There are hundreds of websites with advice about depression, but the most helpful for me are the blogs that present original, thoughtful and well-written ideas based on personal experience. I come back again and again to a few where I’ve found insight and support for recovery, useful information and communities of readers who add their own stories.
The creators of the five sites I’ve listed here consistently and frequently post exceptional stories, interviews and their personal takes on every aspect of the struggle to live in a fulfilling way despite depression. Naturally, you single out what speaks to you most directly, and you’ll find a lot to choose from on these sites.
1. Beyond Blue. Therese Borchard has probably done more than any other blogger in recent years to educate a wide public about the human side of living with depression. She’s done that through her blogging at Beliefnet as well as PsychCentral and several other sites, by her many TV and radio interviews and, above all, by publishing her best-selling memoir, Beyond Blue.
Whether she’s debunking New Age myths or probing methods to handle anxiety, her writing is unsparing in its honesty while full of humor about the homely details of everyday life.
She also does great video posts like the fearless Me on One of My Bad Days. Whether or not you share her religious beliefs, her reliance on faith to get through major breakdowns as well as daily struggles is a powerful example of the role spirituality can play in recovery.
2. McMan’s Depression and Bipolar Web. John McManamy is an award-winning journalist who has written about his life with bipolar illness as an important part of healing. His book, Living Well with Depression and Bipolar Disorder, is one of my favorite resources on recovery and treatment.
He has been blogging for over a decade and has amassed a wealth of information at this site and, more recently, at his personal blog, Knowledge is Necessity. He also finds time to manage and contribute to Health Central’s bipolar site.
The recently redesigned McMan’s Web is a well-organized guide to the hundreds of posts he’s written on mood disorders, recovery, treatment and just about every other depression or bipolar topic you can think of. His writing is all strong opinion and blunt criticism of mainstream mental health care.
He’s done dozens of posts on how to rewrite whole sections of psychiatry’s central reference, The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. He’ll tell you what your doctor forgot, why antidepressants are dangerous and why so many diagnoses get it wrong. Most of all, I like his emphasis on living well as the goal of recovery rather than aiming only for controlling symptoms. Whether you agree with him or not, you can’t ignore and won’t forget what he says.
3. Merely Me at My Depression Connection. Merely Me is a tireless writer on many health conditions that she knows all too well from her own life. While managing and writing daily for the depression community at Health Central, she also writes on her experience of raising an autistic son, dealing with anxiety, ADHD and multiple sclerosis.
It’s her writing on depression that drew me to the site in the first place. The tone of her posts turns attention toward the reader’s experience as much as her own. Rather than highlighting her opinions, she tells stories and poses questions that get readers thinking, as in this post on hopelessness. The result is a lot of comments that often turn into conversations among the readers, rather than reactions directed solely to the blogger.
I’ve learned a lot from the regulars in this community, including Donna-1 who posted here about her recovery experience. Many of these commenters have themselves become active bloggers at the site, and Merely Me’s responsiveness to them is an important way of sustaining the community.
(By way of disclosure, I have to add that Merely Me helped me become a regular contributor at My Depression Connection, though I left the site a few months ago. I think you’ll forget about any possible bias on my part, though, once you get into her writing and the community she has fostered.)
4. Postpartum Progress. Katherine Stone pioneered blogging on postpartum depression some years ago, and this site remains the most widely read one on mood disorders relating to childbirth. The blog has been a standard reference mentioned in numerous books and magazines, and Katherine Stone has appeared frequently in media interviews.
This is the go-to site for information and support about one of the most widespread and frightening forms of depression. Her posts capture the feelings of the experience through all phases of childbirth. Some of the most popular posts come from her own experience, like The Unrelenting Self-Doubt and Second-Guessing of Postpartum Depression & Anxiety. Another speaks to the agonizing experience of waiting for permanent recovery, while enduring false starts that end in relapse.
Especially helpful is an FAQ page that guides visitors with different needs to the most relevant material.
5. Depression Fallout. This message board is the most comprehensive resource on the web about living with a depressed person. I think of it as a blog written by thousands of visitors sharing the most wrenching experiences of their lives. Anne Sheffield set up this board over ten years ago, and it met a need no other site could help with. She used the word “fallout” to describe the effects of depression on anyone living with a loved one lost in the illness.
So many thousands of people shared their stories that Sheffield wrote Depression Fallout to capture the key themes and coping methods that emerged from the site’s massive archive.
I recommend starting with that book to get a sense of what the board contains. Unfortunately, sites of this type resist clear organization. The thousands of posts disappear into archives and can only be accessed by searching tools that are not very precise. Since so many people go through similar experience and come up with similar ideas on what to do, following the message threads from day to day for a while will probably meet your needs.
Taken together, these five sites are a vast resource helping you benefit from several lifetimes of experience with depression. They’re among the touchstones that I keep coming back to. There are many more websites that have aided my recovery, and I’ll be highlighting them in future posts.
Please let us know about others that have been especially helpful to you.
John McManamy says
Many thanks, John. Loved your very thoughtful review. You clearly “get” where I’m coming from. Also, it’s an honor to be included with the others on your list. I’ve had very productive relationships with the other four. Therese has had a profound influence on my blogging style and we’ve collaborated on interviews, etc. Merely Me is the reason I do a Question of the Week Feature on HealthCentral. I turned up as a “warrior mom” in one of Katherine’s projects. And Anne wrote a great blurb for my book. So I’m delighted you brought us all together. 🙂
John Folk-Williams says
Hi, John –
You keep good company! I started out with a longer list but realized as I went through it that your work and that of the other four were the irreplaceable resources focused specifically on depression.
I love the way you’ve redesigned McMan’s Web. It’s a great model that I’m trying to follow on my much smaller scale at this site.
Thanks for dropping by –