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Depression and the internet

Discussion in 'Mental Health Disorders' started by Technochocolate, Mar 23, 2008.

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  1. 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.
  2. Angelo_91

    Angelo_91 Well-Known Member

    no i dont think its unusual, i believe many people register onto forums for the same reasons and in my opinion you can learn a lot from forums. but for some the temporary fix isn't enough so im not sure either. bleh
  3. Wormling

    Wormling Well-Known Member

    You are not alone in your look on the internet. I actually wrote a full, 20 page essay for my last psychology class I took in college on the social networking aspect and self esteem building aspect of World of Warcraft.

    The internet is a wonderful social networking tool that links all corners of the world. People who would never have met in real life can easily be talking and becoming friends via the internet. Although the internet strips some aspects of reality away, I personally believe this to be a good thing. For instance, in real life, societies and cultures have strong beliefs integrated into their members on what is right and wrong, how someone should act, how they should speak, how they should be dressed, and so forth. Taking away these things, as we do online, lets everyone talk without being unconciously bias. An example from a typical high school culture would be that cheerleaders are supposed to be femanine, pretty, and wear the most popular clothes, while geeks are supposed to have low levels of personal hegiene, be wierd, and disliked. Put the two together in a chat room on the internet, and they don't know who each other are. They are not basing they decision to speak with one another on looks and appearances. Rather, they are talking to one another and expressing their individual personality. Thus, what would be enemies, per say, in real life, could be chat buddies and friends online.

    Also, you talk about how lonely people who have a hard time making friends in real life have an easier time online and feel better. I think this is part of the reason. People are not preassured the same. There is no nervousness based upon physical appearance, or being in a crowd. There is no subconciouss nagging of "I wonder if they like me?" or "I wonder what they think of me". You just express yourself online and not the masks we all wear in public. Hence, people can find it much more comfortable to be online and can make social networking a breeze.

    Just my two cents worth of input =P
  4. See, this is what I wonder. How legitimate a "replacement" is the internet over "real life"? Is it for the better?

    I've been "successful" in making online friends, so to speak, yet failing so bad in real life. Part of me feels dirty for that reason.
  5. Fishman

    Fishman Guest

    I feel in the future that the internet will play an even more greater role in peoples lives then it does now. The internet is a great way of talking to people that are long distances away from you as well.
  6. peacegirl

    peacegirl Well-Known Member

    I'm probably repeating what other posters have offered, but I think the internet is a wonderful resourse as long as it is used in a way that helps you, not hurts you. Sometimes, we use the people online to take the place of family, friends, and co-workers because it's easier, and no one can get that close. I believe that the internet does serve a purpose but it cannot take the place of face to face contact; people who see the real you and love you in spite of all your faults. ;)
  7. darkrider

    darkrider Well-Known Member

    Without the internet a lot of people here might be outside.. or at least talking to people
  8. I think I see and agree with the main general point - the Internet helps but isn't a substitute.

    I don't even wanna imagine where I'd be without the Internet.

    Or they'll struggle on the outside and have their depression escalate.

    It works both ways. I have no doubt which way I'd go.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 26, 2008
  9. theleastofthese

    theleastofthese SF Friend Staff Alumni

    I feel the same way: I have more online freinds than "real life" friends. Does that mean I only truly exist in cyberspace???:blink: Or is it just a safer place online than "across the street"???:blink:
  10. thedudeabides

    thedudeabides Active Member

    that makes me feel so much better(less guilt too) about playing that game for like 2-3 years everyday for at least 3-4 hours, and sometimes as long as 11 hours. ha
  11. spirit

    spirit Member

    I've often been similar to you technochocolate. I have severe social anxiety/phobia and so for years had no friends in real life. The real world can be such a cruel place. Even making online friends is a good start.
  12. Rammingstone

    Rammingstone Member

    I haven't been on this site very long, but it seems to have a good core of people, for the most part. I think it's fair to say that in some ways it mirrors how we react and reflects our social skills in the real world.

    What bothers me about the internet, is the lack of respect that seems so prevalent on many sites. The worst part is, these people can act this way with impunity. In the real world, most of them wouldn't have the guts to say it face to face.

    I think this can set a dangerous precedent with young people in particular, for those whose social life consists mainly of internet forums and chatrooms.
  13. theleastofthese

    theleastofthese SF Friend Staff Alumni

    my depression and anxiety often keep me in my house, afraid to go out and deal with people. If it weren't for the intenet, I would have very limited social contact and become too much of a recluse for my own good. the internet may be on my computer in my den but it involves 'real' people all over the world. THat's a society in itself, I think, and one I'm glad to belong to.:smile:
  14. Good point. The ability to separate internet life and "real life". That's why I'm so scared to be so reliant on sites like these. Makes me uneasy sometimes.
  15. LostMyMind

    LostMyMind Well-Known Member

    My feelings exactly. :smile:
  16. Darken

    Darken Well-Known Member

    it helps me some. I would be much worse with out it thats fer sure.
  17. Anam_Cara

    Anam_Cara Well-Known Member

    I know personally i would not have survived without the internet. my health is very fragile, i seldom even leave the house for that reason as well as a few others. I have no transportation and don't drive. i live outside the city limits where the city bus does not run. and it's too far (over 2 miles) to walk to the nearest bus stop. i have absolutely NO friends in real life that i can go anywhere with or hang out with. All my friends have been online, or spoken to by phone as they are in other cities far from me. I've also had no cable for the past 10 months and no family around until recently. cant talk to family about my issues or depression because they are judgemental, not understanding and quite often both controlling and hurtful. They threaten all the time to take the internet away from me as a means of controlling me because they know if i lose the support of the few close friends who keep me sane that ill be under their thumb. For me the net has been vital in having contact with the outside world. i'd have committed suicide from the depression and living situation as well as stress if my few close net friends hadnt been so supportive. what terrifies me is that next month they're telling me i lose the internet, they're forcing me to move with them as i have no job and health wont allow me to keep one. I am terrified of whats going to become of me when faced with cramped quarters, bullying, judging, controlling and basically being cut off from the only support system i have.
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