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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 July 10, 2020

                                  How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

                                  How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

                                  We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

                                  We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

                                  So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

                                  Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

                                  What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

                                  Boundaries are limits

                                  —they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

                                  Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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                                  Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

                                  Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

                                  Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

                                  How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

                                  Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

                                  1. Self-Awareness Comes First

                                  Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

                                  You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

                                  To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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                                  You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

                                  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
                                  • When do you feel disrespected?
                                  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
                                  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
                                  • When do you want to be alone?
                                  • How much space do you need?

                                  You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

                                  2. Clear Communication Is Essential

                                  Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

                                  Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

                                  3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

                                  Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

                                  That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

                                  Sample language:

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                                  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
                                  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
                                  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
                                  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
                                  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
                                  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
                                  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

                                  Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

                                  4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

                                  Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

                                  Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

                                  Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

                                  We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

                                  It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

                                  It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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                                  Final Thoughts

                                  Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

                                  Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

                                  Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

                                  The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

                                  Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

                                  Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

                                  They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

                                  Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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