Depression by Hyperbole and a Half

Allie Brosh at Hyperbole and a Half has a unique and insightful way of describing a depressive episode. A few panels:

Some people have a legitimate reason to feel depressed, but not me. I just woke up one day feeling sad and helpless for absolutely no reason.

That’s how it works. Sometimes there can be a trigger event, but other times, all it takes is waking up in the morning and not being able to get out of bed. There doesn’t need to be a ‘reason’ beyond the illness itself.

But trying to use willpower to overcome the apathetic sort of sadness that accompanies depression is like a person with no arms trying to punch themselves until their hands grow back.  A fundamental component of the plan is missing and it isn’t going to work.

The failure of willpower to pull yourself out of the depression, just make you feel like more of a failure.

But, since I was depressed, this tactic was less inspirational and more just a way to oppress myself with hatred.

Just like the failure of will power, the inability to put a proper perspective on your feelings, when your knowledge tells you something different, also deepens your self-hatred.

The description goes on with the increasing amount of self-loathing that is so familiar to many of us.

The vast majority of depressive episodes do eventually end.

If my life was a movie, the turning point of my depression would have been inspirational and meaningful. It would have involved wisdom-filled epiphanies about discovering my true self and I would conquer my demons and go on to live out the rest of my life in happiness.

Unlike fairy tales, there is no happily every after. You recover, for now, and that means you live to fight another day.

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2 Responses to Depression by Hyperbole and a Half

  1. When I was tiny, my mom normally utilized to say “you can’t have your ups not having your downs”, and I think that most of us would concur that that assertion is exact in its simplicity.

    • There is a major difference between life’s normal ‘ups and downs’ and severe clinical depression. Most people who have not experienced the latter have difficulty understanding that difference.

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