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Comic 994 – “The Big D”

DAE_140715_994T_TheBigD

Errol: This is a super hard topic to talk about. We don’t want to make light of depression, but how do you discuss it well? It’s super risky for both of us to even bring this up. On one hand, we wanted to be honest. On the other hand, how does one display both sides? Especially since we want what’s best for both of us!

In the end, it’s not easy. There is no easy solution. That’s what makes it so hard.

Debs: There is a really great article online about happiness as a scary thing that I wish I could find. Whichever way you look at it though, it’s just crappy and difficult for everyone involved. I should totally be more eloquent, but yeah.

22 Responses to Comic 994 – “The Big D”

  1. This process *feels* crappy and difficult, I’m sure. Even for your readers and fans. But in art, in sharing, in honest communication like this, there is only goodness.

  2. Having been through ‘The Big D’, I can’t tell you how much I like that you guys are addressing this. It’s hard to talk about, which is why it hasn’t gotten that much attention I think. So to have you talk about it in comic is a big thing…and it’s AWESOME.

    Go D&E!! xo

  3. I KNOW THESE FEELS!

    Though I don’t find happiness scary, I find it remarkably exhausting and difficult as it requires a great incredible effort to invoke, and even then it’s short lived. Much like the effort made to be around people who *are* happy. Thus I end up seeking solitude for months at a time. Social situations just drain me.

  4. Got nothin’ but love and support for you guys.
    Thanks for being willing to talk about difficult things, because in the end it removes the stigma associated with those very things and make it easier for others to share more openly.

    I’ve never had depression (that I know of) but I HAVE struggled with anxiety, and the more I speak openly about these things the more whole I feel.

    Thanks again for being willing to be transparent like this.

    Peace,

    Steve

  5. I was having a discussion about this the other day, actually.

    There really needs to be more words for depression. There are too many varieties and none of them can be expressed with any clarity.

    “O, you’re sad? You should just get over it.”

    Nope. Nope nope nope.

    • I think we also need more open discussion about depression. Clarity in language would facilitate that for sure, but there is a fundamental misunderstanding about what depression and mental health is, how it affects us and how others can deal with that and better help us. So we aren’t being told to get over it, just be happy, try harder, keep a positive outlook. I always feel like those statements are not only misinformed but inadvertently dismiss our pain and suffering, as though we had a choice in just turning off our feelings. One of my current favourite quotes is from John Green: “That’s the thing about pain, it demands to be felt.” So yeah it helps to show an earnest and frank depiction about how it affects real life relationships.

      Debs and I have a lot in common, more than she probably wants to admit. So it’s weird that we both have had creative relationships with Errol, someone so fundamentally joyous and energetic. I always enjoy spending time with Errol and working with him on things, because he is a great counter balance to me and makes things entertaining, both for an audience and for those working with him. But it’s also incredibly exhausting to work with him sometimes. Each and every podcast episode leaves me both energetic because I am creating content and entertaining but exhausted because I am trying to keep up with Errol. And at the same time, both Debs and I bring Errol down because he needs a certain level of energy and excitement that we can’t provide. So you end up with periods where we all need time away.

      Though as I type this I think about his creative partnership with Manda who is a somewhat anxious person and Errol doesn’t help that. But she never seems all that exhausted by him and he seems to thrive from her presence. What I think is the key to the working relationship with Errol is that he challenges all three of us and we have to step up our game a little to meet him part way. This can be both motivating but also exhausting and I feel like that’s where this period of the band comes from. Just pure exhaustion on both sides of the situation.

      Either way I am grateful that they are willing to share this. I was partly aware of it as it happened and would hear from both of them. Though I wasn’t terribly involved as I was being selfish and dealing with my own problems. Still it’s nice to see that the real life events that inform the comic are not always just conversations Errol finds amusing, there are real issues as well (wrapped in a little metahumour for fun).

      Erm this stream of consciousness got away from me: tl;dr version…more depression understanding, Errol is challenging and exhausting and finds us downer folk equally exhausting.

      • “…finds us downer folk equally exhausting.”

        *laugh*

        There is a lot of talk about Depression, and that’s super awesome, but I also wanted to talk about it from the perspective of someone that cares for someone that is Depressed.

      • It’s true…Errol doesn’t actually exhaust me. As anxious as I get, as much as that anxiety is challenged, I have never, ever actually felt negatively drained when working with Errol. And I think it’s important to make that known.

        As much as Errol is known as “the draining one” (an image that he himself perpetuates), I honest to goodness enjoy his presence. I get energized by it. And after creative projects, even though I might feel nervous about how it went and even though I might feel tired, I ALWAYS get a huge creative buzz and the tiredness is a satisfied one and more from energy exerted than it is being overwhelmed. I enjoy sharing in the excitement. The only thing standing in my way is that I still get shy and a bit afraid to actually show that enthusiasm back. But I shouldn’t.

        I do though understand how Errol could be draining and overwhelming to other people. And…well, I can understand how he feels about this. Depression is incredibly difficult for both parties involved. and I’ve been in Errol’s position. I finally had to tell a friend that I needed some distance from her and that I was worried about her mental state. Her response was defensive and cruel (to be fair, I probably worded it poorly), and for weeks I felt guilty and terrible for not having enough patience after months of energy draining from her until someone finally reminded me that my own health was important too. (she is doing better now, though I keep more distance :D)

        I think it’s a testament to Debs’ strength that she is able to talk about it far more openly than my friend even though it does hurt to. And I hope others can learn from her and take comfort.

        and Jamez, don’t worry, it’s not selfish to focus on your own problems :D. It’s the healthier thing to do. I’ve been curious to see how you’ve been doing!

  6. Well I think the bigger picture is what both of you define as “happiness”. Whether one of you enjoys staying indoors or one of you enjoys going out. However Depression is something more people are dealing with these days. I’ve had my fair share of dealing with it. I could be surrounded by people and still be depressed even when things are good. It however does pass in a day or so.

    • Its good your depression passes quickly, but for some people, it is a long-term very-hard-to-climb wall that seems impossible.

      • I’ve been accused of being in a rut at times but then someone would come along and give me a kick in the pants to remind me that not everything was bad. Perhaps what I have isn’t Depression with the big D but just lesser degrees that takes more patience. For some people it is indeed a lifelong process with people checking in on you.

    • I’m not entirely sure you’re talking of ‘depression’ Moffatbooks. In my experience, it never ‘passes’ in a day or so. You could describe that as a mood swing or something of the sort, but depression doesn’t just ‘go away’. Which is why it’s such a problem when you try to express that you have depression and people tell you to just ‘get over it’. 🙂

  7. Also I realize that this isn’t necessarily the target audience but the title of this comic means something TOTALLY different elsewhere on the web, and you may be inviting some unfortunate comments. Just sayin’. 😉

  8. First of all, I’m kicking myself a little (metaphorically) for not realising Debs had any issues in that regard- though to be fair I’m not certain any more hints came my way with greater clarity than Errol claiming Debs was emo (which means next to nothing coming from him).

    Secondly, I echo the sentiments of others in admiration of your courage in actually discussing this- having a fairly dismal outlook on my own life, I know its often easier not to say anything- or at least it certainly has been for me down the years.

    Thirdly, while I don’t guarantee to be available anything like all the time- and while I might need to back off for a breather every now and then for the sake of my own mental wellbeing- if you need to talk with somebody, feel free to ask me.

      • On an intellectual level, I know that, but there’s a part of me that is paranoid that there must have been signs that I missed in that regard…

    • Debs doesn’t telegraph it like I do. 😉 But she doesn’t crave acceptance and attention like I do either.