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Bullied into Depression

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All you'll ever be is a fading memory of a bully.
Make another joke, while they hang another rope so lonely
— "Bully", Shinedown

Not all characters who suffer schoolyard bullying brush it off. A character who is being bullied will often be depicted as a sullen, depressed figure due to all the bullying. This is especially common with All of the Other Reindeer scenarios.

This trope has become increasingly common since the 1990s and has begun displacing the old archetypes of bullying victims being unfazed by their abuse. With the rise of understanding on bullying and how it affects people, it's more common for bullying victims to be depicted as troubled and depressed rather than just "nerdy weaklings" like they used to be.

This is Truth in Television. While not all bullying victims suffer the same way, bullying often has negative effects on the psyche of the one being bullied. This can lead to poor self-esteem, various mental health issues, Self-Harm, and suicidal behavior.


An aversion of School Bullying Is Harmless. Related to Bully Brutality and Gayngst-Induced Suicide. Subtrope of Dark and Troubled Past and Cynicism Catalyst. Often overlaps with Shrinking Violet and Apologises a Lot.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Miki in Afterschool Dice Club would rather be alone because of the trauma of being bullied in her childhood.
  • Comes up multiple times in Fruits Basket. Tohru and Yuki share their own experiences with being bullied in order to help little Kisa overcome her own classmate trauma. Yuki also resolves to be better than what Akito drilled into his mind as a kid by taking up the offer to be his year's student council president.
  • In HuGtto! Pretty Cure, Hana was isolated by her class for standing up for someone before transferring, and occasionally falls back into her depression if someone presses a Trauma Button. It got worse in the alternate Bad Future, where she never changed schools and was implied to have been Driven to Suicide.
  • Life (2002):
    • The protagonist Ayumu began cutting herself after her former best friend said she hated her. Her self-harm and suicidal ideation only got worse as Manami Anzai and her Girl Posse kept on bullying her.
    • One girl, who was a part of said posse, was literally bullied into suicide after discovering Manami's true nature in order to keep it a secret. She jumped off a school balcony in order to escape punishment from Manami, but it was a Bungled Suicide.
  • The protagonist Aya of Magical Girl Site is a depressed middle-schooler who suffers Domestic Abuse from her brother and Bully Brutality at school by a Girl Posse. She starts the series wanting to commit suicide but being too scared to. Her depression leads her to become a Magical Girl.
  • There's a poor soul in My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! who gets that for two consecutive lives, and brought out of it by two consecutive lives of another person.
    • Having been bullied and generally treated like a pariah in grade school for her social awkwardness caused Atsuko to become afraid of people. she only gets better when a "monkey girl" volunteered to be her First Friend.
    • Atsuko's reincarnation Sophia has it worse. Most of Sorcier (luckily not her family) considers cursed due to her albinism to the point that she internalized the insults and refused to leave her room for years as she didn't want other to look at her. It only ends when Catarina—the "monkey girl"'s reincarnation—genuinely thinks she's beautiful when she started to rebuild her confidence.
  • A Silent Voice: Both the main characters are to a different degree depressed and suicidal because of bullying. Shoko was bullied because of her deafness, while her main former bully Ishida was tormented once she transferred and the entire school proceeded to use him as a Scapegoat.
  • Wandering Son: A bunch of bullies was why Yuki became a hikikomori as a middle schooler. She spent several of her preteen and teen years locked away in her bedroom after some bullies really got to her. She eventually recovered from her troubles.

    Comic Books 
  • The 2014 Holiday special of My Little Pony: Equestria Girls revolves around Sunset being accused of being an online bully called Anon-a-Miss. Even her friends turn on her. This near leads to Sunset having a breakdown before everything is cleared up.

    Fan Works 
  • Chloe Cerise in Infinity Train: Blossoming Trail is bullied because she doesn't fit the "norm" of a 10 year old girl. In this case, as the daughter of a local Professor it's downright expected of her to be into Pokémon ranging from being an expert trainer, having lots of mons and being enthusiastic about it (hint: she's not, that would be her "friend" who only goes to school for tests and could care less about her problems, Goh) or the class is envious of her for the fact that she has a "privileged" life. She also can't eat curry because it's just a reminder that Goh (who she used to eat it with) is basically gone from her life and focused on Ash and she hates Pokémon and those who like it because they're seen as things she's forced to be and not who she wants to be. The extent of the bullying is so bad that she's had thoughts of killing herself from the school's rooftop and a later story Infinity Train: Court of Cyclamen has her close to doing it on the Infinity Train itself.
  • In Last Light, Sunset Shimmer becomes the pariah of her high school after she's accused of being an online bully called Anon-a-Miss. She ends up stop going to school due to all the ostracism. Feeling like she has nowhere to go, Sunset ends up Driven to Suicide.
  • Hermione in Mudsnake is a miserable, anxious child due to a combination of Abusive Parents and years of school bullying.
  • Pokemon Light AU: Bede insulted Gloria in a way that hurt her already poor self-esteem. Over the next several months she became even more of a Violent Glaswegian, alienating all of her loved ones except for her mum and Hop. Gloria was eventually Driven to Suicide because she worried she was abusive like her father.
  • The plot of the My Little Pony: Equestria Girls fic Some Mistakes Are Forever is about reformed bully Sunset Shimmer learning that a classmate, Solomon Tary, killed himself after she spread a bunch of reputation-ruining rumors about him.

    Films — Animation 
  • Happens with two characters in A Silent Voice. First with Shouko, then with Shoya once the bully becomes the bullied Takes a turn for the worst when both of them attempt suicide.

  • In The Casual Vacancy, Sukhvinder is relentlessly bullied by Fats, online and off. This causes her to be depressed and cut herself.
  • The protagonist of Fat Kid Rules the World is an obese teenage boy who's miserable and depressed because of his weight, which is caused by stress eating started after his mother's death and only got worse because of the bullying.
  • Worm: Kicks off the whole plot due to a particularly vicious "prank" causing the protagonist's Traumatic Superpower Awakening.

    Live-Action TV 
  • A Season 2 flashback showing his home life indicates this as the reason Eli joined Cobra Kai. Aisha's reason is a combination of Cyber Bullying and You Are Fat. Both are behind Miguel as the top three students of the Order Reborn dojo.
  • Crime Scene: The Vanishing at The Cecil Hotel: The docu-series covers a disturbing real-life example with Morbid, a Mexican Black Metal musician. He stayed at the Cecil Hotel a year before Elisa Lam's death and the dark themes in his music cause many self-appointed online sleuths to assume he killed Lam. Despite the fact that he was in Mexico at the time of her death and there is no evidence connecting him to her, an online mob mercilessly harasses him, with their mass-reporting resulting in his social media accounts being shut down. He admits that the situation caused him to become so depressed, he tried to take his own life.

  • The anti-bullying song "Bully" by Shinedown calls out bullies who make their victims miserable and suicidal.

    Video Games 
  • Suicides resulting from bullying plays a large part of the plot in Lost Judgment, with the plot being kicked off by the murder of a Sadist Teacher who evidently drove his classmate to suicide in his youth (and was on the verge of doing this to one of his own students) at the hands of the father of said victim.
  • Early in The Missing JJ Mac Field And The Island Of Memories, it's made clear that J.J. is dead and experiencing some sort of afterlife. The game eventually reveals she is currently in a Dying Dream after attempting suicide after being outed as a transgender girl at college.
  • In Persona 5, Futaba's downward spiral began when her peers realized how much smarter she was than them thanks to her Photographic Memory. They bullied her and accused her of cheating on all her tests until she started handing in unmarked tests in hopes of getting them to stop. Her decline into depression only accelerated when her mother died and her uncle began abusing her. By the time she began staying with Sojiro, she was a complete Hikikomori who never left the house and blamed herself for her mother's death.
  • In Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth, Hikari is a depressed mess due to suffering so much bullying from so many people, ranging from a Sadist Teacher, "friends" and relatives, throughout her life.
  • Yandere Simulator: The player can dispose of rivalsnote  by spreading malicious rumors, which will cause a mob to bully her and ultimately, cause her to commit suicide. Notably, this is well beyond the point where Senpai will reject her anyway due to her low reputation, so the only reason to go this far is just to twist the knife.

    Western Animation