I’ve been sitting here for a while trying to think of how to explain what’s been going on with me, but I can’t seem to do it. It feels like somehow time just keeps slipping away from me, or getting taken, and I can never catch up with anything. I made this entire page today. I haven’t had to do that in so long I can’t even remember how long it’s been. I’m honestly surprised I got it done. Even still I’m not happy with it. I meant it’s fine, but I don’t feel like my hands work right anymore. I haven’t felt like that in a long time. Since I got sick nothing seems to work exactly right anymore. I can’t even seem to imagine things in my head the way I used to. I feel cut off from my own ability to create. I think it’s because I’m starting to feel true hopelessness. I’ve always had a sort of negative mindset. I would describe it as more realistic than purely negative before now, but these days… I feel like there’s nothing left for me to hope for. That loss of hope has made it really hard to put myself into the minds of my characters. I don’t feel like they are part of me the way I used to. They’re starting to just feel like lines on a page. A page that is slowly going blank. I’ve actually held off talking about it for quite some time because I haven’t been able to catch my breath long enough to think about it. A lot of the time I don’t feel anything except a mild anger that sometimes manages to get nearly to rage. I’m in a perpetual state of annoyed. Every moment of the day I feel hounded by something or someone. Even when I’m alone the feeling doesn’t abate. I know the clock is always ticking. Additionally I always feel, physically, sort of greasy. Like a thin coat of slime is always on my skin no matter how clean I am. Like a sausage. It’s not real. If I touch my skin it feels clean and normal, (except my face which is actually almost always greasy.) It’s just this imaginary feeling of unclean I feel all the time. Perpetually annoyed and disconnected is my constant state of being.
It also seems like people are going out of their way to do and say things to piss me off, and I can’t tell if it’s just my attitude or if they’re genuinely angry at me. A couple of times it was unquestionable, but even that is weird. I’ve never had so many problems with people suddenly turning on me before. Maybe familiarity has finally bred contempt.
I don’t know what I need to do to fix things. I don’t know what it’s going to take to make me feel like my life isn’t going to be a long, grim, slide to the grave. I really need to think of something though. The longer I exist in this hopeless state the harder it’s going to be to pull out of the nosedive. Maybe that’s why I haven’t allowed myself to verbalize any of it. A certain level of my daily activities can be robotically done without emotional input. As long as I don’t think about anything the parts of me trained to do my job just keep doing it, and will keep doing it until everything sorts itself out. I hope there’s some truth to that anyway.
I kind of feel like if I had time I should try to work this out in comic form. People seem to like this sort of shit in sequential art on the social media. Although they don’t seem to be actually monetizing it at all. Maybe just the attention is the value they’re getting. Although I couldn’t name anyone who has made a comic like that, so it must not work very well… Depression as business may or may not be lucrative. I’ll need to do some research on that someday.
Maybe I just need to talk to someone. It would be cool if I could talk with my mind instead of having to actually talk, or type.
Anyway, that’s where I am. I’m sorry that I can’t fix everything right now, or show what every character is doing when ever it pleases. This is my current best. It may not be much but I bet I’m still trying harder than most.
We care if it helps. I know it may not because… Voices in the ether but….
Your the only person I support on Patreon, and I hope that says more about how I respect you and your work than how I’m not doing the same for others…..
Thank you very much for your support. I appreciate it.
We *do* care. A lot.
I’ve felt disconnected and hopeless before. Keep in mind that this should lift, with time, although there’s no way to predict when. Stay open to positive experiences, even though you may have a harder time recognizing them. Try not to make any life-changing decisions when you’re in this frame of mind.
I’ll try not to do anything rash. Although I might try to buy a Lego set…
LEGO is not a rash thing, it is the BEST TOY EVER!
Every kid deserves LEGO!
Don’t push yourself too hard, man. We as fans do value your physical and mental health more than the outcome of your comics. If this is bothering in a way that is affecting your art, by all means do not be afraid of stopping until you get better, doesn’t matter how long it takes. And if this is truly you not being able to see the future of the comic, I’m happy to say I had a really wonderfull time reading it, and for that I’ll be foreve grateful to you, my friend
Thanks for reading. I’ll try to make sure it’s always worth your time.
Your efforts are ever appreciated. You have told a story, that much like Office Space or Waiting, is easily identifiable for those who have worked in retail. You constantly apologize for your creative outlet, when honestly what you are doing is all we are wanting. Hope is only lost when we stop striving for something beyond what we currently are capable of.
“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”
You have attempted something that statistically few have tried, and fewer have succeeded at. You have an extensive archive as a testament to your efforts. You actually have a fanbase willing to support you. Don’t sell your achievements short.
I try not to, but I want so much more and to be at least as good as I used to be. In any case thank you.
I’m just a casual reader and have very seldom read your posts.
I do like your comic and have read all of it.
One of the things I like the most about it is your portrayal of emotions and vulnerability and yet you don’t focus on the angst.
It does sound, very much, like you are suffering from a depression.
Been there myself.
The singularly most important thing to realize about depressions is that it’s not “feeling sad” or something necessarily based on anything that happened.
It can happen for various reasons, including: Hormonal changes, emotional trauma and stress.
Regarding other people, that is a tough cookie.
The hardest part of understanding other people is that you generally do it by emphatic connection. The problem with that is that what this means is that when you see someone express something, you react as how YOU would feel if you where that person.
This means that, when you are used to being annoyed/angry all the time (as I said, been there) , everyone else seems angry/annoyed since that is how you yourself would feel if you looked and acted like them.
My point is, don’t assume that just because it seems, on an emotional level, that they are mad at you, that they actually are.
In general, dealing with depressions is a bitch. Lower stress and good company does help in many cases. In many cases, you need anti-depressants to stabilize.
If you can find a good therapist, that can really help as well, obviously.
From what I’ve seen of the local therapists there isn’t a single one I’d feel comfortable paying. This part of Colorado is not the mental health capital of the country I can tell you that. In any case I’ll be okay, but thanks for taking the time to comment and read. I appreciate it.
Unfortunately there is a link between depression and comedy talent. Robin Williams is probably the poster boy for that, but something in a depressed person’s mind starts figuring out how to get other people to laugh as a response to our own unhappiness.
Therapy is not the only route to go down for Depression either, in fact it can be the “wrong” treatment, depending on the cause. Therapy works for what I think of as external depression, caused by events around us or bad thought loops in our heads. But there is also depression caused by chemistry, and if you have that, all therapy can do is help a bit with the symptoms, and even that not so much. If your brain isn’t making enough of something like dopamine or serotonin, no amount of talking is going to restore those chemicals to your brain and bloodstream.
As an artist with a depressive disorder, I can at least partially sympathize. Even as a young, physically well (mostly) person, my emotional state can be so dismal that creating seems next to impossible, much less getting out of bed, or even just being awake. That said, its incredible that you’ve been maintaining your comics schedule despite all you’ve been going through. I don’t want to give random internet person armchair medical advice, so I’ll keep this brief, but I will suggest self-care, taking breaks if you need to, trying to use drawing as an outlet, and/or seeing a professional.
I think I speak for all of us reading, even the lurkers, when I say we all love your comic, and the fact that you’ve created something that so many people love means you have something great to offer — not just the comic itself but the voice behind it.
That’s very kind of you to say. Thank you.
not to be a dick but you not only need someone to talk, you need medicine
it’s nothing to be ashamed about, depresion is like any disease, it can happen to anyone
you need to take care about yourself
or train your depresion to use the shi shi hokodan (you seem the type of guy who saw ranma 1/2)
Thank you! Depression is a disease like any other. You get the flu you see the dock and you get medicine. You get your arm broken you see the doc and he gives you a cast. When you get depression you see your mind doc so to speak he treats you and may give medicine. Why anyone treats depression with any stigma or self loathing I don’t know. It’s a disease and it should be treated like it.
I’m not sure if I’m chemically imbalanced or just naturally miserable because I don’t like how parts of my life are. it’s hard to tell sometimes.
I wish I could use that technique…
(Hey, the below is just. Ugh I don’t even know. Don’t type brainstuff before you go to bed people.)
Gotten like that before, been like that consistently, maybe never really stopped as young leather turned to old leather. Nothing really to say about what to do to stop it. It’s something everyone comes to think about and strain against at some point. Some people make the change to a better thoughtpath and some just hunker down and grow tougher for it. Others ride the highs and the lows. Some unfortunate souls just break.
Find some help, or make some help for yourself. Help doesn’t even mean help really nor does it mean company. It means an ear, the bare minimum. Someone who can hear your frustrations or your dreams. It can even be yourself, but watch the responses. Might as well leave this here too because as I get older it becomes more and more important as i become more and more isolated from others.
A sound soul resides in a sound mind and a sound body
I appreciate the effort even if you were sleepy. XD
Hang in there my friend we all appreciate what you do and understand if you need a break. i agree with the others it sounds like you may have depression though its not my place to make that kinda judgement that said the whole describe it as a realistic mindset does sound familiar in terms of depression.
I think I naturally see things as bleak as a coping mechanism. It’s hard to separate it from myself. It may not be a defect as much as a feature of who I am. It’s hard to say for sure though.
As someone trying to help his wife through just some of the stuff you’re going through I can empathise, but know I don’t truly understand, what you’re going through.
As others have said I think a professional ear may be the best thing for you atm, but you may also need pills to be receptive and level out of the disease that is depression. Just don’t let the doctors ONLY give you pills and think that’s their job done. Otherwise thy leaves a very big burden of healing on you.
Your comic & characters are great and your archive is a treasure trove. You are very worthy and touch the hearts of all us fans with your work. Thank you.
Thank you very much for reading. I hope your wife feels better soon too.
Hey, I have been reading for a while. I think this is my first comment. My rss feed only shows the first paragraph so I read that and usually move on, but this one caught my attention. I hope seeing all these comments from your followers helps lift your spirits. You should be proud of what you have done with your comic. Keeping to the update schedule this long is impressive, to find out what you have been going through, even more so.
Do what you need to in order to get out of this funk. I’m sure your fans will understand if that means setting down the pencil for a few weeks and sorting things out in the real world. Otherwise, keep up the great work. *thumbs up*
Thanks for taking the time to comment. I’m glad to know you’ve enjoyed my work.
http://www.blahtherapy.com is a good place to start
Thanks for the tip.
Hey, like others have said… you are probably experiencing depression. My spouse was deeply depressed for a couple of years. What pulled them out of it was finally getting on anti-depressants, and then starting to deal with some of the things in their life that were making the depression worse. Before they got onto a mood stabilizer, there really was no way they could deal with all the “stuff” going on internally. Even getting them to go to a psychiatrist and start the process was difficult.
It sounds like you have not totally gotten buried yet, despite everything, which is impressive. I know it must seem like a huge pain in the ass to try to do something about your mood/brain when the rest of you is already sick and you have to deal with that. But, it really is worth doing it. If you don’t feel like doing it for yourself, please do it for us, your fans. Do it for your comic, for your future artistic endeavors. If you aren’t able to finish Between Failures, you’re going to leave a lot of us really heartbroken.
When your brain is working with you, instead of against you, you’ll be better able to sort out what you want to do with the rest of your life, and how you want to do it. Even though it probably doesn’t feel like it, you do have at least a few good decades left, and there’s a lot you could be doing. I believe you can and will find something fulfilling to do with that time!
I hope you’re right. I’d hate to let you all down. I’ll try to sort myself out for all of our sakes.
Been reading for a while, not usually the posts below, and I wanted to second everyone’s comments above. I’ve been enjoying your comic for the story you tell. As someone who lived big-box retail for a decade, it’s relatable. As a writer myself, so is your issue with the blank page.
Two things. First, I want to add my voice to the ones above. Depression is rough. Talk to someone before you do anything drastic. Even just talk therapy can make a world of difference. Second, and I may be the first person to say this to you, but get your thyroid checked. Seriously. Full panel, free T3 and T4 not just TSH. I know hypothyroid is more common among women, but that doesn’t mean men can’t get it, too, and a thyroid imbalance will throw off literally every aspect of your life. This one I know from personal experience. The blood work isn’t very expensive even if you don’t have insurance.
They fully checked my thyroid after my dad had his thing with it. (even though I’m not genetically related to him…) And it was fine apparently. Right now I just have the weight, blood pressure, slightly higher cholesterol, and the sleep apnea… which sounded like not so much in my head before I started typing… Anyway all those things are being seen to. althought the weight is a real problem that I’m having a lot more trouble with.
While I can’t help out with all the things you spoke of, in terms of your art seeming right, I want to tell you that – for whatever it’s worth – I think it looks good. I love the middle panel; particularly the lettering and Reggie’s wild pose. You can really feel the energy in both.
Very kind of you to say. I appreciate it.
That sounds like Depression, something that I’m very familiar with.
You’re probably not gonna like this idea, but have you ever considered finding a good church? I know there are a lot of bad churches out there who are all talk, but good ones do exist. My own has helped me through a lot of rough times in the past, and the people there have helped as well. You’d be surprised what could happen if you go in with an open mind. Some denomination are all hellfire and brimstone (Baptists seem to be this way according to some people) but I’m a Methodist, and they seem like they might be able to help you out.
Pills are okay, but I believe that relying entirely on such things can be bad for you in the long run. Medical aid is only part of the answer. I know I’ve said some unpopular things on these boards, but I do hope you’ll consider my suggestion.
I don’t want to insult you so please read this in a tone of sincerity. I’m not trying to be mean about churches, but it will probably sound that way if you read it with the wrong tone.
My problem with churches is that, at least with Christianity, which is the only religion I’m intimately familiar with, someone always ruins things for me by being bigoted in some way. I actually try to listen to some religious podcasts but end up stopping because someone always says something that instantly fills me with seething rage. Like sexuality is a choice, or homeless people need to stop being lazy, or who knows what else. There’s always someone who ruins it for me because my belief system is hard to categorize.
It actually is a problem with Buddhism, and some other religions as well. It seems like every group of people has at least one terrible blind spot, or belief that I can’t agree with. Even those… I forget what they are called. they’re like Christians who accept everything.
If there’s a church that’s right for me I haven’t found it, and that includes atheism.
In any case I know your suggestion comes from a place of caring and I appreciate it.
You could try the Unitarians, if there are any around.
I think the Unitarians are who Jackie was trying to think of when he said “Even those… I forget what they are called. they’re like Christians who accept everything.”
Jackie, have you looked into Taoism at all? As far as I can tell it’s not a religion at all — nothing is worshiped, it’s more of a philosophy of life.
Man, to be totally honest, I don’t know what I can say or do to help you out of this state. I’ve been in The Pit before, and it is not a healthy place to be. I suppose the blog post is a positive start, though, since… well, you have pretty much laid your soul bare.
Definitely talking to someone helps. Not just seeking praises, but for genuine support. Whether you believe it or not, not all of us Internet denizens are trolls (it’s a fucking shock to me, as well!), and it seems like you have quite a following of genuine people here, who actually care. Typing helps (and hinders) since it gives you time to think of your thoughts and responses (also a hindrance, since the negative parts also utilise this to their advantage), but you also need to get some face to face time with an impartial outsider.
I was just thinking actually. Comic therapy might actually be a way for you to face this in like a comfortable space. The art doesn’t have to be Between Failures awesome (and that ain’t sucking up. It really is pretty damn good). Check out The Oatmeal (this is one of his latest pieces How to be perfectly unhappy). His pieces have made use of the fact that he thinks of himself as a worthless pile of shit. But, like everyone else with a functioning soul, this is because he thinks too damn much about everything and feels bad that he can’t make things better for everyone.
I dunno. Maybe I’m projecting, or pulling shit out of my arse. Or both. But… the truth is, being in The Pit is not good for you, and while we WILL be here to support you, and give you tips, finding your way out is all down to you. I wish you luck on this journey, good sir.
I really kind of want to second this. Perhaps you could do a side project as therapy for your current situation, maybe with reader participation of some kind. “Group Therapy- The Comic” might could actually help some of the rest of us as well. The last couple of years have been pretty rough. We’ll understand if BF slows or even (horror of horrors) stops for a while. I honestly don’t know how the comic can continue at it’s current quality with you continually going downhill. One way or another, please seek out some solution.
I’m seeking like the wind, baby.
That was a very good comic that I understood clearly.
Whatever helps, I guess :)
Nah, anything that helps, that you feel comfortable doing, with reliable support (important!!) is worth a shot. You’re a good person, Jackie (which is not a term I use lightly), and I think it is fair to say that we are willing to do our best for you (as much as a faceless comic lurker does, at least) :)
Add me to the *We care* pile. I do care. I was never angry at you nor purposed tried to piss you off.
I was the one at fault anyway.
I think everyone else has already said what I would, but I hope you feel better soon.
As for the comic, aww, poor Madison. I really love her as a character. You do an amazing job writing for her without making her into a walking trope.
Some people seem to think I don’t like her, or am trying to show her off as some kind of perfect idiot, but I really just want to show how good someone can be even if they aren’t a genius.
Yet another one chiming in to say that yes, we definitely care about you, and want you to be healthy not only physically but also mentally / emotionally. I’ve struggled with depression myself and it can be very fucking insidious. Please do whatever you need to take care of yourself, and if you ever need someone to talk to, I’ll be happy to give you my phone number or email address.
Also, if you’re looking for sequential art exploring aspects of depression, look no further than Clay Jonathan’s excellent Depression Comix . http://www.depressioncomix.com/
Thanks very much for the offer and the link. I really don’t like talking on the phone, but if you want to add me on skype you cedrtainly can. I only use it when i’m not super busy… so not often but at least I have a place to go if I really need to talk.
Hey Jackie. We all support you here and we do hope you get better. We would all of us (hopefully all of us if not at least a damn good majority of us) would completely understand if you want/need to take time off to feel right with yourself. :). I know of a comic artist who did something similar. Tarrol Hunt the creator of Goblins: Life through their eyes. He went through a horrible bout of depression and wasn’t active online for a good long while, but we of the GC (Goblins Community) Never gave up on him!!! We stood behind him and supported him and told him in no uncertain terms that depression is not something to be taken lightly and that we fully understood his need to take time off from his comic even though he felt like a jerk/douche/etc for taking time off. We understood and told him it wasn’t his fault, and that he shouldn’t feel that way because he was getting himself BETTER and that is what was important in the long run. His mental health > our satisfaction. We stood by him just as I would like to think we would stand by you if you needed to take time off to get yourself better. :)
I’m glad to know you’ll be here no matter what I do. Many thanks.
Like others on the comment thread have said it sounds like you’re suffering from depression. My girlfriend suffers from it and sometimes just talking helps, but I think you’d definitely benefit from getting some counselling and seeing if you can get some anti depressants to help out. Hold on in there, mate, we’re here for you even if we are just faceless/voiceless words in the void.
I’m happy to know you’re out there. Even if you’re only words on a screen I know there’s a real person out there someplace who makes my efforts worthwhile.
Try putting what you’re feeling into a different medium than words, if the words are giving you a hard time. It doesn’t have to be something you show anyone. But it sounds like you could use a cathartic experience of some sort. Not saying that will be a solution, but it might help.
I’m not sure what sort of catharsis I’m emotionally prepared for right now. XD
I have been there.
In fact, I mostly am there right now.
The fact is, you do good work. You bring people out of themselves, and give a lot of people a bit of joy nearly every day.
That’s an amazing thing.
But you NEED to remember to nurture yourself. Be kind to you.
I don’t know what I can recommend…. in the past, either a vacation, or a solid reminder from someone that what I do DOES matter, helped me when I was in that place.
You DO matter. Maybe it’s only a bit, but it’s a bit too so many people. You will not be forgotten, like so many of us. Not for many years.
So good fortune.
Good fortune to you as well.
Depression is a horrible thing. First, you understand that it’s not the way you’re supposed to feel about yourself. You know that you’re in a bad spot. That’s a good thing.
The best thing you could probably do is, get help. See a counselor. Talk to your best friend. If you don’t feel like you have a friend you can talk to about this, then it’s time to make new friends. Even online friends work. All of my best friends live states away from me, but they’re the people I can talk to about anything and everything.
And as others said, we all support you and your work, in whatever little ways we can.
Maybe we should make a cuddle puddle. Definitely enough people here.
Some kind of cuddle lake? That could get messy…
The messier the better!
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. It’s about cognitive restructuring, and though they use some hokey terms, the science behind it all is pretty solid and supported by evidence/research. Your brain needs to be retrained. You need someone to give you the tools to help yourself. Medicine is not as effective for this kind of thing unless paired with therapy. Research! It has been a slow process but it’s helping me. Try to think about what your inner narrator is telling you as you go through your day. Experiment with “checking the facts” – are your feelings based on fact, or interpretations of the facts / assumptions? You are capable and resilient. Wishing you the best!
Thanks for the tip.
Not sure I’ve commented before, but I’ve been reading for a long time and I read most of your comments below the comic, too. I totally agree with those advocating seeing a mental health professional. In addition, I know you’re justifiably proud of your update reliability, but maybe (if possible) you need a little break from the comic, too?
I’ll try, you take care too.
I’m usually not good at putting stuff in my brain into words or text either. I find text is easier because I can edit it until it seems decent before I hit send, but I can definitely relate on that front. But I want you to know that I for one don’t really feel that you are obligated to keep the pace you do in the comic. I’m a patron because I love your comic and it’s helped me get through some tough days of my own. I look forward to every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday so that I can read your comic, not because I expect you to make a new one 3 times a week, but because I know you won’t let yourself not do it. If I showed up to read and you had a post saying you couldn’t get a page done in time, I wouldn’t be upset or disappointed. From everyone else’s comments, they probably would agree. I know you would be, though. So maybe the someone or something hounding you in this case is yourself. It’s usually that way for me anyway. The only thing that’s ever helped me when I feel that way is to stop and reflect on what I want from myself, and what parts of that I am able to do. I try to prioritize the things I can do, and remind myself that it’s progress. And it’s easier said than done.
I half expect this to get lost in the sea of comments here, or be too long for you to end up reading all the way through, but I really hope it can help. Everyone’s different and I can only tell what works for me, but maybe it’ll help point you in the direction that works for you. Bottom Line: As everyone else has said, we care, and we want to try to give back to you for helping us through the times between, because just being a patron doesn’t do justice to what you and your comic have done for some of us.
I’m glad to know you’d support my even if I failed. I’m not one to roll over easily so maybe it will never come to that, but I’m glad to know I helped you no matter what.
I couldn’t skip past this without at least adding a “me too” to all the good support the other readers have shown above. Jackie, I think you’re an awesome guy, and I really hope your health – physical and mental – gets better soon. Therapy can be expensive, but a lot of therapists work on a sliding scale to try to fit your needs, and I really think it’ll be worth it. And medicine too, definitely talk to someone about that. Wil Wheaton is a person of some note who has depression, and he talks about it a lot – if you haven’t seen his blog, check it out. And do take a break if you need. Since I’m not in a position to support you on Patreon right now, I’ll probably take a deep dive into your archive – and I’ve got my ad blocker disabled for your site, so hopefully there’s some spare change for ya at least!
Love ya man!
Back at you, buddy.
“I heard nothing more of the Texas officer, LaBoeuf. If he is yet alive and happens to read these pages I will be pleased to hear from him. I judge he is in his seventies now, and nearer eighty than seventy.I expect some of that starch has gone out of that “cowlick.” Time just gets away from us. …” Charles Portis, True Grit.
The older I get the more significant this quote. Admittedly, mostly the last sentence (and there was more in the final paragraph), but what a way to close a novel with a sad, lonely gravitas and yet intimately personal with the human condition everyone experiences, eh?
As someone who’s been through depression and someone that knows you… At least you’re closer to a viable mental help personnel than you ever were in Garden. A little odd to say, but at least you’re feeling irritation (which is something), rather than a sort of emotional numbness. This doesn’t mean you aren’t depressed (or on your way there), but to me it seems a helpful sign.
It occurs to me that we haven’t physically spoken in years. I blame myself. That being said, I am always here if you need anything, man.
We need to get together one of these days. Apparently 15 to 20 years is my sweet spot for actual physical reunions. XD
There’s nothing I can say that hasn’t already been said by this point. Depression is a biiiiiiiiiiiiiig pain in the ass. Don’t give up, talk to people whose company you enjoy, try to reduce of the sources of stress in your life. There’s therapy online if you can’t afford a real-life therapist. We’ve got your back.
But who has my front? Oh, it’s me. I have it. Man, I have really let my front go… I should do something about this….
Depression really sucks, I reached shall we say a very low point in my teen years and hated all that I felt back then. It took my a long time to finally let go of the emotions I held onto back then, and even though I get depression here and there I am glad to not have gone back as low as I was back then. I hope you find that something that pulls you out of that horrid feeling, I listened to sanctuary by utada hikaru which helped pull me out of it. Best of luck man, I do not comment much but I really love this comic and think you are one cool dude. :)
It takes one to know one, as they say. XD
I think I’ve only commented once before, but I have been a long time reader. When I was deployed this comic was one of the few bright points in an other wise just sucky existence. Once a week I would be able to use internet at the FOB and I would get to see the latest strips, that little bit was usually enough to keep me going and looking forward to the next one was something of a bright spot in my week. When I got out of the service I spent a long time struggling with being down all the time, I still do from time to time, but I want you to know that I and others that read this strip care about more then just the next comic, we care about you. It’s always easy for some person to tell you not to lose hope, because they aren’t going through what you are, but please know that while right now it doesn’t feel like it, the bad times do end and things will get better. I wish for you all the best and truly want you to enjoy your time.
I used to have a huge number of active service readers. Especially as the war on terror was grinding along. I don’t hear from as many and I always wonder if it’s because I dont’ advertise well, or maybe there are fewer troops looking for an escape. In any case I’m glad I could serve you in some small way. Thanks for reading.
Just want to put in $0.02 from someone who has known you for a long, long time. Hope my main point sticks:
Depression is so insiduous because you can convince yourself that it’s just a bad day in a long bad stretch. You tend to think that sooner or later things will swing back. It probably won’t. My main point: You really, really need to let a professional tell you it’s a) really nothing and things will swing back or b) you need some medication. Start with the family physician and let him refer you.
I was lucky. I got the right med in the right dose right out of the chute. I was told that effects might take 1.5 to 2 weeks to start to kick in, but I felt a BIG difference in only three days. It’s no exaggeration to say that it probably ended up saving my life. Now I know what to watch for — what is simply a “rough spot” versus full-blown depression. Looking back, I had probably suffered increasing symptoms for maybe a year and a half to two years. Yet I was convinced that “it’ll just blow over”. I wonder how much longer I might have lasted. Later, I was amazed at how “sunny” my life became without anything external to me changing. Sheesh!
If this is depression, internalize this: This is NOT just a feeling, it could well be chemical and thus is a sickness needing medicine and healing. Like sometimes your body will beat an infection all on its own, but often it just gets worse and worse. You don’t wait to lose a limb over an infection, so don’t wait now.
Bottom line. Go to the doctor. Ask him if you have a problem or are just full of crap. Let the professional do his professional thing since neither you nor I are competent to diagnose this. Do this next week. Next week!!
Your old comic shop buddy . . .
No worries Doug. I think this is a lot more dissatisfaction with real things than just a chemical reaction. I keep having to wait for things to get better when I can’t fix them fast and it really is wearing on me. I really miss getting the complete rundown of the comic storylines from you. Way more fun and cost effective than reading them. XD
Add me to the supportive list… <3
And I fourth or fifth the suggestion that you look into depression therapy. It is, alas, all too common these days, Yr. Humble Servant included. :\
And Maddison is totally adorable! :D
She’s totes adorbs.
As far as dealing with dicks in the comments (or the Internet in general) –
Don’t listen to them. You are the artist, this is your property. If they want to shitshow all over your message boards, don’t engage them. Don’t acknowledge them. Don’t listen to them. If you want, delete their posts. People would probably appreciate that to some degree.
Typically what happens is a person starts reading a comic (for example) and they start investing in it. Which is absolutely okay. But to some, they invest their OWN ideas into it. They forget it’s the work of someone else. So they get a sense of entitlement and feel they can threaten an artist by either crapping all over their comments/messages boards, and/or tell the artist they’ll leave and take everyone with them. Which is a bunch of bullshit you don’t need to burden yourself with.
Your comic, Jackie. YOUR comic. Not THEIRS. I donate to your comic because I want you to have the freedom to do what you want to do. Not be forced to do what a few loud drama llamas whine about. Don’t let them feed your negative thoughts.
And I’m almost certain some of these comments are the same person doing the thing to make it look like you have more than one critic who has the same exact problems and manners. I hate those people. Cowards and scam artists are what they are.
As for the depression … not a lot I can do about that other than say I like what you do and I hope you keep doing it. If you can’t, that’s fine. Don’t kill yourself trying to please other people. We’re all dying, man – making the most of your time to do what makes you happy is what life is about. I encourage you to get some help if you can afford it.
Thanks for the perspective. I appreciate it.
Sorry you are feeling down, health issues and pain does that.
Might be a good idea to see a therapist and learn some coping strategies.
I learned some mental / feedback exercises – helped me as much as Tylenol 2 for back pain. Don’t want to bore everyone with details – reply to post if you want details.
Let’s hear them.
Ok. The technique is called EFT (emotional freedom therapy).
Sorry about the rambling, I’m not good at explaining this since I don’t as a rule believe in New-Age pseudo science and alternative medicines, and yet something I can’t explain reduces my back pain when I do the EFT technique. As a rule I don’t like “pushing” it at people, yet find myself suggesting they try it for back pain…because it works for me.
EFT is a kind of meditation / nerve cluster tapping (similar to acupuncture but without needles) / self validation / meditation exercise. It is pretty easy to learn, and takes about 3 min to do. It was originally used for therapy (hence the emotion part) but was found to work on physical pain for some people too.
I guess you could call it New-Age or Alternative medicine – which generally I’m not a big believer in unless some good double blind scientific studies have been made. In this case EFT had enough “proof” that it is covered for PTSD treatment for soldiers, but it is not scientifically proven at this point. Personally I find the “explanations” for how it works implausible, but that does not mean it is not doing something in a yet unproven way to reduce my pain, and as Wiki says it may just be pseudo-science and the placebo effect.
However, I’m not sure placebo would apply to me since I was sceptical and did not expect it to work on my back pain – but it did / does :-D and if it is “just” placebo working as well as a Tylenol 2, I’ll take it and be happy.
I’m not selling it nor promising it will work, but it has zero cost, and no risk, so what do you have to loose? At least that was my perspective.
This article pretty much mirrors my experience as an open minded sceptic: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/serina-deen-md-mph/eft_b_1536431.html
And yes it does seem really silly – but as I understand it EFT was discovered by accident, and people experimented and kept things that seemed to work – if / when a well tested scientific explanation is found no doubt a neater system would be made – now it is pretty much “cook book magic” because it seems to do something (original gun powder recipes called for blood from a black cock too, but still worked)
There is a small cheap book on EFT for back pain, which is on amazon used for $1.25 (so not entirely free) – but I can email you some scans for a quick try to see if it helps you before splurging on a copy (is there a link somewhere on site? I did not notice one)
BTW thanks for great comic.
Deppression is a tough nut to crack, Crave. But it is mostly a chemical imbalance in our brain, not what defines you or anyone else. It doesn´t mean you need pills to turn it over, but those can help, along with a good professional. McClaud is right in there: make the most of your time, and don´t chastice yourself for not doing so. You´re allowed to be human, to appreciate yourself doing your things, and there is more to life than your comic, as it should be.
You bring us a great comic, full of engaging characters. And the comic allowed us to come to appreciate you and your views on things, on life. That´s plenty fine. Hell, I´d say FANTASTIC.
I don´t have any right to claim on YOUR work, which you show to us for FREE. Righto, that. If anyone says otherwise, redirect them to me. I will beat them with a proverbial CRANE. 1000 Tonne of Death that I handle, my precious.
So, enjoy the time, give yourself a walk in the park in the saturday morn, or maybe a nice cup of hot cocoa in the evening. And thank you.
Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment. I appreciate both.
Speaking as someone who has battled depression my whole life and as someone with a significant other who is currently undergoing treatment in a mental hospital for bipolar disorder: You really should see a mental health professional. It helps, it really does. The day the medicine really kicks in is a day you remember with wonder. Sort of an “Oh crap! I’d forgotten how it actually felt to be me instead of a thing in a skin suit.” moment. If it means that you have to step away for a while to get it all sorted out, do it. As much as we love your work, we’d rather see you well. Therapist, psychiatrist, group sessions, or if you don’t think those will work on their own, check yourself into a clinic. You deserve to be well again, no matter what path that takes you down. I’m sitting here holding back the tears because the woman I love has gone through so much of this, far worse than even I have dealt with. I’ve seen her struggle for years, and I’ve seen the difference even just a few days of institutionalized treatment makes.
Hey, that’s rough dude. I hope she feels better. Compared to her it sounds like my problems are peanuts.
I’m sorry to hear that you’re feeling badly.
I hope that you will feel better, soon.
Have a good day, TRA
Back at you, dude.
Jackie, All your fans are there for you and most of us care about your well being. I hope you start to feel better.
A lot of people get what you’re feeling, so you are not alone. One thing that works, for me at least, is meditation. As much of what that word has been made to sound hippie. It does work and can allow you to clear your thoughts. Also, you might want to pickup a sun lamp, if depression gets bad around this time of year it’s possible that Seasonal affective disorder has some play in it.
As for depression comics, while they exist they tend to be removed when the artist/author gets better or reboot them.
Heh, never look at size to judge stealthily-ness. Have way to many friends that do this.
Judge her by her size do you? And well you should not, for the force is her ally and a powerful ally it is!
Sign me up in the mass of “we care” folks. This is still my favorite webcomic and I care a great deal about it.
I think, as many do here, that you’re experiencing a mix of physical ailments coupled with depression. The former make your body physically feel miserable, but the latter makes life feel disconnected, makes you feel like everything is hopeless, and amplifies all the physical things making all the discomforts even worse.
As many have said, a therapist and/or a listening ear would be a good start. The former more than the latter simply because they can get you antidepressants, to balance out the brain’s imbalance. But even just someone to listen to the problems and not just add to them is a solid base to start on.
The other thing is, don’t overwork yourself. We love this comic, all of us, but we don’t want to see you hurt yourself trying to meet the deadlines. You’re a great guy and you make a great webcomic, and we would be so sad to lose you in our lives. Be safe, and take care of yourself as best you can. If you need/want to talk, just let us know. I for one would be honored to help, as I’m sure any number of others would be as well.
It’s always nice to hear how you matter to people. Thanks for taking the time.
Been to a similar place, crave, it really sucks.
For what it’s worth, You, and Your characters, seem more human than most celebrities do,
I think it is that humanity that so many of Your readers connect with.
There are times when it may seem better to withhold emotions,
And there may be times when it is better to hold on to your emotions alone;
But only ever for a little while, never for too long.
We may naught always all say the right thing at the right time,
But we are here.
I appreciate it.
Dittoing all the comments before mine. Especially that I also have been enjoying your work for years and that it’s very important to speak with a good friend and/or medical professional. In person if at all possible. We are truly wired for hugs and supportive physical touch and presence. Even a bro hug and a high five, or just someone to look at you, listen, and nod empathetically as you talk this out can help. The feedback is essential to break the looping of negative thoughts. So try not to be physically alone. We’re all here for you.
unfortunately physically alone is where I’m stuck for now, but I’m glad to know you care.
I hear you very very well. There are many good suggestions on this page, and I echo the support shown here, as I really do enjoy your work. That said, you’re not healthy in body at the moment either, and I have seen where that can be what brings folks down. You just don’t have the physical energy to do more. Unfortunately, expending less energy tends to result in having less energy capacity down the line, so you may just have to force yourself to take some of these great suggestions. For what it’s worth, if pharmaceuticals are prescribed, be careful about asking thoroughly about possible side effects and interactions with your existing medications and physical condition.
Yes, we do care.
I’m glad to know you do.
I’m just another random reader of your story that wants to let you know you are not posting in a vacuum and what you do does make a difference.
What you describe is a lot like what I’ve gone thru for the last couple of years after having to spend a week in the hospital — but find something, anything, that you enjoy and concentrate on that. It takes time, but it does get better. It won’t seem like it at times, but it does get better.
Oh, and if it helps, I track over 250 online comics. Not surprising I don’t always have time to read every one on every day, so I have a rating system of sorts to help me not miss out on those I enjoy most. It works this way; with each new post I read, if I like it I more it closer to the beginning, if it was ok it goes down the list by one. In this way the stories I have enjoyed the most (and read the longest) are the first I check each day.
Out of over 250 comics — this one is 5th!
With that said, if this comic is not what drives you anymore I would rather lose it rather than you not enjoying making it as much as I enjoy reading it.
Regardless, thanks for the ride so far — and I look forward to more. :)
Hey, 5th. That’s higher than I usually get. I’m glad to know I got so far… Who do I have to kill to be #1? Just out of curiosity… Not for murdering. :|
Nobody has really tried to do an online comic about mental health or depression, so it’s difficult to say if you could monetize it in the same way as this fantastic comic.
I think it’s possible, because standalone comics have proven that it can be done. But this tend to be virals, which then quickly disappear. However, I do believe that there is a market, it’s just very difficult ground to tread.
I think you’re right. It seems like a subject that would be hard to sustain.
It sounds like you’re tired and a bit burnt out to me. Perhaps that’s depression, but first of all, is that apnea mask of yours working? Are your physicals improving? And maybe you should schedule some guest comics, hide the tablet and have a break?
(Or just a series of “Discuss”, like “Discuss: Carol or Nina”, “Discuss: Jackie and Evelina on a Date — What Happens”, “Discuss: The Whole Gang Plays WoW”, “Discuss: Jo’s Cousin Comes to Visit”, etc. Then let it stew for a while, come back and read the shenanigans.)
I’m posting as a long time lurker. Going through some of the same things. I’m on an anti anxiety and it’s helped some. I started seeing a therapist and that’s helped a little too. Please try?
As for the weight look into the ketogenic diet. I was on it and lost 60 lbs. I’d still be on it but right now my living situation makes it difficult. Or try the Atkins diet. It really does help!
Not that you’ve said you’re thinking of suicide but I’ve been saying this to myself, “suicide is a long term solution to a s hurt term problem “, know that right now sucks but in the future things will hopefully get better! It’s what keeps me going from day to day. *hugs*
Canidate for “most hilarious assassination”