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A Comic That Shows What It’s Really Like To Live With Depression And Anxiety

A Comic That Shows What It’s Really Like To Live With Depression And Anxiety

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.

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“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:

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                                  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

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                                  Last Updated on September 20, 2018

                                  How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

                                  How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

                                  Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

                                  If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

                                  1. Breathe

                                  The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

                                  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
                                  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
                                  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

                                  Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

                                  2. Loosen up

                                  After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

                                  Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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                                  3. Chew slowly

                                  Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

                                  Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

                                  Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

                                  4. Let go

                                  Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

                                  The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

                                  It’s not. Promise.

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                                  Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

                                  Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

                                  21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

                                  5. Enjoy the journey

                                  Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

                                  Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

                                  6. Look at the big picture

                                  The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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                                  Will this matter to me…

                                  • Next week?
                                  • Next month?
                                  • Next year?
                                  • In 10 years?

                                  Hint: No, it won’t.

                                  I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

                                  Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

                                  7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

                                  You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

                                  Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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                                  8. Practice patience every day

                                  Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

                                  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
                                  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
                                  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

                                  Final thoughts

                                  Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

                                  Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

                                  Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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