1512 Mini Driver.

He means well… He’s just having some complex emotions and urges he’s unfamiliar with.

I’ve talked more readers out of suicide than I care to talk about. I don’t really talk about it with anyone. In fact this may be the first time I’ve ever said anything about it. I’ve made myself available in practically every way you can. It’s so easy to message me. I respond as often as I can. I guess maybe it’s just mathematically assured that if you avail yourself like that eventually you’re going to be someone’s last hope; the one they reach out to when they don’t know what to do anymore. I’m not trained in any way for this. I play it by ear and muddle through as best I can. It seems really sad that I should ever be someone’s last resort though. Sometimes we hide our pain so well the people closest to us can’t see it. Sometimes they ignore it willfully. I know there are readers I wasn’t able to help. Accounts on my followers lists that just stopped posting after they reached out. I can’t force people to get the help they need. I just try to convinced them that it’s okay to ask for it. But I know I’ve failed at least once. It is very hard to reconcile that sometimes. You guys aren’t abstractions to me. When you connect with me I’m aware in a very real way that you ARE. It makes my head swim sometimes. I can understand how the pressure of being really famous in some way. People know you and you can only know a part of them; this tiny speck of everything they are. If you aren’t a monster you want to help them, but no one person can be the salvation for hundreds of others, let alone millions. But I would if I could.
Strangely enough I only know of one celebrity that’s ever talked about this: Eminem. He has a song that’s a one sided conversation with a fan that he responds to after it’s too late. I’m not trying to compare myself to him as far as popularity is concerned. But I’ve always thought the fact that he sat down and thought it all out spoke to the true nature of his character.
I really wish I could talk about this with other comic creators. I can’t be the only one who’s gone though this right?

Guys, seriously, if you ever feel like you’re too depressed to go on please reach out to someone. Even if that someone has to be a person as ill prepared as me. I don’t want to have more silent accounts following me than I already do.

40 Comments

You’re an amazing person, Jackie.

I don’t feel very amazing, but self diagnosis isn’t my strong suit. X3

Well, then, here is a third opinion: you’re an amazing person.

For what its worth, feeling amazing doesn’t seem to be correlated with being amazing.

My brother killed himself, and you’re so right that they don’t look for help from those around them. He wasn’t the kind of person who’d be on a webcomic’s comment page, but for all those who love the people that are here and have reached out to you, thank you so much.

Yes, amazing. Maybe other webcomic writers have done this, but I haven’t read any of them talking about it.

Maybe it’s that, for all the excellent webcomics out there, yours has way more heart than most. Maybe it’s that you talk about your real self in the comments rather than just blogging your news.

Anyway, there aren’t a lot of people in the world who can know they’ve done a concrete action that definitely saved a life. I wish I could say “Welcome to the club” but I’m not in it myself.

Of the things that make life meaningful, saving others’ lives has got to be pretty high on the list. I admire you.

This is why Reggie has become one of my favorite character of this comic
Is he good? More like a neutral chaotic
Does he has any cool skill? If you count destruction, sure.
Whatever you want to think or say about him you cant say he isnt honest
And that is something I will always appreciatw, in fiction or real life.

Wow. You just kind of blew my mind. I’m glad you are at least available to help those who need it. Others might just blow them off. You are a good person.

One thing a lot of folks may not realize is that medicare covers mental health. So, if you’re on obamacare in a state that doesn’t suck, you have options for good treatment.

I’ve used a suicide hotline before, when I was in a bad place in more ways than one. (800) 273-8255 I just needed someone to talk me through, to help me get my feet under me. And they did that. Things got better when I reached out to a lot of others though. People who could help me change my situation.

I’ve also talked people back to sanity a few times myself. It’s never easy, you have to listen hard and really put yourself out there… and know that you can’t win all the fights, you’re just coaching from the sidelines. Sometimes, people need just a little perspective to see how to solve a problem… or see themselves and their situation in a new light. Other times, a little cheering section can help motivate them when they feel utterly defeated.

The night I called the suicide hotline was not the end, and it didn’t fix anything… but things did start to improve after I told someone else. I did have a suicide attempt that week. But I didn’t… because I knew it would ruin someone’s… gods, day? Month? Year? But I’d already started to reach out, and things did change, and it wasn’t fast enough to stop me… Would it have been better to reach out sooner? How can you tell how close you are to your pain being a bigger problem than the mess you’d make? I did what I could, and I’m alive, in a better place.

And I got my meds changed. Some of my problem was a bad reaction to my antidepressant. I haven’t had that with any of the others I’ve been on.

I hope this helps somebody. I think we don’t talk about this shit enough as a people. And if you don’t have anything to compare your problems to… they’re a bitch to solve. Like carrying buckets of water to fill a tub instead of fixing the plumbing. Finding the right people to ask to find that out though… to find out there’s an easier way that won’t eventually grind you into dust… some of us don’t make it long enough to find that. But if we share our resources and help each other… maybe those who can be helped can be helped. And we can learn to help more.

Depression is, by definition, a rather self-absorbed emotion. Usually, a good way to help someone suffering from depression is to get them to think about others: reaching out, helping, getting involved, volunteering, etc., which is, of course, the very last thing they feel like doing. At least it’s worked for me.

It’s always a mixed bag when I read your commentaries, and I’m never quite sure what to expect, but this one was truly surprising. Partially that people who have nowhere else to turn would pick an artist who regularly bemoans ordinary existence and both in and out of his work sometimes muses on the point of continuing it at all.
But that you would stop to help a stranger, many of whom I doubt are anything but a username and who certainly have little to nothing to offer you in return, is a trait I don’t think many people can honestly claim to have. You’re of a rare cloth, Mr. Wohlenhaus.

I expect they think I’ll actually understand depression in a way that most people don’t. When you try to approach someone who has never been truly, pathologically, depressed they have a tendency to tell you to stop being a pussy. That’s a remarkably unhelpful tone to start a serious conversation about depression with.

It is both a blessing and a curse to have a heart, Jackie. It is the ones who feel they have so little in their life that give everything in their being to help people find happiness again. We know how dark sadness and depression can get, and we want to be that light shining from the bottom of that pit we live in. I guess it is simply in the hope that we find our own happiness somewhere in the darkness.

Being a klutz about it is not failing, by the way, it is merely a human attribute. And, unfortunately, we cannot be everyone’s saviour*. All that we can do is whatever we can, and hope like hell that it works.

* Us colourful Australians and our putting U’s all over the place… :)

damn nothing quite as heartbreaking as someone who reaches out to you only to see them never log back on. unfortunately, I had this happen to me before when I was too young to be effective.

I wonder how many of us identify with ol’ Hamlet:

HAMLET: To be, or not to be–that is the question: (shall I off myself or not)
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune (Is it better to just put up with the crap that is my life…)
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And by opposing end them. (… or to take some action to put an end to it) To die, to sleep–
No more–and by a sleep to say we end
The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to.’Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. (wouldn’t it be nice to just die and forget about it all – like going to sleep) To die, to sleep–
To sleep–perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub,
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause. (yeah – but even when I sleep I still have dreams. Maybe death is like that.) There’s the respect
That makes calamity of so long life. (here’s what makes going on with life suck so much…)
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
Th’ oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely (contempt)
The pangs of despised love (yeah – who hasn’t felt rejection by someone they thought they loved), the law’s delay (the law ought to make things fair – but it frequently doesn’t or if it does, it takes way too long),
The insolence of office (give someone a little authority and they will immediately start to abuse it), and the spurns
That patient merit of th’ unworthy takes, (other people taking advantage of us)
When he himself might his quietus (release) make
With a bare bodkin (blade)? Who would fardels (burdens) bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscovered country, from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of? (We wouldn’t put up with all the crap of life except we are afraid of the unknown, namely – what comes next when we die)
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprise of great pitch and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry
And lose the name of action. (we start out resolved to do something but then we hesitate and get so caught up in thinking about it that we do nothing)

Of course, if you remember the play you know how all that ended:
· Polonius – gets killed by Hamlet who mistakes him for Claudius (Hamlet’s murderous uncle)
· Ophelia – Polonius’ daughter who has a thing for Hamlet goes nuts and drowns herself
· Rosencrantz and Guildenstern (Hamlet’s friends) – dead after Hamlet switched out Claudius’ letter ordering Hamlet’s death with a forged one ordering their deaths instead
· Gertrude (Hamlets mum) – drinks poisoned wine meant for Hamlet
· Hamlet – fatally poisoned when wounded in a duel with Laertes by the poison-tipped sword Claudius provided to Laertes for that purpose
· Laertes – fatally poisoned when wounded by the same poison-tipped sword after he and Hamlet switch swords during a scuffle in the midst of the duel
· Claudius – finally killed by Hamlet after Laertes reveals the plot against Hamlet
… So after Hamlet soliloquizes about death we have 8 more deaths.
My high school English teacher used to say you could tell a Shakespeare tragedy because they ended with dead bodies all over the stage.

A ‘bodkin’ is a type of arrowhead – thinner and longer, probably designed to pierce armor better (modern tests indicate they would fare better vs. armor, but a gambeson worn underneath could stop lethal damage all the same).

I have not mentioned this before as you seem to often have more than enough to deal with on your own. However if it helps both your words, and your comic, and your interactions with others that I have seen here, has kept me alive long enough that it has gotten easier. So thanks.

When I was in High School (early 1970s), Mom and I volunteered for DIALog, a telephone hotline operated by the University of Connecticut. In the training, along with the drug information, advice to the lovelorn and housing issue resolution, I got lots of training on Suicide Counseling. Mom and I blew the whole thing off after one of the posturing nitwits in charge of the program decided that we needed ‘additional training’ (they had already driven off the rest of the candidates), but all of it stayed with me.

I studied Psychology in College — the first time through — on the advice of a Guidance Counselor who decided I was a good listener. I did pretty well, too; holding down a B+ average for the Psych curriculum. I quit after two years because of crappy advice from my Faculty Adviser — another Guidance Counselor.

I have worked in three careers since then, none of them requiring this sort of experience. Still, I’ve talked down four — maybe five — suicides. Two were coworkers (when I was working in Security) and two were friends or friends-of-friends. Two of these turned out to be simple pleas for attention; a couple more were deadly serious. In one case, I had to drive 30 miles (each way) to physically talk the person down. Good times.

About two years ago, I started following an artist on a graphic sharing site (e.g., DeviantART, but that’s not the one). Her journals got darker and darker and she started talking seriously about ending it all. I tried to help via journal comments, then through the notes system. She kept responding, but she lived hundreds of miles away and wouldn’t give me any contact information.

She had (or claimed to have) issues with Bipolar Disorder (manic depression), Multiple Personality Disorder and what sounded like a clinical description of Schizoid Personality Disorder. She told me multiple times that she was was quitting art / her job / posting on the site. At one point she suggested she would leave the country.

She blew off suggestions to see a therapist and she despised any sort of medication. One time, she locked her account and disappeared for three weeks. When she returned and unlocked her account, she would say only that she had to move out of her (former) boyfriend’s place. She was offering dirt-cheap commissions to pay for the deposit on a new flop. Then she demanded to know why no one was commenting on her new posts and journals. I got tired of the drama and dropped my watch on her contibutions. Sometimes there’s only so much you can do.

Sorry for the Wall-O-Text, but guess the upshot of this is, do what you can to help the other person, but if they won’t be helped, there isn’t a lot more you can do. Sometimes the brain fatigue gets to you, and sometimes it’s just someone who craves attention.

Unholy Cthulhu on the pogo stick.

I don’t have much to comment (in fact, I think it’s the first time I’m posting a comment under your comic), but I concur with the “external diagnosis” by Tamara and Fish, you’re awesome and stuff. /salute

The only two webcomic creators I can think of that have for certain are Shinga (headtrip) and Randy Milholland (Something Positive). I’m not 100% sure, but I think Jenny (The Zombie Hunters) has also been reached to by fans.

An acquaintance of mine from 1st year university killed himself some years later. I didn’t know he was struggling, hadn’t seen or talked to him for a year or two. When I knew him he was studying engineering, but obituary said he was in arts Always wondered if switch in program was less than voluntary and part of what pushed him over edge. Always wondered if I could have made a difference in school and / or personal problems if I knew he was struggling (at the time I was even doing some tutoring). I guess I’ll never know…but I would have liked to have tried to help.

Ah Jackie, you might not see this since I was letting things pad out so this is further back then the most recent comments… Anyway, as a peer advocate (for mentally ill, ^_^;;) its very heart warming and great to hear you reach out and help so many of your readers. Its a wonderful thing, all I want to do is caution you that you don’t burn yourself out. You’re a good man, so do what you can but don’t do more than that. From your works and your words and everything you do, I am sure this isn’t that necessary as you seem to really have things down, but I still worry :P

Sir, I applaud you.

Not only for providing this amazing piece of artistry, which i can say personally helped me power through some low points, but for being there for those who needed it.

From comments you deal with a host of your demons and struggles. That you can still be there for others speaks VOLUMES about your quality and caliber as a human being.

So, kudos, congrats, and bravo!

Now….on with the penis jokes! :)

Thanks, Jackie. It takes courage even to listen.

On a lighter note… I think Reggie’s honesty means he’s *still* doing really well :D

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