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diabetic bullying | Terezia Farkas | depression help | Beliefnet

Diabetic bullying is a serious threat for many kids and teens who are diabetic. Bullies like to pick on anyone who is visibly different. A diabetic kid is a clear target. Diabetes is a disease that is managed with epipens, CGM, eating proper foods, and missing out on certain class activities. Like all other bullying, diabetic bullying creates serious issues. These include mismanaging diabetes injections, increased anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts.

No one deserves to be bullied.

In our modern age, cyber bullying is a simple and easy way to hurt anyone who is perceived as different. Different doesn’t mean wrong or bad. Different is actually good, because it refreshes the stale, old mold and hopefully brings the next higher step in improving human nature. But some people see different as a threat to normal. Normal, which by the way, was probably new and threatening to an older generation.

When a child or young adult is diabetic, bullying can become a threat to the child’s health and safety.

Diabetic kids are a visible minority group. They can be overweight. They may have a visible insulin pump or a small CGM (continuous glucose monitoring) that’s worn throughout the day and night. Diabetic kids need shots and are often excused from classroom activities because of diabetes management. Bullies like visible targets because they justify bullying by saying the person is different, and thus is wrong.

A bullied diabetic child will often believe parts of what the bully says. Low self-esteem, health issues, and the search for self-identity already create personal chaos inside the child. Self talk at this point doesn’t need the negative and harmful bully. 

Just like any other person who is bullied, the diabetic child will develop anxiety issues, sleep problems, eating disturbances, depression, and even suicidal thoughts. But a diabetic child will also start mismanaging blood glucose levels. This can create serious health issues.

Diabetes is not contagious, weird, or wrong.

Many kids don’t understand what diabetes is, especially since there are two types. It’s important when dealing with diabetic bullying that one of the first things a parent or adult tries to do is explain diabetes. Teachers can help by explaining what diabetes is, and showing how to use epipens to classmates. 

Make sure your diabetic child understands what diabetes is. Many times a child or teen will say they understand a disease when they don’t. Also, a person can’t absorb everything at once, so information about diabetes may need to be explained again and again. It’s also important the child doesn’t believe it’s somehow their fault to be born diabetic.

Don’t stay silent about bullying.

Silence is the golden tool of a bully. So don’t stay silent when you or someone you know is bullied. Parents should be the hero of their child. Speak to teachers or school admins about the bullying. There are several great resources for parents and teachers to arm students against bullying. If your school doesn’t have these in place, be active in getting one set up.

Monitor your child’s social media accounts. Report any inappropriate language to either the social media site, schools and local law enforcement if needed, and limit your child’s activity on the site. Let parent-teacher groups know your child is being bullied. Gather peer support for your child so he/she doesn’t feel alone and isolated at school. Keep monitoring your child’s emotions, and if you notice anxiety or depression, don’t be afraid to get help.

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bullying | Terezia Farkas | Beliefnet | depression help

New research shows bullying changes brain structure, increasing mental health problems.

It’s thought that as many as 30% of young people are cyber bullied daily in the United States. Let that soak in for a minute. Do you know if your child or a friend of your child is being bullied, or has been bullied by someone? 

There are lots of ideas and ways of battling cyber bullying. But the reality is that this type of bullying is way too easy. You can anonymously bully someone from anywhere in the world, at any time of the day or night. The ability to bully 24/7 makes cyber bullying one of the greatest threats to young minds.

A new report in the journal Molecular Psychiatry links cyber bullying to changes in brain structure. When a child experiences severe bullying, the two parts of the brain involved in learning and motivation get smaller. Lower volume (size) in the caudate and the putamen means increased anxiety and depression. The study shows that by the age of 19, the victim of severe bullying has high levels of anxiety, low to poor motivation in school and life goals, and has trouble with memory and learning new things.

What is the caudate?

The caudate is located deep in the brain. It’s important in helping the brain learn by storing and processing memories. When a child burns his hand on a stove top, the caudate stores that memory. It stores what happened, plus any emotions associated with burning the hand. When the child again wants to touch a hot stove, the caudate goes into memory search mode. It quickly brings up the memory and gives any useful information about the situation, such as don’t touch because your hand will get burned.

What is the putamen?

The putamen is a separate structure that’s joined to the front of the caudate. The main job of the putamen is regulating movement and influencing different types of learning. What’s important here is that putamen uses dopamine.

Dopamine is an important neurotransmitter. Dopamine carries information between the body and the brain. It helps the body get motivated by learning what to do to get rewarded. Basically, dopamine is a reward, motivation, attention sensor.

Constant bullying puts a child at risk.

Bullying literally changes the brain structure of a child. That’s a serious health issue.

Children and young adults who are constantly bullied are at a greater risk of mental health problems. These mental health problems can be anything from anxiety disorders (panic attacks, phobias, OCD, PTSD) to depression. They are often not able to complete regular everyday tasks, such as getting to work on time or cooking a meal. They have persistent thoughts or memories that keep reappearing no matter the situation. There’s a tendency to self harm (drugs, alcohol, sharp instruments).

Walk away, Ignore it, Talk it out, Seek help.

There are a couple of ways to deal with bullying. In Canada, one of the more effective systems is being taught from kindergarten to grade three. The WITS program (Walk Away, Ignore It, Talk It Out, Seek Help) is designed to prevent bullying and help children to form positive relationships. It brings together community role models, parents, and teachers to create environments that respond effectively to bullying. The program has effectively branched out to rural communities because cyber bullying isn’t limited to cities.

Bullying should never be part of someone’s childhood.

Parents have to watch out for signs that their child is being bullied. Kids can be secretive, but there comes a point where it’s not good to be secretive. Talk about bullying. Your child may be afraid to say anything until you do. Be your child’s hero. Connect with teachers to keep in loop with what’s going on at school. Do your part. Don’t bully others, or put them down in a so called ‘funny way.’ All you are doing is teaching your child that bullying is okay, when it’s not.

If you need to talk to someone, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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Christmas depression | self care | Terezia Farkas | Beliefnet

 

Christmas Depression Self Care Tips

Why might you need Christmas depression self care? Well, Christmas depression doesn’t only affect someone who is depressed or suffering from SAD. Christmas depression can happen to anyone.

Unrealistic expectations, anxiety, stress, increased responsibility, increased financial spending, and loneliness can overwhelm a person. The yearly anniversary of the death of a loved one around Christmas time creates inner turmoil of whether you’re allowed to publicly grieve during a time of festivities. If you’re depressed, pretending to be happy at gatherings is the mountain to climb.

So what can you do about Christmas depression?

Christmas depression self care tips.

1. Time out.

It’s not selfish to take time out of a hectic day. 15 minutes to yourself can be just the thing you need to recharge. Give yourself permission to feel grumpy or cry. Accept practical help when offered. You don’t have to do everything yourself. Let others lift some of the load off your shoulders. At the end of the day make sure you de-stress with self care. That can be anything from a foamy bath, warm coffee or alcohol, fuzzy slippers, or a good movie.

2. Good night sleep.

Don’t go to bed angry. Don’t keep a list of things to do for tomorrow in your head. Write the stuff out before going to bed. Don’t over indulge in alcohol or chocolates which tend to keep you awake. Tuck your cell phone away someplace that’s not your bedroom.

3. Don’t shop til you drop.

It’s not cool or amusing to shop until you’re so exhausted that you feel like dropping to the floor. Shopping online can be addictive. Set up time limits for online shopping. Don’t buy the first thing you see. That will create guilt for overspending. You may even forget what you bought for who.

4. One gift only.

Before the shopping spree starts, make a list of people you want to buy things, then put a limit of one gift per person! Yes, one gift only. That means you’ll have one important gift for everyone, instead of getting a whole bunch of stuff and stretching yourself financially thin. Remember to buy yourself one gift too.

5. Grieving at Christmas is okay.

Grief shouldn’t be hidden. The yearly death anniversary around or at Christmas is a tremendous burden on a person. There’s this tremendous expectation of what Christmas should be and feel like. But that’s not your reality. Let people know you are grieving. Discuss with others what triggers you or conversations that offend you. Let people know its okay to say the name of the deceased. Honour your loved one by doing things you did together, or set an extra seat at the table.

6. Connect. 

Call over friends. Even one person will be fine. The goal is for you to have supportive, non-judgemental support during Christmas. Talk to your neighbour. You’ll be surprised that a neighbour can become a close friend. Even pets stave off loneliness. If depression starts feeling severe, seek professional support.

7. No Shame. 

We’re scared of what people will think about us. Stigma keeps us from talking with others about what hurts. Don’t be embarrassed. Depression is about dealing with a life experience that overwhelms you. Depression affects 1 in 4 people, so chances are someone you know also suffers with depression. 

8. Expect the Bad, Accept the Good. 

Expect bad emotional days. Accept any day or moment that’s good. If you usually cry every morning or don’t feel like getting up, accept that’s how you’ll be during the holidays. But don’t expect that’s how the rest of the day will go. Life can feel good so enjoy those moments and let yourself feel happy.

9. Avoid Family Drama. 

People don’t change who they are overnight. Nor will they suddenly love you or want to be your friend. Family drama only diminishes your self-esteem, isolates you, and leaves you feeling more alone than before. Be realistic and know that others are bringing personal baggage to the party. If you are anxious or worried about a particular person, maybe the best thing for your mental health is to avoid the person altogether. There’s no rule saying you must meet with every family member at Christmas.

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christmas depression| cat| Terezia Farkas | Beliefnet

In 2017 I wrote an article, “Christmas Depression” I asked why Christmas was so depressing and what could be done to fight Christmas depression. I was surprised to find that during Christmas fewer people are actually admitted to hospital emergency rooms because of depression, anxiety, or suicide attempts. Maybe you’re thinking, “Christmas must somehow magically cure depression.” NO!

Immediately after Christmas, there’s a spike in the number of suicides and hospital admissions for depression and anxiety. What I suspect happens during the few days of Christmas is that people are more aware of each other’s situations. People visit those who are depressed. People are also more aware of self care techniques because of the enormous holiday stress. People try to be kinder, gentler with each other. But this can only work for a few days.

To break the Christmas fantasy, we need to really connect with each other.

Connecting with each other shouldn’t just happen at Christmas. It’s a talent that needs to be practiced year round. Watch for friends and family who feel left out, who stay away from get togethers, or who seem to be moody and sulking in the crowd. Make it a mission to converse with that person.

Don’t just say, “Nice to meet you.” Involve the person in some real conversation. Be an active listener. Remember what is being said. Don’t be fake. Make sure your conversation is real, and you’re expressing your real feelings and thoughts. If you feel like you really have nothing in common, don’t pretend you do.

The idea is to connect with the person who seems lonely, depressed, or anxious. By acknowledging the person’s presence you’re saying, “I see you. You matter.”

If you need help or know someone who is in emotional or mental distress, reach out for help. In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Visit me on Twitter  @tereziafarkas

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Heart of Love Evolution - Surviving Depression | Terezia Farkas | depression help

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