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I came across a recent video looking at anxiety and drugs by the makers of penny arcade. Penny arcade is a webcomic, mostly revolving around computer gaming. The authors, Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik were recently named in the time 100. It’s a sizable video, so apologies for people on slower internet connections, but I found it to be a particularly interesting look at mental illness.

I liked their discussion of how mental illness can be unique. For them mental illness wasn’t about being boring, looking out of a window, seeing the world in bland colours, with nothing to look forward to. They make the point that people respond in different ways, and for them it was telling jokes, responding with humour. Those of you who have read the comic will be aware of Mike and Jerry’s unique sense of humour.

And related to this, they discuss the fear that medication would have caused them to their lose their creativity, their craziness, fearing that mental illness is what makes them have their ability to write webcomics. Mike tells us that he wouldn’t have stuck with anti-depressants if the drugs took away his creativity and made things different. But, as he found out, through drugs he could feel better, while still retaining his creativity, and was still able to ‘be crazy’.

Near the end there was an interesting discussion involving illegal drugs. Jerry saw illegal drugs as similar to medical drugs, and a legitimate way to deal with life, while Mike, having seen his brother overdose was opposed to illegal drugs. I tend to agree with Mike. People with mental illness sometimes self-medicate recreational drugs (including alcohol) because they seem to help in the short term. However, this can create a dependence on the substance, as the substance can quickly become all that the user knows that will make them feel better. Eventually substances need to be taken just to feel normal, which creates a whole other set of problems. Recreational drugs may seem to help in the short term, but it’s probably better to find a longer term solution to the problem.

Overall I found the video to be heartwarming, a frank and friendly discussion of a difficult topic. It was good to hear how they looked out for each other, and how they want to help others by sharing about a personal topic.

I know there’s a bit of a rivalry between us and the country across the ditch, but I came across this article in an Australian news paper. I don’t know much about Australian politics, or who Andrew Robb is, but it’s good to hear that he is speaking out about his depression. To use his words: “It’s much easier, I think, if those you love and you work with and your mates … they know about it and they can help you rather than you try and hide it and live a lie.”.

Sharing personal struggles can be challenging, but it can also be rewarding.

On Sunday there was a clip about depression on TV One, if you didn’t see it, you can catch it on TVNZ ondemand. The segment covers a couple of personal experiences, as well as having an interview with a Doctor. There is also some discussion on how to recognize depression in yourself, and others, and what should be done about it. Worth a watch.

Postpartum Depression is a form of depression that affects parents after the birth of their children. It is speculated that the stress of childbirth, lifestyle changes associated with having children, and for women, hormonal changes can precipitate a depressive episode in parents. Although men don’t undergo childbirth, it can still be a stressful time. I recently came across two stories on CNN, and The Daily Mail, telling stories about Male Postpartum depression.

It’s interesting to note that male postpartum depression can often occurwhen the partner also has postpartum depression. If your partner is depressed, not only does this mean having to spend more time caring for your new born, but also supporting your partner. The lesson here is that if you’re supporting someone through a difficult time, be aware that you’re vulnerable yourself, so make sure you’re getting the support you need, otherwise you might find yourself getting depressed.

Another lesson to take away from this is to be prepared. If you’ve got a history of depression, be aware of things which can put you under stress, such as child birth, and be aware of the signs you see when you get depressed. If you start to see signs that you aren’t coping, do something about it.

If you’re looking at doing something about depression (whether or not you’re a parent) have a look at some of the links on the side bar, or contact us. If you’re interested in reading more about Postpartum Depression, there’s a lengthy wikipedia article on it.

May 2020