Depression, Struggle and Hyperbole and a Half

Posted: May 10, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,

When I saw on Twitter that Hyperbole and a Half was back and talking about depression, I had to go look.  For one thing, I’ve always loved Hyperbole and a Half.  So funny I often laugh until I cry.  For another, I know far too many people who suffer from depresssion.  Creative people, writers, have always been particularly susceptible, maybe because they have to observe, experience and analyze the world so acutely, reliving emotions that are often easier to shy away from in order to write about them in a realistic manner.  Or, maybe it’s just chemistry.  For decades I’ve hidden from the outside world that depression is something I struggle with as well, because as an agent, I don’t want to show any sort of weakness or have anyone perceive that I could be anything less than 110% at all times.  Here’s the thing: I’ve been dealing with it since I was a pre-teen.  I’d like to say “I’ve got this,” and 99 ½% of the time it’s true, especially since I don’t balk now about getting help when I need it.

So why am I saying anything now?  This post by Hyperbole and a Half affected me deeply.  I think that anyone who struggles should read it to know that they’re not alone and that they’re not deficient in any way because they go through it.  It happens.  That’s it.  A good friend (hi, Laura Anne), once said to me, “If you had diabetes, you’d take your insulin, wouldn’t you?  If it was chocolate instead of medication, you wouldn’t have a problem.”  She’s right.  Absolutely.  Depression is difficult enough, and with it comes the apathy, the extreme difficulty picking up the phone or sending an e-mail letting people know what’s going on.  Whether there’s truly still an external stigma or whether it’s all in our heads, it’s a wrecking thing.  So, I’m writing to tell you, particularly in this industry, you’re not in the minority.  It’s something so many of us suffer from that we all understand.  You don’t have to shout it from the rooftops (or the pages of your blog, like I am here), but you don’t need to place the extra burden on yourself of having to hide it.  There is no “Fake it until you make it” when it comes to depression.  There’s only denial and help.

Comments
  1. So very true. *hugs*

  2. Wow. LOVED this! BIG kudos to you for sharing your deepest thoughts.It takes guts to share something personal like that. The publishing industry is indeed a huge roller coaster ride. No doubt writers go through depression and anxiety at one time another. Some more than others.
    It’s awesome that you took heart to share this and show we are not alone when times hit hard.

    You’re so amazing. In every way. Reaching out like this just confirms your amazingness.

    X Mart

    Off to read Hyperbole’s post!

  3. Martha, thank you so much. Sometimes I even feel amazing. But in this case, really, Allie Brosh is the amazing one. My post was inspired by her courage and brilliance.

  4. lexcade says:

    I follow Allie & Jenny Lawson (the Bloggess) for those reasons–because they’re often side-splittingly funny, and they’re also so honest about their struggles with depression. I’m not sure why creative people are more prone to it than others, but we are, and it’s nice to know that there’s a network who is willing to listen and help. ❤

  5. Terri Clark says:

    Your honesty is beautiful and inspiring. The more we talk about mental illness, the less stigma and fear it will carry.

    • Terri, thanks so much. I’m so lucky not to have been through it as badly as it sounds like Allie has, but I agree that all the stigma does is keep people from getting help at all or at least soon enough.

  6. shamusbishop says:

    Right there with you Lucienne. So much of what Allie wrote was very familiar to me, although it appears that her struggle with depression is much worse than anything I ever experienced.

    • I’m so amazed at how well she captured it and how much obvious pain went in with the humor. I think that anyone who’s ever been through it or knows someone who’s been through it should read. Especially those who haven’t been through it and so can’t really understand. This Hyperbole and a Half blog would be a great start.

  7. Glenn Hauman says:

    “If you had diabetes, you’d take your insulin, wouldn’t you?” Very true. Even more so when for many people it really is a medical condition, or related to one– “you’re not crazy, you’re sick”. Once you realize that, it can make it a lot more manageable.

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