depression comix #297

Recent Wren strips have shown her to be almost unnaturally understanding of the hoops Robin puts her through, but I thought it would be important to show that Wren is still a human being who does have chips in her armor.

Wren’s position in the strip was suggested to me by my friend Umi who recommended instead of only showing the negativity within relationships with depressed people that I have a kind of role model, someone who can show what a positive relationship can look like. Unfortunately I think I erred too much, because such people are actually quite rare.

So what I wanted to see was a Wren who was supportive but still acknowledges her own feelings. The actions of depressed people can sometimes hurt us unintentionally, even when we understand on some rational level that it is not the person but the illness. That knowledge does nothing for the pain, however.

I hope that now Wren will become a better model, as it is important to be supportive yet still acknowledging your own pain. The support sometimes needs support too. This isn’t to detract from the suffering of the depressed individual, but understand that people who support and give care to sufferers need a hand too. It ain’t easy.

On the art side, it’s really difficult to make these self-narrative strips interesting. I do try to stop this strip from being a series of talking heads and I need to try for more variation in the camera angles used.

To see the strip, please click here:


    Wren has consistently been an interesting and enjoyable character. There have been a couple of strips in the past have touched on how difficult a relationship can be when the other person has any type of mental illness. Of course, it is easy for the person in the support role to put up a front (insert smile card here) when they are around the person they are helping. I see this in Wren, she never tells Robin about her own frustrations and difficulties in dealing with their relationship. While I have enjoyed seeing an ideal role model of support for a suffering person, I agree that showing her own struggles in the relationship adds depth to the character and makes her a more complete. In my own life, the people around me have a wide range of understanding and supportiveness. My wife doesn’t want to talk about it, and gets upset with me if I bring it up, even to tell here that I am having a good day. I can’t really blame her, she was raised in a culture where, as she has put it, “We don’t talk about these things where I’m from, even within the family.” She has refused to even consider attending a support group with me or get information on dealing with family members who have mental illness. On the positive side, we have been married for 19 years and she has not left me in spite of how difficult I am to put up with. My younger brother has been incredibly patient and supportive. We regularly email and text each other and he will listen to me vent without passing judgement on me. With my father and my older brother, I am careful to never mention anything about my illness around them. I have enjoyed the art work in your strips this year. I think you do self-narrative strips quite well. The details of facial expressions and body language makes it easy to relate to your characters. While using more variation in the camera angles used gives an added dimension to the strip, The “series of talking heads” is something that I do not find distracting or awkward visually. Your artwork is always pleasing to the eye, and your insights expressed through the characters is always interesting. I know I have said it a few times, but thank you for the work you are putting into this strip. Your dedication and attention always shows in the finished strips.

    FML | 2 years ago Reply

      I'm very similar, I think. I don't tell anyone. There's no one in my own life like Wren. Physically she's based on a girl who was my first kiss, but the character is really no one I know. That makes writing for her challenging, because I really don't know anyone like her. Thank you for the kind word about the art. There are many better artists out there and I don't have time to practice so I'm grateful for the kind words.

      clay | 2 years ago Reply

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