Virtual Therapy: The Online Therapeutic Community Of Blogging

There’s been a bit of a hoo-hah going on over at Emma’s blog about whether depression is in fact a lifestyle choice. The majority believe (and I am included in this group) that depression is an illness and therefore no one chooses to be depressed, the minority (one person who seems hell bent on forcing his opinions down people’s throats) says that people think themselves into depression and therefore choose their state of mind.

I do not want to get into a debate about this. All I have to say on the matter is that I did not choose to suffer with depression and borderline personality disorder, in the same way I did not choose to have a cancerous tumour in my leg. If I had the choice I would erase things that have happened in my past that have contributed to my mental health issues. However, I accept full responsibility that part of the time I have a choice in how I deal with the depression. This involves taking meds, going to therapy, engaging in every day activities etc etc etc. However, sometimes due to the chemicals in my brain I don’t have any choice in dealing with the illness because the illness prevails. End of.

What this whole sorry little saga got my thinking about (and you can read the somewhat verging on obnoxious and abusive comments here and here) is the notion of an online therapeutic community. A group of people who would not know each other or have contact with each other if it were not for two common strands; blogging and mental health issues.

I started my blog as a way of expressing my emotions. I used to keep a hand written diary but writing in it annoys me because my brain works far faster than I can write and therefore my hand cannot keep up and it all turns into an illegible scrawl. It doesn’t help that my writing is atrocious to start with. Instead of going down the private online diary route I decided to share my thoughts with the world. At first this was because I thought there was too little information around on OTC/prescription drug misuse and I therefore thought I could add to this via my own experiences. Then people started to find my blog and left comments and in turn I read their blogs and left comments and I began to find compassion and support and empathy on a level which was unknown to me before.

What I find fantastic about the whole blogging scene is that it is totally on your terms. Unlike supporting a friend in real life you can choose how often to visit a blog and comment. Unlike in real life you can take time away from blogging and commenting and choose to restart when you feel like it and I thought, until I saw the correspondence on Em’s blog, that people were on the whole supportive and willing to help you through things.

I have made friends via this blog. Some of them I have spoken to on the phone, some I have emailed and some I only have contact with via each others’ blog. I have met someone in real life from this blog (heck I even had a relationship, albeit short lived, with that same person) and I have learnt that there are many people in the same situation as me.

If I didn’t have this blog as an outlet right now then I would feel extremely socially isolated. I have alienated a group of my friends because of the rape in February (a lot of them are standing up for him and not believing me, and the other portion don’t want to be involved until after the trial) and therefore I feel quite alone. I know I can type out how I am feeling though and people will give me words of encouragement and support. I don’t post expecting comments. I post for my benefit, but receiving comments makes me feel as if the effort I put in here, which has dwindled of late, is worthwhile.

In short I think the blogging community is highly therapeutic and supportive. I think that 99.99% of people who blog have good intentions and I feel angry at and upset for the 0.01% who have to belittle people and make them feel like a sham.

For goodness sake, enough of us receive a reaction like that in real life whether through family, friends or professionals. We keep blogs as a record of our feelings, an output for our emotions and to keep track of our lives. We do not try to twist people’s thoughts or feelings, or to change their viewpoints on issues, so why should other people do that to us?

For the majority of us we live in democratic countries where the freedom of speech is taken for granted. However, this does not mean that you have the right to say anything without thinking of the consequences. Everyone is entitled to their own viewpoint, you just don’t have to be as narrow minded as to think that your viewpoint is the only correct one in the world.

Rant over, I promise.



25 Responses to “Virtual Therapy: The Online Therapeutic Community Of Blogging”

  1. manupmen Says:

    “Believing” that depression is a disease does not make it so. However, even if it is a disease, then claiming blogging as a therapy for it is outrageous. One does not prescribe blogging for cancer or the common cold. If depression is a disease, then blogging is not a treatment.

    In truth, depression is influenced by behavior. Thinking depressing thoughts will depress you.

    Thinking cancerous thoughts will not give you cancer. That’s because cancer is a disease.

  2. eccedentesiast Says:

    He’s been making me feel awful all day and it’s nice to know that I’m not the only one who thinks he’s an idiot.

    He’s not helpful but all the lovely people who have helped and been there are what makes writing worthwhile.

    Bleurgh, thanks again. Take care xx

  3. manupmen Says:

    Look people, you cannot seriously claim to be helping eccedent confront depression if you do not confront the drinking. Alcohol is a depressant. Quit molly coddling this person! Drinking alcohol and then complaining that you are depressed is just silly.

  4. Ruth Says:

    No one is ‘molly coddling’ her. People are supporting her because they care. Alcohol is a depressant in any number of terms. It is a central nervous system depressant, but that doesn’t stop people drink driving. It is a mental depressant, but that won’t stop depressives drinking. Sometimes the only way a depressive feels as if they can blot out the mental pain they are going through is to get drunk.

    Now kindly get back to living in your own little cocoon.

  5. Ruth Says:

    PS. No one ‘believes’ depression is a disease. It is one. This is why it is listed in the DSM and ICD.

  6. manupmen Says:

    Drinking while depressed is self-inflicted pain, not a disease. It is like calling hitting your thumb a disease. Stop hitting your thumb. Stop drinking. Period.

  7. Ruth Says:

    I never said drinking whilst depressed is a disease (unless of course you have dependency issues). Stop twisting what people say to take it out of context.

  8. manupmen Says:


    You are enabling this person to be an alcoholic. Confront him/her about it.

  9. Ruth Says:

    To quote a phrase; change the record.

  10. manupmen Says:


    I will stop singing the same song. Believe it or not, I feel for this person. Just because we cause our own pain, that does not make it any less painful. My brother is a depressed alcoholic.

  11. Ruth Says:

    You’ve just managed to get yourself blacklisted… congratulations!

  12. experimental chimp Says:

    What a wanker.

    Blogging has been incredibly helpful for me. There were large stretches of time where I had incredibly limited contact with the outside world and just knowing that I was being heard and that people somewhere, in some small way cared, made a difference.

    The thing about blogging is that you do take the risk of trolls trying to provoke you. There’s not many of them about, but it happens and it’s best to be prepared to deal with them. I’ve been around the online world for a long time and the best policy seems to be to take away their voice. Don’t reply to them, don’t even acknowledge them. Just silently remove their comments from public view.

  13. Ruth Says:

    You took the words right out of my mouth for a description of him.

    Unfortunately I am easily provoked into an argument/debate and therefore am quite volatile when it comes to responding to people. However, I have learnt the vital lesson of not giving them the satisfaction.

    The worrying thing is he’ll just move on to antagonise someone else now.

  14. A Faulty Wobble « Eccedentesiast Says:

    […] the Urge Virtual Therapy: The Online Therapeutic Community Of BloggingCurled Up In A Corner: How I Am Becoming […]

  15. dumpedbyahallucination Says:

    I got to this argument late, but just in case: actually, I know people who have been recommended to blog by their therapists. So nyeh.

    Did he go anywhere after experimentalchimp?

    Suzy x

  16. Alison Says:

    Ruth, good post!

    My psychologist states writing is a good way of expressing your feelings… lots of people have kept diaries at a way of expressing how they are feeling or what they are going through – Anne Frank springs to mind!

  17. Ruth Says:

    Experimental chimp: sorry I seemed to have passed him off onto you!

    Suzy: I don’t know where he went and frankly I don’t care. When I mentioned to my psych in Newcastle that I had a blog she said she thought it was a good way to release my feelings and emotions in a neutral non-therapeutic setting, so I can understand people being recommended to blog.

    Alison: writing is a brilliant way of expressing feelings. Unfortunately today’s post isn’t as articulate as I would have hoped but then the thoughts aren’t straight in my head yet.

  18. Gabriel... Says:

    You did very well in getting rid of “John Stone” aka: manup. Was this your first Troll, or have you been lucky enough to have had others?

  19. Ruth Says:

    Unfortunately he has the dubious pleasure of being my first troll.
    I don’t think I did well in getting rid of him, I just blacklisted him – which he since told me (via my spam) is cowardly!

  20. Gabriel... Says:

    Well it’s not. There are no rules or laws saying we have to allow Trolls to attack us on our blogs. If he continues to harass you publish his email address and IP Address… or maybe do that anyway. You put up with him without losing control, so I think you did very well reacting to your first Troll.

    If you ever get hit by one again, check out their site… MUM’s site, for example, is just angry anti-women crap. Or turn their BS against them. Asking for sources is always good. Agreeing with them over and over again is always funny. But if you ever feel like you’re getting too pissed off, or their attacks are too personal, just turn them off like you did with MUM here.

  21. confessionsxofxaxteenagexrockxchick Says:

    Hey Ruth, good to read you’re back home now…the last post of yours I read was on July 10th, and then my laptop broke so I am very relieved to hear you’re back…I was going to say ‘ok’ but that may not necessarily be true, but I’d like to think you are feeling much much better…I have been reading your blog for a few months now, and I’m usually too shy to post comments, but just wanted to say I’m thinking of you (that sounds so creepy but it’s not meant to be!)
    Take care, weezy xx

  22. don Says:

    Ruth, You make it very hard to take you seriously when you want to do relationship on your terms.

  23. Louise Says:

    I find it difficult to get close to anyone. irl or on the net. I feel like I’ve been blacklisted by the entire internet

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