Last week I ran across an article about a man who pulled another person away from a train that they were going to jump in front of. In that article the author writes a letter to that person he “saved” about how he understands, how things look bad now but will get better and all the other well-meaning but potentially patronizing stuff people say to depressed folk.
On one hand it’s understandable that you want to help. But the thing most people who say these things fail to realize is that the person they are talking to may not hear it the way it’s intended. Depression does that. It makes you feel alone, it makes you feel that no one understands, and it makes you feel that everything is mere lip-service. It also makes you a lot less likely to open up to people and talk to them, especially about things that make you feel shame like depression does. Add to that a possible past history of bad experiences opening up, and you know this may not work.
I did this comic about what these phrases might sound like to a depressed person. Depression will filter what is being said so that it’s negative. But this isn’t something that the depressed person does on purpose, it’s a symptom, it can’t be helped, and it’s incredibly difficult to overcome.
When I posted it a number of people saw it as an attack on offers of help. It wasn’t intended to be that way, although it can be seen as that depending on your point of view. Some others were frustrated because they honestly want to help and felt that the depressed person wasn’t trying, as if they wanted to be isolated and suspicious.
The good thing is that this comic sparked enough discussion that it’ll inspire future strips that will narrow down the issue.
I really like drawing this character and I really enjoyed drawing the facial expressions.