and depression are often related to one another. Depression is known to affect both bullies and their victims, and the victims of online bullying may be at even higher risk for depression.
What is bullying? Bullying is sometimes defined as purposeful intimidation or harassment of someone over time, and it's often associated with the schooling environment.
About 20 to 30 percent of school children say that they have been victims of bullying, and about 100,000 or so of children say that they stay home from school due to fear of being bullied, and that's a very large number that we need to bring down.
I, myself, was a victim of bullying and I was a bully myself.
Victims of Bullying Can Become Bullies Themselves
Victims of bullying are more likely to become bullies themselves, and that's wild, but it does make sense. Often, bullies are dealing with things such as depression themselves, or even stressors at home like violence that is occurring in the household, and it's a way of reacting and lashing out.
In the fourth grade is when I began to experience symptoms of depression. I had a lot of suicidal thoughts, and it's no coincidence that during that same time is when I experienced bullying, and so the following year I started to become a bully myself as a defense mechanism so that people wouldn't bully me, and this is all subconscious, not like, "Oh, I'm going to start bullying people."
You're at a significant risk of suicide if you're a bully. It doesn't always lead to that, but you are at a greater risk for that.
How to Cope With Bullying
So what are some solutions that I have? Contacting an authority figure is one of them. Letting law enforcement, your teacher, your parents, even someone influential in your peer group.
Also, sometimes you have to remove yourself from the situation. It can be as extreme as removing yourself from that school to even removing yourself from a friend group or certain activities where people who bully you are at.
It can be hard to remove yourself, especially in this digital world, where bullying can occur. Maybe removing yourself from certain social media platforms, blocking people, and using what you have as evidence.
If someone is constantly harassing you, keep that as evidence, because sometimes people, I know they don't believe you if you just verbally say that you're being bullied. When you have that concrete evidence, you can maybe use that to your advantage and show that authority figure and tell them, "hey, this is real and it's consistent" or "this person is continuously harassing me." And something can be done.
Keep pushing and telling people, and don't let that stop you. I know sometimes people have a fear that telling it will make it worse. It may make it worse temporarily, but in the long term, it will be better for you, depending on your situation, so be mindful of your own personal situation. Keep letting someone know and don't give up on letting someone know until something is done to stop it.
It's Very Hard Finding a Solution for Bullying
I'm going to admit that it's very difficult. What I can tell you is that once you've realized that you've been a bully yourself, reach out to people and let them know, because bullying does have longterm effects.
A lot of the things that were told to me as a child, I had a lot of struggle dealing with them in adulthood and am still struggling with a few of them today of some of those things that were made fun of or you were made to believe about yourself.
So keep pushing through and working on yourself, but also reach out to people who you may have affected because people pass away all the time, and it's never too late or too early to let someone know, "Hey, I'm really sorry for the way I treated you and if it's impacted you in your adulthood, I sincerely apologize for that. Can you please forgive me?" Or, they don't have to forgive you, but, "I just want to let you know that you really matter and that I'm really, truly sorry for the things that I've said to you in the past."
Apologizing can make a very big change to someone and impact them in ways that you cannot believe.