“I will gladly do anything you ask as long as it does not harm humans, animals, or property. I will avoid putting myself in danger unless it is to protect you or by your command. The Tanaka logo on my wrist is the only physical indication that I am an android and I am required by law to keep it exposed at all times. I am not allowed to handle legal tender or helm a vehicle, so please keep that in mind if you send me out on errands. I am in your hands, now. Please take good care of me.”
Other than the seriously offensive smell of Hyperbole and Half‘s pages (I think it’s all that colourful ink) and that odd yellow triangle on the top of Brosh’s cartoon head (what is that, anyway? A hat, a blonde ponytail?), this is a self-aware blog-to-book memoir describing some of the absurdities and poignancy of everyday life.
Winston Churchill’s black dog euphemism for depression is given form by author and illustrator Matthew Johnstone. He skillfully reveals his personal navigation through the seven hells of depression to the light at the end of the very long tunnel. As Churchill once said, “if you’re going through hell, keep going.” Johnstone sought treatment, told his family and friends and learned how to control the dreaded beast so he could finally enjoy life again.
This year’s theme is ‘Living with Schizophrenia’.
In a taxi the other day, I heard on the radio a DJ suggesting that cancer treatment be prioritized over mental health services. That was a jaw-dropper. Mental illness can be just as deadly as cancer. ‘People with severe mental illness die 10-25 years earlier than the general population.’
And yet another reminder that I haven’t achieved as much as I wanted to by this age. Not even close.
Career, job, husband, children?
None of the above.
But I’m not alone. The global recession seems to have stalled many a young person on the rites of passage road to achievement.
I’ve seen far too many news articles telling stories of young people killing themselves over the lack of a job and everything else it can bring, like a home, a partner, children and pets.
In the past few weeks I’ve seen article after article printed in newspapers shouting loud on the subject of anti-depressants. Doctors are over-prescribing them, they say. Doling them out like sweets to those that don’t need them, they claim.
Misleading statistics strike again.
Mythbuster #1: You don’t have to be depressed to take an anti-depressant. One drug can be used to treat more than one type of ailment. However, whatever it’s commonly used to treat, is what it becomes associated with. You say Prozac (Fluoxetine), we think anti-depressant. Did you know it’s also a treatment for bulimia and obsessive compulsive disorder?