- If I'm not mistaken, it is Mental Health Week!
- When I think about my own personal soup of mental illness I really cannot separate my social anxiety from my depression. They have this mutually exacerbating effect on each other. It means that it is sometimes difficult to reach out to a friend when I am having suicidal thoughts; or that it is sometimes easier to stay at home, isolated and lonely, instead of braving a potentially overwhelming gathering; or that I will put off seeking professional help or feel too afraid to ask my doctor pertinent or embarrassing questions. Risking rejection to invite a friend over, figuring out a clinic's in-take procedure and costs, filling out forms and surveys, starting over again with a new counsellor, keeping your loved ones informed - all of these things are bloody hard work, and no amount of 'loving yourself' or 'wanting to get better' truly ameliorates that.
- I made this comic in the hopes of showing solidarity to you if you are someone who has a similar experience of social anxiety and depression. The question 'are you mad at me' might not cover all the facets of my particular experience of anxiety, but I think the heart of my anxiety is the fear of being irredeemably hurtful, inconvenient or irritating to others, and maybe it might be similar for you too.
- I made this comic not only with the hope of creating reassurance that other people are often not actually mad at you, but also to concede to the reality that sometimes, rarely, people could be mad at you, but it is entirely survivable and not the worst thing ever. I will admit though that this is not always easy to believe.
- Maybe you are reading this and you actually find yourself more frequently on the opposite side of this situation - you have a friend or loved one who is constantly asking, 'Are you mad at me?' or seems to require reassurance often. It can be really tricky to protect your own boundaries and respect your own needs while still showing empathy and kindness to a friend. As usual, Captain Awkward has some great advice on the subject.