This one is how I’ve been feeling for a long time, and it was hard to find the best way to express it in four panels. I did have a lot of friends, and lost them all as I turned inward. Depression makes you lose your friends in a number of ways, many illustrated in previous strips. But when you’re recovering, you find some things are broken. One of those things is making friends. It’s a lot harder to get and keep friends than it used to be. Depression damages those social links and soon we get accustomed to living without them, loneliness and isolation becomes our default environment. We learn to live there. This makes making friends so difficult because the necessity doesn’t seem so clear to us. Why deal with all the inconveniences of friendship when loneliness is so much easier? Why listen to someone’s idiosyncrasies when we could have the predictable comfort of being alone? But that’s only one side of the coin. The other side is that we have to open up again, and that’s a frightening thing to do. It lets our fears and failings creep to the surface, makes us gamble with our self-esteem and opens us up to possible rejection.
Obviously it’s better to have friends and I can understand this on a logical level. But emotionally, something is broken.
As a further punishment to myself I illustrated in the first panel some of the friends I lost over years to depression. Sometimes I have to be 100% honest or none of this works.
This was the first strip published when I switched the paper I use. I hope an improvement in art follows too.