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It looks to me that SAD FACE ideas have run their course.

There is a reason for this. At least, I think there is.

When I started SAD FACE I was really depressed. Really, really depressed. I think honesty is mostly the best policy with things, and I would like to be honest and open with you about how depressed, exactly. Having been depressed on and off as far back as my…birth, as far as we could surmise, and never having had the cause of each bout of depression resolved, by the time I got to about a year ago all the depressions had just built up into one big pile of unresolved depression. It was big, overwhelming, and…depressing.

Some very adult and very sad things happened over the course of a couple of years, causing some post traumatic stress, which in turn caused a severe depression, the like of which I had not experienced before. I felt the only way out, the only solution to feeling that awful about life, was to end it. I saw suicide as a practical solution to what I saw as a practical problem. Because at heart, I am a ‘fixer’. I fix things. I patch them up. I solve problems. I find solutions. I’m terrible to just have a moan at, because all the while my brain is trying to work out practical ways of fixing whatever it is you’re moaning about.

My practical solution to my severe depression was to start planning my suicide.

I knew how serious that was. And I had reached out for help from the NHS some months before, and I had been put on a waiting list for therapy. For a little while that bolstered me. I had done something practical toward fixing the problem. But as the days of waiting turned into weeks turned into months, the depression became worse. It was 7 months of waiting before I finally heard from a therapist offering me an appointment. During that phone call she asked me some questions about my depression, and I answered them honestly. She was the first person I had told that I was planning suicide. That I had the How worked out. That I was trying to work out the Day. She asked me what was stopping me. My answer was that I was scared it would hurt. She said that was good.

Some of the darkest SAD FACE illustrations are from that time. There is one where SAD FACE is standing near the edge of a cliff, asking ‘Does it get better?’, simply titled ‘EDGE’. It’s about suicide, in case it isn’t obvious.

I know that for a lot of people, talking about suicide, depression, and mental illness generally isn’t something they are good with. It makes them uncomfortable, or even openly hostile. It’s likely because it’s something they have no control over, and do not really understand. Some people don’t even think it’s real. They think that people with mental illness have personality problems. Are attention seeking, perhaps. Are maybe a bit silly and immature. Making those of us who actually do suffer from mental illness feel even worse.

I hid from admitting depression for 34 years. Doing so nearly cost me my life. Sadly for a lot of people, it does take their life. They’re not a ‘bit sad’. They’re not ‘immature’. They’re not ‘attention seeking’. They’re sick.

It’s why it is called ‘mental illness’.

The thing is, now that I have had some therapy and nutted out some problems, now that I am feeling a lot better, my inspiration for SAD FACE has dried up. I had thought this might happen, and it is upsetting, but kind of inevitable. And if you gave me a choice between being depressed and having inspiration for my depressed cartoon cat, or being happier and moving on and feeling well, then the choice for me is obvious.

I want to thank everyone who came here and enjoyed SAD FACE. I’m going to keep the site running, and many of the illustrations are available in the SAD FACE etsy shop, lots of them as greetings cards. There is also a range of stationary.

It’s sad to say it, but I don’t miss SAD FACE. Because I don’t miss the dark place that he came from. And to be honest, he’s still there, in the back of my mind. I don’t doubt that one day he’ll be back, but I feel more equipped to deal with that should it happen.

If there is someone in your life who is suffering from mental illness, please don’t ignore it, hoping it will go away. If it’s too challenging for you to understand, then at least try not to be negative about it, and seek advice from someone who can help.

Diana Parkhouse
25th October 2011

  1. owltourrets reblogged this from dianaparkhouse and added:
    Missing sad face, but being happy he is gone.
  2. elerinwen said: I’m so proud of you, girl.May you life from now on be filled with a lot of light and prettyness, and maybe one day you’ll make a Happy Cat blog. You’re awesome and an inspiration. ♥
  3. thelittlezombiewhocould said: I am so happy to hear that you’re past the dark place you were in when you started SAD FACE!! I’m glad that you’ve sorted out some of your problems and that you feel like you can handle him if he comes back. All my best to you!! Stay strong!
  4. kokoropurrs reblogged this from dianaparkhouse and added:
    I’m so glad you worked it out. We will miss Sad Cat, but nothing lasts forever and it is much better to have the...
  5. defragmeout said: Congratulations on getting help! I recently did, too.. I just wish I hadn’t put it off for so long.
  6. jadinerhine said: Thank you for sharing this with us. I enjoyed SAD FACE but I will enjoy the fact that it helped you to move on and that you are satisfied with life more :)
  7. queenofthegeese said: It takes a lot of guts to open up about the dark times. Having been there so many times, I understand. While I’m a little sad about the Sad Face art ending, I’m far happier that you’re in a better place mentally. That’s more important. :)
  8. arcane-laser-hens said: I try to be honest about my mental illness w/ people I know. Your honesty with your fans is beautiful. Thank you for casting your net of honesty so wide. It comforts me, and I hope it sheds light on mental stuff to those who don’t know much about it.
  9. thisismymonkey said: HUGS. Reading this makes me glad I haven’t seen SAD FACE lately. I’m so glad you are feeling better.
  10. bamfisawesome said: While I’m sad that there will not be any new SAD FACE illustrations on my dash, I’m overjoyed to know that you’ve reached a point where you’re kind of okay. Cause ‘kind of okay’ means ‘better’ and ‘better’ is GOOD. So, you get a HAPPY FACE from me :)
  11. kizmitcycle reblogged this from dianaparkhouse
  12. thisbrooklynsheep reblogged this from dianaparkhouse and added:
    Aside from Sad Face (a comic that speaks to us when we need it most), Diana’s commentary it true and important. In my...
  13. tragical said: thank you for your honesty and i wish you all the best. you are wonderful.
  14. abitaddicted reblogged this from dianaparkhouse and added:
    I am very, very happy to hear that you are better. Even if that means you won’t be drawing that lovely depressed cat SAD...
  15. hanasaurus-rex said: *HUGS* I’m so happy that you aren’t feeling like that anymore! This is the best post on my dash!
  16. lady-lutra said: Even though I’m sad about no more drawings, I’m so happy that you feel you can close this chapter of your life. I really do wish you all the best in everything you do next :) You’re so wonderful and talented.
  17. dianaparkhouse posted this