Where can I go when I'm down?
March 5, 2006 9:20 PM   Subscribe

Where on the internet can you go for anonymous support when you are feeling just a little blue?

I just broke up with a longtime live-in girlfriend and the evenings are kind of empty and, while most of the time I'm okay, I feel down sometimes. I do have real life friends I can lean on when I'm feeling lonely, except sometimes that lonely feeling comes at midnight when I can't exactly impose on someone when it isn't an emergency.

I am not suffering from serious depression, so I don't really feel the typical depression support groups are appropriate. I do visit general message boards, but don't feel close enough to anyone in those places to share my feelings. Are there any kind of generic supportive chat sites I can visit for support during periods of this temporary, less-serious-than-depression type of sadness?

P.S. This site does help.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (13 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Internet chat sites and forums are a terrible, terrible place to go when you're alone and lonely. everyone feels that way at times, and the best thing you can do for yourself is learn how to be self-sufficient and enjoy what you like doing .. that's what attracts the people you're missing in the first place. if you spend your time measuring any part of your life by observation or response from TV and the Internet, you'll be sure to notice that everyone does everything you don't, more often, having more fun (they don't, but you get to see the cross-section of a lot of lives that is by far the most appealing part of each one).
posted by kcm at 9:38 PM on March 5, 2006

seems to be the night for self-followups for me. chat and forum sites serve a great purpose, and can be fun, but emotional support is best left to yourself and your good friends. validation is not the best suit of the internet.
posted by kcm at 9:43 PM on March 5, 2006

I don't know about the anonymous thing. Isn't it, well, kind of "hollow?"

You're just some random netizen. When people try to cheer you up, they're just cheering for some random netizen.

Metafilter, Metachat, Monkeyfilter, and other online communities may work out. You become a member of the community (sharing some laughs, sharing other's downs, share your own rough spots, &c) and the response actually means something rather than just platitudes that random strangers throw your way.

Metatchat, to me, is almost like Spider Robinson's Callahan's Place. Shared pain is lessened, shared joy is increased.

Stop by. Say hi. Hang out at Metchat IRC.
posted by PurplePorpoise at 10:29 PM on March 5, 2006

My gf of 5 years just moved to another state to follow a nice job offer; we're doing the long-distance thing but it's rather lacking after being used to having a close friend around all the time and lots of physical contact (not just sex, though that's been rough too). Sounds like you're dealing with some similar stuff.

Best advice I have is do not sit at home on the computer. Go to the library, a coffee shop, a park, somewhere there are other flesh-and-blood people, even if you're not talking to them. The internet may seem big and full of promise but it's really just 1's and 0's, and they make lousy friends.

At midnight, some excercise might take your mind off things and help wear you out so you'll fall asleep easier. Music in headphones is hard to drown out with your thoughts, if you have a favorite album to fall asleep to. Or you could drink yourself into unconciousness, but some of us have to work in the morning.
posted by bizwank at 10:30 PM on March 5, 2006

Late night exercise is more likely to amp you up and make it difficult to fall asleep. If you plan ahead to get the exercise earlier in the evening though, bizwank's advice applies. A glass of warm milk, a good book, and a hot bath are my recommendations.
posted by Manjusri at 11:01 PM on March 5, 2006

Second what PurplePorpoise said.
Seems to me that a site where everyone is going for support is a bad idea........everyone is miserable. Not to be cold-hearted, but I can't imagine anyone saying "I'm really happy - I'm going to that sad website and cheer people up." The last thing somebody who's sad needs is to be around more people who are sad - negativity begets negativity. You don't want to wallow, just somebody to kind of lean on, but 2 sad people (or 50) can't help but wallow. It's just our nature.
Since you're asking about "middle of the night" support, seems to me a good call would be IRC with Metafilter or another site. Even if you aren't known, surely you'll know some of the other names on there. And I'd think you're more likely to find a "happy" person to cheer you up.
posted by Iamtherealme at 11:58 PM on March 5, 2006

I'm assuming you've seen links similar to the one you posted, featuring cats in sinks, beedogs, and stuff on people's cats?
posted by salvia at 3:16 AM on March 6, 2006

Third PurplePorpoise. And I say that as someone with a real, full, 3D life containing lots of flesh-and-blood people and places.

Becoming a member of a community like that allows you to make an intellectual connection with other people. Their humor, support, wisdom, and ability to entertain are much more powerful because you have a sense of the person behind the persona; it's not just a screen name.

But I agree that web communities are not substitutes for real life. If you find yourself withdrawing from the real world, address that problem first.
posted by Miko at 6:55 AM on March 6, 2006

What others have said - for years now I've been a part of different communities through IRC, and there's almost always people to talk to any time, day or night. (Which is great if it's 2 AM, you can't sleep, and you're just a bit lonely and want to talk.)

Chat is much more immediate and personal than posting on a message board, for me, and feels friendlier - YMMV.
posted by Melinika at 7:23 AM on March 6, 2006

I assume you have to have an IRC client to get to Metachat?
posted by dgeiser13 at 8:56 AM on March 6, 2006

You can get an IRC chat client free with Firefox.
posted by Miko at 9:05 AM on March 6, 2006

posted by quam at 9:08 AM on March 6, 2006

MetaChat is a website. You do not have to have IRC to participate, although there is a MetaChat IRC available.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:46 AM on March 6, 2006

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