TITLE: Depression in Myspace
By Frances Roberts
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I recently joined the website myspace.com to see how it works and if my 16 year old daughter is vulnerable. It took a while to learn the ropes and there’s still a lot I don’t know. For the most part young people are safe. If they do not lie about their ages in the profile they are automatically age protected. Nobody can get to their space without sending a request that can be either accepted or denied. If the young people are wise they will be safe. I heard that the incidents of children being in danger from predators have gone down because of all the information and attention myspace has received from law enforcement and the media. I have been satisfied with my daughter’s participation and with the care she is taking.
In my search I looked through the various groups that members can join; either open groups or “by approval only” groups. One of those “by approval only” groups was a support forum for people that suffer from depression. I admit I went there because I have struggled with depression. I have found Jesus, my glory and the lifter of my head. I cast all my cares on him because He cares for me. I talk to my soul and remind it of His many provisions; that what He has done before He will do again. But, sometimes I just need someone who understands and has dealt with the same illness.
I almost ran screaming for the hills the first time they let me in. The pain and agony are appalling. The worst part is that if you “preach” they erase your post and ban you from the forum. I thought, “My pain is nothing compared to this. I'm on the road to recovery. What good can I do here? They won’t let me give them the comfort I was comforted with.” I did not go back to the forum for a week. I’m not sure why I went back. Perhaps I just couldn’t forget the girl who was so ugly she wanted to slash her face and wondered if anyone else out there felt that way. Sixteen people answered her that, yes, they felt ugly all the time and at least two of them had actually slashed their faces so that they would be “as ugly on the outside as they feel on the inside.”
There are more stories and cries for help than I can begin to describe. What I found was that occasionally I would be able to just give a word or two. I explained a few medical things I had learned in my struggle with depression. I told a girl who thought she was a total dummy because she failed the GED test that her writing was very intelligent, she couldn’t possibly be a dummy. I sent a picture of balloons and hearts to a girl whose mother and father left her alone on her birthday and signed it “I’m glad you were born.”
My daughter jokingly said she'd have to start monitoring me in Myspace. She is convinced that all that depression will rub off on me and I’ll go into a downward spiral again. Is this a mission field or a trap? Is any mission field without danger? That is the question I am asking God.
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