Social media is really difficult. I imagine we're talking about Snapchat and Instagram - those are the two main ones that kids are using these days. If you're using, say, Instagram: what I really recommend to kids is if you don't want to delete your Instagram and you don't want to delete your friends, make sure you are cognizant about who you're following. Who you're following creates sort of your Instagram life in your head. If you're following a bunch of depressing quotes or deep dark black, black and white dark photos, that is going to get into you. If you're watching and scrolling all day long about these dark things, you're going to start to feel dark too. So all of the people you're following that are not necessarily your best friends - make sure they're positive. Make sure they are something else that you prefer - it can be art, it can be pretty pictures, it can be puppies - it doesn't matter. But it's very important that if you don't feel well, delete everybody that's giving off any kind of negativity because it really, really does change your world. Same thing with Snapchat. If you have, faraway, say third-tier friends who are posting videos of themselves being depressed or they're doing this or that - remove them. If it's your best friend - it's a little bit different. You can go talk to them yourself. But if they are third tier, just delete them. You don't want to see the negative stuff because it will bring you down.
There's many reasons your grades could be dropping and you don't care. We're looking at grades dropping, so we're taking the assumption that your grades used to be good. Many different factors: the first thing that comes to mind is - what's going on in your life? Have you started using drugs or smoking weed? That can really take down your motivation to focus on your grades. Have you joined a new social crowd? Have you been going out with your friends and trying to make new friends and social climb and grades have fallen by the wayside? Is something happening in your family? Are your parents fighting more? Are they yelling at you more? Or are there things going on that are distracting you from doing your homework? There's a lot of different things that could be going on and I do really recommend that you try your best to figure it out. First line of defense should be to go talk to your teachers. They can help you if you are struggling with depression or things going on in your family and they may be more likely to give you an extension or grade you a little bit more lenient. If you have really good grades and you've had them every year up until now, you deserve to go advocate for yourself because I really, really hate to see GPA's completely slashed because of something that happened in one semester in your life and it got wrecked. So please go advocate for yourself and try to figure out what you can do to keep your grades up.
Being open with your family can be really difficult and it honestly depends a lot on your family. If you have a family that's warm and open and inviting to sitting down and discussing emotions with you, that it can be a lot easier. If you do but you still feel anxious and nervous and you don't want to just walk up to them and say Hey mom, I'm feeling terrible at school. I had an awful day. They were bullying me, etc. What I recommend is: you can take it down a notch. Maybe write them a letter and leave it on mom's bedside table. Or you can send her a big long text and say: I don't want to say this to your face, but I really want to tell you. I want you to know. Can we just have a conversation like this? Because I really think that once you get the conversation going, hopefully your parent will reciprocate and then they'll help you out with it. Another suggestion that I've heard is talking to your parents in the car might be the best way to go because you don't need to make eye contact. It sort of takes off the pressure when you're not looking at each other. On the other hand, if you have parents who are not connected to you at all, they're not the type of parents you go to for support, then you do need to find support somewhere else. This is really common. A good place to go looking for it is your guidance counselor at school or somebody from your church or even one of your good friend's parents - they may be open to sitting down and talking with you about what's going on. But it's important that you try really hard to help yourself by finding another adult who can help you.
A bully's main goal is to isolate you. Either they say something mean to you on the internet or they intimidate you in real life - what they're trying to do is get you alone. When you're alone, you feel bad. You crouch down, you withdraw into yourself and they can be even more mean to you. The first thing you want to do is if you have even the tiniest bit of bullying coming towards you: tell your friend. Do it before your self-confidence gets so low that you're ashamed of yourself. Do it right away. You have got to tell your friend. You have got to tell your parents. You have got to tell your teachers. The goal for you is to get a community around you so you're not alone. Therefore, you can still think clearly. You can remember: okay, I'm not actually so terrible and bad like they're saying. I'm not so awful. Because you've got people around you who agree with you. If you wait too long to get help, you start to internalize everything they're saying and doing. You start to crouch down and then they come at you even more.
If you're having thoughts about death and dying, you should definitely go talk to your parents about them. They should be your first line of defense, especially if you have good parents that are available to you. Go talk to them because any thoughts you have inside yourself about suicide, you want to get them out, say them out loud, write them down. Anything you can do to get them out of you, will make you less likely to actually act on them. So it's very, very important to go talk to your parents about those thoughts.
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