Depression can be a difficult illness to understand if you've never experienced it, and depressive episodes can be incredibly isolating experiences. But the webcomic Depression Comix offers a peek into the depressed mind while helping a lot of depressed folks feel less alone.
Trigger warning: Folks who are triggered by depictions of self-injury and suicidal thoughts should steer clear of this one.
Clay's Depression Comix certainly isn't the first or only webcomic to explore depression from the point of view of a depressed person. Allie Brosh rightly received acclaim for her honest portrayal of her own experiences with depression in Hyperbole and a Half. But Depression Comix is a bit different in its repeated glimpses into life with depression.
I personally came across Depression Comix when I was in the slow process of climbing out of a major depressive episode. As grim as the comics can be, I found something comforting in seeing another person express dark thoughts and experiences that were similar to my own. If you've ever read Clay's previous (and decidedly NSFW) comic Sexy Losers/The Thin H Line, you might recognize his macabre four-panel style. But instead of cartooning about necrophilia and tentacle porn, he's writing about the cruel voices that can plague the minds of people suffering from depression and their tendency to simultaneously shun human contact and crave it.
Not every installment of Depression Comix is universal to every person who suffers from depression (for example, not every depressed person engages in physical self-harm), nor do I get the sense that it's meant to condemn people who don't understand how debilitating the illness can be. Rather, it exposes the inner turmoil that come with depression—the intrusive thoughts, the exhaustion, the feelings of intense isolation, the inability to imagine life getting any better. He deals with the frustration that comes from interacting with folks who don't understand the effects of depression, but at the same time shows how people suffering from depression mask their pain and push others away. And as dark as the comic can get, it does occasionally offer moments of tenderness.