Tuesday, 25 October 2011

So.

It looks to me that SAD FACE ideas have run their course.

There is a reason for this. At least, I think there is.

When I started SAD FACE I was really depressed. Really, really depressed. I think honesty is mostly the best policy with things, and I would like to be honest and open with you about how depressed, exactly. Having been depressed on and off as far back as my...birth, as far as we could surmise, and never having had the cause of each bout of depression resolved, by the time I got to about a year ago all the depressions had just built up into one big pile of unresolved depression. It was big, overwhelming, and...depressing.


Some very adult and very sad things happened over the course of a couple of years, causing some post traumatic stress, which in turn caused a severe depression, the like of which I had not experienced before. I felt the only way out, the only solution to feeling that awful about life, was to end it. I saw suicide as a practical solution to what I saw as a practical problem. Because at heart, I am a 'fixer'. I fix things. I patch them up. I solve problems. I find solutions. I'm terrible to just have a moan at, because all the while my brain is trying to work out practical ways of fixing whatever it is you're moaning about.

My practical solution to my severe depression was to start planning my suicide.

I knew how serious that was. And I had reached out for help from the NHS some months before, and I had been put on a waiting list for therapy. For a little while that bolstered me. I had done something practical toward fixing the problem. But as the days of waiting turned into weeks turned into months, the depression became worse. It was 7 months of waiting before I finally heard from a therapist offering me an appointment. During that phone call she asked me some questions about my depression, and I answered them honestly. She was the first person I had told that I was planning suicide. That I had the How worked out. That I was trying to work out the Day. She asked me what was stopping me. My answer was that I was scared it would hurt. She said that was good.

Some of the darkest SAD FACE illustrations are from that time. There is one where SAD FACE is standing near the edge of a cliff, asking 'Does it get better?', simply titled 'EDGE'. It's about suicide, in case it isn't obvious.

I know that for a lot of people, talking about suicide, depression, and mental illness generally isn't something they are good with. It makes them uncomfortable, or even openly hostile. It's likely because it's something they have no control over, and do not really understand. Some people don't even think it's real. They think that people with mental illness have personality problems. Are attention seeking, perhaps. Are maybe a bit silly and immature. Making those of us who actually do suffer from mental illness feel even worse.

I hid from admitting depression for 34 years. Doing so nearly cost me my life. Sadly for a lot of people, it does take their life. They're not a 'bit sad'. They're not 'immature'. They're not 'attention seeking'. They're sick.

It's why it is called 'mental illness'.

The thing is, now that I have had some therapy and nutted out some problems, now that I am feeling a lot better, my inspiration for SAD FACE has dried up. I had thought this might happen, and it is upsetting, but kind of inevitable. And if you gave me a choice between being depressed and having inspiration for my depressed cartoon cat, or being happier and moving on and feeling well, then the choice for me is obvious.

I want to thank everyone who came here and enjoyed SAD FACE. I'm going to keep the site running, and many of the illustrations are available in the SAD FACE etsy shop, lots of them as greetings cards. There is also a range of stationary.

It's sad to say it, but I don't miss SAD FACE. Because I don't miss the dark place that he came from. And to be honest, he's still there, in the back of my mind. I don't doubt that one day he'll be back, but I feel more equipped to deal with that should it happen.

If there is someone in your life who is suffering from mental illness, please don't ignore it, hoping it will go away. If it's too challenging for you to understand, then at least try not to be negative about it, and seek advice from someone who can help.

Diana Parkhouse
25th October 2011

13 comments:

  1. glad to hear you're getting help and feeling better!

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  2. Good to hear you got the help you needed. I've also been to my GP (NHS) about depression, but he asked me a few questions and I got told I wasn't "depressed enough" to be even put on the waiting list.

    So while things like my concentration and focus are not necessarily effected much by depression, that doesn't change the fact that I can't attend my lectures or do work because I can't get myself out of bed until the evening. Having suicidal thoughts didn't seem to make a difference either.

    The NHS can be great sometimes and it can be crap too.

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  3. Thanks, Marie!

    MB, that's an appalling response from your GP, and I think you should go and see a different one if you can. Have someone go with you, too, so that they can listen and add anything you might have forgotten. I think having my husband come with me made them take me really seriously. And I think the crying probably got them to take notice, too. Seriously, go back. Demand better.

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    1. I'm amazed that it took seven months for therapy for a person with suicidal thoughts. Depression is serious and needs to be thought of as no different than a heart attack. You can't delay medical attention necessary to prevent death for either. So glad that Sad Face has disappeared. With or without medication?

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  4. I'm so glad that you held out, sought help, and are feeling better.

    I have bipolar disorder, which is vastly misunderstood, and have faced some of the challenges associated with having a mental illness and the stigma attached to it. I am intimately acquainted with depression and suicidal thoughts. My father, who also had bipolar, didn't take care of himself and committed suicide in '04. In fact, it was his death that scared me into finally taking care of myself; I didn't want to end up like him.

    It's not easy and, as you say, there will be dark days from time to time. But you are a strong, beautiful woman, and you can get through them. Remember that you are not alone and that you are loved by many. If you ever need a friend to just listen, I'm here. You have my email.

    Love always,
    me

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  5. Although I will miss Sad Face, I'm glad it's over for such an excellent reason. I've been battling depression for years now so I know how hard it can get and I'm still struggling. It makes me happy to know you've gotten help and you're feeling better. In the end, I'd like to think Sad Face isn't quite so sad anymore either.
    :)

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  6. nice one. cool blog
    good work keep going..
    Stress and depression

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  7. Hey, I just came back to blogger after a break and read you most recent post here. I just want to say i know where you're coming from and I think you've done incredibly well - and you've got such an amazing creative project such as Sad Face out of it.

    I've had crippling anxiety for years, and have had similar experiences with GPs and waiting lists. It's VERY hard to feel like you can get someone to even listen to you and understand. In the end I never got to counselling during my last bout of anxiety because the waiting list so long and the referral system so bad (and I was living in Nottingham at the time too) but managed to pull through myself.

    I hope things continue to improve for you, and well done for making a post about it. We need more posts like these : ) All the best!

    - Kate

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    1. Thank you Kate. I hope you are coping with your anxiety. I found that to be the hardest thing to overcome, and I do still have the odd day where it all feels like it is too hard and I just want to stay on the couch.

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  8. If having to move on means for you to discontinue Sad Face, then so be it. Heck, you can even create a new comic if you like :D
    I have been in situations similar to yours (somewhat), but it took me some realization to snap me out of what got me into my deep depression. It took me a while, and it still affects me today, to get out of it. I'm still fighting for the happiness I desire, but there are always obstacles that stop me; however I always try and make a laugh out of it, or I laugh at my mistakes and try to move on. It may be much more difficult for you, but please show that you're strong and that you'll live 'till the end :)
    I'll be praying and wishing for the best for you \(^o^)/

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  9. To plan a suicide attempt is not a solution and in this case instead of any solution depression awaits and if a person is in depression nothing good can be expected from him. The most efficient solution of depression rests with Physiotherapy North Ryde, where professionals help the patent to get out of depression and live healthy life.

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