Depression sucks. Let’s kick it in the balls, together.
So, I’m writing this book called NEGATIVE SPACE, it’s a comic from Dark Horse Comics with art by Owen Gieni and words by me, and it’s about Guy Harris, a depressed man who sits down to write his suicide note but gets writer’s block.
From there, we tell a tale of depression, and responsibility, and the grit of the human spirit, while also weaving in ancient emotion eating creatures, a flat out terrible corporate giant profiting from the melancholia so easily created in our world today, and ultimately we look at the prospect of whether we can save people, and who gets to decide what saved looks like.
It’s an emotional journey, but with a brutal high concept, and while it feels like a Philip K Dick book, meets a Springsteen song, within a Polanski flick, at the end of it I want to also comment on something so incredibly human. Because fiction is great at subversively tackling things that matter through narrative engines of things that don’t matter, or aren’t even real.
But just to be certain, I also want to tackle this depression malarkey head on, because it deserves to be tackled daily by all of us.
Y’see, years ago, decades ago, depression kicked me in the face. I was five years old. Short story – my father killed himself. I was there to find him. Easily the worst thing I ever saw in my life. Horrendous. Life altering. He’d obviously gotten to a point where this was the only option he could see for himself. With a loving wife, three kids between 5 and 16, he was feeling something so oppositional that he had to end it all.
For years, I honestly didn’t know what to feel. You hate, you’re confused, you ignore, you wallow. It’s so insanely difficult to process. Hell, look at my work, I still am processing it. There’s no accident my writing so often veers into the territory of fathers and depression and sacrifice, and now suicide. My mind is a whirlwind started by that one storm. I don’t think the winds will ever die down, but I’ll learn how they turn and how to keep them blowing all my worldly goods away into the bleak horizon without a thought. NEGATIVE SPACE is most definitely another step of me processing certain things through one of those narrative3 engines that can fool you into thinking it’s about another thing. I find writing this sort of material cathartic, it helps. I have a lot to process and I like to think my writing might just help someone else with another step forward, another inch into the light.
Because to me my father proved that depression is invisible. This was a man who was a towering influence on my life, a booming laugh, a loud singing voice, a smile wide as a canyon. No one saw this coming – why? How’d we not see it? Why’d he not show it?
The answer is – depression is an illness, and it’s a sneaky bastard.
Especially in men. We don’t have any sort of real talk about our feelings, we don’t like to show weakness. We let problems fester, we bottle up, and then when it goes bad, it goes terrible.
I’m a firm believer that we stop this garbage now. I’m a firm believer that there is help for everyone, but it’s not going to be easy. I’m a firm believer in opening up the discussion, even if it only works for one person. That’s one less person gone if things were to go pear-shaped. As such, I’m going to curate a little list/link farm below. I’m going to link to this page a lot as we prep NEGATIVE SPACE for launch, and as we travel along making the book. I figure if I’m bringing suicide/depression into a spotlight, I might as well try to use it for good, especially if my story [which I know will be confronting] triggers anything in anyone anywhere. If all this helps someone, that’s fantastic. If it opens up a dialogue somewhere, brilliant. Depression works best in the shadows, let’s shine some sunlight on the bastard.
But if you are feeling suicidal, please talk to someone right now! A hotline, a friend, family, a mate on twitter, someone, please.
SUICIDE HOTLINES AROUND THE WORLD [LINK]
Wiki page of Suicide Crisis Lines in 13 countries [LINK]
BeyondBlue – an Australia depression/anxiety organisation with a multitude of aspects [LINK]
Black Dog Institute – an Australian organisation involved with promoting peace of mind and aiding in mood disorders [LINK]
Headspace – an Australian organisation working with youth depression and mental health [LINK]
PANDA – an organisation for post and antenatal depression [LINK]
Fantastic link farm for mental health resources and assistance [LINK]
Mental Health America is a great resource of links and advice and information [LINK]
Anxiety and Depression Association of America – an organisation dedicated to treatment and help for a variety of mental health issues [LINK]
Partners for Mental Health – a Canadian organisation providing access to further resources dealing with mental health issues [LINK]
If you know anything supremely helpful I should be linking to please drop me a line and I’ll edit this post.
Find what works for you, but know there’s something that will work for you. There is help, someone cares, there are alternatives and opportunities and options, this I believe.
We are here to help you.