Published November 12, 2016 38 Comments
Moira Shepherd says
November 12, 2016 at 7:35 am
I feel this one. It’s hard to explain that you have a baseline of suffering/inconvenience and you just kind of get used to it.
Dana W says
November 12, 2016 at 7:45 am
Been going through this since Tuesday. My world has collapsed and I’m a known depressive. So if I even open my mouth I get threatened with a 72 hour hold. I feel like I can’t talk to anyone now.
November 13, 2016 at 12:20 am
I’m feeling the same way. But I’m going to fight it.
Tom W. Trbuza says
The reason I dont tell anybody how I am feeling. I always have to make them feel better
Chrissie Noriega says
November 12, 2016 at 7:48 am
Same. Though I have a couple of friends who understand and will listen without judgment. Its so refreshing to tell some you want to die and they don’t make it about them.
Susan Haas says
November 12, 2016 at 7:54 am
And they always want to take away whatever bodily autonomy you have left.
November 12, 2016 at 7:55 am
Lucky you. All my friends just start acting like this, and my family acts worse and wants to comit me. Has made me retreat into myself and just hope everything turns out fine
Bryce Maryott says
November 12, 2016 at 8:05 am
Most people don’t have a CLUE on how to react when this kind of thing comes up.
Winter Arcane says
All the freaking time.
Harmony Richardson says
November 12, 2016 at 10:24 am
I’ve honestly been on both sides
November 12, 2016 at 11:43 am
It’s rare that we can find someone who will not react this way, one who will listen without flinching because they know it’s about pain, not about wanting to die. And it’s even more rare when they understand that it’s a daily struggle that may be with us for the rest of our lives. They are special people, indeed.
November 12, 2016 at 12:31 pm
This is probably why I hid my illness for so long. There are only three people that I will talk with honestly about my problems with suicide ideation. Only one of the three is a family member.
Tempo Manu Finland says
November 12, 2016 at 1:48 pm
This happens when depressed person refuses to get help. When ever one must lie, it is hint of too big issue to handle alone. At least in this case
November 12, 2016 at 10:52 pm
The only response to this is, “Your post demonstrates that you really don’t get it.”
November 13, 2016 at 5:01 am
You have never undergone the indignity and sadism of the “locked ward” I can tell. May who have would rather die than go back.
Azure Jane Lunatic? (@azurelunatic) says
November 13, 2016 at 5:24 am
It’s good when that help is actually available (there are appointments available, it’s affordable, the appointments are at a time that works with the job) and the method of getting that help does not involve so much labor or so many unknown factors that it seems simpler and safer to just do what has always worked in the past.
I agree that at this point that help is needed. I disagree that “depressed person refuses to get help” is the thing to blame.
Esmerelda Bohème says
November 13, 2016 at 5:48 am
Aw no. The overreaction. *sigh* When you have to comfort others instead… been there.
Geneva Rose Neuman says
November 13, 2016 at 11:48 am
This is one of the reasons we need more education around mental illness. People like this are well meaning, and usually genuinely do want to know how to help, but when it comes down to acting on it they panic. I feel if we were taught more in school/daily life, there would be less of just a sheer panic reaction, and a more useful interaction would occur.
November 15, 2016 at 1:53 am
I keep that locked phony smile for these people and PROMISE that I’ll hang on like I said. They LOVE that smile, its what they want to believe more than the truth. They eat it up, and go away relieved.
How long can you go before that phony smile crumbles away and the promises don’t mean anything anymore? I finally gave into meds, I hate it. Its like a constantly low grade case of the flu. Thanks to the magic of Seroquel, I sleep all the time, and spend half my day I am awake an indifferent blob. The very few things I did enjoy seem like too much effort now. This isn’t a cure, this awful. And no end in sight.
November 15, 2016 at 2:56 am
Okay… I see lots of people saying things about how much this hurts when they have to be the one comforting the depressed or how so many people respond like this. I read this comic to better understand one of my friends and my sister. Should this ever come up… what should I do? What is the ‘proper’ way to handle this without overwhelming them and making them feel worse than they already feel?
November 15, 2016 at 5:50 am
1) Remember that when a depressed person says “they wish they were dead” and things like that for many this is their normal baseline, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are suicidal.
2) The best thing to do is ask if they want to talk. If they don’t want to, don’t force it. Don’t make it about youself: “I’m worried” “I’m scared”, it just makes it less likely they will open up to you later.
3) Listen more than you talk. Maybe they just need to feel safe to open up. But the more you talk, the more they feel lectured and feel like opening up was a mistake. And also the more you talk, the more likely you will say something triggering or start their panic buttons.
4) Never make them feel like they have to make YOU feel better. If they feel like they have to apologize or comfort you, they will think twice before opening up again.
I hope this helps, and if anyone else has any suggestions or corrections, please write them here.
November 15, 2016 at 7:11 am
From this week, do NOT threaten them with psychiatric holds because YOU feel scared. I’m now afraid of anybody who even looks like they want to CALL THE POLICE, my “supportive” friends they used this as a strong arm to bully me into making THEM feel safe and now I can’t talk to anyone.
Also don’t tell them, don’t tell them “DON’T TALK LIKE THAT” it won’t help, they are not doing it because they WANT to. In my case anyway, it feels like vomiting, you just keep sicking up more horrible till it stops. Its about a volitional as vomiting as well. When I’m told “Stop talking like that” I just look at them and say “Don’t you think I want to?”
November 16, 2016 at 3:21 am
Thank you, both of you. I’ve got these copied over onto a sticky note on my phone now.
November 15, 2016 at 10:56 am
I get so fucking nervous when people actually take me seriously. Like, get desperate and stuff. Two days later I feel stupid for being suicidal and feel bad for them as if I was “faking it”. But then I’m suicidal again. Then I attempt. And EVEN when I attempt I still feel like it was no big deal and that I was, again, “faking it”. Geez,,,
November 16, 2016 at 12:38 am
Although I thought about killing myself every day for years, I never wanted to die so much as I found living with my depression intolerable, and didn’t have a better alternative. Fortunately I was given an antidepressant that worked well enough to stave off the worst of it, so I started getting a little satisfaction out of living again.
Juil Yoon says
November 26, 2016 at 7:30 am
What are you supposed to do if the person goes as far as to send a picture of the handful of pills they are threatening to take?
November 26, 2016 at 7:40 am
If they are going that far, they are trying to manipulate you. This isn’t the place for advice, but I believe you’re in a very toxic situation.
November 27, 2016 at 1:43 am
I understand that. I am already out of this particular situation.
I’ve read your advice in other comments, but I don’t know if there was anything else I could have done in my situation.
November 27, 2016 at 7:59 am
There is a difference between being in a relationship with a depressed person where that person is seeking help and is trying to become better, and a being in a relationship where their illness and their lives are being used as leverage to get you to do whatever you want.
You have a personal responsibility to keep yourself out of harm and no one can fault you for what you did.
January 24, 2017 at 2:14 pm
I generally really like your stuff but this one kinda bothers me.
I’ve been chronically suicidal for at least fifteen years, acutely off and on before that. My brain always says “yes, death, good” when i am faced with pain, fear, stress or emptiness. I’m diagnosed with some things and in treatment for them, and i was recently hospitalized.
The NT people in my life do not understand this, and they become concerned when i express suicidal thoughts. THEY SHOULD. Suicidality should always be taken seriously. You should err on the side of lifesaving. Ideally they’ll react calmly (“I’m concerned; do you need immediate help?”) but it’s a scary prospect and sometimes that will come out as “DO YOU NEED ME TO CALL 911??” and that sucks but it comes from a place of misguided concern.
Also, NT people do not understand emotional labor in the same way people with mental illness do. A hug and a pat and a comforting word are not draining to them. As a result, they don’t know how draining it can be for you, with your depression/other mental illness, to comfort them. All they know is “i am afraid, oh thank god it was a false alarm let’s hug it out.” in my experience they may not even know that you’re comforting them, and that that takes energy in a time when *you* need comfort and support, because, again, they don’t understand emotional labor in the same way.
And no one can read your mind, they don’t know that you’re lying when you say “i was exaggerating”. So what you’re doing is lying to someone who does not understand your truth (that you are in significant pain but you’re not an acute risk that requires immediate medical attention) and then being upset when they believe you. Which isn’t very fair.
Trust me, I know how tiring these things are to deal with. But most people do not have the information or frame of reference we have when they are faced with these feelings. sometimes i even find myself in panic “LEt’S GET AN AMBULANCE” mode when another one of my MI friends says or does concerning things. The possibility of losing people we love is scary. I feel like this comic leans heavily on the idea that that fear is entirely selfish, and that just made me a bit uncomfortable.
clay jonathan says
January 24, 2017 at 2:47 pm
Not everybody reacts like the person in the comic. But overreacting, getting the other person to stop talking about their problems and focusing on how they felt is not a good thing to do. It’s okay to be afraid, but the character in this comic uses his fear to shut down his girlfriend. And his girlfriend who probably wanted to talk will now think twice about talking in the future. In a four panel comic, I can’t illustrate all possible scenarios but I did want to illustrate this particular one because it is toxic and one of the reasons I keep my depression very private and myself very anonymous.
January 25, 2017 at 12:35 am
I still think you were spot on Clay. I’ve been in this scenario 100 times. Where you have to lock it up and lock it away to save the feelings of the people who care about you.
May 2, 2017 at 11:23 pm
I have that issue too. They aren’t thoughts I feel I can express out loud even in terms of talking to my therapist or my psychiatrist much less my friends and family. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about suicide…I have a plan…I always have a plan, it’s a comfort for me…but I’m not currently in danger of acting on my thoughts. Every time I say something at an appointment I feel I have to deescalate the situation…I understand where my MH professionals are coming from, they want to keep me safe, but I’m not at the point where I need to be in the hospital again. The bad thing though is that when I am at that point I never say a damn thing.
Caroline Buttbutt says
February 19, 2017 at 7:47 am
March 5, 2017 at 5:07 am
So true… i just feel like i can’t tell anybody
Natalia Villablanca Kozuhar says
March 16, 2017 at 12:23 pm
This is one of the reasons I shut people out and disappear for weeks or even months at a time, because I can’t talk to my friends and family about what it’s like being depressed if I did I just know I would freak them out and either they would be the ones bailing on me or start treating me like a live grenade about to explode and pretending to be fine all of the time takes up to much energy.
Sometimes the bear says
March 27, 2017 at 6:32 am
I’ve never found it feasible to tell anyone, including the shrink, “I wake up thinking about killing myself _every day_, but I can manage it and won’t do anything.” How do you explain to them that this is an _improvement_? I’ve learned to live with faking it, but damn it’s yet another drain.
October 28, 2017 at 9:42 am
I have friends that mean well. When I say things like, “Ugh, I wish I were dead” or “Somebody shoot me already”, they panic and try to send me to the school counselor without me knowing. Now with a new high school and a counselor I haven’t even met yet, it scares me to death and I always am worried something’s going to go wrong. I’ve only found a few people who don’t react this way, and half of them suffer the same battles as me, and a few just understand that my morbid “humour”, for lack of a better term, is the thing keeping me going, and I don’t often mean that I plan to kill myself. It’s frustrating to deal with the other friends, but I get it. Most of them don’t deal with depression and are really unfamiliar with the topic.
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