DIARY :: September 6, 2017 :: Many Happy Returns

I am a little bit notorious among my friends for being weirdly private about certain things, despite being a real chatterbox about everything else. Probably the weirdest of these are a) my continuing depression and b) my crippling sadness. I say weird only in that I've made any number of comics about being depressed-- dealing with it/failing to deal with it et cetera--over the last 7 years. But if you were to ask me when the last time I had an even semi-frank conversation with a friend about how much daily pain I'm in, I would have to say that I can't even remember one. Occasionally, if I'm dating someone, I might make some reference to it, depending on how much that person wants to know about me; but I promise you there'll be a joke in there pretty quick and a subject change almost immediately after that.

Why is this the case? I don't know. When it comes up, or when a friend does the "no how are you REALLY" thing, in my mind I think "I don't want to think about this right now." Because all the time I'm NOT talking to that person, or some other person, it's probably ALL I'm thinking about. And it's unpleasant. It's like sitting in an uncomfortably warm and never relaxing--and always filthy--hot tub. Smelling the steam rising from your own sick body. Existing only in that cloud, a cloud no one else can possibly ever enjoy being a part of.

So in that moment, if pressed, I say "I don't want to talk about it." Because I don't. That doesn't mean I shouldn't talk about it. It doesn't mean that I don't know I should be talking about it. But in that moment, I am enjoying my moment of respite, of escape, and in order to think about it I'll have to lower myself into that shitty hot tub again.

Anyway. I thought hard before making and posting this incredibly depresso comic. But I know there are many other people like me out there, soaking in their own shitty tubs, and feeling increasingly alienated and unapproachable by the rest of humanity. We're social animals after all, right? We crave and require contact with other humans, and lacking that we wither into ourselves. If you're reading this and understand where I'm coming from, first of all I'm sorry. I'm sorry for both of us! But there are things that can be done, there are options available, there is a ladder out of the hot tub. You'll still be soaking wet and covered in the grossest water ever, but you can't stay in there all the time. We both can work harder to get out of these circumstances, we don't have to just throw up our hands and let inertia carry us along until we finally stop moving. I don't know what the answer is, but staying there in that World's Worst Jacuzzi isn't it. If you ever need to reach out to someone, my email is over there in the sidebar. I would love to help if I can, and if I can't I'll at least listen. Let's take care of ourselves. I'm 43 now, I guess it's time to start.

:: Comment

Kyle T Webster said:

I know how it feels to be depressed – it’s the worst – the biggest, heaviest wet blanket covering everything in your world. I don’t know if you have tried cognitive behavioral therapy, but I went all in with that method and it essentially ‘fixed’ the whole situation – no kidding. I am a big fan. You are loved and admired, my friend! Call any time.

Tereza Snyder said:

I just keep circling the same track. After a brief elevation, it spirals down again.

Don Cheadle said:

Hey Dustin,

I just discovered your site over the sadcomics subreddit, and I have to say I’m a fan!
What do you think stops you (or any of us, really) to reach an equilibrium we have chosen?

Also the adjoining text is very poignant, there are some friends I discuss my problems openly with and others, whom I may be even closer to, with whom I don’t. It’s weird isn’t it?

Reading the text reminded me a bit of this comic. http://www.akimbocomics.com/?p=709

Heather Hill said:

This has been me on and off for years. It totally blows, and it took me accidentally T-boning a SUV with kids inside before I recognized that i couldn’t be dulled and unfocused all the time. (Everybody was fine).
CBT is definitely a great tool. For me, drugs also worked. They haven’t dulled my creativity at all, and they let me function and help keep the leaden feeling in my limbs at bay, and thoughts like “well, I’ll be dead at some point, and then everything will be better” from intruding.
I know you don’t want to talk about it, and I know you know you need to, so there’s not much to say except that yes, it can be better. I hope you find your way through.

Art Roche said:

Boy, I really related to this post. Thanks. I’ve had good friends that I did confide in, but after a while they’d pull away. So I’d stop talking to them about whats inside me, because I didn’t want to be that bummer friend they hate to see coming down the street. Who wants to be that guy? I haven’t tried CBT with any real focus, but one thing that’s shown some promise is actually hormone therapy. You’d be surprised at how our bodies can trick us into depression when some hormone or vitamin is way out of whack.

Adam DeCamp said:

I think you’re on the right track here. And I think recognizing that “not wanting to talk about it” is self-defeating, is crucial. It can hurt to speak about it, and there’s no instant feeling of relief, but in the long term it’s like lighting a candle in a very long night. It’s something to come back to—something that makes the things that come at me in the dark real and tangible.

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