While there’s certainly nothing funny about depression or anxiety, many sufferers often find solace in the idea that they are not alone. As an anxiety sufferer myself, one of the ways I originally found relief was in knowing other people were experiencing similar symptoms.
Sometimes we would even laugh about it, because it was astonishing to find that others had the same weird, seemingly “crazy” thoughts racing through their minds. Actions that once felt so bizarre held less weight when I connected with someone else. Today, I use that same bit of lightness to get me through bad bouts of anxiety.
British artist Gemma Correll understands how humour can help anxiety sufferers deal with daily struggles of living with mood disorders like anxiety and depression. Her illustrations are relatable, funny, and truthful. They expose the dark side of anxiety and depression, but with a lightness that will make any sufferer feel less isolated. Her comics cover, among other things, negative self talk, the perils of overthinking, and the dread of everyday social interactions, such as receiving a phone call.
In her article “You Are Not a Failure,” Deborah Schurman-Kauflin Ph.D. provides an insightful tip for dealing with negative self talk, which artist Correll relays through her comic, beginning with the attempt to try to stay positive, and eventually succumbing to the complete opposite.
Schurman-Kauflin advises: “Next time you catch yourself having negative self thoughts, I want you to say the word ‘stop’ in your mind and remember that you are a beautiful person who deserves better than being called a failure. YOU DESERVE BETTER. Remember that.”
In the following comic, Correll shows what happens when anxiety makes you tired. It keeps you from leaving the house, from getting out of bed.
“The stresses and strains of daily life can be exhausting and can make you feel drained. It has been shown that mental health problems such as anxiety can leave you feeling more tired, even after resting. This is the key to knowing if you are suffering from stress-related fatigue,” says Dr. Roger Henderson, one of the most respected physicians in the UK.
One of the biggest symptoms of anxiety is overthinking. In an article for The Mighty, Regina Sunn relays how many people suffering from anxiety may feel when burdened by overthinking:
Every morning you open your eyes, and before you can consciously take a deep breath, you hear the whole crowd that just woke up with you. They all start talking at the same time. They say things you don’t want to hear, terrifying things about a dangerous future or vague ideas about unimportant topics. If you had a switch button for these thoughts, then you would turn it off right away.
But that button doesn’t exist, and every day becomes a battle to try to conquer at least one minute a day and finally rest your mind. I’m not talking about conscious thinking, of course. When that happens, you make decisions based on reasoning. When what I’m talking about happens, you become a slave of 1,000 witches flying around your head. No matter where you go, they are always with you. You can’t listen to anything other than their strident voices.
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