923 Excise.

Usually when I sit down to post the comic I also write the blog to go with. Today I uploaded the page but was really sleepy. It’s such a rarity for my body to volunteer to sleep that I’ve gotten into the habit of just taking a nap whenever it happens, if circumstance allows. That was at about 8. It’s 10 till 10 now. I just woke up from a dream about he backyard being flooded and one of the dogs swimming out of the fence. It’s a little disorienting.

I’ve woken out of two dreams recently. Which is bad in that it means that the depression that I’ve been feeling isn’t passing as quickly as it has been for a long time now. It’s affecting me physically too. I guess we’ll just have to see how things go. I’ve learned ways to cope. Hopefully it will pass without much trouble this time. The upside for you all is that you may get to read another round of my weird dreams.

This one with the flooded backyard was strange in that it was like it started from the point that I laid on the floor to nap and then just ran with things. The backyard was flooded for some reason and it caused the gate to come open. Crow swam off, except there were a series of sheds that don’t actually exist that he swan over to. There was also a bag full of mice running around the house. it was a mesh bag so they could kind of run as a group around the place. We had to grab it and drown them, which I wasn’t really pleased to do. I hadn’t actually committed to it. In fact I think that’s what woke me up. I got to the point of actually having to do that and poited out.


As much as I like Thomas as a character, I find his views of love and hate stupid and childish. I generally dislike this sort of emotional mathematics. Love inverted, the square root of hate, divide by apathy, seriously? There is no axis on which you can easily place love, or hate, or apathy, or any other feeling. Emotions are abstract concepts that cannot be quantified, for the simple reason that they are subjective. They mean different things to different people. Only children view the world in such an absolute manner. I’d think someone with Tom’s experience would’ve learned of all the shades of grey between the white and the black.

Crave, man…Depression is some serious stuff. Seriously. I’m on that boat too (one of the reasons I write stuff on my own blog about Tech Support and the crappy stuff I deal with on a daily basis), and I ended up getting help.

It’s nothing to be ashamed about. I fought getting help because I thought that people would 1) think less of me, or 2) think I was crazy because I needed to talk to a psychologist.

I had thoughts of suicide several years ago after I’d lost my job. I thought it was just a one time thing due to circumstances in my life, but about 6 weeks ago, I started feeling depressed again, and those thoughts returned. I never acted on it, but I got help. I’m still talking with a doc, but I feel like I’m getting better (and without pills).

That physical depression feeling? It’s not fun. The apathy, the feeling that you just don’t want to crawl out of bed in the morning, the thought that you can’t face anyone? Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt. I dunno if you’ve been to that point yet, but if you’re feeling physical pain with it, you need something.

I enjoy reading your strip when it’s posted on Mon/Wed/Fri – I’d hate for it to end because of a serious bout of depression or worse. Let SOMEONE know if you need help, even if it’s not a family member.

What he said. Depression sucks, man.

There are a lot of options for treatment. I recommend a pairing of prozac and abilify, but your doctor may think a different treatment will work better for you. If you don’t have insurance, though, abilify is expensive (like $550).

Just remember that people love you. You may not think you’re important, but we all know that you are. Ok?

When I hit it (and I hit it big) I was, in fact, now even aware of my own condition. I mean. I was sad. but not all the time. I only later found out what the situation was. And that my family had been set to watch me just in case. Thing is; I didn’t end up getting treatment. Not because I was afraid of what it’d make people thing. I don’t care much about that. Or because it was expensive. But because 1) I found other ways. I simply did things that make me happy. figured out what caused it and worked against it. 2) I’ve never been good at opening up. those session would end with me sitting silent for most of the duration. Such a waste.

So I guess what I’m trying to say is that people are stronger and better people than they themselves are usually made to believe. Weather they need help or pull themselves out is just a matter of personality. Just as my fellow readers here are saying. There’s ways. People around you care. (which to me was the best possible support, really)

Now me ranting here really doesn’t change as much. Things said on the internet usually has less impact because it’s largely anonymus and faceless. But I figured I’d add my own experience to the pile. Add some impact to their advice, you know? I had to retake a long bout of school due to my depression. It’s all about how badly you let it get to you. Don’t bury yourself, man. Theese guys here know what they’re saying. I’d at least consider their input.

It always weirds me out a little when people say “I had thoughts of suicide” like it was some sort of one-off event. Sorta like saying “I breathed oxygen once”. It feels unnatural.
Contrast that to my situation where the better parts of my life are the ones where I briefly forget to be screaming in my head and yearning for the sweet embrace of oblivion.

@Negatron, Arc

I didn’t read it as mathemathics or opposites.
I read it as real hate resulting when deep love turns sour.
You want to love someone, then when they won’t let you, your feelings turn to hate.
You can’t hate someone you’ve never cared about.

Also, I think he’s being a wee bit melodramatic.

Crave, I hope you get out of that depression soon, best of wishes.

Was the bit about building a new life on Graves an intentional pun?

Glad I’m not the only one who caught that “Graves” thing.

Crave, I hope you find a way to get out of that depression soon, I wish you all the best.

I also read it as caring too much, and when that caring isn’t accepted as love, it turns to hatred. It’s an emotional defense mechanism.

While I would commend Thomas’ efforts to put the memories of his old flame aside and move forward, he obviously hasn’t excised everything if he still gets pissed at the very thought of her.

Something from that grave still has a grip on him.

Part of growing up is accepting the inevitability of failure. Of everything you have ever done, you will almost surely look back at most of it and realize you’ve made plenty of mistakes.

The meaning of those is decided by what you do in the future, and that depends on what you do now. One can try to make the best of being handed a shitty deal and viewing them as obstacles we overcame with tenacity and maturity, sink into self-pity and bitterness because life cheated us, or try desperately to escape the mistakes of our past, inevitable as they are part of who we are, and we cannot run away from ourselves. We only end up running in circles when we try, like a dog fleeing from its own tail.

I wonder when he’s going to get tired of trying to outrun his tail.

I do believe you can’t ever really hate something or someone unless you once loved it/them. But I also believe that hate is not the opposite of love, but the absence of it. Einstein wrote something about dark being not the opposite of light but the absence of it and evil not being the opposite of good, but the absence of it. Sometimes I think hate is better than apathy. That’s like a void devoid of a void.

The opposite of love is fear and not in the respectful-fear sense. Although, a strong case can be made for apathy which, in many ways is the opposite of love, hate and, fear. These emotions drive us to action while apathy drives us to inaction. I truly feel akin to thomas today for his feelings. I have had only one woman that has left me feeling the way thomas is feeling. And ironicly 4 weeks ago my travels brought me back to the area where she lives for the first time in 12 years. The last time I was that close was the day I went to meet my wife for the first time. Only the shear force of times passage and the weight of new memories sedimented over such pain blunts the trama enough to eventually allow rational thoughts regarding those events to be sufficiently free of emotions to be manageable.

Kudo’s to you crave for noticing the signals your mind is giving you enough to have counter-measures ready at hand. I know way to many people who never stop to evaluate anything in their lives much less take responsibility or the next step you have displayed take charge to do anything short of seek out every mind-altering drug whether by the doctor or the drug dealer to grant them escape. And more power to you and your dreams. I so rarely remember mine that their occurance has often come into question.

And no offence to those of you who do take prescribed medications for mental issues. A very good physician friend of mine once said “If an issue is physical a pill will fix it immediately, if you go from one drug to another without success you should seek a non-drug solution.” I stand by this insomuch as I believe that pills should be a last resort and, I qualify it that way because, I know people who a single pill fixes it for.

I just (well not just, took me a couple days) went back and started at the first comic and worked my way through your entire archive for the third time now i think… there is no other webcomic that I have done this that many times with… There’s just something about your characters and style of writing that I think people just identify with. I’ve been reading your comic for years now, long enough that I don’t even remember how I found it, but I’m glad I did, as I’ve enjoyed every step of the way. I also just found the link to your book (no one will ever accuse me of being overly observant), and was wondering is that link the best way to purchase your book? I want you to get the money and not some publishing company if possible… Anyway, I appreciate you writing this for so many years, and look forward for many to come.

Yeah, that’s the only way to get the book at the moment. I’m looking in to offering digital versions too at some point, but haven’t managed to get it set up yet. It’ll be easier to reread it that way.

I’m really glad to know that the comic is worth repeated viewings for you. Every so often I go back to check some fact I’ve forgotten and end up reading it again. XD I guess it’s good that I can get drawn into it again too. Anyway, thanks for coming along with me for all this time. I appreciate it.

Man, if it makes you happy to know people reread this comic, allow me to add my two cents…

I follow a lot of webcomics (nearly 100 now), and I’m often looking to find new ones. I ran into this comic roughly 20 updates ago, thought it was kind of interesting (starting with the title!), and put it through the usual routine: start at the beginning, if I like the story and art and humor, I read it from start to current update. If I still like it, I snag the RSS and and ignore it ’til it updates. Maybe once a year, if I really like a comic and am bored, I’ll go through the archives.

Except for Between Failures. I read it, liked it, and added it. Then I reread it immediately because I liked it so much. Then I left it alone for half a week and reread it again. I think I’ve gone through 4-5 passes on the archives by now, and I give it a month or less ’til I decide to read it again.

Your art style interests me- the various sizes of lines and the numerical designations (starting with the ears- nice touch) for the character designs. I can’t draw for beans myself, so it pleases me to see fun touches like that. Your characters are very believable and real. That’s a hard quality to find in webcomic characters, at least in my experience. Your characters also have interesting things to say, the kind of stuff that makes me think. And I appreciate that, because it’s too easy to fall into the trap of singular perspective.

So here’s to you and your fine work. I’m hoping you feel better soon (though your dreams are interesting to read), and I eagerly await further installments.

That’s actually interesting to know, I’ve always been somewhat interested in writing something. Not comics, lol my drawing abilities compare favorably with my ability to fly… But being interested in writing, I often wondered if authors actually enjoy reading their own works, or if by the time they’ve published they’re so tired of it they could cry, lol. Anyway, thanks for the tip, I’ll have a book headed my way shortly. Digital is cool, but I’ve always loved having the actual book in my hand. Thanks again sir.

Sometimes a relationship peters out and both go their separate ways. Sometimes folks grow apart due to distance. Sometimes love just withers away and no one knows why.

And sometimes love is betrayed. Lied to and compromised in such a way that it becomes poisonous. Sometimes the person you loved doesn’t push you away, they throw you into the wood chipper and then tell you that its your fault.

I get where Thomas is coming from. If you haven’t experienced his kind of pain it may look childish from the outside. But if you have been in his shoes, you would understand.

Better to purge the tainted memory than allow it to fester inside.

Love is like a vector.
It is formed of both magnitude and direction.
If you reverse the direction completely, you get Hate.
If you rotate the direction 90 degrees, i.e. halfway inbetween, you get Obsession. That weird stage where you’re constantly thinking about someone (or something), but can’t actually formulate any sort of favour nor disfavour. Just pure focus.
Similarly, if you reverse Obsession (or go 90 degrees in the other direction from Love or Hate), you get The Blank. That bizarre state where you have utterly erased someone so thoroughly from your memory that it leaves a very conspicuous hole… and your mind just gives an Error 404 every time you try to access any related memories… like they’ve been crudely tampered with.

I’ve got a few Blanks. THAT is the result of utterly excising someone from your existence… when you simply can’t spare the energy to Hate them but can’t stop the intensity.

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