I was thinking about my own depression and how I cope with it, and I got to thinking about how the Internet contributes with regards to coping with it. In particular, with loneliness being a trigger for depression. For some people who are lonely (have social problems, don't have friends for whatever reason, etc), how important is the internet to your daily "survival"? For me, I've really suffered from social anxiety and a real inability to have any friends in real life. I really don't have anyone in real life I'd call a good friend, or even a friend, that I can trust. (Why this is, is a discussion for another day) This mostly triggers my own depression. However, I've found that the Internet has helped me cope with it, at least partially. I'm talking about forums and message boards, chat, and things like that. And I'm not just talking about a forum like this one - I'm talking about forums and message boards for any and every interest out there (sports, movies, entertainment, music, whatever). I've found, for me, I can make friends online much easier, and it helps me cope with my feelings sometimes. Is this unusual? I find it strange the relationships I actually build with the people at these other forums - they feel more like friends and family than my actual friends and family in real life. And, I guess, is this an acceptable way of coping with loneliness, social anxiety, and depression? This is where I get confused with myself. I'm not sure what to think of myself - by using the Internet, I can mask my depression with happiness, if only temporarily.