After my post about high-functioning depression, I was able to connect with Natasha who shared the following post.[i]
Depression, by nature, is an incredibly lonely experience. Your brain twists your thoughts, you don’t have the energy or motivation to spend time with friends or do the things that make you happy, your body aches, and nobody in your social circle truly understands what it is you’re going through. Lonely.
While there are many forms of treatment and therapies available, having someone to talk to, connect with, and who will listen and understand can be so important. Individual therapy for depression and support groups can be very effective, but are often restricted by time and availability.
The internet removes so many of these barriers. Time, location, and language aren’t restrictions when connecting online; social media, forums, and online communities provide us with worldwide connectivity. There are a large number of people in the world who are experiencing depression at the same time that you are, are looking to support those who are suffering, or are available to lend and ear to those in need. You don’t have to feel alone.
Connecting Through Social Media
Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and other social media outlets have become great tools for connecting with people online.
Facebook is a wonderful place to connect with people online because there are several different ways to interact. There are pages for online communities, crisis support centers, and organizations, as well as private groups, which provide some privacy and a more intimate atmosphere. Type ‘depression groups’ or ‘mental illness groups’ into the search bar and it should point you in the direction of some helpful groups and resources.
There is also the ability to message individuals via Facebook Messenger if you want to carry on a private one-on-one discussion.
Twitter can be used similarly to find people and organizations to connect with. You can reply to tweets, follow relevant accounts, and connect personally through direct messaging. Hashtags are a great way to find relevant accounts on Twitter; searching for hashtags like #depression, #mentalillness, #depressionrecovery, and similar is a great place to start looking.
Find Online Communities
Similar to social media, online communities like Depression | NewLifeOutlook and forums, such as Reddit and its sub-reddits, aren’t just resources for information; they’re great for connecting with like-minded people in a safe and positive environment. They can provide a space for people to share stories and ideas as well as hosting chats and prompting discussions around specific topics.
Explore Relevant Blogs
Blogs can act as a great resource and are an easy way to find people to connect with. There are many different styles of blogs and when you find one or even a few that you relate to, it can be a wonderful source of information, but is also an opportunity to start conversations with like-minded people. Start by leaving comments, either for the original blogger, or for others who have also commented. Comment sections allow you to share your opinions and stories with others and start building connections.
There are lists upon lists of top depression blogs but these popular blogs are a great place to start:
If you find that a space you’ve joined or blog you’ve followed doesn’t really resonate with you, or you struggle to connect with that person or group, it’s okay to leave — don’t feel obligated to stay. You’ll find others. It’s more valuable for you to find a few resources where you feel like you belong or have a strong connection with. Not every space is for everyone — take the time to find the ones that work for you.
If you’re looking to become a resource or want to continue to connect with others online — and only if you’re feeling up to it — there are lots of ways in which you can give back to the online depression community.
- Start a blog of your own. This is a great way to provide resources to those in need, raise awareness about depression and mental health, and it can offer you an additional outlet for your thoughts.
- Become a contributor. Many online resources accept articles and posts from contributors. If during your search you found an online community you really connected with, contact them about occasionally writing for them.
- Volunteer. There are lots of online communities where you can sign up to be a listening ear. Websites such as 7 Cups is a great space for those not only looking for someone to talk to, but also for those wanting to give back and lend an ear.
If you enjoyed this post read “How To Be Friends With Someone Who’s Depressed”.
[i] Since being diagnosed with depression and anxiety, Natasha is grateful that she can use her experience to empower others. She has a passion for photography, hiking, studying yoga, and mental health awareness. You can find more of Natasha’s writing on NewLifeOutlook.