In my quest to read more comics and graphic novels this year, I came across two graphic memoirs (of sort!) about anxiety and depression. Published during the first quarter of this year, both books provide comic relief but are also illuminating. They help people understand the daily struggles of someone with anxiety and/or depression and provide comfort to those who are going through the same struggles.
*Background image above courtesy of NPR.
Kind of Coping: An Illustrated Look at Life with Anxiety
Written and illustrated by Maureen “Marzi” Wilson
Published by Adams Media Corporation (2019)
As noted in the beginning of the book, the goal of Kind of Coping is not to provide a cure or a solution to anxiety. In creating this book, Marzi Wilson hopes to make other people with anxiety feel less alone. What began as simple doodles after an online personality quiz became Wilson’s way of coping with her anxiety.
Kind of Coping is divided into six major chapters, but every page contains a glimpse on Wilson’s life, her thoughts, feelings, perception, and her ways of dealing with anxiety. I know people who have anxiety and could imagine them in Wilson’s shoes. The vignettes may seem repetitive, but it only goes to show how anxiety can manifest itself in different situations. (Sometimes, it’s the same situation but different settings and outcomes.) The take away from this book is that we cope in various ways, and that’s all right. No matter how big or small, there are always reasons to keep going.
Just Peachy: Comics About Depression, Anxiety, Love, and Finding the Humor in Being Sad
Written and illustrated by Holly Chisholm
Published by Skyhorse Publishing (2019)
Emily Niland and Coree Spencer, authors of I’m Not Okay, You’re Not Okay, described Just Peachy as “a delightful commiseration on the human condition. It laughs in the face of existential dread.” They could not be more true. Just Peachy explores Holly Chisholm’s experiences with depression and anxiety. Chisholm wastes no time and begins her story with the first time she was diagnosed with depression. I like this part because she went into details regarding her medications, and uses these to paint a general picture of what it was like for someone with depression.
While Kind of Coping portrays Wilson in relation to her surroundings, Just Peachy focuses more on Chisholm’s perception of herself and trying to find better ways of loving and taking care for herself. As the comic progresses, Chisholm shares finding a boyfriend who understands what she is going through and also finding hope and growth through it all. The take away from this book is that you can make it through. As Norm Kelly said, “So far, you’ve survived 100% of your worst days. You’re doing great.”