Mental Health: Cyberbullying, Depression, and Suicide – S1E6

What are people thinking? 

The frequency of suicide and murder-suicides have been in the headlines now more than ever. For that reason, it makes you pose the question, ‘What are people thinking?’ Let’s keep in mind, our thoughts are important to our everyday living.

Whatever we meditate on, most often affects our movement through life. In other words, we shouldn’t allow negative thinking to take over our lives. Because continual negative thoughts can lead to negative behaviors. 

So, Lady V and I felt the need to address mental health awareness. We want to be a part of helping others that need someone to say, ‘I see you,’ ‘You matter to me,’ and ‘I want to help.’ Hence, we are discussing depression. 

Our thoughts affect our lives 

You see, our thoughts tie into how we view ourselves and our lives. Put it this way, our thoughts are directly linked to how we do life itself. Also, they influence our actions and how we treat others. Now, the Word of God makes it plain about transforming our minds and thinking or meditating on the right things. Moreover, right-thinking produces peace and the right actions. 

On the other hand, wrong thinking can lead to some tragic outcomes. And sadly, we’ve seen some of those tragic outcomes in the headlines. Such as celebrity suicides and shootings in schools, churches, workplaces, and nightclubs. 

Untreated clinical depression is a thief 

Negative thoughts steal peace from many families. And for some families, negative thinking also steals lives.  In John 10:10 Jesus says, 

“A thief has only one thing in mind—he wants to steal, slaughter, and destroy. But I have come to give you everything in abundance, more than you expect—life in its fullness until you overflow!”  

Now, Jesus wants us to have peace and to enjoy our lives well lived. Again, wrong thoughts can hinder the process and steal the lives of many. 

A biblical example of how the thief can steal your thought life is in Genesis chapter 3. Most people have heard of the story of Adam and Eve. Well since the beginning of time the thief has been infiltrating man’s thought life.

You might ask; ‘In what way?’ Look at it like this; when a person is convinced by others that he or she is ‘not enough’—that can lead to low self-worth. Now, when a person yearns to be excepted, he or she may find themselves doing something they shouldn’t. 

Know who you are and whose you are  

Ok, back to Genesis chapter 3. In the biblical account, Eve was speaking to the serpent in the Garden of Eden. She’s listening to the serpent who is the thief and he plants these negative thoughts in her mind. And this confused her and it ultimately made her doubt God’s words to her and Adam. 

So, you might say, ‘What does that have to do with us today?’ Again, negative thoughts, planted in Eve’s mind were seeds of doubt. They were seeds of lack and mistrust. And these negative thoughts stole something from her. The thoughts made her question her identity, her value, and most importantly, God’s word. Keep in mind, with the thief, there’s always something missing. 

Likewise, today some of the same negative thoughts are plaguing the minds of people. Therefore causing, utter destruction and wreaking havoc on their lives and the lives of others. Lady V and I believe that Jesus wants every life to matter and for everyone to achieve greatness. And that’s why we felt the need to shine a light on one’s thought life and mental health awareness. 

What is cyberbullying?  

According to stopbullying.gov cyberbullying is bullying that takes place over digital devices. For instance, it can take place on cellphones through text messages, and apps. It also happens online in forums, on social media, or through shared content a person views or participates in such as gaming. 

 These two photos don't show the faces of the people. Therefore, they represent how cyberbullies easily harass others online. The first of a person on a laptop and the second of a person on a smartphone.
Cyberbullies hide behind their devices.
Photo 1 by Sergey Zolkin on Unsplash
Photo 2 by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

In other words, when people bully others by posting, or sharing mean, negative, false, and or harmful content, it is bound to cause depression in the persons on the receiving end. 

Depression and anxiety as a result of cyberbullying 

Young person wearing a dark hooded coat sitting on a concrete bench and looking at a smartphone. Cyberbullying is a major cause of youth depression and suicide.
Cyberbullying is a major cause of youth depression and suicide.
Photo by James Sutton on Unsplash

So, we had a special guest who happens to be a millennial that also shined a little light on the topic of mental health in regard to depression and suicides. And our special guest just happens to be Lady V’s lovely daughter, Alexis. She was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and she knows all about the anxieties that are caused by negative thoughts.  

Alexis shared some of the negative things she’s seen online that cause her to have thoughts that can be depressing. She validated a lot of what we’re seeing that in the news as well. In fact, young people are committing suicide from the stress that is caused by pressure that often comes through social media. Now by no means are we bashing social media because people also use it for good things as well. 

Peer pressure through cyberbullying 

During the interview, Alexis shared how she has witnessed cyberbullying on multiple social media platforms. Such as peer pressure to give in to what others like. You see, Alexis is an Anime artist. Therefore, she follows the Anime community closely. Within those communities are online fan clubs called Fandoms. These fan clubs consist of people who like shows, draw fan art and write fan fiction stories. 

Additionally, Alexis said she has noticed more negative comments over the past few years about shows that some people like that others don’t. She said that people who call themselves fans go online and cyberbully true fans, the director, cast, crew, and showrunners if they don’t like a storyline or the ending of a show.

The cyberbullies go as far as telling them to commit suicide. Alexis said there are YouTubers who create hour to 2-hour long videos criticizing and speaking negatively about shows and show creators. 

Three young people gathered around a laptop.
Peer pressure often happens as a result of cyberbullying.
Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash

Sadly, she has witnessed the toll it’s taken on the people on the receiving end of the negativity. Alexis shared how the constant negativity and peer pressure discourages some fans from drawing fan art.

Lady V and I agree with Alexis that people should be free to express their artistic ability. Nobody should tell anyone to commit suicide just because they don’t agree with another person’s artistic expression. 

Now, Alexis shared how she’s seen cyberbullies tell other people to die—commit suicide. You see, people throw that word around very lightly. They don’t realize that some people’s mental states cannot handle such harshness.

And if you tell them go commit suicide, they can be in such depression or they could have already been depressed and then that sends them over the edge. 

Celebrity depression and suicide 

Sadly, clinical depression has stolen the lives of celebrities such as Robin Williams, Kristoff St. John, and Whitney Houston. Now it has been said, that Robin Williams committed suicide.

He always appeared to be a happy guy. With a long list of credits to his name [Mork and Mindy, Mrs. Doubtfire, Birdcage and etc.] fans had no idea he was suffering from depression. 

When looking at Whitney Houston, although she died of an overdose, she could have been silently dealing with clinical depression. Likewise, Kristoff St. John died of alcohol-related problems.

He was said to have been a happy person and a jokester. His co-workers believe he must not have gotten over the loss of his son who died a few years prior. And if that was indeed the case, he too could have been silently suffering from clinical depression.  

When we take a closer look, if people are heavily medicating themselves with drugs, alcohol or a combination of both–there is a reason. For a lot of people, it’s about dulling pain or quieting the noise in their heads. And more often than not, they know that there is a possibility the drugs and or alcohol could kill them.

For so many, that is a risk they are willing to take in order to not feel anything. But, the fact of the matter is that continuously taking certain drugs and or excessively drinking alcohol will have an adverse effect on the body. 

Closing 

This week Lady V and I appreciate Alexis sharing what she has seen online in regards to cyberbullying. Next week, on episode 7, our special guest and resident counselor Melinda Fields, will give us clinical insight as we discuss mental health awareness. 

#TheSpreadHopeChallenge 

This week call up someone that you love and let them know you were thinking about them and ask them how they’re doing. And while you’re on the phone with them, just listen.

Because sometimes that’s all a person may need is someone to talk to. Let them know you’re there for them. So, if you choose to do so please let us know on social media @wershetalks #TheSpreadHopeChallenge. 

Previous episodes you may enjoy 

The Homeless Population—Who are They? S1E2 

Human Trafficking—The Need for Recovery Pt. 1-S1E3  

Human Trafficking—The Need for Recovery Pt. 2-S1E4 

Wisdom — A God-listening Heart – S1E5 

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Credits 

Music by Joakim Karud 

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We are S.H.E.Talks | Spreading Hope Everywhere Talks the Podcast. Each week we present content that will encourage, inspire, uplift, and leave you feeling hopeful by the end of the discussion. Spreading hope everywhere from a biblical perspective is our goal as we are letting our light shine through FAITH, HOPE, and LOVE.

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