How A Website Called Reddit Helped Me With My Struggle With Depression

It was around 2008. I was in still an undergrad at the University Of Houston in Houston, Texas. My problems with being sociable with people around me had taken a turn for the worst. Anxiety was still a problem for me. But after adjusting in a totally different country, I realized that I had eased up a bit. I was a little “less” anxious.

I did the normal things university students did. I would go to classes, pick a spot where I would feel comfortable and sit through lectures. After lectures, I would go to the library, pick a spot where I felt comfortable and browse the internet. I would then head to my next class, depending on what schedule I had that day. It was a routine I had developed and it seemed to be putting my mind at ease.
After class, there was really no social life for me. It was either TV, browsing the internet or studying in my apartment. Not much was going on.

It had been a couple of months since I had gone to see a therapist on campus after days of inner struggle. I was near the edge and began to think that I wouldn’t be able to cope anymore if I stay in my isolation.

I had been going to the student services for several weeks, following up with my appointments with a counselor. After several months of therapy, my therapist had diagnosed me with clinical depression. She prescribed me some antidepressant medication which actually helped with my mental health.

Not saying the antidepressants were a cure, but they made tremendous improvement to my mental well being. My insomnia had subsided, my eating habits had picked up and the dark fog in my head which usually came around whenever I had a depressive episode was gone.

I had been off the pills for a while. Just trying to pick up my school grades as a result of failing two of my classes after I had gone through a mental breakdown.

I was still “unsociable”. I didn’t like night clubs, house/frat parties or crowds in general. My anxiety was still alive and well. My best way of escape from realities of life was the internet. Keeping up with the latest trends in technology and media, checking social media and reading about new things kept me afloat and at ease.

It was through my constant browsing on the internet that I found a “forum” page where I could finally relate to people who were just like me. I found a place where people told inspiration stories of their struggles and their mental state. I found Reddit.

Welcome To Reddit

Reddit Homepage
At first glance, Reddit looked like a very simplistic website. It didn’t look special nor appealing. It was filled with lots of text and links and not much else. I didn’t really bother with it at first. But I kept coming back to explore what was so special about it because I had heard great things about it.

Reddit has subpages called “Subreddits”. They’re like “rooms” which hold discussions and talks about different topics. There are subreddits for politics, funny pictures, movies, and technology.

I discovered a subreddit which eventually helped me on my path to recovery. I found the INTJ subreddit.

What Is An INTJ?

INTJ Subreddit

I’ve always thought I was different from others around me. I’ve never been able to fit in with my peers or sometimes even society at large. I’m not comfortable with some norms in society and the arbitrary rules that are made up. But I’ve endeavored to try to fit in, just so I don’t bring unwanted attention to myself.

This sometimes leads to the internet to look for patterns or topics which can help me on the path of self-discovery. I took a lot of tests online to find out why I felt so different and why I don’t fit in so much. One of those tests was the Myers-Briggs Personality test.

I know there are a lot of criticisms about the Myers-Briggs test. I get it. People say it’s like horoscopes and astrology. But I have to be honest. After taking that testing and finding out I was an INTJ, everything really fell into place.

So here’s the deal about people who are “INTJs”: They’re very cerebral and deep. They’re interested in things like the universe, science, robotics etc. But they do also have a deeper side and can get passionate and emotional about things they really care about. But they’re not the best social people.

On the INTJ subreddit, I found conversations about most of these things. I read from people who shared personal stories about depression, heartbreak, trying to fit in amongst their families and friends. I could relate to a lot of what people were saying and discussing.

Reading about other people’s stories and easily relating is one of the best things I could have wished for.

Finding people to relate to things I care about in Ghana are hard to find. Finding that subreddit helped me to feel better. It made me realize that I was not alone in my thinking and in my mannerisms.

We’re all trying to fit in somewhere. I found out I could fit in there. I dip in there once in a while to read the conversations and sometimes I make a contribution in the form of a question or a statement. I usually get lots of feedback.

It’s almost like a small therapy room or a safe place where I know the other people share the same values and also think like I do.

I’m not cured of my depression. I still have episodes that come and go. My anxiety is still there. I’m still trying to battle it out. There have been other places on Reddit which helps me to cope. I found out about the depression subreddit where people write about their experiences in dealing with loneliness and depression. I’ve found some really inspiring stories there.

I’ve found that Reddit helps sometimes. It would great to have a meetup with some individuals to have a more physical connection. But ironically enough, INTJs are kind of introverted and so the whole “social meeting” would be difficult.

But I know that most of them are still there whenever I log on. I can take comfort in knowing that I’m not alone.