Most of you have probably seen Nick Seluk’s comics from The Awkward Yeti floating around the internet at some point or another. His simple cartoon style allows him to make comics on all sorts of topics, from social awkwardness, to animals, to philosophy and beyond. The variety of subjects and the simple style of the comics makes them appealing to a large crowd, allowing Seluk to communicate ideas relating to heavy subject matter in a relatable manner.
When Sarah Flanigan, a reader of Nick’s comics, contacted him, he knew she had something important to say. Sarah has been living with depression since age 10, and an anxiety disorder since she was 16. She told Nick about dealing with two mental illnesses at once and how it’s impacted her life, but also what it actually feels like to live with it. Nick knew that Sarah’s description of her inner wars with depression and anxiety painted an accurate picture of what many people without these illnesses often don’t understand.
So, he decided to draw it.
“As someone who’s experienced and has been around anxiety and depression, it was easy to illustrate in a way that complemented the storyteller,” Seluk told Bored Panda in a piece about the comic. “Sometimes those who haven’t experienced the extremes don’t understand what it’s like, almost to the point of resenting it.”
Sarah and Nick hope this comic will help those without these mental illnesses better understand the reality of living with them every day. In particular, Sarah stressed the importance of people understand that it isn’t something you can just “snap out of”. She also notes that it is critical for people to understand that just because someone may currently be having a good mental health day, that doesn’t mean the illness is gone for good. Perhaps most importantly, misunderstandings cause people to hide their mental illnesses, often leaving them feeling isolated and alone, something Sarah says she has experienced.
“The hardest part of living with depression and anxiety for me is feeling like I have to hide it,” says Sarah, who describes herself as the happy one in her group of friends. “It’s much harder than it should be to say, ‘Hey, I have depression and I’ve been struggling with self-harm since I was 10 and I just really need your support to get me through tonight’.”
Let’s hope this comic is a step towards a better understanding of depression and anxiety. You can check it out below:
Nick Seluk creates a variety of comics at The Awkward Yeti. Two popular series include one which shares the site’s name, “The Awkward Yeti”, which depicts a yeti named Lars and his experiences of social awkwardness in every aspect of his life. The other series, “Heart and Brain”, follows an anthropomorphic heart and brain as they butt heads (metaphorically, of course) over everyday happenings and philosophical quandaries. The above comic is part of a series called “Medical Tales Retold”, which until recently depicted tales of physical illnesses as told through Seluk’s comics. You can check out that series here if you’re interested in more!
About Nick Seluk:
Awkward Yeti creator Nick Seluk left his job as a senior graphic designer in December 2014 to do The Awkward Yeti full time. He has always loved drawing, especially cartoons, because he finds it’s the best way to explain what he has going on in his head. In school, he used to draw cartoons that represented concepts in his notebooks, and those were always the ones that stuck with him. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Central Michigan University, but finds he learns better on his own. Nick lives in Michigan with his wife, three kids, and a very awkward dog.
Featured photo credit: The Battle/Nick Seluk via tapastic.com