One thing that I find incredibly unique to the society and the world we live in is the access to media outlets and information. If you compare this to the late 1990’s and early 2000’s things were not quite as mainstream and sticking your face into something besides your phone (such as a book) was a lot more common. Today, I can journalize about mental health during a pandemic and relate it to the philosophy of comic books through an introduction about the unique mainstream media outlets of the twenty-first century.
It pans out almost like a cliched, run-of-the-mill, sappy tale with a happy ending, especially when I write and share it on the internet. Almost a decade ago, I had my first brush with the real-life infamous villain called “Depression.” I couldn’t cognize its presence initially and when I began to, it started scraping and spooking me in wacky ways every new time. It swiftly pervaded most spheres of my life, quite similarly to a virus, caused havoc and did damage – all without me even registering it. Over the years, our encounters became more frequent and our contests got so intense to the point where now when it didn’t visit me for a while, I’d start missing it!? Sounds like a case of Stockholm Syndrome, and perhaps it was. Anyway, then the plot took a turn, and there came the hero of the saga- the green-and-white-coloured pills, the prince charming on a horse, and a deep, spiritual healing from the heavens- all one after the other, sweeping me off my feet, pumping life and ecstasy into me. My story has a happy ending and I can hardly believe it. For someone who was a reclusive, faithless pessimist about her life circumstances, I surely saw somewhat of a miracle when I found happiness after about eight long years.
I have spent my entire life fighting with anxiety, depression and PTSD. One thing I have discovered, most people do not understand what it is like to live your life behind a mask. Those of us who suffer on a daily basis with mental health issues must wear a mask every single day. We must pretend to be wired the same as the rest of the world in order to succeed in a world that was not designed for us. I am writing a series of short stories illustrating what life is like for me in the hopes that someone benefits from understanding what life is like with mental illness.
I once read about a young girl who told her parents she needed to go to a doctor because she heard what she thought to be an unsettling voice in her head. She thought something was wrong and that all that noise couldn’t be normal. Turns out she was hearing her own thoughts and that it was simply her own brain that had felt foreign to her.
Depression, it's commonly known as the feeling of constant sadness. This is true. However, there is more to it than just sadness. At least for me there is. Some people can agree to this as well. Sometimes it can be hard to tell if someone you love is depressed because they really don't let it show. Depression for me is a roller coaster. One minute I can be the happiest girl in the world, and then...at the snap of a finger, at the drop of a pen, it's all gone. I get these thoughts in my head, someone of you might get them too. You know, the ones that tell you that you are worthless even when you do everything in your power to make everyone around you feel good even at the expense of your own happiness. Or how about the ones that tell you that everyone, including the ones who need you the most, would be better off without you. Yeah, those thoughts, along with so many more. Depression can be hard to explain to people who don't understand. But I'm going to give it a shot here because sometimes when I talk about it, it relieves some of the dread I constantly feel. It's a subject that is very delicate but also super important to talk about.
I heard an interesting theory while listening to a comedy podcast earlier and still not sure if they are right or not. They said that the man in the couple is anxious, worries all phone calls are bad news and that all conversations are the same. The wife is organised to a point but lets things happen and deals as she goes along. What they said was not only is he dealing with the pandemic and lockdown better but that she heard that this is true in many more cases.
So, this is a topic that I've heard we're all apparently 'sick of hearing about', but I don't think we talk about it enough. Depression comes in a variety of different forms to different people, sometimes based off their own individual life experiences, sometimes due to a genetic chemical imbalance in the brain.
A few months ago, I was invited by a friend of mine to join a private support group for men. So basically, it is a group that meets weekly and is a place for men to share any goals, issues, difficulties they have in any aspect of their life, and to get support and honest feedback from the others that are there.