“The opposite of depression is not happiness; it’s vitality”- Andrew Solomon
This is an amazing video about depression, both the humanistic experiences of depressive symptoms and the medical/psychiatric realms that interact with the mental illness.
While you watch this, please keep in mind that Solomon’s descriptions of depression are his subjective experiences of living with the illness. However, the stories he shares about what other people have experienced and the research he mentions can be generalized as a way to provide hope and to remind ourselves about the courage that exists in all of us.
I came across this BuzzFeed page, from Sept 2013, earlier today. This webpage provides a collection of comics that highlights the multiple frustrations that people experience with depression. For myself that knows someone who is living with depression and battles its ugly darkness every day, I feel a bit of relief that these comics exist. The relief I experience as I read through these comics comes from the idea that my relative can also read these comics and understand they are not alone. You are not alone in the depths of sadness that you feel. You are not alone in the excruciating pain you experience while you attempt to find any reason to get out of bed or to tackle the overwhelming pile of laundry that waits to be washed. You are not alone.
These comics are also tools in the continuous efforts to create and enhance awareness for mental illnesses, like depression. Lastly, the use of expressive therapies, such as art therapy, is a wonderful way to express one’s experiences and struggles (as clearly displayed above).
The four comics provided below are my favorite:
Comic #1: The persistent, engulfing darkness (art by Sylvie Reuter)
Comic #2: Carrying the darkness with you where ever you go (art by Kristian Nygård)
Comic #3: The inability to communicate how you actually feel (art by Elysian-Dreams).
Comic #4: The difficulty in trying to get your friends to understand (art by B. Patrick)
To check out more comics, visit: http://www.buzzfeed.com/hnigatu/comics-that-capture-the-frustrations-of-depression.
An amazing video worth sharing. A look of Elyn’s experience of living with Schizophrenia. She makes three great claims at the end of this video. Please watch & notice the strength-based language that supports the empowerment of individuals’ recovery.
Check out Elyn’s novel: “The Center Will Not Hold” for additional insight into her experiences.
Above is one of 8 monsters, drawn by Toby Allen, to depict a mental illness. The monsters include Anxiety, Depression, Paranoia, Social Anxiety, Avoidant Personality Disorder, Borderline personality Disorder, Schizophrenia, & Dissociative Identity Disorder. Each monster includes a description of the monster in question.
Below is the description for the monster of Anxiety: “The anxiety monster is small enough to sit on its victim’s shoulder and whisper things into their unconscious, eliciting fearful thoughts and irrational worries [This can be associated with an individual’s development of self-soothing behaviors or extreme compulsions in order to ward off one’s irrational fears]. The anxiety monster is often seen as weak in comparison to others but it is one of the most common and is very hard to get rid of [This pertains to anxiety as a common comorbid disorder with depression and social anxiety disorder, to name a few]. They often carry a small objects linked to their victim’s anxieties, which represent a common but irrational fear of things that may never happen [Hence the clock that the Anxiety monster, is carrying in the picture]. No one has ever seen the face of the anxiety monster for it always wears a skull as a mask.”
The Depression monster’s description states: “The Depression monster floats around endlessly, always covering his eyes to hide itself from the outside world. Because of this, it always bumps into people or into other monsters causing more stress to itself each time [This is pointing to depression’s comorbidity with other mental illnesses such as anxiety, substance abuse, and suicide]. Its only relief is to wrap its fluid tail around a victim and share its depression with them [This can be associated with the impact that depression has on interpersonal relationships]. The victim is unaware of the monster but will register a heaviness and will develop a state of deep depression. Meanwhile, the monster absorbs any positive emotion from its host until it has had its fill and moves onto another host.
In my opinion, the artist’s visual and linguistic depictions of the mental illness are on point with how the illnesses are manifested and internalized in those that experience the cognitive or affect disorder. The descriptions of the monsters also contain aspects of the diagnostic criteria of the illness, which can assist in providing psycho-education to those unfamiliar with the disorder.
What does your mental illness or greatest fear look like?
Click on this link, Mental Illness Monsters to view the additional seven monsters.
This video is too great not to share! There are moments when we think women’s rights are progressing and gender equality is increasing; but then we are reminded how much these “changes” are truly stagnant.
This video is a genuine message regarding the stigma associated with mental illness, in general, but also more specifically regarding schizophrenia. Eleanor Longden describes her experiences with her voices and her journey of recovery in beautiful detail.