Depression & The Internet: Welcome To Your Temporary Support Group
Let’s get this out of the way: No, you aren’t lazy. You are an incredibly competent human being who is sick. There is something wrong with you, but it’s not a morality or personality issue. Certainly no one is perfect, but depression isn’t a flaw in your character. It’s medical. You do have potential for greatness.
Now enough with the sappy stuff. The Internet is home to a number of people groups. We have tech geeks, sports nuts, gamers, writers (howdy), video makers, etc. and etc. That said, the Internet provides a number of outlets to discuss and support members of such groups. It’s a wonder how this gigantic invisible Web brings all these people together.
However, within these groups, there are people out there with depression, and honestly, that sucks. One of our writers, Mark (who I think is one of the most fantastic people in the world), wrote a piece on finding help and support from online resources that help with depression . Saikat also provided us with some resources in his article, five health websites you can tap for online support on depression & bipolar disorder .
As someone who also deals with depression, I’ve also looked into those resources. I’ve found a great deal of support through less formal depression-focused communities across the Internet much like the aforementioned hobby and career related forums and boards. Yes, there are resources out there just like any other community, ready and willing to listen.
I’ll admit, I’m a bit of a lurker. Rarely do I post on such sites, but I’ve found that reading about others’ struggles helps build up strength. Talking is important, and sometimes the Internet is a good substitute when your real life friends aren’t around. Below are three sites I recommend.
Here at MakeUseOf, we’re pretty big on the whole Reddit thing . I mean, come on. It’s an awesome content aggregator with an equally awesome community. But hidden deep within the recesses of its subreddits is a community devoted entirely to support for depression. It’s a relatively positive environment that focuses only on quality content while completely obliterating depression-deniers from the board (that is, individuals who — for whatever reason — believe depression doesn’t actually exist).
Check it out, and if you aren’t in a depressed state, this still might be a good place to get educated. On the other hand, there is also r/SuicideWatch and informal location for reporting and discussing those that may be suicidal due to their depression. Of course, this is only a subreddit for raising awareness. By no means is it a proper place to report anyone who may hurt themselves.
Yet another online community for those experiencing depression, and it’s probably a bit closer to home than you would think. As a matter of fact, it’s right on Facebook. I won’t publish any of the postings found here out of protection and respect for user privacy, but I will say this is a very open group. It’s a public forum in which individuals with depression can simply post how they are feeling and receive words of encouragement from other members of the group.
Due to the serious nature of this group, individuals must be approved by an administrator before they can join or see any postings. Furthermore, content is highly monitored by the rather large group of admins. This is, of course, a safety feature meant to protect individuals who are suffering. The result of the admins’ watchful eyes is a safe haven for individuals to post without fear of judgment or public scrutiny. All in all, if you’re just need a pick-me-up and unload your thoughts, then the Facebook Depression group is for you.
What does an insomnia-fueled, depression-related, anxiety-driven Google search for help give you? Answer: the Depression Forums (and that may or may not be how this resource was found). The Depression Forums are a nice general resource for individuals just looking for relatable issues. The support comes from a wide range of users as well as topics; you’re bound to find suggestions that help.
Word of warning, though. It’s a huge forum. Don’t let the range of users make you feel isolated or lonely. If you look at it from the perspective of someone who’s merely looking for answers then this might be a good source of information for you. But then again, if faced with the the idea that hundreds of anonymous users on this site makes you feel like someone who’s alone in a crowded room, it might be best to hold off.
Mental health is a sometimes a taboo topic among most people in the “outside” world. Thankfully, we have the Internet to discuss how we are feeling. If you’re like me, sometimes it’s easier to stay in bed, unshaven, unshowered, barely-dressed, and it’s very difficult to find someone to talk to while in that state. A simple post on an online community may garner a response that motivates you just enough to get up and get out.
It’s okay if you’re hurting, but you don’t have to keep it to yourself. It is important to talk about it. It’s more important to talk with someone face-to-face, but if you need the Internet to get you talking, then you go, Glen Coco.
What other resources do you suggest for online social interaction for those with depression? If you have depression, what sites have you used in the past?
Image Credit: Guillame Cattiaux