This year I found myself envying birds, for obvious reasons.
Although technology has allowed the human to fly farther and faster than any dumb bird, they still remain my symbol of stupid freedom.
Birds are seen as free because their wings allow them to escape from the present the moment their tiny bird heart craves it.
Unlike the bird I made up, I spent most of last year unable to escape my environment.
Somehow, midway through the summer, I did escape, and I escaped to Canada.
Escaping to Canada is a sort of joke in America, something you threaten to do when taxes are raised or a non-white man is elected president. No one really means it, but, as idiots are prone to do, I took satirical language at face value and moved to The Great, White North.
I started school at a new college, moved into a closet, and got a job at a local sandwich shoppe with all the other immigrants.
I learned more about international relations in six months at that sandwich shoppe than I did in eighteen years of government-funded education.
I genuinely feel workmanly-affection for a solid 90% of my coworkers, and truly care and admire several of them, but minimum wage work is rarely rewarding, and I spent most of my days wishing I was anywhere but the present.
It was sobering to realize that escaping did nothing to increase my sense of freedom. Realizing my mental state could deteriorate regardless of my environment, I lost the last of my hope, and descended into a very dark place.
This state, whose name I feel comfortable saying only now that I have exited it, is depression.
It is a mental state I think is impossible to fully understand when you’re outside of it. Even now, having only spent a week out of this brainspace, I can recall it only in muted memory.
I spent a year trying to exit this state naturally. I read a dozen books promoting meditation, zen, diet, and exercise as cures. All these things had some temporary effect, but as the days melted into one another it soon became very clear that this was something I could not escape through effort alone.
I don’t know why it was so hard for me to accept that.
I swallowed my pride in the form of a pill.
So glad you are here with us. There are lots of us out here who know what you have been and are going through. You are not alone. Thank you for being brave and writing about depression. We need your voice. -Nancy
You’re welcome! When I was crawling out of the hole I swore I would never tell anyone any details- even my therapist, But four years later I’ve written two books and go around sharing my story to audiences wherever they’ll have me!! Go figure 🙂 It’s a tough topic because some people will never get it, but the hurting people I am privileged to share with respond with big thank yous. Depression is the number one commonality in all human suffering; we just need to talk about it. Anyway, so glad you feel better now.
Welcome back. You’re not alone.
Yeah, I feel that shame all the time, like this black beast is my fault. I shouldn’t, but there you have it. I’m glad you’re back with us now though. I’ve missed your comics!
I am glad to see you posting. I was wondering if you were OK. You are fighting a battle, that is not shameful.
“It is a mental state I think is impossible to fully understand when you’re outside of it. Even now, having only spent a week out of this brainspace, I can recall it only in muted memory.”
Glad you made your way out of it. Swallowing pride is a huge part of recovery, whether one takes a pill to help the brain, or if one goes through grief counseling to face the pain. Love your illustrations too!