gaspundkiss asked: Hi Clay, I know you've had lots of responses to the latest post. I don't care if you reply to this at all - I just wanted to say thankyou. I work in mental health but have never experienced depression myself... but the "love of my life" did... when I was 16 and unequipped to deal with even knowing what it was. He was very manipulative and gaslighted me a lot - I always felt like I was drowning due to him, anchored to him, yet whenever I thought of leaving I felt SO guilty.. I was so stuck (1/2)
(2/2) but I couldn’t face leaving. I felt guilty and awful for leaving even when he’d do things like lock me out of the house and tell I was the worse thing that ever happened to him. It was due to learning about manipulation and gaslighting that gave me the power to face up to what was happening… He needed professional help, not mine. I managed to escape. My self esteem isn’t what it used to be, but I survived and I’m working on it. These people aren’t bad, we can all be them…but its not us
It is very rare that someone thinks they are doing something bad when they are actually doing it — they think they are doing what they have to do. And we’ve talked about how depression and mental illness messes up your perception of things, making things seem bad when they are really okay and making things seem okay when they are really bad. It doesn’t make them a bad person, it makes them a person who needs help. But people who are too close to them may not be able to help them at all, either because they don’t have the strength, they are too close to the person emotionally, or they are themselves entangled in the web of negativity that the sufferer has created. as you said getting professional help is so important in these situations.
I’m glad you got out of it and I hope you can build your self-esteem up. Self-esteem can be easy to lose but very difficult to get back once you’ve lost it.
I got flooded with asks about 174 and as I’ve been trying to answer them all I’ve also been flooded with people asking me not to flood them with answers to asks. The remainder of asks I will answer but privately. I am sorry about this, but I do want to respond to them all even if I can’t post them all.
EDIT: some people have suggested tagging the asks but I use Tumblr mainly from a cell phone and tagging responses to asks is not an option on the Tumblr app.
amedio3k asked: An important message re: suicide. The average person isn't equipped to really help a person who is suicidal. Indulging in some hero/martyr fantasy isn't doing jack to resolve the issue at hand. Call in the pros, and then focus on keeping *yourself* healthy and safe. There's nothing "heartless" about admitting your limits.
I’m adding the second part of your ask here:
PS: I’m sorry you’re getting so much shit from people about that comic, Clay. I’ve been on BOTH sides of the issue, and I thought you did an exceptional job of illustrating how excruciatingly painful and exhausting it can be. I think you were right in your earlier response about depression making it hard for people to see the larger picture. Thank you for helping to make it more clear.
I agree completely: get the pros involved. If it’s someone close to you or someone you’ve been romantically linked with you’re not going to have the emotional distance to do any good anyways. Furthermore, if there is a weapon involved like a firearm you may be in real physical danger yourself.
I’m not getting a lot of shit about it, actually, and in all honesty it motivates me to make a better comic. A little bit of controversy never hurt anyone.
empress-of-westeros asked: Thanks for responding to my criticism... Mainly that wasn't directed at you, it was directed at anyone currently reading this blog, who read that comic and felt triggered, & felt guilty about every time they'd opened up (whether they deserved to feel guilty about it or not... ***---depressed people are not the best judge of their guilt or lack thereof!!!---***). Everyone deserves to speak up. Of course it's best if it's professional help, but some people can't afford that. Thanks for your comic.
Although some people can’t afford professional help, they can get people to talk to for free (for example seven cups of tea has trained listeners). Naturally, people should open up, especially if they need help, as long as they respect the choices of the person they open up to. I think that is all anyone here is saying.
introsquirrel asked: if someone threatens suicide, you can call 911. you are most likely not a professional and not trained to deal with this kind of crisis and suicide is technically an emergency. as long as you have a phone number, or a name, or an address, you can send help to them no matter where you are and start the process of getting out of this kind of toxic relationship
This is good advice.
mr-hyperbolic asked: I think it's spectacular how people missed the point of that last comic. Honestly, I felt it was a good move for your comic. It may be the first time that you showed how depression can be used for a selfish reason, even from people who suffer from it. It was a very smart, insightful decision in the context of your comic.
Thank you for the kind words. I think it was an uncomfortable comic for a few people because of that reason you said. Most comics about depression are autobiographical, hence they tend to display a sense of self-pity and estrangement from others and one would get the sense that they suffer alone and in isolation (and it does feel that way). I did a comic a long time ago that suffered from that very same problem, and it’s a problem in other webcomics about depression as well. Depression not only affects us but those around us, and it tends to make us very difficult people and … well, sometimes we do things that aren’t very nice to put it mildly. But it’s all part of the picture.
monsieur-queer asked: disregard my previous asks, i was confusing you with the person who added their comment to the comic and got upset. i'm really sorry if i upset you or any of your followers, and now after looking at your replies to the asks and the comic again i understand what the comic was trying to convey better. again, i apologize.
No problem, I felt it was just a misunderstanding, after all, you were saying stuff I completely agree with.
ohsoveryadorkable asked: Thank you for 174. Mental illness is so difficult for everyone involved. Really, thank you.
You’re very welcome, and yes, it is difficult for everyone involved, and by listening to your feedback I hope I can continue to show that depression does not always affect just the directly inflicted.