Something I whipped up as an answer to a couple of angry bloggers who were complaining about depression imagery on Tumblr, as if romanticizing depression and suicide were somehow new things. The reality is, this has been going on for at least decades. There was the heavy metal and goth subculture in the 80s, the grunge and industrial subculture in the 90s… depression and suicidal imagery has always been a part of particular subcultures and part of its identity. So the trend continues, and I expect it will continue for longer still.
However, the alarming part to me is that there is something in these arguments that sounds elitist, and surprisingly hypocritical. I hope this comic points that out a little, because, you know, the people accused of romanticizing depression might just have it. And it’s not our place to judge them, they may be using the imagery to express themselves because when you have depression, it’s fucking hard to express it. But if somehow you identify with a picture of a box of cigarettes with a caption about self-harm, well, that’s okay. Let us know. Because when it comes right down to it, I’d rather people be open about it than feeling they have to be closed about it lest they be judged. If someone is feeling suicidal and doesn’t know how to express it, and we maintain an environment that judges you on how you express it, that person will probably not express it. And they may never get help. After all, I’d rather there be a million false positives for depression than one false negative where we lose someone because they were too ashamed to get help.
Anyways, the character talking in this comic should look familiar. That’s Goth Chick from Sunday Morning Coffee and eventually Sexy Losers, making her first appearance in depression comix.