[This was originally published on the wordpress.com mirror and is fairly old. I will update this with new comics. Also be warned that some of the links may take you to comics that are triggering.]
Thank you for visiting depression comix.
If you are a person who either suffers from or suspects they suffer from depression, you may find a lot here that relates to you. However, you are not alone. Many people suffer, and they suffer quietly, but that doesn’t mean you have to suffer by themselves. You are among friends here, and my e mail is always open to you.
If you are a person who was sent here because a sufferer asked you to read this, first, I have to say that I am not an authority on the subject, though I do have first-hand experience so-to-speak. Many of these comics were done because of me trying to understand this disease: why is it that although I have a perfectly normal life my brain is trying to tell me that I am worthless and deserve to die? The person who sent you here may have very similar feelings, and they asked you to look here because they want you to understand. They want your help. This is a good thing, so please keep that in mind.
There are also some other points that need to be made, and I have linked to comics that may help illustrate the point.
1) Please don’t take someone else’s depression personally. Depression is not necessarily a sign of bad parenting, of terrible friendships, or one single event. The causes of depression are many, and some have a biological origin that have nothing to do with any particular events in their life: they are just biologically predisposed to depression. Also, sometimes they say something that hurts you personally, please understand that is the depression talking for them. This isn’t meant to diminish their personal responsibility for what they say, but to suggest you take what is said not to heart.
2) There is a difference between sadness and depression. Sadness is generally caused by external factors such as grief, failure, and loss and people who are sad know why they are sad. On the other hand, people who are depressed usually don’t understand why they feel sadness. On the outside, it may appear to be a simple sadness or melancholy but below the surface there’s much more going on.
3) People who are depressed are generally very sensitive to feelings of guilt and shame and their depression will likely amplify it. Blaming the sufferer for their own depression will only make things much worse for not only the sufferer (who already carries their self-imposed guilt with them on a daily basis), but make it clear you don’t understand, making it more difficult for the two of you to communicate later. Giving advice that implies fault doesn’t help either. Saying “you just need to exercise more” or “eat better” tells the sufferer that you think the depression is because of their own personal weaknesses and completely their fault.
4) Depression isn’t a choice. It’s a terrible thing to have, and no one would choose to have it. However, it’s self-perpetuating, and once a person has it, it may be very difficult for them to seek help. It may seem like a conscious choice at that point, but once depression settles in, it rewires thinking patterns to ensure it isn’t evicted easily.
5) Depression can be fatal. Please read that again. And again. Suicide is not to be taken lightly, and depression is a major cause of it. You may think people die of suicide, but that merely states the how and not the why. It’s much more accurate to think that people die of depression-induced suicide. So please, please, please do not take a person’s depression lightly.
6) You need support too. Having someone in your life with depression is not easy. If you think you may need counseling to help with the additional stress, do it. You may not have the actual depression yourself, but you need help too.
So what can you do? Just listen with an open, non-judgmental mind. Doing this helps immensely. This is good advice for life in general but it especially applies here. You will not be able to cure depression, but you can help create an environment where getting help is a viable option.