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.
25th October 2011