depression comix #326

This week’s strip is about bullying. It’s amazing how people, through the miracle of cognitive dissonance, conveniently forget the horrible things they’ve said or done or see them in a way that highlights a perceived weakness of the victim. And if you’re the victim, who had been in these threatening situations loathing every moment of it, who suffered through it all, there is simply no justice in it. We live in an era where you can deny your own faults and actions, dismiss them as jokes or locker room talk.

Regardless, these things can cause real and long-lasting harm. They cause victims to live a life that has a baseline level of paranoia, a lack of trust, and an active avoidance of situations that remind them of the original event. What makes this even worse is the denial of  cupability when these things are brought up. They try to gaslight the victim by making those past frightening events into something less threatening, and then blame the victim for exaggerating the situation. This is a double-victimization.

All of this applies especially so to survivors of sexual assault. Originally the strip was going to be specifically about that but in the writing stage the dialogue got more generalized so it became about bullying in general. That’s why this particular character appears in the strip, but I still want to talk about the connections between sexual assault and mental health in future strips.

Read it here: https://www.depressioncomix.com/posts/326/

depression comix #325

This is what it was like for me nearly every day back when I was doing Sexy Losers from 2003 on.  Despite having thousands of readers at the time there was no way to convince me that what I was doing was any good, and all the jokes I had I came to believe were just not funny enough to commit to paper.  Even though I was still generating ideas here and there, I was always thinking to myself they weren’t worth doing, no one will laugh and I’m just continuing a big joke that was on me. Soon I wasn’t even bothering to generate ideas, because what was the point. Everything I did sucked, and the only thing I was doing by continuing was proving to the world that I indeed sucked.

These feelings of inadequacy still haunt me and I was feeling it a lot late last year.  Although I’m not making jokes like I used to, I still get the feeling that no one understands and that I’m missing the point when I do particular strips or that I’m saying something terribly wrong and offensive. Depression undercuts your confidence in your ideas and work and convinces you that they’re no good.

Maybe for some people these awful feelings that come with depression help them be more creative. It’s definitely something that doesn’t happen with me. Depression makes me too critical with myself and what I do to even let me begin a lot of the time.

Now that I do depression comix, it is a bit easier for me to generate new stuff because I don’t have to worry about being funny, just be on topic. That goal is a lot easier to reach than to have to think about how to make a joke funny enough to minimize “that wasn’t funny” remarks. Critics of humour can be quite harsh and that’s one of the reasons why Sexy Losers has stalled so much.

See the strip here: https://www.depressioncomix.com/posts/325/

depression comix #324

This strip was inspired by a question I get occasionally about the first characters in the strip eventually getting together. That was never a plan; I doubt with her inability to understand depression coupled with his inability to “get over it” that any romantic spark would flourish, and if it did, it would probably not last long. I believe this is what she feels, that if she says the correct string of words he’ll wake up. And we of course, know this isn’t going happen.

There’s also the idea that depression isn’t normal, which, to be fair,  isn’t the norm. But to the sufferer, who has had depression creep up on them over a long time and take over most of the facilities, it does feel like their own version of normal. It’s normal to wake up dreading the day. It’s normal to spend the day with thoughts of despair. It’s normal to spend the night wishing you weren’t alive to feel this way. There is nothing to snap out of, this is The New Normal. For those that don’t suffer this is difficult to grasp, that you life can fundamentally change in a way and still seem superficially the same. What goes on in your head and body is different, even though we’re still similar in our routines and appearance.

View here: https://www.depressioncomix.com/posts/324/

 

depression comix #323

This was the last strip of 2016. Given the global mood it didn’t really warrant one of those positive feel happy strips but more of a grumble.  Not every year can be a good year, and sometimes we have to slog it out through the miserable ones. But the good news is we did make it another year, and I’m glad to be doing these comics, and I’m especially glad that people are still reading them.

This one was a tricky one to do because I didn’t want to be particularly hopeful with this one. Usually with these kinds of comics it’s appropriate to show some kind of optimism for the new year but I couldn’t do it. Instead, I chose a guarded optimism, a “well, at least we made it” message 2rather than “maybe next year will be better.” Because I’m, writing this in March, it’s easy to look back and see, yeah, any optimism would have been unfounded and naive.

I had to go back to the previous year’s strip and make sure that they are wearing the same thing in the drawing at the bottom, including the Gryffindor scarf (although they aren’t sharing it this time). Sometimes I forget about continuity and I drew Robin wearing a different scarf by mistake.

You can read the strip here: https://www.depressioncomix.com/posts/323/

depression comix #322

Uggh. Christmas. I’m fortunate enough to be in Japan so I don’t feel the Christmas pressure as I did in the past, but reading my feeds from friends and random people on the internet it hasn’t gone away in my absence. I made the mistake of going back to Canada in the winter about five years ago and never again. It’s a great source of stress for everyone involved and this strip only touches on it.

These strips are fun to draw and I’d rather be doing these than two person conversation strips which are the foundation of this comic. It’s also fun to draw characters that may only appear in one panel ever, for example, the aunt in the third panel is based on Voldemort and his embrace of Malfoy in the final Harry Potter movie. I also made sure to put in the ignorant dig at Robin’s orientation that a lot of people have to deal with during relative visiting season.

In depression comix, stress it seems, likes to come in boxes.

You can read the strip here: https://www.depressioncomix.com/posts/322/

depression comix #321

This is a strip I did back in August but I was never really happy with the art so I redid the panel. I think the sister reminded me too much like Melania Trump when I first drew the panel.

One thing I read about when people talk about suicide and depression is that how non-depressive people can’t understand how depressed people can’t understand that their deaths would have impact. The whole “suicide is selfish” reasoning is based on the idea that depressed people know that they are cared about and they know their deaths would hurt everyone around them. The reality, or at least for me, is that depressed people have lost this understanding. Many honestly don’t believe they are loved and that their departure would have any negative impact. They may even think it’s a good thing, that their deaths would actually help those around them. That’s why the “suicide is selfish” argument is wrong: selfish people hoard what they think is valuable; depressed people don’t believe that what they are taking away has any value.

This a reason why it should be treated as an illness. In many cases there is no rational reason to believe that one’s life is meaningless to those around them but when you’re sick, you cough, and you have as little control over that as you do thinking negatively when under depression’s influence.

I mentioned before that I like these two characters. A lot of depression comix is about unhealthy relationships, but it’s good to show how family support can help, because research shows that it does.

You can read the comic here: https://www.depressioncomix.com/posts/321/