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May 8, 2013 7:04 PM   Subscribe

Hyperbole and a Half is back. After a long hiatus due to depression, which she memorably wrote about in her last strip in October 2011, Allie Brosh has returned to posting.
posted by jokeefe (276 comments total) 138 users marked this as a favorite

 
YAY.

YAY YAY YAY YAY.

yay.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 7:07 PM on May 8, 2013 [38 favorites]


I'm so glad. I was worried about Allie. Also, I call all parks parps now.
posted by mochapickle at 7:08 PM on May 8, 2013 [10 favorites]


ohai, I just saw this in my FB feed.
After my own evening struggling with self-loathing because the words just won't come.
Missed you, Allie.
posted by Countess Elena at 7:08 PM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


YES
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:10 PM on May 8, 2013


I kind of wish there was a way to liveblog / newsfilter this. It's that big to me.
posted by infinitewindow at 7:10 PM on May 8, 2013 [7 favorites]


Huh, I checked her site last night. I must have just missed this. I'm so glad she's back, and OK.

I missed her alot.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:11 PM on May 8, 2013 [16 favorites]


Best news in a long time! (that she's back, not the reason why she was away necessarily.)
posted by Stoatfarm at 7:12 PM on May 8, 2013


I AM EXCITE
posted by elizardbits at 7:12 PM on May 8, 2013 [8 favorites]


And her book is done, looks like. Touchstone
posted by Ideefixe at 7:14 PM on May 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


Joe: she just posted about ten minutes ago-- or however long it took me to see the announcement on Facebook and whip up an FPP.
posted by jokeefe at 7:14 PM on May 8, 2013


Really glad to see this. I missed her site and I hope she's doing well.
posted by danb at 7:17 PM on May 8, 2013


So, was she suffering from depression or writing a book? I am confuse.
posted by Yowser at 7:17 PM on May 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Good news!
posted by trip and a half at 7:19 PM on May 8, 2013


Yes.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 7:19 PM on May 8, 2013


So, was she suffering from depression or writing a book? I am confuse.

There's a difference?
posted by Strange Interlude at 7:20 PM on May 8, 2013 [88 favorites]


I am so glad. Her last post was so insightful about depression I was really worried.
posted by Mchelly at 7:22 PM on May 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yeah last post [months ago] was depressing. She was struggling.
posted by TangerineGurl at 7:23 PM on May 8, 2013


She has such a clear way with words that I'm really glad it seems like she's going to get a bigger platform to speak. My Twitter is lighting up with glee at this post.
posted by Phire at 7:24 PM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


You can pre-order the book at Amazon, if you roll that way.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 7:24 PM on May 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


YES

I was worried the depression had gotten her
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 7:26 PM on May 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


You can pre-order the book at Amazon, if you roll that way.

I DID NOT KNOW THIS WAS A THING. omg.

Also, her blog post has racked up 600+ comments in the hour it's been up.
posted by Phire at 7:28 PM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sounds like there's gonna be a "big" post tomorrow. Looking forward to it!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:28 PM on May 8, 2013


Yay!
And also, this is one reason why I will miss my Google Reader. No need to check individual sites, when someone returns from a hiatus it shows up in my feed. (Or I start getting a bunch of spam posts if the blog address was taken over).
posted by maryrussell at 7:29 PM on May 8, 2013 [7 favorites]


She's also responding to posts on Reddit tonight.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 7:29 PM on May 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


Been watching the updates via Allie's twitter - beautiful to see and great to read ... and the promise of further writing tomorrow as well.

Great to have you back Allie.
posted by chris88 at 7:29 PM on May 8, 2013


She confirmed the way I feel about pie versus cake. Glad she is back.
posted by shothotbot at 7:30 PM on May 8, 2013


Yay yay yay yay yay!
posted by Rory Marinich at 7:31 PM on May 8, 2013


YAY! Oh I'm so pleased this is this news and not the other kind of news that I had vague fears we might get.
posted by tzikeh at 7:34 PM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Huzzah!
posted by XMLicious at 7:35 PM on May 8, 2013


I came here immediately after seeing her in my FB feed to make sure we were all on board! Going to go read the comeback post now!
posted by batmonkey at 7:36 PM on May 8, 2013


"Haha, you guys... I'm trying to be nonchalant about this. You're blowing my cover."

so glad she's back - so hope being back is good for her.
posted by nadawi at 7:37 PM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yaaaay!!!
posted by Fig at 7:37 PM on May 8, 2013


amazing news
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 7:38 PM on May 8, 2013


INCREDIBLE HAPPY

I was just on the site yesterday, what timing, eh?
posted by JHarris at 7:38 PM on May 8, 2013


We actually have "Install all the things!" as an option in our product. People ask about it all the time.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 7:38 PM on May 8, 2013 [30 favorites]


Although the text of the post is kind of ominous. Hmm.
posted by JHarris at 7:39 PM on May 8, 2013


HUG ALL THE THINGS!!!!

(actually, she'd probably hate that, wouldn't she?)
posted by bibliowench at 7:39 PM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Saw her post pop up in reader, and thought about posting here, but all I could think was OMG OMG OMG!

Also, when I went to put the book in my amazon wishlist, I learned from the 'Customers who bought this item also bought' list that Thomas Pynchon has a book coming out in September. Not sure what the connection is there, but it... pleases me.

way to WRITE ALL THE THINGS, 'ol Thomas Pynchon
posted by hap_hazard at 7:40 PM on May 8, 2013


Now I must go REREAD ALL HER THINGS!
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 7:44 PM on May 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'm surprised by the overjoyed response, her post made me sad. Sounds like the depression got even worse than the last comic from 2011. I mean, glad she's posting but I'm just...I was depressed for over a year and a half and it takes a LONG time to get back. I might still not be back? I'm never sure.

Also I did an FPP on the 2011 post which was full of neat stuff and also a mess in places. The FPP was neat stuff and a mess, not the Hyperbole post.
posted by sweetkid at 7:44 PM on May 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


I've been saying ENGINEER ALL THE THINGS for the past three semesters.

Also, my sister sent me a PARP! coffee mug. It's huge. I sent her a simple dog coffee mug, also huge.

Tomorrow I hope to hear she's doing well.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 7:47 PM on May 8, 2013


Allie's a fucking hero. Anybody who can write about depression as well as she (already) has is a fucking hero.
posted by Apropos of Something at 7:48 PM on May 8, 2013 [27 favorites]


Rooooooooooo!
posted by The corpse in the library at 7:49 PM on May 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


There are a lot of crappy things that have happened lately, and this is the opposite of them.
posted by gwint at 7:49 PM on May 8, 2013 [13 favorites]


I told pretty much everyone I know to read Adventures in Depression when it first came out. It sums up having depression in such a great way that everyone, sufferers or not, can relate and understand. (Occasionally during a rough spot I still say to myself, "Well good job, fork grabber.")

All of her work on Hyperbole has such a warm, thoughtful way about it. She's a wonderful communicator, and I'm happy we get to see more of her work in short order.
posted by jess at 7:50 PM on May 8, 2013 [17 favorites]


OMG YES
posted by Hollywood Upstairs Medical College at 7:51 PM on May 8, 2013


My Alot mugs are fading from too much dishwasher-ing. I think I will buy new ones to celebrate.
posted by bibliowench at 7:51 PM on May 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


This is great news!
posted by drezdn at 7:52 PM on May 8, 2013


When I finally was able to face humans again after my worst depressions, it would have been so nice to be celebrated back into the world and had people be happy for me that I'd fought that battle. Sure, it was good that some folks recognised what I'd been through and the import and how horrible it had been. But, you know, I'd just had a couple years of that already, and I so wanted to just feel like I was part of life again.

I don't know if that's how she's feeling about it, but that's the source of my joy for her. She's got a long road ahead (depression being what it is, she may need to step off the path again another time or two), but she made it through the valley this time, and that's a powerful victory.
posted by batmonkey at 7:52 PM on May 8, 2013 [13 favorites]


I have had the Simple Dog Problem-Solving Method up in my cube for ages. This is very good news.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 7:53 PM on May 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


hoooooooooooraaaaaaaaaaaay!
posted by WidgetAlley at 7:55 PM on May 8, 2013


When I finally was able to face humans again after my worst depressions, it would have been so nice to be celebrated back into the world and had people be happy for me that I'd fought that battle. Sure, it was good that some folks recognised what I'd been through and the import and how horrible it had been. But, you know, I'd just had a couple years of that already, and I so wanted to just feel like I was part of life again.


yeah, that makes sense. I would have liked a happy party, too, instead of "ok are you done ruining things now?"
posted by sweetkid at 7:55 PM on May 8, 2013 [19 favorites]


I'm glad that she's posting again. H&H makes the internet a better place.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:01 PM on May 8, 2013


Haha when that book photo/amazon link was discussed on reddit a few weeks ago I swear I never preordered anything so quickly in my life. I didn't expect the blog to get back to speed to though, for some reason. So, so great to see her back.
posted by jamesonandwater at 8:02 PM on May 8, 2013


So yeah, my stock phrase now for when I'm being micromanaged is (speaking from the micromanager's point of view) "Where are the things?!" I forgot how much of a debt I owe to Allie Brosh.
posted by limeonaire at 8:14 PM on May 8, 2013


THIS IS WHY WE NEED READER, GOOGLE. DO YOU NOT GET THIS.
posted by boo_radley at 8:14 PM on May 8, 2013 [34 favorites]


We've been discussing Allie's return in chat.metafilter.com for hours before it was posted to the Blue.

/hipster
posted by Jacqueline at 8:23 PM on May 8, 2013 [7 favorites]


learning how to draw planes accurately wasn't exactly a priority

Oh honey, I could tell.
posted by laconic skeuomorph at 8:24 PM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I can't wait for more planes. Though I shouldn't.
posted by jermspeaks at 8:25 PM on May 8, 2013


I now have a happy.
posted by BlueHorse at 8:28 PM on May 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


In parts, it might get a little flinch-y and uncomfortable, and if I succeed in making you laugh during those parts, you're going to feel real weird about yourselves. But it's okay. Just let it happen. I WANT it to happen. Because it makes me feel powerful, and also because there are flinch-y, uncomfortable things everywhere. Seeing them is inevitable. If we can laugh about some of them, maybe they'll be less scary to look at.

It makes me happier to be in a world with Allie Brosh in it partly because she can articulate this.
posted by brainwane at 8:32 PM on May 8, 2013 [15 favorites]


I'm so happy I could cry! Seriously. My roommates were worried when I first came across her blog because I was laughing so hard I was crying and stopped breathing... (How a fish almost destroyed my childhood, specificly)
The way she described depression was perfect and I almost felt guilty for laughing.
posted by missriss89 at 8:36 PM on May 8, 2013


Although the text of the post is kind of ominous. Hmm.

It reads to me like she's trying to tell people to brace themselves, because she's going to talk about her depression. Depression is...ugly. Mine went untreated for 20 years, and I didn't realize how hideous it had been until I finally got a diagnosis and began treatment.

People who've never been there are often shocked by how ugly it is.
posted by MissySedai at 8:37 PM on May 8, 2013 [19 favorites]


Yay! Of all the pages on the internet, Adventures in Depression has been the one that I've set people to the most. It is, hands down, the best "this is depression... no, I don't feel like this now, but this is where I go sometimes and I want you to understand" resource I've ever come across. Sure, now it will get burried and I'll have to link directly to the post but there will be so much goodness on top of it that it will not matter. She's back! Happy day!
posted by imbri at 8:39 PM on May 8, 2013


So it's a blog about airplanes?
posted by blue_beetle at 8:40 PM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


yes
posted by elizardbits at 8:41 PM on May 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


I think she is awesome. Her reappearance in my Twitter feed, and that it appears she's feeling better, made me very happy.

Depression is a stone cold fucker.
posted by gadge emeritus at 8:42 PM on May 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


yea I think the new post is a part II of Adventures in Depression. Probably darker but still funny.

Depression is indeed ugly.
posted by sweetkid at 8:43 PM on May 8, 2013


yea I think the new post is a part II of Adventures in Depression. Probably darker but still funny.

It was remarkable to me, how funny I found a lot of my Depressed Life after I'd been treated for a while. Being able to look back and find the humor in the ugliness was very cathartic.
posted by MissySedai at 8:49 PM on May 8, 2013


We've been discussing Allie's return in chat.metafilter.com for hours before it was posted to the Blue.

/hipster


FEDORA! FEDORA! FEDORA!


(actually, I forgot that the chat room was still around. can I wear my porkpie hat in lieu of said fedora?)
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 8:51 PM on May 8, 2013


I am so so so happy to hear this. Maybe more than I should be, because I don't know her, but I feel like I do. So much of her voice and personality comes through in her writing. And the things she deals with are so easy to relate to; she could be any number of my friends.
posted by PercussivePaul at 8:52 PM on May 8, 2013


Huzzah! I am so glad, though I want to place some gentle hands on her shoulders and tell her to take her time, no one wants to push her, we're all glad she's back, but please be here on her own terms. "We'll cheer you on no matter what, so whatever happens, it's OK". In fact, just for moving through the dark forest, coming out of the heaviest woods, and wanting to share a portion of it with us, is EPIC. Especially cool, especially lovely, so alright. All right, Allie!
posted by but no cigar at 8:55 PM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


oh, awesome! Now i'm gonna go read her blog like a motherf*cking adult.
posted by MoonOrb at 9:34 PM on May 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Anyone care to chime in on whether I should pre-order the Kindle or the paperback version?
posted by subbes at 9:42 PM on May 8, 2013


I'm glad to see her back too. I was afraid Kenny Loggins had gotten her.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:46 PM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ideefixe, how can we trust a publisher that misspells "Delhi"?
posted by Sfving at 9:47 PM on May 8, 2013


When I finally was able to face humans again after my worst depressions, it would have been so nice to be celebrated back into the world and had people be happy for me that I'd fought that battle. Sure, it was good that some folks recognised what I'd been through and the import and how horrible it had been. But, you know, I'd just had a couple years of that already, and I so wanted to just feel like I was part of life again.

This just goes to show that we're all different, because I've had that too, and I HATED it. I hated the "it's so good to have you back with us" and the "you're so strong" and whatever other crap it was. I felt embarrassed and weak and upset, because it feels like a condescending pat on the head. It also--and maybe this is my own neurosis talking--bugs me because it makes very clear that I failed at keeping it together throughout the bad times. I've always prided myself on being someone who can put on a good show and do enough to get stuff done when it really needs to be and deal with my own problems without making everyone else miserable. So to be treated to a litany of all the ways that wasn't true, that I was screwing up a lot worse than I thought I had been and that I was making my friends unhappy the whole time, makes me feel terrible. It's the depression equivalent of saying "Wow, I really like your new haircut. Not like that old haircut that made you look like Carrot Top on a bad day. This is so much better!" It's a backhanded compliment, and I don't like it.

But people are entitled to feel lots of different ways. That's what makes us funny and interesting (and also sometimes near-suicidally depressed, but them's the breaks). I won't presume to speak for Ally and tell her how she feels about all of this attention. I can only say that I'm pretty sure that if it were happening to me, I probably would have avoided coming back to my career just so that I didn't have to have people coming up to me telling me how happy they are that I'm no longer so dysfunctional that everyone noticed and talked about it behind my back for a year.

I'm sort of a jerk, huh?
posted by decathecting at 9:55 PM on May 8, 2013 [24 favorites]


What's the opposite of a 'metafilter dot' ('.')?

'o'?

o
posted by Anything at 10:07 PM on May 8, 2013


!
posted by Jacqueline at 10:10 PM on May 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yay!
posted by stoneegg21 at 10:12 PM on May 8, 2013


I am very excited that Allie is back again. That said, this is literally a link to the placeholder text about an announcement that has not yet happened?
posted by estlin at 10:12 PM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is awesome. Her work is terrific.
posted by shoesietart at 10:16 PM on May 8, 2013


Fuck yes! I'm in favor of this! I have no further commentary!!!!
posted by cmoj at 10:57 PM on May 8, 2013


So glad she's back! So glad she's OK :)
posted by danhon at 11:01 PM on May 8, 2013


My favorite part so far about Allie coming back is just everybody's joyous reactions to it.
posted by Sleeper at 11:05 PM on May 8, 2013 [7 favorites]


Yay!

PARP has been firmly entrenched in my lexicon. Whatcha watchin? Jurassic Parp. Parps and recreation. I'm gonna take Logan to the dogparp. Once you're on the parpway, go about five miles. It's alot of parp, I know, but I can't help it.

I don't doubt that the new post is going to be scary and sad, because depression is scary and sad, but the fact that she's writing about it now is a very, very good thing. Processing this stuff (into art, stories, whatever) is a very good way to get it out of your head so that you can move on with your life.
posted by cmyk at 11:07 PM on May 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


This is wonderful news. Let us celebrate with a traditional dinner of fish tacos.
posted by homunculus at 11:30 PM on May 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Is this something you'd have to have a soul to know about?
posted by Sebmojo at 11:42 PM on May 8, 2013


My favorite part so far about Allie coming back is just everybody's joyous reactions to it.

Allie is one of those few people the Internet unconditionally loves. Like Roger Ebert, Neil de Grasse Tyson... Can't think of anyone else.
posted by Sebmojo at 11:46 PM on May 8, 2013 [20 favorites]


Fred Rodgers and Jim Henson, Sebmojo.
posted by radwolf76 at 11:49 PM on May 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


ALL the yays.

Although the ominous sounding nature of her post has led me to feeling a bit anxious about the next post. Which was probably the opposite of her intentions.
posted by liquorice at 11:49 PM on May 8, 2013


We actually have "Install all the things!" as an option in our product. People ask about it all the time.

Oh, I saw that just the other day! But I can't remember what the product WAS. Dammit. I almost know something about you. Kind of. Almost.
posted by lollusc at 1:52 AM on May 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


I am well-rested, sober, in a robust frame of mind, drinking coffee and eating lemon marmalade on sunflower bread on a sunny morning, and have sufficient purpose and fortitude unto the day thereof...

..and yet my eyes are overly moist and I am going squee inside, like an 18 year old fangirl from the mountains of North Dakota, at her first ever con in LA, bumping into David Tennant.

Joy.
posted by Devonian at 2:46 AM on May 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yay!

Also
Ideefixe, how can we trust a publisher that misspells "Delhi"?

Dehli is how you say Delhi in Hindi and Urdu. That spelling may be a conscious choice.
posted by bardophile at 3:10 AM on May 9, 2013


Is it tomorrow yet? No? How about now? ...now?

Yes I am so excited about this I will happily use up all my data updating endlessly, hoping it will be post-time right this minute! It's been said already, but YAY!
posted by harujion at 3:15 AM on May 9, 2013


bardophile: "Dehli is how you say Delhi in Hindi and Urdu. That spelling may be a conscious choice."

It's "dilli", not "dehli". It's seen spelled that way in Hindi sometimes, but even then it's usually a typo, as is this.

On topic: I owe Brosh an incalculable debt for this tutorial. All those years spent flailing about on the floor - such a waste.
posted by vanar sena at 3:24 AM on May 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


Here's a video interview with her. Except it doesn't have the other person's questions. Is that still called an interview? Perhaps it's an outerview, haha.

She doesn't look the way she does in her pictures. I think it's the lighting.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:43 AM on May 9, 2013


I don't think I've ever felt so emotionally involved in the life of someone I've never met or had any direct communication with. For the last year and a half I've had this awful thrum of anxiety and horror about what might be happening to her, and I'm so, so happy she's back. I'm really looking forward to tomorrow's post, but I'm seriously worried I'm not going to be able to read it at work without crying or something.
posted by Acheman at 3:49 AM on May 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


ooh awesome
posted by odinsdream at 4:33 AM on May 9, 2013


!
posted by Vindaloo at 4:35 AM on May 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


THIS IS WHY WE NEED READER, GOOGLE. DO YOU NOT GET THIS.

You guys all know that RSS was not invented by Google, right? There are other feed readers out there. Both "in the cloud" (read: "will be shut down like Reader was eventually") and installable by you (read: "exactly as stable as you want it to be").
posted by DU at 4:40 AM on May 9, 2013 [9 favorites]


It's "dilli", not "dehli". It's seen spelled that way in Hindi sometimes, but even then it's usually a typo, as is this.

I may be wrong about Hindi, but it is certainly both Dilli and Dehli in Urdu. :)
posted by bardophile at 4:42 AM on May 9, 2013


I'm glad she's back. I was just saying the other day that she hadn't updated in forever, and I hoped she was okay.

Also, I get a possibly disproportionate amount of amusement from the fact that the ponytail she draws herself with looks from certain angles like a jaunty yellow party hat.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 5:01 AM on May 9, 2013


LOOK, I WAITED ALL NIGHT, WHICH MAKES IT TOMORROW NOW. WHERE IS CATHARSIS, PLEASE?
posted by wenestvedt at 5:27 AM on May 9, 2013


Once or twice a week this precise conversation transpires at my house:

"What'd you do today?"

"Oh, some work, some laundry. Went for a roun around the parp. You know."
posted by little cow make small moo at 5:37 AM on May 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Awesome. AWESOME. This girl has so much talent, SO much talent... I've always wanted to write an 'illustrated memoir' about depression, never thought I could pull it off, but she totally could. Whatever she's selling, I'm buying, yay Allie!
posted by polly_dactyl at 5:49 AM on May 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Allie is one of those few people the Internet unconditionally loves.

There was that one dude (who was tedious for many other reasons as well) in the last H&1/2 thread who thought she was a loser and we just ate him alive.
posted by elizardbits at 6:22 AM on May 9, 2013 [11 favorites]


When she had the simple dog thinking in simple colored shapes, I knew she was a genius.
posted by gjc at 6:28 AM on May 9, 2013 [8 favorites]


This is extremely exciting news. My Fiance's first name is Allison(and she goes by Allie) and we have a Golden Retriever (i know Brosh's is a Shepherd mix, but still, brown dog) that we now lovingly refer to as Helper Dog. He is also the most neurotic dog I have ever known. We have a tri-color(with VERY similar markings to Special Dog) that is literally brain damaged. So we identify with her a lot.

I am very happy that she is well( or at least well enough to come back and blog). I have been frequently searching the internets to see if she had return or issued any kind of statement and was getting worried. Most good news indeed.
posted by Twain Device at 7:03 AM on May 9, 2013


Oh, this is so exciting!!! I've been checking periodically for years... I never gave up hope that she'd recover and return!!
posted by Cygnet at 7:26 AM on May 9, 2013


This makes me extremely happy. Don't really have much to add, but I am happy about this thing, if not all the things.
posted by Alterscape at 7:41 AM on May 9, 2013


I saw her auto-twitter post and got very excited as a friend of mine had just called herself a "fork grabber" only yesterday.

I had never really seen pictures of her, so those videos of her are very eye opening. I don't know what I expected her to look like in real life, but it was definitely not ... um ... gorgeous lady type.
posted by jillithd at 7:54 AM on May 9, 2013


It's up:

http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.ca/2013/05/depression-part-two.html
posted by heyforfour at 7:56 AM on May 9, 2013 [11 favorites]


"What are you doing?"

"...interacting with you."

omg
posted by elizardbits at 7:59 AM on May 9, 2013 [26 favorites]


The thing that makes me admire Allie Brosh more than anything, more even than any one of her top dozen or so masterful pieces of writing, is her willingness to just up and SAY WHAT'S ON HER MIND. Even when she doesn't quite know how to say it. Even when she's scared people aren't going to like it.

There's an honesty to her writing and her drawing styles alike – it's not that they're technically astonishing and starshining so much as it's her writing and depicting exactly the things she wants to put out. She doesn't worry about crafting the perfect sentence or adhering to any sensibility that isn't her own, and that let's her actually SAY the things that so many people THINK they're saying (when really they're so intent on 'doing this writing thing right' that they miss the fact that they're no longer expressing themselves with the remotest accuracy). Her illustrations are crude, but they convey exactly what they should convey, which is usually something hilarious. Her writing is very casual, but it tells the most interesting parts of a story and doesn't get bogged down in the cruft.

One of the best things the Internet has done is reveal, by letting artists and writers share their work directly with the public, what it is that people actually respond to in drawings and stories. This has resulted in a lot of cult masterpieces which nobody could have anticipated otherwise – Achewood and Ze Frank's The Show come to mind – but it's also led to some hypersuccess stories that seem to come from out of the blue. Red Letter Media's Plinkett reviews, for instance, or XKCD, or Homestuck, and certainly Hyperbole and a Half. When its stripped of all rules pertaining to technique or 'sensibility' or culture, people respond to honesty and intelligence and warmth and friendliness no matter how strange or crude or daunting it may initially appear to be.

I am a sucker for formal training and media theory and aesthetic philosophy but, as a recent art school grad, I felt that many of my classmates used the rules they learned as ends unto themselves, rather than as tools for understanding something innate about humanity and connection. The Internet is the antithesis of that: pretense doesn't last long when you have pageviews and Reddit upvotes and retweets and reblogs and favorites tracking exactly how much people give a shit. On the flip side, these things all reveal when people DO give shits, no matter how unexpected the shits given may be.

Allie is one of my favorite writers and I'm thrilled that she's back, in part because she bats close to a thousand. Her stories never feel like they're trying too hard or dishonest or too self-interested; she writes clearly and hilariously and at times movingly. I'm so excited for today's big post, because I'd love to know what's been brewing over the last year.
posted by Rory Marinich at 8:04 AM on May 9, 2013 [18 favorites]


WAIT ITS UP HOORAY
posted by Rory Marinich at 8:05 AM on May 9, 2013


She is incredible. That is all.

...corn.
posted by Phire at 8:05 AM on May 9, 2013 [6 favorites]


I have been seeing some deeply sad people lately, and while I admit I get depressed sometimes it only lasts a few days or a week. So I don't know what to do for folks like Allie besides to say, "I am right here next to you because I like you. And what you feel is OK, but I want you to be able to feel differently (maybe happy?) if that's what you chose instead."

Should I be doing something else, or more?

Also, *SO* glad to have her back!
posted by wenestvedt at 8:08 AM on May 9, 2013


Holy shit the part where she writes about the dark empty void made me realize that House of Leaves is partly about depression.
posted by Rory Marinich at 8:09 AM on May 9, 2013 [11 favorites]


In the first picture of Allie Brosh I ever saw, I momentarily thought she was Cheryl Hines.

And now I am imagining a Curb Your Enthusiasm/H&aH crossover.
posted by pxe2000 at 8:11 AM on May 9, 2013


She is also completely, hilariously correct that one of the worst parts of dealing with personal issues is when you realize you might have to TELL ANOTHER PERSON about these issues and then brace yourself to deal with THEIR emotional fallout. Like, come the fuck on, I get that people do this because they care but I'M EXHAUSTED AND I DON'T CARE ABOUT YOUR FEELINGS RIGHT NOW, STOP MAKING ME COMFORT YOU.

tl;dr pretty sure some of my long distance friends still don't know that my mom died. in 2010.
posted by elizardbits at 8:12 AM on May 9, 2013 [70 favorites]


pretty sure some of my long distance friends still don't know that my mom died. in 2010.

If it helps, I am for-reals sorry your mom died.

Moms dying is bullshit.
posted by mightygodking at 8:13 AM on May 9, 2013 [24 favorites]


That's kind of reassuring to hear, elizardbits. I shut down and turn into a robot when I hear serious bad news, and I always worry that I'm not being emotional enough and maybe the person sharing bad news feels like I don't care or don't understand, when really I'm like EMERGENCY! SHUT DOWN ALL NON-MISSION-CRITICAL SYSTEMS! Then I go home and cry later.
posted by prefpara at 8:14 AM on May 9, 2013 [10 favorites]


Saved by CLOORN*

*floor-corn
posted by infinitewindow at 8:15 AM on May 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh goodness.

May we all find our own shriveled corn in the darkness.
posted by Bibliogeek at 8:15 AM on May 9, 2013 [19 favorites]


That whole dead fish analogy sequence is just brilliant.

"No, see, that solution is for a different problem than the one I have."
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 8:19 AM on May 9, 2013 [56 favorites]


Her new post is the most true thing that I have ever read. I am so glad she's back.
posted by pemberkins at 8:23 AM on May 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


So much of this is so familiar. Feeling nothing, and learning that anything you try to feel less nothing is not going to work ... not only are you in Nothingville, Pop. 1, there are no roads and the map you have hasn't got any roads either. It's just a big empty piece of paper with a dot on it. And then the dot vanishes because it doesn't matter. "Why don't you go north!" There's nothing there. I checked.

Most days are better than that though; at least for me it doesn't settle in for a long stay, it just comes round for a visit, maybe for a few hours, maybe a day or a week, usually when it's dark and cold outside.
posted by seanmpuckett at 8:23 AM on May 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


What a talent, she's crazy brilliant.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:23 AM on May 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Huh. I have that same gray hoodie.
posted by inigo2 at 8:25 AM on May 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


So, so amazing. The numbness, the fish, the "I just want to become dead somehow," the thrill of feeling an emotion - any emotion - again. I've been going through a debilitating depression for the last year, and she's expressed everything perfectly.

And if one more person tells me that yoga will make me better, I swear I'm going to . . . continue to lie motionless in a dark room, but I'll be very annoyed.
posted by bibliowench at 8:26 AM on May 9, 2013 [26 favorites]


Have you considered trying yoga?

But seriously, this is great. I was depressed for the first time every this year, after a lifetime of being surrounded by depressed people and never quite getting it. It was fascinating, how depression fools you into thinking your responses are logical. I'd wake up every morning and not want to get out of bed and think "Am I depressed? No, of course not, it's just that everything is terrible." Which is clearly depression talking.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:30 AM on May 9, 2013 [8 favorites]


*sniff*
posted by rebent at 8:31 AM on May 9, 2013


That "hate" face. Oh, how I love that "hate" face.
posted by jillithd at 8:32 AM on May 9, 2013 [9 favorites]


The hate face is the best thing I've seen in a long time.
posted by prefpara at 8:37 AM on May 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


That was fucking amazing. I don't have much else to say about it right now.
posted by invitapriore at 8:38 AM on May 9, 2013


[...] when you have to spend every social interaction consciously manipulating your face into shapes that are only approximately the right ones, alienating people is inevitable.

Oh god. I thought that was just me.

And I loved the return of Simple Dog. To your pets, you are the most awesome human being (or larger, funnier-looking dog/cat/whatever) who ever lived, and the fact that they love you and depend on you can help keep you going.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 8:45 AM on May 9, 2013 [7 favorites]


She has all these amazing little turns of phrase I can't get over.

"I agreed to see a doctor so that everyone would stop having all of their feelings at me."
posted by mrgoat at 8:46 AM on May 9, 2013 [8 favorites]


And oh my god. Yes to the corn moment.

For me it happened on Facebook Chat. I was experiencing a toilet drain spiral of shit-tinged emptiness. Everything was bullshit and nothing made sense. Nothing mattered. The world was cruel. People were cruel, and you couldn't even hate people for it because the truth was, you were being cruel back. Cruelty begetting cruelty down a drain drain drain.

I forget what happened, probably a series of angry Facebook statuses or Tumblr posts. But they led a friend of mine to write me and ask, "Is everything okay?"

I wrote back an angry face: your usual >:( type deal. It was to be followed with the nastiest, most hurtful bile I could think to spew up, all aimed towards this person whose crime was to offer some sympathy for a situation which was far too dire to be made better by friends. I think my mother had called earlier in the day and I'd sworn so vehemently at her that she hung up on me. What was about to follow was a torrent of viciousness that would make my mom's deciding she couldn't take my shit seem tame in comparison.

Except that Facebook Chat took my >:( and replaced it with a little smiley. Some cartoonishly peeved-off little guy with knit eyebrows and a creased frownymouth. And it broke me. Suddenly the world was hilarious.

Some guy in Cupertino, California or whatever-the-shit had been tasked with drawing a cute little dude to represent anger. It hadn't been his idea. It hadn't even been a project specifically related to angry faces. Facebook just knew people used emoticons and the angry face was next on their to-illustrate list. So the guy drew it cute and fun and moved on and it probably took him all of five seconds to draw.

And what struck me was that I couldn't even EXPRESS MY ANGER without going through Facebook's bullshit sanitized layer of illustrations. The start to my volley, which already looked like a pretty inexpressive smiley, was made to look outright ridiculous. It wasn't just my college, my ex-girlfriend, my lack of friends, my entire fucking life conspiring against me. It was the means by which I was going to at least convey my misery and hatred to the outside world. I couldn't even make an angry face without its being made to look stupid. And Facebook didn't even care about me, or angry people, or any of that shit. I was being ridiculed by something for whom my very existence was incidental.

It felt like the universe had chosen to blow me a raspberry. And suddenly the world was hilarious.

Once you admit that your presence on the planet is basically a mote of dust within a mote of dust, you're free to give less of a shit about the world surrounding you. You don't have to worry about yourself, your pain, your family, your friends, your hopes, your dreams... anything. It's all ridiculous, and you get to sit back and laugh.

Small-scale sadness becomes amusing. Large-scale tragedy becomes delightful. For a little while you can just marvel and guffaw at how much people CARE about things, how much we go about acting like it all matters.

Only... then it hits you that it DOES matter, to the people if not to anybody else. Sure, nobody else cares. Sure, not many people even care about the people caring. And yeah, it's kind of funny that we put all this effort into caring, into making things important. It's the most ridiculous thing in the world. But there's a beauty to the ridiculousness, to these large elegant patterns of people laughing and crying and loving and hating, people deciding not to give a shit anymore, people deciding to give too much shits about everything.

We obsess immaculately over ourselves. And in the end, nobody else obsesses over us nearly as much as we ever will. All that obsession is... wasted? Not wasted, because it changes us. But not seen, either. It's lost in the eddies of our rushing, churning minds. Mattering only to ourselves. But it DOES matter to us. And it's important, at least to us, that it matters to us.

Then it struck me that I might have made my mother cry. And that I was about to throw away a friendship that had been years in the growing for the sake of making a point to... whom? A point about what?

And that I was lonely. And scared. And I had lain awake at night when I was eight years old, wondering if tonight would be the night that Iraq dumped nerve gas on New Jersey and ripped out my soul as I was sleeping. Wondering if I'd get another chance to tell my parents I loved them before my life was over.

Life is terrifying and yes, the world is cruel. And the things that matter to us could stop mattering any moment. And it'll all stop mattering eventually so maybe it doesn't mean anything to anybody external that it matters to us at all.

But we are not all there is. We are a small stitch in a big rug pattern, and maybe the pattern doesn't mean an objective thing but at least it's objectively there. We can ignore it or be fascinated by it or laugh at it or try to rip it to shreds or do whatever, really, and maybe the pattern's God or maybe the pattern's one big stupid fluke, but either way there's a pattern, and we get to be a tiny piece of it.

I still have days where nothing seems important, and days where the cruelty of everything seems to be a bit too much to be worth waiting through. But on those days I know I can switch off caring about the things that hurt too much to care about and that are too meaningless to reward caring. And I know that the cruelty is funny in a way, absurd in a way that I'd have loved to write about if I wasn't so stuck being its main subject. And I know that the things that don't seem important aren't important, except that I choose to make them be, and that the day will certainly come that I choose to make them feel important again.

All in a piece of corn. Or a Facebook smiley. You can't just make your brain feel the way you want it to feel, you can't just wish your depression away. You can't control the chemistry of your body and mind, because as much as you may briefly occupy it, it is permanently beyond you. But if you can spot the pattern, meaningless as it may be, you have at least something to cling to as you wait for the world to stop flushing away.
posted by Rory Marinich at 8:47 AM on May 9, 2013 [50 favorites]


I want to make a little flip book out of this strip and carry copies of it around for the days when I just can't take the bullshit from people who think they understand depression but clearly, CLEARLY do not. So when someone makes some inane suggestion to me about yoga or the sunrise, I would take out one of my little flip books and tell them to read it. Then, when they're done, I would say, "I need you to understand--it's not that I want to hit you in the face; it's that I want to have hit you in the face. I just don't have the energy, and even if I managed it, there would be, like, consequences, and seriously, that would just be more random shit happening to me that would probably be bad if I had any capacity to differentiate. I know, logically, that the smart move is not to inflict violence on others, and I'm not entirely unable to control my actions, so... you know, enjoy not having been hit in the face. And read that book again."
posted by tzikeh at 8:50 AM on May 9, 2013 [9 favorites]


To your pets, you are the most awesome human being (or larger, funnier-looking dog/cat/whatever) who ever lived, and the fact that they love you and depend on you can help keep you going.
posted by Mr. Bad Example


One thing that has stuck with me through some very bad times is a moment from an episode of the WTF podcast where Maron's talking to Todd Hanson about Hanson's suicide attempt and Hanson breaks down talking about how terrible he felt when he realized that if he'd succeeded, he would have let his cats down.

I don't know, it's a little aspect of a bigass, heavy subject, but it really haunts me.
posted by COBRA! at 8:53 AM on May 9, 2013 [18 favorites]


And yes re: Simple Dog. During a previous major depressive episode, I wanted (for a very weak value of "want," since I didn't really want much of anything) my cat to die so that I wouldn't have to keep living. I came out of the depression, my cat lived another few years (she managed 20 whole years with me), and when she did die, I was "lucky" enough to be completely recovered from that depressive episode--emotionally "normal"--so that I could feel acutely the agony of my lack of her.

Fuck depression and all its related bullshit.

On preview: Yup, COBRA!, that sadness Hanson described was part of my mourning process for my cat, too.
posted by tzikeh at 8:55 AM on May 9, 2013 [6 favorites]


Many days, my cat is my primary reason for living.
posted by Jacqueline at 8:55 AM on May 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


you know who needs to read this? Therapists. Psychologists. Psychiatrists. When I was in my shittiest depression, I had so many PROFESSIONALS offering me solutions for a different problem than the one that I had. . . it was really discouraging.

Fortunately that was almost twenty years ago. Hopefully things have gotten better in the field.
posted by KathrynT at 8:56 AM on May 9, 2013 [7 favorites]


Oh fuck. It happened. Luckily nobody was in the office at the time.
Didn't help that today was the day my boss decided to say to me, 'You'll be wasting your talents if you keep doing this job forever. What's your five year plan?' and my brain was all 'Oh crap, it looks like the day has come when we're going to have an actual plan that lasts longer than three months and that we actually believe in for reals' and decided to freak the hell out.
posted by Acheman at 9:01 AM on May 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


(depending on your relationship with your boss, the best answer to that question may be to grin at them ferally and say "in 5 years i'm going to have your job")
posted by elizardbits at 9:04 AM on May 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


So I don't know what to do for folks like Allie besides to say, "I am right here next to you because I like you. And what you feel is OK, but I want you to be able to feel differently (maybe happy?) if that's what you chose instead."

Saying the right thing is completely overrated.

Companionship is nice, though.

For most really shitty situations there isn't really a "right thing to say" anyway. That goes double for mental illness. I mean, in therapy, the doctor's supposed to listen to the patient instead of talking much, you know? That's such a weird counterintuitive inconvenient way to set things up that I can't imagine it's an accident. If it was even remotely possible to help a depressed person by saying the right things to them, then instead of having therapists we'd find extra-charismatic extra-socially-graceful people, and train them to say just the right thing in every situation, and they'd just sit you down and say the right things at you and you'd feel better.

But that doesn't work. So.

What you can do is treat them like you'd treat any other friend — which is to say, hang out and be present and don't even worry about saying the right thing, and don't stay away out of fear or awkwardness. Just say whatever. You can be like "Hey, I've got a DVD and some Chinese food, can I come over?" Or "I saw the funniest video of a hedgehog and it made me think of you, here's a link." Or "Hey, you know that one joke you used to tell about the monkeys and the platypus? How did that go again?" The content doesn't even matter. All you're doing is continuing to show up and interact and not be driven away, even if some days the only response you get is an Eeyore-esque sigh. But to the extent that anything helps at all, that's what helps.

(Also, concrete, specific offers of practical assistance, if you notice a need that you can help meet. "Tell me if there's anything you need" is useless. "Oh hey so I noticed you were complaining about the bus ride to your doctor, can I give you a lift there next week?" is priceless.)
posted by Now there are two. There are two _______. at 9:09 AM on May 9, 2013 [25 favorites]


Yeah, I wish I could have been all rapier-wit about it but instead I flailed around and tried to somehow excuse how weaksauce my response was without accidentally revealing any of my actual Circumstances or thought processes and then sat in my office tailspinning all afternoon because of the trauma of being accused of being competent.
posted by Acheman at 9:14 AM on May 9, 2013 [7 favorites]


I really needed this post on Monday. Luckily, I still need it today. Or unluckily. (*sigh*)
posted by Eideteker at 9:15 AM on May 9, 2013


I made myself not have any expectations about that post. If I had had any, though, they would have been surpassed in the first paragraph. By the end, they would have been minute shreds, blasted by the force of her absolutely superlative depiction of catastrophic depression and all of the disturbing non-milestones along the way.

"Maybe everything isn't hopeless bullshit!" INDEED!

decathecting's words are in italics:
"I hated the "it's so good to have you back with us" and the "you're so strong" and whatever other crap it was."

Yeah, I didn't like that stuff either and isn't what I'm talking about. What *I* wanted was: "HURRAY! YOU CAN FEEL STUFF! LET'S FEEL STUFF TOGETHER!" As sweetkid put so well, I wanted a freaking celebration of joy that I had fought through that damned suffocating grey wool. Not platitudes or pity. As I poorly indicated, that's exactly what I was tired of getting. I wanted some kind of marker that I'd next-staged that sucker.

"I've always prided myself on being someone who can put on a good show and do enough to get stuff done when it really needs to be and deal with my own problems without making everyone else miserable."

Me, too. All the way. With pickles. I was an overachiever and high-functioning and all of those tags that mean "compartmentalization works until it doesn't". And then...I wasn't. And it was really noticeable. More than once. To people whose opinions meant the world to me. To the job that meant everything to me. And it was a disaster. It was devastation on top of depression. And when I outmaneuvered that black dog, my life was still a craptacular shambles liberally booby-trapped with consequences and repercussions. I was technically on the mend, but that was terrifically sobering and threatened to pull me back down repeatedly. It was the people in my life who made me feel like a beloved performer on a comeback tour who helped me take those hard steps past that threshold, and even though there was only a handful, that's what kept me going into full remission*.

"It's a backhanded compliment [...]"

"YAY, YOU'RE BACK FROM THE BRINK!" is neither backhanded nor a compliment. It's a celebration. Sure, absolutely, there are people who are going to do throw out things that make you wish you could shake them (or, better, spend some time in your head)...but those aren't what I wanted nor what the majority of folks are giving Allie. I don't know if she's cool with how folks are responding (I know that some of the volume and clumsiness would certainly have pushed me back in a little, myself), but I feel confident in saying that perishing little of it could even slightly qualify as "backhanded compliment" material.

Now, to clarify, I don't say any of this to come down on you. You feel what you feel. That's your right, obviously. I just want to share a different perspective on this that isn't as rooted in personal shame and separates frabjous joy for another human finding their way out of the savage valley from loutish mis-steps in encouragement.

* most folks with catastrophic depression are given the honest truth that it's likely to come back, and that even with a good medication mix and flawless lifestyle hygiene, it can be a threatening buzz in the background for the rest of our lives, so coming through a big one is a recovery, but we're not generally promised "full recovery", hence remission.
posted by batmonkey at 9:16 AM on May 9, 2013 [7 favorites]


To your pets, you are the most awesome human being (or larger, funnier-looking dog/cat/whatever) who ever lived, and the fact that they love you and depend on you can help keep you going.

The best is when they come over and lie down next to/partially on top of you, and make you feel like, even if you're a complete failure as a functional human being, you're quite good at being a solid, warm object for snuggles.
posted by bibliowench at 9:21 AM on May 9, 2013 [14 favorites]


The line "Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion" from Steel Magnolias gets trotted out on a regular basis among a certain segment of my friends. This reminded me very strongly why that quote has had such a long life.
posted by EvaDestruction at 9:24 AM on May 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'M EXHAUSTED AND I DON'T CARE ABOUT YOUR FEELINGS RIGHT NOW, STOP MAKING ME COMFORT YOU.

PLEASE DON'T MAKE ME EMOTE FOR YOU is a thing I have perhaps thought on occasion


I am happy Allie Brosh is doing a little better! She continues to be a very very good cartoonist.
posted by Greg Nog at 9:26 AM on May 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


"No, see, that solution is for a different problem than the one I have."

Man, she is just so brilliant at spelling out the ineffable.

(Also, "Not today! I've got LEGS, motherfucker!" is maybe one of the greatest things to exist in the history of the world. You go, jaunty little next step in evolution!)
posted by a fiendish thingy at 9:29 AM on May 9, 2013 [9 favorites]


There is only one correct response to being asked your five year plan.

"My five year plan?" you ask back. "You're asking what my five year plan is."

Here, they will most likely nod, or give you an impatient affirmation, a little put off by your apparent impertinence.

You must then smile and say, as coolly as you can muster, "Well, it's good of you to ask. As you know, I've always been a bit of a self-starter. Early bird getting the worm and all that. My five year plan is to gather data and retrieve documents. It is to ingrain myself and slip perfectly under the radar in the guise of a relatively unexceptional worker. It is to quietly observe people who might be candidates for inclusion into this terrible work of mine, and test them without their knowing it, and recruit them, and swear them to silence on pain of...well, on pain of never you mind. It is to put together the components I need to enact the final phase of my plan and very gradually plant those components in the physical locations where they will have, shall we say, the most impact."

At this point, your boss is probably staring at you, eyes agape, really not sure where this is going but not liking it nevertheless.

"Oh, and one other thing," you now say. "The single most important part of my five year plan. The most important part, you see, is to have actually started on it long before this conversation. Perhaps you're wondering how long? I will tell you."

Here, check your watch.

"With some precision, I can tell you that I set my five year plan in motion about this long ago: Four years, three hundred sixty-four days, twenty-three hours, fifty-nine minutes, and fifty seconds. Fifty-one. Fifty-two..."

As you count, reach into your jacket and from the inner pocket, produce a device. A garage door opener is a good choice, but really it just needs to be anything that is obviously electronic and that has a visible button on it. You should be carrying this with you at all times and it should be in your jacket pocket. That'll be a pain in the ass on a hot day, but the impact just isn't the same if you have to pull it out of your pants pocket or fumble in a bag for it.

Place your thumb on this button.

"...Fifty-eight. Fifty-nine."

Press the button at sixty and then walk away without a word. This is a good time to get a start on cleaning your desk out. There will probably not be a severance package.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 9:32 AM on May 9, 2013 [52 favorites]


(Also, "Not today! I've got LEGS, motherfucker!" is maybe one of the greatest things to exist in the history of the world. You go, jaunty little next step in evolution!)

It's always weird to be reminded that you've got ancestors that were a different species than you are.
posted by invitapriore at 9:43 AM on May 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


It also--and maybe this is my own neurosis talking--bugs me because it makes very clear that I failed at keeping it together throughout the bad times. I've always prided myself on being someone who can put on a good show and do enough to get stuff done when it really needs to be and deal with my own problems without making everyone else miserable. So to be treated to a litany of all the ways that wasn't true, that I was screwing up a lot worse than I thought I had been and that I was making my friends unhappy the whole time, makes me feel terrible.

I had the opposite experience: no one noticed I was depressed. I held it all together until, all at once, everything fell apart. Then it became "what is wrong with you?" I wasn't able to say "hey jackass, maybe I've been depressed for the better part of six years at this point, today was just the day that I finally couldn't hold it together."

When you're depressed, it's a lose-lose when it comes to people knowing or taking notice.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 9:49 AM on May 9, 2013 [21 favorites]


As far as this:

I have been seeing some deeply sad people lately, and while I admit I get depressed sometimes it only lasts a few days or a week. So I don't know what to do for folks like Allie besides to say, "I am right here next to you because I like you. And what you feel is OK, but I want you to be able to feel differently (maybe happy?) if that's what you chose instead."

The part that is best is this part (IMO): ""I am right here next to you because I like you"

And that's it. The "chose" part is a little wonky because people with depression don't choose to be any way or not and being happy seems like a million billion miles away and something that happens to other people, maybe in another country to which you don't have a valid visa.

But just being there and not trying to FIX is a massive thing.

more later, this posted at the most inconvenient time because work.
posted by sweetkid at 9:56 AM on May 9, 2013 [6 favorites]


It seems to me sometimes that depression tends to happen a lot to people who have unusually happy or at least interesting childhoods. It's like --

Here's the WORLD look at how AWESOME it is hey this is fun WHEEEE and friends and cartoons and videogames and movies YAY....

...yay...

what, it doesn't get any better?

I try not to use terms like "the world" or "the universe" when I say things like "the world is a crappy place to be" because it's not the world, it's the structures and life we've constructed out of it, and we shouldn't conflate the world of our society with the actual awesome and wonderful physical world, which contains nature and animals and stars and quantum physics and stuff like that.

While the society world, the set of things human beings have constructed to enjoy and do and live and be life, it's really terrible. It seems like a lot of it objectively speaking are television, bars and church, which are three things that are really low down on the list of things that I find interesting for how damn much of our collective lives they consume. When I was a kid there was Skeletor, now there's CSI, and I have to tell you it doesn't match up. At best we get Robot Chicken with its terrible lame jokes about Skeletor, in which it takes the symbols of childhood and "humorously" updates them to the "adult" world, like that world is better somehow. I have to think Robot Chicken was designed to make people depressed.

That is an admittedly shallow and silly description, I deliberately chose it for humor purposes, but I bring it up because, in one way or another, the Skeletor thing is all of it. It feels like my kid self was sold a bill of a goods about how awesome life was going to turn out to be. Life feels like a bucketload of toil in service of things I don't care about so that I can get in return things I actively loathe. The only reason I can keep going at all is because I'm weird enough to fixate and obsess on tiny awesome things that become powerfully fascinating for short periods, like say writing up many of the entries in High Weirdness By Mail or watching every episode of classic Doctor Who, or longer periods, like talking about game design, but still don't seem to amount to anything.

I might be depressive, I've thought many times, but in a real sense only people who have the money to get diagnosed for these kinds of things are "allowed" to be depressed. It's kind of like a disease for affluent people. Of course poorer people get it too, but if you make less than a certain amount of money then "being depressed" becomes, in the eyes of some people "being a slacker," or "sponging off the system," or "you're one of those ditch diggers the world needs."

I've tried explaining to people who were in the process of talking derisively about people doing nothing with their lives other than soaking up unemployment benefits, I've told them "you know, few people really want to be out of work," and they laughed in my face. It just feels like this big fucked-up ball of loathsomeness where people hate others for things beyond your control due to misguided assumptions about what their motives are because secretly they wish they could live that way because in their eyes who wouldn't. And that just adds into the general disdain I find myself having for people in general.
posted by JHarris at 9:58 AM on May 9, 2013 [20 favorites]


There are the occasional angels out there who know how to talk to you when you're suffering from depression without making you feel like you have to comfort them about your problems, which is yeah pretty much the worst thing. It's not about saying the right thing, or a script that they have, it's just a certain type of empathy and receptiveness.
posted by invitapriore at 10:01 AM on May 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yay! But, also, not good to read at work. Hits pretty close to my own experiences.
posted by shinyshiny at 10:06 AM on May 9, 2013


It seems to me sometimes that depression tends to happen a lot to people who have unusually happy or at least interesting childhoods.

There's a lot of pseudo-philosophy out there surrounding depression, because it's about nebulous things like thoughts and feelings, which up until recently were the sole domain of philosophers.

Depression is a real medical condition, not a philosophical position, and it's being studied with all due scientific rigor in both psychological and biomedical fields. Idle speculation at this point is neither helpful nor particularly enlightening.
posted by Slap*Happy at 10:08 AM on May 9, 2013 [13 favorites]


After reading through the update, all I have to say is "Not today! I've got LEGS motherfucker!" is my new mantra.
posted by theBigRedKittyPurrs at 10:10 AM on May 9, 2013 [12 favorites]


Allie Brosh may be the only person who fully understands storytelling on the internet.
posted by cmoj at 10:18 AM on May 9, 2013 [6 favorites]


I get where she's coming from, especially the "your solutions are not for my problem" point. when my depression hit, I was basically housebound and unable to do anything except use the bathroom and use the Internet to order groceries because I needed to eat.

what got me out of the rut was a letter from my job saying if I didn't start showing up I'd be fired for cause. so I started showing up and found out that Corporate America has no room for major depression incidents. I was sick, but not one they recognized as illness. I got in shit for not being able to work overtime one day a week due to my therapist appointment.

and my therapist decided that my depression was because I was overweight instead of, you know, depression.

I got laid off the next year. and didn't have a crash.

since then I have moved cross country, cut most ties with the toxic people I was dealing with (including my parents), lost 90 pounds, got a lovely girlfriend and am starting a business. I don't know why I didn't crash in the post layoff, but I know I'm lucky and am thankful every day for it.

I hope she gets there too.
posted by mephron at 10:36 AM on May 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


Inside I am jumping up and down which is great but I think I am getting a stomachache which is less great.

The part about trying to tell people that you're suicidal really resonated with me. It's a weird thing because, speaking for myself, that actually was *not* my lowest point. My lowest point was earlier when I was entertaining Bad Thoughts. Telling people that I wanted help was a higher point because I realized that I didn't have to feel like this and I decided to do something about it. So being confronted with people who were sad made me feel bad again. It was like, I don't want to feel badly anymore so I'm going to ask someone for help --> I asked someone for help and now they feel badly --> I am a jerk who doesn't deserve help --> The DARK PLACE.

If the Flying Spaghetti Monster or intelligent designer could make it so there's some type of physical indicator when people are suicidal, like a check-mental-engine light, on the next version of people, that would be really helpful.

That said, I can only speak for myself but being suicidal wasn't so much about wanting to die. Wanting to die was more of a vanity thing - I bet people will feel sadly if I died, they would regret being jerks, etc. When depressed, it's not that I want to die but I just don't want to be miserable anymore and that seems like the best/only/most logical way out. It's along the lines of cutting off your arm instead of getting a cast or cutting off your nose to spite your face.

I loved reading this because I could relate but it also made me realize how far I have to go.

If she does a book tour and ends up nearby, she is getting The Biggest Hug.
posted by kat518 at 10:42 AM on May 9, 2013 [8 favorites]


"Is this some weird game where you name all the things I can't do?"
Waterworks, right there! This is some goddamned truth.

She so perfectly captured the feeling of having to consciously, physically manipulate your face -- while constantly second-guessing yourself, and wishing there was a mirror so you might check to see if you're Doing It Right -- in order to present what you believe would be appropriate body language in reaction to whatever your well-meaning friend is saying to you. Even though their words and sentiments are just barely registering in your conscience, coming through like a half-scrambled shortwave radio station. Any time you have to respond feels a little bit like waking up to an alarm clock.

High-functioning depression has always felt like walking a constant tightrope of "Is this how other people act? I don't think it is. But am I doing it right, at least? Am I making sure they can't tell how exhausting it is just to breathe, just to move, to pretend like I have the energy to take care of myself? Why can't I stop crying? Am I giving anything away, accidentally letting any bad feels leak out from around the edges? Is everything taped and stapled and bound up tight? OK, time for working! Time for eating! Time for sleeping! Time for a new day! Time to stop crying! Is this how other people act? I don't think it is..." and it goes on for miles. Years. Lifetimes.

This and "Why are you crying?"/"I don't know, it's just something that's happening" are just... right. Correct. Profoundly and perfectly true. Wake up, breathe, keep breathing.

Thank you, Ms. Brosh. Hyperbole and a Half is a gem.
posted by divined by radio at 10:53 AM on May 9, 2013 [22 favorites]


what got me out of the rut was a letter from my job saying if I didn't start showing up I'd be fired for cause. so I started showing up and found out that Corporate America has no room for major depression incidents. I was sick, but not one they recognized as illness. I got in shit for not being able to work overtime one day a week due to my therapist appointment.

This makes me seethe with rage when I think about it too much, especially the "no we can't even make the minor exception of allowing you to take an hour or two a week out of your apparently purposelessly ironclad work schedule to deal with your illness" part. I'm pretty careful about who I talk to about that, too, because I don't think I could help but unleash a truly Biblical cascade of shit upon anyone who might come back with the "well, companies need to look after their bottom line" nonsense.
posted by invitapriore at 10:54 AM on May 9, 2013 [6 favorites]


sweetkid: The "chose" part is a little wonky because people with depression don't choose to be any way or not and being happy seems like a million billion miles away...

Right, I get that. Do I ever.

But sometimes I hear, "I don't want to be like this anymore." And that is where I can say, "Sounds good. Let's see if there is a way out of this for you. I will stay here beside you, sharing my M&Ms and favorite songs, while we try to find a spaceship for you."
posted by wenestvedt at 11:00 AM on May 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


I've been very lucky with workplaces being ok with my therapy appointments (then again I'm in NYC where lots of people go). When accepting new positions I have made it clear that I am late a certain morning each week and they will take it from my cold dead hands.
posted by sweetkid at 11:00 AM on May 9, 2013


I don't know how much it would've helped, but I wish my friend had read this a few days ago.

The two depression posts alone would make Hyperbole and a Half one of the few blogs I go back to reread, though her other posts are also classics. Thank you, and thank you again.
posted by ilicet at 11:03 AM on May 9, 2013


I'm glad she's back - it sounds like she's been having a tough time of it.

I admit, after the long hiatus with no updates after the first depression post, I wondered if she'd died. Which made "$FOO ALL THE THINGS" memes a bit twitchy-making for me.
posted by rmd1023 at 11:03 AM on May 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Here's the WORLD look at how AWESOME it is hey this is fun WHEEEE and friends and cartoons and videogames and movies YAY....

...yay...

what, it doesn't get any better?
Or more like, for me: here's the WORLD your DAD DIED and your SISTERS ARE CRAZY and your MOM IS SAD and kids at school MAKE FUN OF YOU and you're SUPER AWKWARD but at least you're good in school and maybe being a grownup will be easier? Pshaw as if.

And this week I feel all off and out of whack, dealing with meds stuff and being frustrated about having a brain that doesn't do stuff right. (Also: stuff.) So I came in just trying to tell the negativity voice in my head to STFU right TF now, saw this, and burst into tears.

Gonna pull myself together, more or less, do some damn work, and then go to group therapy. (Which thankfully my boss is incredibly cool about all the things related to this.)
posted by epersonae at 11:05 AM on May 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


Literally yesterday I wondered if Hyperbole and a Half had come back yet, and I went there and had a sad that there was nothing. Then I checked out her Twitter and noticed there hadn't been any tweets since Part I, and I was really worried, but I decided to follow her anyway, just in case. I gasped with joy this morning when I saw her new tweets. So glad she is OK. She is just the absolute best.
posted by Rock Steady at 11:06 AM on May 9, 2013


> "I wondered if she'd died. Which made "$FOO ALL THE THINGS" memes a bit twitchy-making for me."

???

Shakespeare is dead and people quote him all the time.
posted by Jacqueline at 11:06 AM on May 9, 2013


I'm a bit surprised so many people thought she died. That kind of makes the 'yay!' comments make more sense to me, though I still have to say I find some of the unqualified joy a little confusing.

Sorry, those are just my feels.
posted by sweetkid at 11:09 AM on May 9, 2013


Uh. That was over 400 years ago and he didn't kill himself after making a much-loved comic about depression?
posted by elizardbits at 11:10 AM on May 9, 2013 [11 favorites]


One day, well into the recovery process from my depression but not really better in a real way, I was mulling over stupid things I'd done years before and feeling shitty about them, and feeling suicidal. Then I imagined the suicide note: "I did a stupid thing once." The absurdity of that cracked me up, and I was in a good mood the entire rest of the day.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 11:11 AM on May 9, 2013 [19 favorites]


People also quote David Foster Wallace all the time.

Seriously don't understand why someone committing suicide means you should then pretend that they never contributed anything clever to the world.
posted by Jacqueline at 11:12 AM on May 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


No one has suggested any sort of pretending should happen. Someone said that it might make them uncomfortable. I assume it was because they are a human and have feelings about a bad thing that could have happened to someone to whom they relate.
posted by elizardbits at 11:14 AM on May 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


Jacqueline: Seriously don't understand why someone committing suicide means you should then pretend that they never contributed anything clever to the world.

For me it was more the uncertainty, you know? The unfinished nature of her last post was kind of troublesome after so long, and when some img meme or something would remind me of her, it made me wonder and worry.
posted by Rock Steady at 11:17 AM on May 9, 2013


That might be the most spot on thing I've ever read.
posted by Cyrano at 11:20 AM on May 9, 2013


Usually when I see someone describe something as having made them "twitchy," they mean that it made them so enraged that they were twitching from the effort of controlling their anger. I can't think of ever seeing someone use the word "twitchy" to describe their reaction to something that merely made them feel worried.
posted by Jacqueline at 11:20 AM on May 9, 2013


I haven't gotten through today's post entirely but the kids playing with toys analogy struck me pretty hard having made the exact same observation while watching my two year old play with her toys yesterday. Depression isn't any one thing but this resonates with me too much. And of course I have the self loathing that I never started my own badass blog, and her writing style feels so familiar,like when you hear a new song with a riff or melody that sounds like something you wrote and never did anything with years ago.
posted by lordaych at 11:22 AM on May 9, 2013


I've seen 'twitchy' used to cover vague uncomfortableness/worry for sure.

I would use 'twitchy' for those times when you're meeting up with a friend for lunch and you're waiting for your third friend to join and chatting, but every two seconds when the door opens you're like "Is that her? Is THAT her?"
posted by sweetkid at 11:23 AM on May 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


So well put. And so glad she's on her way out the other side.

But not everyone discovers a piece of floor corn. For me, the only thing that finally helped me start to crawl out was getting the right mix of medications (after many, many, many wrong ones). For some people, the problem actually can be chemical, and can be treated if you can find a way to deal with the fears and the stigma and the side effects and the depression that you're actually doing something and medicating and it's STILL not working PLUS now I'm fat and have dry mouth. It's not an easy road and it sucks and I still don't love knowing that I am someone who couldn't find normal without taking brain drugs. But I would hate for anyone reading this in that same awful place to feel even more hopeless because they can't seem to see a piece of corn on their own.
posted by Mchelly at 11:24 AM on May 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also, just a few minutes prior to reading the post when my son got all jazzed up about finding a nutcracker boxed up in the minivan. Weird
posted by lordaych at 11:24 AM on May 9, 2013


"But not everyone discovers a piece of floor corn. For me, the only thing that finally helped me start to crawl out was getting the right mix of medications (after many, many, many wrong ones)."

Even Allie didn't find her piece of floor corn until AFTER she'd been taking medication for a while.
posted by Jacqueline at 11:28 AM on May 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Jacqueline: I don't use "twitchy" to mean enraged, and that's not how I normally see the word. It's more a "this is slightly off and there may be something about this that seems ... kind of weird." And for me, having people cheerily quoting and referencing her while at the same time thinking "huh, wonder if she's dead" was enough of a cognitive dissonance that it made me, well, twitchy.
posted by rmd1023 at 11:29 AM on May 9, 2013


Finding that corn is elusive, and I can say from personal experience, there's a lot of false corn epiphanies that feel explosive and illuminating when they happen, but get slowly eroded and washed away by the passage of time, leaving me just as I was, or perhaps a little worse for feeling cheated by my own brain.
posted by FJT at 11:45 AM on May 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


Hit home more than the last one. The "how to tell someone you want to die", especially. I had been wanting to tell my wife to hide the hunting rifle somewhere I couldn't find it for weeks but I was afraid of how she'd react. And just like in this post the bargain was seeing a doctor.
posted by charred husk at 11:56 AM on May 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't know how much it would've helped, but I wish my friend had read this a few days ago.

I'm not precisely sure that means what I'm inferring, but if it does you have my sincere condolences.
posted by FatherDagon at 11:58 AM on May 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


It seems to me sometimes that depression tends to happen a lot to people who have unusually happy or at least interesting childhoods.

I had one of those childhoods. In-tact family. Solidly middle class. Never wanted for anything. Parents easily put me through college, so I graduated with a degree and no debt. It couldn't have been a safer or easier upbringing. I had a great start on adulthood.

And that was/is the problem. My folks don't understand my depression -- and don't believe in it -- because what possible reasons do I have for being sad? I had a great childhood! I have wonderful parents! I'm educated! I've never experienced any significant tragedies! It doesn't add up, for them. They're of the generation that believes that depression is a form of self-absorption, and that it has a bootstrap-type cure. Conceding to the idea of depression by taking anti-depressants is, to them, an avoidance of the real solution, which is "pull yourself together already."

And it's hard not to believe them, in some sense. All of the above is true. I have nothing to be depressed about. It's true.

The problem is almost a semantic one. "About" isn't the the right way to frame it. Allie Brosh demonstrates this with the goldfish example. It's not "about" anything -- it's just there, like a wart, or a mole, or a hungry, parasitic blob that sucks all of the emotion out of your gut and whispers horrible things about you into your own ears.

From my perspective, that's how my happy childhood plays into it. In some way, I don't feel fully entitled to my depression. That makes it all the harder to deal with, because then I feel like a depressive fraud *fork grabber*.
posted by mudpuppie at 12:08 PM on May 9, 2013 [33 favorites]


Conceding to the idea of depression by taking anti-depressants is, to them, an avoidance of the real solution, which is "pull yourself together already."

Yeah, getting gaslighted by the self-reliance brigade is one of the hardest things about depression, especially when it's people close to you. You never really get over the lingering doubt over whether it's all your fault.
posted by invitapriore at 12:20 PM on May 9, 2013 [25 favorites]


But not everyone discovers a piece of floor corn. For me, the only thing that finally helped me start to crawl out was getting the right mix of medications (after many, many, many wrong ones). For some people, the problem actually can be chemical, and can be treated if you can find a way to deal with the fears and the stigma and the side effects and the depression that you're actually doing something and medicating and it's STILL not working PLUS now I'm fat and have dry mouth. It's not an easy road and it sucks and I still don't love knowing that I am someone who couldn't find normal without taking brain drugs. But I would hate for anyone reading this in that same awful place to feel even more hopeless because they can't seem to see a piece of corn on their own.

Agreed. I never found it.

Without meds, I simply spiral between HATE and CRYING. There is no sadness, only inappropriate anger lashing out in all directions and numbness and crying from the numbness - like your entire soul is on pins and needles and that shit *hurts.* Without meds, I go into the fetal position at the very *thought* of leaving the house because there are people out there and I can't muster the energy to hate them all individually.

With meds that keep me just functional enough to get dressed in the morning, I can't concentrate or think. I spend endless hours playing the Sims, because that's easier than life. The only way to get the dishes done is to pretend I'm going to get 250 happiness points, except that they never add up to any rewards. They disappear and it's all meaningless tasks and no steel bladder at 10,000 points. Still, I keep going and keep building imaginary worlds that make more sense than mine as a Sim's emotions come with a slider and can be fixed by reading a book - something real me can't do as reading means having to think. And I can get up and eat and clothe myself and interact and care for my child, but THINKING? No way. That fish has sailed.

With meds that work, I have normal people feelings. I react in biochemically appropriate ways. I feel joy. I feel sadness. And a lot of the time I feel relief to feel anything at all.

For me, with Major Depressive Disorder, there would never be a corn moment. I spent my teenage years entirely stuck in Hate/Crying. The only way out was medication after four years of lashing out, sobbing, and unconvincingly faking normal emotions. Nothing could touch it, not all the cloorn in the world. Maybe because I never hit bottom - I stayed just above suicidal, my head above water, just treading for years. Without meds, I would have tread that water forever.
posted by sonika at 12:36 PM on May 9, 2013 [6 favorites]


When depressed, it's not that I want to die but I just don't want to be miserable anymore and that seems like the best/only/most logical way out.

Yeah, that's when I went to the doctor too. Well, after several months of that. And it was the same thing..I couldn't explain to anyone, without freaking them out, that this thought was actually better than the worst thoughts, because it confirmed for me that I didn't want to die, just to stop hurting.

And then I took a brain pill and it worked, and I don't hurt like that anymore. Just normal life hurts, not the total-withdrawal-numbness hurt. My only real worry is that it will creep up on me again and make me miserable before I realize what's going on.
posted by emjaybee at 12:38 PM on May 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


When it comes to depression, I've been telling myself lately, this is how your brain works, it's not your fault but it is your responsibility. I haven't done enough research to know why or how depression works but I know that my brain isn't supposed to work this way and that there are things I can do about it. Just knowing that I'm not "doomed" is empowering. It's a chronic thing for me but plenty of people live with chronic things. Excuse the expression but I do believe that everyone has some type of cross to bear.

Occasionally I even try to think that maybe there are some positive aspects to having depression. I think I have the capacity to be more empathetic and sensitive because I'm depressed. When a friend of mine was suffering from post-partum depression, I felt like I was actually helpful when we talked about it. It has helped me realize that people might be hurting on the inside even if they don't look like it on the outside. In some ways, it has helped me gain perspective - any day that I don't hurt myself or want to hurt myself or don't struggle to go through the motions of daily life is a small success.

That doesn't mean that I don't frequently feel frustrated. I see plenty of people who seem to breeze through life without any kind of internal struggle and I feel envious. But I really just need to keep trying and focus on coming up with solutions to my problems. I am not living their lives, I am living mine, and I have to keep putting one foot in front of the other even if that means bending over, grabbing my foot and moving it forward.

I don't think I had a floor corn moment but a few months ago, I was having a really stressful time at work and I realized, yeah, this is stressful but ... I'm handling it. I mean, I wouldn't mind if more time for me to get things done magically appeared and I definitely wouldn't mind getting more sleep but I felt like the drugs, the hard work, the forcibly moving one foot in front of the other was actually working and my crazy life was doable. It wasn't perfect but it was doable and that was kind of all I wanted.

I've hung onto that moment as a reminder that the right pills, doctors and work on my part can make it doable so if/when I don't feel like my life is doable, I can try different variations of pills, doctors and work on m my part until my life is doable. And I don't think that my brain chemistry is especially unique or special so I also really think that if I can get there, others can too. It takes hard work but a lot of good things usually do.
posted by kat518 at 12:49 PM on May 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


I know it'll get shut down, but a part of me hopes that we'll go back to making a new post for every new cartoon. Because they make us saying amazing things to each other that are kind and eye opening and funny.
posted by stoneweaver at 12:56 PM on May 9, 2013 [20 favorites]


2012 was, for a lot of reasons, possibly the worst year of my life. Depression was the top of it, or maybe the base of it, but then plenty of other horrible things happened too. I haven't written about it. I haven't told people about most of it. I'm still not out of those woods yet, still stumbling around in the endless House Of Leaves hallways.

This post makes me feel like maybe it'll be a good thing to write about it, instead of a bad one. Like it's not some kind of weakness to explain my life and be all, "yeah, this happened, and it was horrible," and have that be a list of personal failings which will... I don't know, follow me around for the rest of my life. Remember when you were all this horrible awful screwed-up stuff?

I'm still fighting though. Got a pill change from my brain doctor last month, which I sorely needed, though the adjustment has sort of sucked. I don't want the nothingness to win. But goddamn, it is hard to keep up the will to fight it sometimes.
posted by cmyk at 1:04 PM on May 9, 2013 [7 favorites]


YAY!

I hope that today's a good day for her. And for everyone!
posted by wiskunde at 1:05 PM on May 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


theBigRedKittyPurrs: "After reading through the update, all I have to say is "Not today! I've got LEGS motherfucker!" is my new mantra."

Same here. It's a great post and I see a lot of myself in it, but man... I just love how cocky that primitive tetrapod is about his motherfucking legs.
posted by brundlefly at 1:10 PM on May 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


One of the worst feelings when you are not feeling anything at all is when you finally just give up and buckle under the constant pressure of being told to go to the doctor because everyone says the doctor will fix it. "OK, fine, I'm going to the doctor."

Once the wheels are in motion, the doctor gives you some pills that are supposed to help you, except they don't work at all, or they make you feel worse, or they make you so tired that you fall asleep on your steering wheel as you are driving so you have to stop taking them because you have to be able to stay awake at work because if you don't work you will go homeless and starve, but your friends are still looking at you like you're fucking up big time by not visibly improving. Like there's a big decision you still need to make, like you're slacking, like there's some glaringly obvious choice you've just overlooked, and it's the one that will make you Finally Get Better and Stop Being So Sad All The Time. So again, you relent and say "OK, fine, I'm going to the doctor" and again, the doctor gives you some pills that are supposed to help, except they don't work either, or they make you feel even worse than the other ones, or they make you gain almost a quarter of your body weight in less than three months... and your friends are still looking at you like there's something important you've left undone, some stone you've left unturned, so you go to the doctor again
take some pills again
and again
and again
you go to a different doctor again
more pills
fewer pills
different pills again
a dozen times in a dozen years
but it still doesn't get fixed, not even close.

After a while, you figure out a way to cobble out a home in the world without the comfort or inherent sense of safety that most everyone thinks you should have just figured out how to obtain already. And after all of this running around, shelling out for co-pay after co-pay, watching your fancy new brand-name prescriptions get written out with fancy prescription-labeled promotional pens, you start thinking, "Is this it? Is this not something that is fixable? They told me the medicine would help--" but you have to keep it to yourself because everyone around you just keeps telling you to go back to the doctor because the only problem is that you just haven't found the right drug to take yet.
Even while you still have brain zaps from detoxing off the last round of chemical mistakes, everyone around you remains very, very sure that a doctor will be able to fix it, and that you must continue to submit yourself to a relentless slew of psychological and chemical changes because it is all but inconceivable that medication and treatment-resistant depression is real, or that the treatment is sometimes worse than the disease, or that not all mental illness can be lessened or cured through the application of psychiatry.

I wish I could go back in time and tell myself and everyone else struggling, thinking something is unequivocally wrong because none of the pills ever work: You are not broken, and you are not alone.
posted by divined by radio at 1:14 PM on May 9, 2013 [13 favorites]


I had a fucked up 2012, too. I have Bipolar depression, which gets its claws in really deep. I was about a week away from another trip to the hospital when the "well, maybe this will work" narcolepsy drug my doctor tried actually started working. Sometimes these days I'm so focused and productive and chirpy that I worry that I'm getting manic, but then I realize that I was so low for so long that normal functioning seems like mania to me.

Glad she's back. Glad I'm back. We should start a subsite called Mentalfilter. I would hang out there and give and get support with all the other psychologically interesting MeFites.
posted by Biblio at 1:29 PM on May 9, 2013 [9 favorites]


An item from the U of C Scavhunt list published just this morning:
126. Old comics never die; they just fade away. Bring us a brand new installment of a strip we thought was
gone for good, written and signed by the creator of that strip. [20 points for Achewood or Hyperbole
and a Half ; 50 points for Bloom County or The Far Side]


Don't go calling Allie Brosh gone for good, ya maroons.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 1:32 PM on May 9, 2013 [6 favorites]


It was because of Metafilter and Hyperbole and a Half that I realized I had a serious problem with depression. I've had some ups and downs since then (most of the ups have had to do with therapy), but just being able to say I've had ups at all is a new thing.

So glad H&1/2 is back, nodded my head in recognition through most of the most recent entry, and am grateful to Allie and to Metafilter for helping me confront some pretty big fucking demons that I didn't even realize were there.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:42 PM on May 9, 2013 [9 favorites]


The fish resonated with me. Sometimes my anxiety gets so bad that I don't see a way out and I start feeling hopeless. It's only at that point that I ever decide to get help. So everyone always tries to help me with the depression, and I'm left in a state where I never feel totally better. This post came in a week I'd decided that I could get help and that my friends would understand that I felt too crazy to on. I appreciate that Allie is able to give a voice to a lot of the feelings I've felt.
posted by Nimmie Amee at 1:42 PM on May 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


Oh, and this.

I remember catching a look of shocked pity on a friend's face as I tried to explain that the great thing about hypersomnia is that it makes my thoughts go away. You know, because then the hurting stops for a little while and... why are you looking at me like that?
posted by Karmakaze at 1:45 PM on May 9, 2013 [6 favorites]


Well, shit. Just last night I wrote what I now realize must have been an incredibly annoying email to a friend who sounded suspiciously depressed. I mean, I was just nattering on about bottlebrush flowers and coal-black bumblebees, in the hopes of reminding this person about zany stuff in the world, whereas what I guess I needed to say was that those fish sure sound dead but I still like you.
posted by tangerine at 1:45 PM on May 9, 2013 [10 favorites]


there's a lot of false corn epiphanies that feel explosive and illuminating when they happen, but get slowly eroded and washed away by the passage of time, leaving me just as I was, or perhaps a little worse for feeling cheated by my own brain.

I don't have depression but that sounds like life to me.

Glad this strip is back. She is great and this is touching. I look forward to her writing, eventually, about something other than the bullshit.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:53 PM on May 9, 2013


That goes double for mental illness. I mean, in therapy, the doctor's supposed to listen to the patient instead of talking much, you know? That's such a weird counterintuitive inconvenient way to set things up that I can't imagine it's an accident.

Since I know a lot of people have been helped by these threads and encouraged to seek treatment for their own depression, I want to point out that it is not universally true that your therapist will not talk much. Personally, I was reluctant to try therapy because I had this picture from the media as well as friends that a therapist just sits and listens while you talk, while sometimes saying "go on." Then I decided very intently to find someone who was not like that, who was expressive and would challenge me and really help me challenge my own destructive thought patterns to make changes. People told me this wasn't possible, but it is, and I've been seeing the same therapist for several years who does exactly this. Sometimes he just listens but often he talks quite a lot, it depends on the situation.

Just if anyone feels that talking to a therapist who doesn't say anything might not be helpful for them, trust that instinct. If you want someone to not talk much, trust that instinct.
posted by sweetkid at 2:04 PM on May 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


"We should get together this weekend and make fun little finger puppets out of [dead fish]!" actually sounds like what a friend of mine and I do when we're both in pretty bad shape but can kind of sit upright long enough for a visit.
posted by Lyn Never at 2:21 PM on May 9, 2013


"It would be like having a bunch of dead fish, but no one around you will acknowledge that the fish are dead. Instead, they offer to help you look for the fish or try to help you figure out why they disappeared."

Brosh's talent for choosing ever-so-slightly-off-kilter analogies is perfect for describing the frustrations of conveying the world of the depressed to those outside it. It's something so familiar and mundane to those who are living there, yet so abstract or alien to those who don't, that to get the point across the former often resort to, well, hyperbole.

Dead goldfish gets the point across to the undepressed much better than "darkness at noon", "the black dog", the "dark night of the soul", etc.

(For some reason, all this reminds me of the scene in Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead in which the pair try to put themselves in the frame of mind of their university friend, who's apparently been feeling melancholy lately. Rosencrantz: "To sum up: your father, whom you love, dies, you are his heir, you come back to find that hardly was the corpse cold before his younger brother popped on to his throne and into his sheets, thereby offending both legal and natural practice. Now, why exactly are you behaving in this extraordinary manner?" Guildenstern: "I can't imagine." So naturally they figure a play would be just the sort of thing to cheer him up!)
posted by Doktor Zed at 2:22 PM on May 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


I came here from today's duplicate thread. I'm reading it off Flipboard and the way it was worded at the beginning made me afraid it was an obit post. I'm so relieved it's not! I love Allie and am so glad she's back.
posted by Jess the Mess at 2:40 PM on May 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


I've been encouraged to move my self-helpish/wellnessish blog more firmly into the "personal experience" arena but am skittish about work people reading it or people getting the wrong idea. But what's interesting about Allie's post and this thread is that people have such individual experiences with depression and other mental issues, and yet some things seem so familiar and universal when described.
posted by sweetkid at 2:46 PM on May 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


..so maybe I should be include more personal stories, I meant to include.
posted by sweetkid at 3:00 PM on May 9, 2013


I showed someone the blog for the first time today, the stories about the Simple Dog's IQ test and moving with Simple and Helper. He just scrolled through it, claiming he was reading it but I could tell he wasn't, and even if he somehow was he was he wasn't really experiencing it. He even went by entire pictures in a split second, unlooked-at.

That made me depressed more than anything.
posted by JHarris at 3:27 PM on May 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


(Maybe in context depressed isn't the right word. It made me sad, how about that.)
posted by JHarris at 3:32 PM on May 9, 2013


YAY!
posted by sarcasticah at 3:41 PM on May 9, 2013


If we could resurrect the image tag for MAYBE EVERYTHING ISN'T HOPELESS BULLSHIT alone, I'd be fine with that.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 3:47 PM on May 9, 2013 [6 favorites]


Allie's writing makes me happy. Allie makes me happy. I try to focus on little things to keep my happy from going too far off in the distance. My best buddy and I had a conversation a few years ago where he asked me what I enjoyed about life; and I rattled off all these little things. I try to stay in perspective.

I've struggled with anxiety and OCD and insomnia and nightmares and depressive symptoms most of my life. People who don't know me well, or only see my extroverted public persona are very confused when I drop into a hole and, instead of pull myself out (which they are all so sure I can do), I wonder why everyone seems to keep throwing me shovels.

I spent years in and out of docs' offices, taking this level of meds, that level of meds, to hell with it I'm just going to drink. I'm not going to drink anymore. I'm going to exercise incessantly and agonize over my appearance. I'm unsuccessful in relationships; I'm going to use random people to get physical affection. I'm going to throw myself into my work so that I don't have time nor energy to do anything else.

Sometimes I have that feeling too...not that I want to die. Just that I don't want to be here anymore. I don't cry or reach for my rifle or reach for my whiskey, I just sit on the floor. I felt guilty, because my parents are here, and I can't leave them; I can't let them down. Why do they have to be here? When they're gone, what am I here for? I have nothing. My stupid little house and my stupid little truck and my $9/hr career and my divorce and my college degree that I do nothing with and have I even made an impact on ANYONE?

My best friend listens to me; he has many of his own struggles. Sometimes he tells me "I don't want solutions; I don't want to talk. Just be there." I didn't always understand him, because sometimes, even when I'm in my hole, if he peers over the edge and shows his face, I can say "well, I have someone who's waiting on me to come on up."

This last go round...I didn't care. I didn't care if he was there, or my mom was there, or if all my bazillion friends showed up on my doorstep with kegs and a brand new Challenger and a steak for me.

And I fell apart at the seams. Work issues, including working an average of 100+ hours per week and a crushing feeling of personal incompetence; an illness that put me 15lbs underweight (I'm 5'4" and usually 130); debt from remodeling my house; I hate where I live; school loans unpaid; nights and days without sleep - sleep deprivation; my hair is falling out; arguments with my friends; arguments with the person I care for most; arguments that came from nowhere. And I sat in my little house. In my recliner. Avoiding anything and everything.

Finally, my buddy poked his head over the hole, and he said "boy, you're sure a long way down." And I said "I need help."

So he told me what he was doing to fix things for himself; never mind that I had been encouraging him to do so for years.

He has always given me security and courage; and this, he gave it to me in spades.

So I went to my medical doctor, who was all "let's try something different." And we did. And the little medication I'm on is supposed to be a little step to fix my insomnia, and maybe if I start sleeping, we can fix more. And some therapist shopping, and I found a counselor who wants to listen, and offer an objective and nonjudgmental viewpoint.

Work is okay. My friends are okay. No more arguments with the person I care the most for, and we have a better understanding of where the other is coming from.

And Allie illustrates it perfectly.
posted by sara is disenchanted at 4:15 PM on May 9, 2013 [17 favorites]


I think Allie's genius is her ability to reduce concepts that people spend years trying to explain to their therapists (and everyone else) to a few well-chosen words and a picture. I never realized until I read this thread how much pure joy people feel at being understood, even by a stranger.
posted by Mooski at 4:42 PM on May 9, 2013 [6 favorites]


My bestest friend forever, my Sista of Anotha Mista, is supportive in my efforts to beat the snot out of the Depressionmonster, and helps in whatever ways she can.

She read Allie's post, then told me: "we need to find your floor corn!!! It's a quest! Adventure!!!"

It is so good, so so very amazingly good, to be understood, without conditions or expectations. Just: okay, you have this thing wrong with you, we can work with that, tell me what I can do.

I hope everyone can have that person in their lives.
posted by cmyk at 4:44 PM on May 9, 2013 [7 favorites]


Thanks to potsmokinghippieoverlord's link to Reddit (and Allie/Tubemonster and commenters on Reddit), I now know that flaperons are a real thing on airplanes. I like that alot!
posted by fragmede at 5:07 PM on May 9, 2013


I want to make a little flip book out of this strip and carry copies of it around for the days when I just can't take the bullshit from people who think they understand depression but clearly, CLEARLY do not. So when someone makes some inane suggestion to me about yoga or the sunrise, I would take out one of my little flip books and tell them to read it.

This. Oh gods, a thousand times this.

My depression went untreated for 20 years, because physician after physician kept telling me to take fish oil or get more sun or exercise more. I knew SOMETHING was wrong, but I didn't know what, and my docs were not in the slightest bit helpful.

And then there were the well-meaning but clueless people AFTER I finally found a doc who listened and started sorting me out that gave me the yoga/sunrise/gardening/tai chi line and horseshit about things to "cheer [me] up", and explaining to people that being depressed is not even remotely close to the same as "like, rilly rilly saaad" got so old, so fast.

and my therapist decided that my depression was because I was overweight instead of, you know, depression.

The last physician before my current one pulled this one out on me, and that was the last straw. He had put me on a severely calorie restricted diet, accused me of not keeping accurate food journals, and then told me that I'd feel better if I'd just get up off my ass and lose weight. I fired him in a hail of profanity that would set your hair on fire.

I went to a doc I've known for years as a family friend. Never went to him before, because MIL worked for him, and who wants family all up in your medical business? But MIL is retired, so I made an appointment. He asked the usual questions about diet and exercise and supplements, then asked me what I thought might be wrong. "I dunno, doc. My give-a-damn is seriously busted. Not a single fuck to give. NOTHING interests me. Not cooking. Not bellydance. I can't even be bothered to read. Barely care about the kids, Elder Monster's cello playing doesn't even do anything for me any more." Libido? "What's that? I think I used to have one." He gently, so very gently asked me if I was suicidal. The floodgates opened, I burst into tears I thought would never stop. "I'm HOMICIDAL! I want to set my neighbors on fire, I want to burn down the entire world and throw myself into the flames and I want to know what the fuck is wrong with me!"

My doc, he's a good doc. He so very gently hugged me. "Sweetheart, you're depressed. Classic major depressive disorder." He told me he couldn't promise that he could fix what was broken, but he would do everything in his power to try. We started with Lexapro.

In the inbetween, he also ordered a shit ton of blood work, and we learned that the years of untreated depression - including horrific insomnia - had taken a toll. My metabolism is broken. Did you know that chronic lack of sleep can cause "metabolic syndrome"? Me either. Turns out, I'm not depressed because I'm fat, I'm fat because I'm depressed! He put me on an herbal supplement to help poke my insulin receptors back into wakefulness.

Three years since my diagnosis, I feel like I hit the jackpot with this doc. I sleep again. Like the dead, actually. I have my give-a-damn back. I'm excited about things again. I'm back to dancing, I'm back on my bike. Last year, I did a long-distance charity ride (50 miles!) and felt...alive. Happy. Grateful to feel the sun on my face and the wind at my back.

We tried tapering off my Lex dose. It was disastrous. It's a pretty good bet I will need antidepressants for the rest of my life. I'm OK with this. I got myself back, and I like me, and I'd like to keep me.

Allie's post today just...resonated. I could have written it myself. Couldn't have drawn the hilarious pics, I am just not that funny, but the words could have come right from me. I am so very relieved that Allie is ready to talk about her experience and that she's starting to feel better. I was so worried that she had decided to throw herself on the flames, and I am very happy and relieved that she did not.
posted by MissySedai at 5:12 PM on May 9, 2013 [22 favorites]


There are, btw, two threads on reddit.
posted by fragmede at 5:30 PM on May 9, 2013


He even went by entire pictures in a split second, unlooked-at.

it's totally your choice and i don't mean to be judgmental but that person is a terrible person and you should remove them from your life forever
posted by elizardbits at 5:38 PM on May 9, 2013 [22 favorites]


I know one person who doesn't like Hyperbole and a Half but she's kind of apologetic about it - she tried. She posted about it on FB and people kept posting simple dog post and parp and clean all the things and she was like "Guys! I tried, I respect it, just not my thing I guess!"

I mean, I don't get it but that's ok.
posted by sweetkid at 5:45 PM on May 9, 2013


Allie's hate face is grumpy cat in a hoodie.
posted by QuakerMel at 6:26 PM on May 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


Here's the WORLD look at how AWESOME it is hey this is fun WHEEEE and friends and cartoons and videogames and movies YAY....

...yay...

what, it doesn't get any better?


This is an excellent observation, and gave me a terrifying idea. What if the way to raise depression-free adults is to forbid them colorful cartoons, videogames, and generally anything more exciting than toys carved out of wood and Newbery Medal winners, so that their world will only widen when they grow up, and they won't be full of this terrible sense of loss all the time? -- No. No, that's monstrous. I refuse to believe it.

It is no surprise to me that she hit this one out of the park. I'm just glad that Simple Dog made a cameo, so that I can extrapolate that she's all right and is helping Allie in the way that only dogs can.

you R so BREUTIFUL :)
how R U so BRUTEFUL and good?


I honestly believe the presence of my dachshund got me past my suicidal urges in the dark times. It wasn't that she was reassuring to me -- she was just a baby at the time, demanding and bratty. But she was mine. I couldn't leave her, and I couldn't come up with a plan for her safety that wouldn't put someone on alert about me. So we got through the days and weeks, one by one, and now I have Lexapro, and she has Deramaxx, and we are aging but we are here.
posted by Countess Elena at 6:34 PM on May 9, 2013 [10 favorites]


(Parenthetically: "the black dog," as somebody noted, has always seemed like a poor metaphor for depression, to me. When I think of a black dog, I think of a black Lab, which is a doofy happiness-dispensing machine.)
posted by Countess Elena at 6:47 PM on May 9, 2013 [12 favorites]


It was so great to see her pop up on Twitter last night. I've done some major Twitter and RSS purges (including manually moving my RSS feeds to a new reader one by bloody one) in the last year and a half and I just could never bring myself to remove her. I always hoped she'd come back and write hilarious cartoons again. No matter how many times I've seen it, the one where they move with the dogs never fails to make me laugh so hard I cry and the first time I saw it I had to read it over several days because I would cry so hard I couldn't breathe.

I've been lucky to not suffer through any major depression. A few situational sort of episodes here and there, but nothing that I think even gives me a taste for what its really like for the friends and family member who do suffer so much. Her first post and this latest one have done a tremendous service to me to help me understand - as much as someone outside it can - what it could be like for people and particularly what it's like for them interacting with someone like me who isn't inside that.
posted by marylynn at 7:02 PM on May 9, 2013


I worry about her - if I got this kind of attention every time I did anything I'd retreat faster than anything with legs. And I know about relapses: I've also come up for air a couple of times in the past five or so years and thought I was better and than not actually been better. Hell, I think I'm better right now. I'm not making any promises, though. You're not always better. Sometimes you're just a little better and sometimes it all comes slamming right back down again. But gods almighty she really hits it out of the park again with this one and the depression one before. I wish it didn't resonate quite so well. I really wish that.

I keep deleting things I start to say, here. I am so very glad she is back, she is so bright and so shining and so talented. It's hard, that, sometimes, when people keep on expecting you to do things.
posted by mygothlaundry at 7:06 PM on May 9, 2013 [18 favorites]


The line that resonated with me was "I don't want to KILL myself... I just want to somehow become dead." I remember driving along listening to a radio talk show that was interviewing someone involved in the local hospice, and thinking how nice it sounded. A week or two of drugs, and then just... not wake up. Like one would fantasize about a trip to the tropics in the middle of winter. I'm better now. Hooray for Zoloft.
posted by Daily Alice at 7:11 PM on May 9, 2013 [7 favorites]


I so know what you mean, and what Allie means, about pets as ways to keep you going. When I lost my Boxer, Riley, last year, it hit me so incredibly hard because she had been my rock. It helped that I'd sort of inadvertently taught her how to manage me during panic attacks -- not a service dog, but I think she qualified as a support dog. And then she was gone. And I was left wondering: what the hell do I do now that she doesn't need me around anymore?

Get another dog, obviously, which I did.

Countess Elena: When I think of a black dog, I think of a black Lab, which is a doofy happiness-dispensing machine.

Well... he's half Lab, and all black. It took some time for me and Logan to get comfortable with each other, and part of that was the fallout from losing Riley so suddenly. (Cancer, fuck you.) But he is a goofy energetic happiness dispensing machine - and a kiss machine too - who is hilariously clumsy and thinks I am the best thing since ever.

Even if you're still in the dark, the dog is there with you because being with you is the only place they want to be. That is a good thing. It's saved me more than a few times.
posted by cmyk at 7:13 PM on May 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


I worry about her - if I got this kind of attention every time I did anything I'd retreat faster than anything with legs.

yea, it worries me too.
posted by sweetkid at 7:15 PM on May 9, 2013


It helps, I think, that this isn't her first brush with mental illness -- she's had ADD/ADHD severe enough to be life-impacting for years, certainly for the entirety of her public life. That, plus the length and totality of her hiatus, gives me alot* of hope.

*that was on purpose
posted by KathrynT at 8:29 PM on May 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have depression and ADHD.

The depression was finally diagnosed some 15 years ago, and I was on Wellbutrin - which helped both the ADHD and the depression sort of. Enough to be functioning, but that's it. We tried having me go off the Wellbutrin, and only taking ADHD meds for a while. Which worked great when the meds were in my system, but when they wore off? Near suicidal depression and panic attacks. And numbness when I was on the ADHD meds, even though I could think again. I could have won Powerball, and not cared. Everything was just null.

So, after my second stint off work after a freakout, I called the doc, and we tried something different - Generic Lamictal. See, I have Atypical Depression, and all the other 5 groups of antidepressants either don't work, or actively make things a lot worse. However, Lamictal? Combined with generic Concerta for the ADHD? After the 3rd day or so, I started to feel...not dead.

However, the first actual feeling that I recall in a few months, that wasn't fear or dread or panic or self loathing? Sadness.

At, of all things, a Seattle Sounders FC match. I have Season tix, and I love my Sounders. But, every match, no matter the result, just left me kinda numb. This first match of 2013? We lost to the Montreal Impact 1-0. It was a cold and rainy night, and I got soaked. And I also felt sad at the result - actual genuine sadness. Due to something external, that I had no control over.

It felt so good to feel that.
posted by spinifex23 at 8:48 PM on May 9, 2013 [8 favorites]


Her two recent posts are just brilliant, heart-felt, and amazing. They hit really close to home, actually, and for that I'm very grateful.
posted by odinsdream at 8:52 PM on May 9, 2013


I knew and smiled many times at the all-the-things drawing (and it's memetic variations), but didn't know who had done it. I loved this post and the drawings a lot. I'm glad I know who made it now, and I'm glad she's feeling better.

[this is all good]
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:16 PM on May 9, 2013


Yeah, I got the suicidal thing especially. I didn't want to kill myself (though I knew which knife I'd use if I did) - there would be consequences, and I'd hurt people I cared about, and who would find the body, and ugh.

But if I could just will myself into non-existence, that would have been perfect. It's one of the reasons sleep was so alluring, because hiding under the covers until unconsciousness came was about as close to not existing as I could get.

This was a super post, and I'm glad we could share around it, as well.
posted by gadge emeritus at 9:40 PM on May 9, 2013 [8 favorites]


She is so good.

On the yellow ponytail/partyhat, she explains a little in that Reddit thread:
"It started out as hair originally, and it still sort of represents that when I need it to, but in my mind, it has become almost a shark fin or something. But it's more decorative than anything."
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:45 PM on May 9, 2013


And even though the rest of the comic is excellent, to me the best part is the beginning, the observation about that transitional phase of childhood where you remember a certain kind of imaginative play but it doesn't work the same anymore, and it's confusing.
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:48 PM on May 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


I saw my GP yesterday and told her I was tired of trying to deal with my depression by myself, that I didn't have the energy to fight it anymore, to be vigilant about every single thought I have to make sure it's not just The Bastard telling me I'm worthless. She asked me if I wanted to hurt myself. I told her the truth as best I knew: I didn't want to, but I could see wanting to, just down the road, and it scared the shit out of me because all I had to do to get there was nothing.

She gave me an antidepressant and something for anxiety, and I have an appointment to see a psychiatrist in two weeks. I feel better today, and I'm not sure if it's because of the drugs (unlikely, I suspect) or because I've taken a definitive step to get this sorted out. My doctor didn't question my feelings, didn't suggest I was just sad, didn't ask what had happened that made me depressed, and didn't do the one thing I was terrified of: tell me I wasn't actually depressed. She listened, she told me what the drugs would do, and she told me to call her if I started tipping over again before my next appt.

She's only slightly less awesome than my friends who've texted/emailed me daily, since I told them last week how bad things were, to ask how I'm doing, ask if they can take me out for root beer floats and cheese sticks, or bring their baby over so I can play with her and not think about how shitty everything feels.

And then, last night, still fragile and anxious about having my first-ever anxiety attack the night before last and wondering if the meds would even work, I saw this post, read the pre-post announcement, and then read the new post this evening and, shit, I don't know. Today just feels so much better than yesterday.
posted by malthusan at 10:27 PM on May 9, 2013 [13 favorites]


I'm very glad people like this. Like the previous one, I find that it's not really for me or unusually good at describing the experience of depression (though it is plenty good enough), so the universal praise and superlative "best thing ever, so perfect" comments make me feel a little weird. But anything that gets people talking about a usually silent killer is good in my book, and if it helps to erase some of the awkwardness that people without depression often feel in these situations, great.

It was because of Metafilter and Hyperbole and a Half that I realized I had a serious problem with depression. I've had some ups and downs since then (most of the ups have had to do with therapy), but just being able to say I've had ups at all is a new thing.

So glad H&1/2 is back, nodded my head in recognition through most of the most recent entry, and am grateful to Allie and to Metafilter for helping me confront some pretty big fucking demons that I didn't even realize were there.


Joey Michaels, I remember that conversation very well, and I'm happy to hear you're doing better.
posted by Errant at 12:39 AM on May 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


So, so good to see her back and posting again. I am going to try that dead fish metaphor out on people who just don't seem to get it, and also remind myself not to say stupid things about the dead fish when someone's trying to tell me they're dead. Funny how even though you can understand your own dead fish you are sometimes so busy performing your scripts for social interaction that you fail to recognise someone else's.
posted by Athanassiel at 2:09 AM on May 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


Holy shit.
posted by newpotato at 5:04 AM on May 10, 2013


I'm glad she's back. Reading these is immensely helpful. Reading his thread is too, but now I really need to stop, because its making me think about all of the stuff that I tend to do a really, really good job of ignoring, and that usually puts me in a fog for weeks, and I really don't want that right now.

On the other hand, Not today! I've got legs, motherfucker! immediately became a totem for me. Not a tattoo person, but that? Maybe.
posted by Ghidorah at 5:13 AM on May 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


I don't understand why everyone who suffers from depression doesn't just do what i did and drown out those ugly nasty feelings of nothingness with a whole boatload of drugs - downers for when you're feeling too much and uppers when you're feeling too little and then heroin and coke for all the other times (and also for when you're feeling too much and/or too little).

Oh right, the side effects: Expense. Addiction. Withdrawal. Overdose. Hell.

Still, it works for about an hour in the very beginning of the regimen. It's the next 20+ years that need to be fine-tuned.

I do really like Allie's newest piece (and all the old ones as well). Here's wishing her a successful continuing recovery from her demons.
posted by item at 6:52 AM on May 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Like the previous one, I find that it's not really for me or unusually good at describing the experience of depression (though it is plenty good enough), so the universal praise and superlative "best thing ever, so perfect" comments make me feel a little weird.

You're not alone - a lot of it doesn't really fit my experience either and some of it does. I think part of the appearance of uniformity here is that people respond most to the parts that reflect their own experience, and comment on those without mentioning the ways other parts of it differ from their personal experience.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 7:16 AM on May 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


YAY

ALLIE IS BACK

ALLIE IS WELL AGAIN

I WAS SO WORRIED ABOUT HER

I WOULD BE OVERJOYED EVEN IF SHE NEVER POSTED ANY MORE CARTOONS JUST BECAUSE I KNOW SHE'S BETTER but of course, I get to be extra overjoyed BECAUSE MORE CARTOONS YAY

YAY!!!!1YAYYYYY!!!1one!!!!one11!!!eleventy
posted by tel3path at 7:21 AM on May 10, 2013


First we had spoons. Now we have dead fish. I like this.

I also like that The Spoon Theory has been translated into multiple languages.
posted by lysdexic at 8:01 AM on May 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


You're not alone - a lot of it doesn't really fit my experience either and some of it does. I think part of the appearance of uniformity here is that people respond most to the parts that reflect their own experience, and comment on those without mentioning the ways other parts of it differ from their personal experience.

Yeah, exactly. Personally I didn't talk as much as she seems to have to people in her life about how she's feeling. I talked to my therapist about it a lot, but reg'lar people, not really. People knew something was really wrong but I wasn't specific. Now when I have relapses I don't even talk to anyone about it except my therapist. I just don't see the purpose.

I do think a lot of what she writes in these two posts resonates with me though, especially the feeling nothing rather than supersadness which a lot of people associate with depression (see people saying things like "I love life too much to ever be depressed"). And sort of, people feeling like they're taunting you with their happiness.

But even though I'm glad she's back and I find this post valuable, I know I'm in the minority here but I still find all the YAYZ really odd. Whether or not she's had stuff like this happen before or the ADD, being sick for well over a year is a really not awesome thing for most people and I find yayallbetter to be a really weird takeaway. Kind of like after her last post when the last frame focused on how she didn't have feelings anymore, people took that to mean that she was better. I like how this post elaborated on how not having feelings is sort of really terrible and not a sign of awesome. Even just hating things is better.
posted by sweetkid at 8:15 AM on May 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


But even though I'm glad she's back and I find this post valuable, I know I'm in the minority here but I still find all the YAYZ really odd. Whether or not she's had stuff like this happen before or the ADD, being sick for well over a year is a really not awesome thing for most people and I find yayallbetter to be a really weird takeaway.

Me too, sweetkid. YAY ALL BETTER is not really my experience with depression, which is more of a process, just like sinking into it in the first place was.

It starts sorta like this:
I don't really want to go anywhere today. Home is good. Think I'll stay in.
It's better, being alone. Normal people are exhausting.
I should probably be doing stuff...don't really feel up to it today.
I can pay those bills tomorrow.
I haven't been out for a while. Tomorrow, maybe. And I should pay those bills, too.
I should go out today. I should go to the grocery store, get those bills out in the mail.
The bills aren't overdue yet. They can wait.
I can make do without groceries. There's...some stuff here. I'll eat that. Junk food is underrated.
Ugh.The junk food sucked. I really need groceries.
I HATE the grocery store! The grocery store SUCKS.
The bills are staring at me. Bills SUCK.
I don't even want to go to the kitchen now.
I hate myself.
I wish this would just end.

Helpful people get some version of:
Thanks, I'm okay.
I'll get through it.
I don't need anything.
Leave me alone.

Or I'd just stop replying at all, because what was the point?

It took a while, but I got to know the depression, learned to deal with the signs. Got meds, got a psychiatrist, stayed on top of it:
Oh, yeah, I used to like to do [THIS THING].
I think I might feel like doing [THIS THING] again.
Does [THIS THING]
That wasn't so bad.
Wash, rinse, repeat for catharsis until
Do [THIS THING] again
Hey! I actually kinda like what I did there. I'm...proud of that.
Totally unrelated [THING (corn)] strikes me as completely ridiculous.
Laughter. Tears.
Wow, been a long time since that happened.

Epiphany: This must be what normal people feel like all the time.

Sometimes, though, the whole process is foiled in spite of myself:
The kids (or the cats) need me. I'll get up and take care of them.
Awww...I love the kids. I'll always be here for them. What the hell was I doing?
I'm so glad I have the cats. Guess I'd better stick around.

Achievement unlocked: Unconditional love, +1 against depression.

Still, however it happens, it's less, "YAY!" And more, "Whew, glad that's finally over."

I'm glad that Allie is back. Her work is poignant and real and I relate to so much of it. Explaining how depression is, to us and to the normal people? This is a good thing.

But I don't assume Allie's never going to have dead fish again.

I just hope she's learning how to flush them right down the toilet next time.
posted by misha at 10:18 AM on May 10, 2013 [13 favorites]


"I love life too much to ever be depressed"

I hate hate HATE people who say shit like that. Before I got help, I wanted to tear them limb from limb with my bare hands. I wanted them extra dead so I'd never have to hear that insipid bullshit from them ever again.

Now I only want to slap them. I find that to be an improvement.

I wish people could understand that loving life vs. being depressed is not a zero sum game. Both can exist in the same person. I love life (again). Still depressed, but that's on a much shorter leash these days. It still gets loose from time to time, but not to the point of that horrible emptiness any more.
posted by MissySedai at 10:30 AM on May 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


I don't even know what it means. "I love life"? We don't know anything about the alternative. How can we form a preference?
posted by sweetkid at 10:45 AM on May 10, 2013


For my part, my yayz aren't of the "and they all lived happily ever after" sort, but rather of "the Star Spangled Banner yet waves" kind - yes, she could be dead tomorrow, particularly if she were suffering from something bipolar-like, but after the radio silence for so long and attendant speculation it feels positively triumphant to hear that she's still in the fight.
posted by XMLicious at 11:08 AM on May 10, 2013 [8 favorites]


I don't even know what it means. "I love life"? We don't know anything about the alternative. How can we form a preference?

I dunno, I'm pretty sure the alternative does not include my dogs, sushi, wine, or Oberon. These are some of the things that make it worth my while to get out of bed every day, and they make me happy.
posted by MissySedai at 11:16 AM on May 10, 2013


I just realized that the blond woman who says "let's get together this weekend and make finger puppets out of them" at least seems to understand the current situation re: aliveness of fish. I could hang with her.
posted by sweetkid at 11:26 AM on May 10, 2013 [8 favorites]


Well, I guess I'm happy that she's well enough to communicate publicly again, because it means she isn't dead or hospitalised or otherwise too incapacitated to communicate at all.

I mean, obviously, depression is pretty sophisticated in its ability to deconstruct and critique a YAY until all yays are refuted. I was just briefly enjoying the idea that Allie's return was a good thing, is all.
posted by tel3path at 2:53 PM on May 10, 2013 [10 favorites]


I think for some people, it probably is an unqualified "YAY, you're completely fixed now because you are posting and giving me more of what I require from you!" These may well be the people who would want her to comfort and reassure them when she tells them what's really going on.

But for others, it could be "YAY you're not dead" or "YAY I identify with you and if you can make a small step towards being better than so can I" or "YAY there is more of Allie's painfully funny honesty in the world" or "YAY you are doing at least a little bit better or you wouldn't be posting and even though it may well get worse, if you don't laugh at the cloorn and/or be happy to whatever degree you can manage over the little things, well that hope thingie is going to always be behind you in your rock-strewn landscape."

I'd worry more about how she'd handle the outpouring of positivity in response to her return if I didn't think she was smart enough to have planned for that, and if I weren't also sure that all the positive comments from all the strangers on the internets will be exactly meaningless if/when her depression returns. I don't think her post was about us, or even for us, no matter how much it means to us. It was for herself, and a step on her journey which I'm glad she's shared with us.
posted by Athanassiel at 6:29 PM on May 10, 2013 [6 favorites]


I mean, obviously, depression is pretty sophisticated in its ability to deconstruct and critique a YAY until all yays are refuted.

I love that sentence right there, very apt.
posted by JHarris at 7:40 PM on May 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


So, was she suffering from depression or writing a book? I am confuse.

There's a difference?
posted by Strange Interlude at 7:20 PM on May 8 [85 favorites +]


OK, that's a cute response and all, but it's a totally legitimate question. The new post sure makes it seem like she has been in a nearly catatonic, joyless state for the last two years. Yet just before she dropped off the radar she said she got a book deal that would take until November 2012 to complete (i.e. about right now, when said book is complete).

So is there a difference? You tell me. She's describing a mental state of emotional emptiness and total apathy, and yet she's also apparently right on schedule performing a difficult task that requires extremely high motivation and deep emotional reserves (unless you're some sort of autistic savant, I don't see how you can write comedy, when you don't find anything funny. It would also require even more motivation.)

I suppose it's possible that both the first and second depression posts are describing the same episode that happened years ago, and the two year radio silence was really just a sabbatical. But that would be really shitty, since she abruptly disappeared after an ominous depression post, leaving the whole Internet worried about her for two years.

It seems like this discussion must be taking place somewhere right now.
posted by dgaicun at 6:36 AM on May 12, 2013


(unless you're some sort of autistic savant, I don't see how you can write comedy, when you don't find anything funny. It would also require even more motivation.)

This is some seriously armchair pronouncement about the nature of mental health and the human condition. Someone with a bipolar disorder could seesaw back and forth between listless impenetrable depression and bursts of immense productivity that would more than make up for any time lost. Or perhaps the willpower to force yourself to meet deadlines on a deathmarch could be a causal component of other sorts of depression. The data points you're saying can counterfactualize her statements that she's been severely depressed for eighteen months just can't.

And besides that, even apart from any modern psychology stuff about the nature of depression, misery and humor are by no means incompatible. Indeed the Sad Clown is a trope. Or take Ernest Hemingway: you can quite easily be a lusty-for-life active person and a productive author and still be suicidally depressed.
posted by XMLicious at 7:52 AM on May 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


I do sort of wonder what the timeline was, and who knows, maybe that's something she will address in the future.

That first depression post ended on a note that suggested (to me) a followup forthcoming. She says that she's been working on the followup post for a very long time (a year or more?) so I wonder if she had maybe started treatment around the time of the first post, or shortly after, and then it has taken a long time for the treatment to start to work, plus perfectionism and the difficulty of getting things just right in the followup led to a delay in the comic... combined with writing the book... and all this made for no public output for this whole time. (On that timeline the laughing corn moment could have been quite a while ago and she has been working on the book and getting the comic right for months or even a year since.)
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:51 AM on May 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


She never said what's in this post is the entirety of her experience for 18 months. It might have even happened before she got the book deal. We should be careful not to read things into this that aren't actually there.
posted by JHarris at 9:05 AM on May 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm making a mental list right know of the people I know who have been deeply, near-suicidally depressed the entire time they were completing a PhD, or birthing and parenting a small child, or working 100 hours a week at a very challenging job. It's a very, very long list. In fact, it's widely acknowledged that doing those very hard things can exacerbate or even cause depression, and that people can be deeply depressed throughout those things without failing at them. It's a widely acknowledged problem that successful people often don't get treatment for serious mental illness and the ongoing anguish it causes because people believe that if you're high-functioning, you must not be suffering all that much.

For many people, maybe even most people, being depressed doesn't mean that you can't ever do anything. It doesn't even mean that you can't be very successful at very hard things. Post-partum depression, for example, doesn't mean that you let your baby starve to death while you lie in bed and cry; in fact, many mothers I've known who have suffered from PPD appeared to others to be "having it all," and raised healthy, well-adjusted children, while the whole time the mothers really wanted not to be alive anymore. I've heard people talk about depression as a deep feeling that you'll never be good enough to deserve anything, and that just about the only thing it's good for is motivating you to do enough stuff to try to keep other people from finding out how awful you are. Many people also talk about depression as sucking the joy out of everything you do; it doesn't necessarily mean that you can't do the thing, it just means that you won't get any happiness or satisfaction out of doing it. You can spend 8 hours a day at work and also spend the other 16 hours a day sleeping or crying on the bathroom floor or staring aimlessly off into space because the effort it took to get through 8 hours of working left you totally unable to handle even one more bit of effort to do anything else.

If you google "comedians" and "depression" together, you'll get hundreds of articles about people who make other people laugh for a living, but who are themselves suicidal, self-medicating with drugs and alcohol, distracting themselves by being workaholics, or simply feeling little joy at all about anything in their lives, including the fact that they've made you laugh.

I find it completely plausible that a person could write a funny book (which is apparently being released about a year later than the original scheduled release date) and spend a good chunk of the non-working time crying on the kitchen floor or sitting on a pile of dirty laundry because the self-loathing was too strong to make doing laundry feel possible. You can tell a story that you know will be funny to other people while deep down believing that you are a worthless person who has nothing to be happy about, because being funny is an awesome way to hide your feelings in an attempt to cope with the pervasive shame you feel about everything you are. That is a thing that routinely happens.

For those of you who are discounting other people's lived experiences because it doesn't jive with how you believe depressive people are supposed to behave, all I can say is that I'm genuinely happy for you that you don't have the personal experience to understand, and I'm genuinely pissed that you'd basically accuse those of us who have had that experience of being untruthful about what it's like and how it has affected us.
posted by decathecting at 9:53 AM on May 12, 2013 [26 favorites]


yeah, absolutely decathecting. I find the speculating pretty weird. For one thing, she said in the post and on Reddit that she is still depressed and this is something that has been going on. For the most part, her posts are about things that happened near to the time of posting (like moving with the dogs) and things that happened in the past are indicated as such (ie the birthday party at the parp).

As far as getting things done during depression, I worked at two startups and volunteered at a suicide hotline. A suicide hotline. While being severely depressed myself. Yes, they knew about it.

Sometimes you just have to keep doing things. Not everyone is lucky to be able to, of course.
posted by sweetkid at 10:08 AM on May 12, 2013


Sometimes the only thing that keeps you going is that you have so much shit to do.
posted by seanmpuckett at 10:30 AM on May 12, 2013 [6 favorites]


For myself, I am curious about the timeline (she does not have any obligation to appease my curiosity) because I am interested in people's stories about their experience with depression and how long it takes to go through different stages with it, including how long it takes for people to get to a better place once they seek treatment.
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:32 AM on May 12, 2013


Or take Ernest Hemingway: you can quite easily be a lusty-for-life active person and a productive author and still be suicidally depressed.

Hell, David Foster Wallace, modern depression's poster boy, was a strong, intelligent, successful man, and he hanged himself.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 11:33 AM on May 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


So I pre-ordered her book from Amazon, and now it's recommending My Little Pony: The Elements of Harmony: Friendship is Magic: The Official Guidebook.

It's like they can see into my soul.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:24 PM on May 12, 2013 [8 favorites]


how long it takes to go through different stages with it, including how long it takes for people to get to a better place once they seek treatment.

Totally varies. It was a year and a half before I felt vaguely in control of things, but then probably another six months until I could really tell I was in a better place. I also go back and forth a lot, but never as bad as the year and a half. My experience also made me realize I had gone through similar episodes in the past but hadn't realized it was depression because I don't isolate or talk about how I hate life. I just didn't really understand what depression even was and no one else saw it in me.

It totally depends though on situation, treatment, and what kind of mood disorder you even have.
posted by sweetkid at 5:29 PM on May 12, 2013


Man, that is an amazing piece of work. And it reiterates the fact that we really really need to find a name for clinical depression that isn't so similar to a word that means "very sad" because they're nothing fucking alike. Argh.

(Also, re: the book, I'm happy to see the about the author section lists Brosh as still living "with her fiancé Duncan." That can't have been an easy 19 months for them.)
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:13 AM on May 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


My ex used to call me a stone. No feelings, see? Can't hurt a rock but rocks don't do much either. So maybe it could be called uh... what was her name... turns people to stone... Medusa. MEDUSA SYNDROME. There we go.
posted by seanmpuckett at 8:49 AM on May 13, 2013 [4 favorites]


New comic is up: depression part two.
posted by theyexpectresults at 8:48 PM on June 2, 2013


By this time, that is the old comic, theyexpectresults.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 3:55 AM on June 3, 2013


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