Three hundred strips. In most cases, it would be cause for celebration, but this isn’t really a comic about celebration.
I started this comic in September of 2011. Since then, I’ve completed those three hundred strips, but another number echoes in my head as well.
Not five years, although I’m approaching that. But that’s the number of readers that I know about who are no longer with us due to severe depression. Of course, this is not something I know of directly, but from E-mails from their family members and significant others who have told me. Compared to the tens of thousands who die annually from depression it’s a small fraction but it’s still an important number to me.
I receive a number of E-mails and messages from people who are on the edge and looking to die. I do my best to help them, but I know from personal experience there isn’t much I can say. I know when I was in that place there wasn’t anything anybody could say that didn’t sound contrived and condescending, or so blatantly wrong according to the view of the world depression had given me, so I accept that whatever I say will be framed similarly. I do my best and hope that they won’t end it, but I know the grip depression has on people, and I hope that it’s just loose enough to make it through the night. I think I’ve saved a few people, but the problem is there will be another 4am for them and I might not be there to listen. Sadly, saving people from depression sometimes is sometimes only too temporary.
So, as I look at that three hundred, I also want to remember the five. I’m so sorry you are not here.
And for those of you still here, I want to hug you all and thank you for toughing it out with me. For those who had a close scrape with the end I want to hug you even tighter because I remember full well how chilling those nights were and they still scare me sometimes. But we’re here.
And for those of you who support me doing this instead of making stupid joke comics because this is the only thing I’m capable of right now, drawing the things that haunt my mind and giving them life on the page. Thank you. You keep me drawing these demons out, in more ways than one.
As for what’s in the future for the comic, I don’t know. It would be nice to see these in print, but I’m no self-publisher so it’s not something I have that much control over. But I’ll still be doing these, and remembering the five who won’t be reading them.
How I wish, how I wish you were here.
Because we’re just two lost souls swimming in a fishbowl
Year after year
Running over the same old ground
What have we found?
The same old fear.
Wish you were here.
— from “Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd, lyrics by Roger Waters