‘The Alot is Better Than You at Everything’ is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen on the internet. In fact, Allie Brosh’s entire blog, Hyperbole and a Half, is exceptional. She makes astute observations about life, often extremely amusing ones, and narrates them with the help of crudely drawn images. And her latest post… well, it is just remarkable.
It’s called ‘Adventures in Depression’ . “Some people have a legitimate reason to feel depressed,” it begins, “but not me. I just woke up one day feeling sad and helpless for absolutely no reason.”
At various points in my life I have displayed what could be – and have been – defined as “symptoms of depression and anxiety”. It’s cool, I kinda learned how to deal with them. Never before, however, have I seen these feelings explored so candidly, nor with such extraordinary simplistic accuracy.
Brosh tells the story of her own experiences with depression, recounting how, one day, she woke up feeling sad for no reason. And the more she challenged these emotions, the stronger they became, as she fought a battle in her own mind to understand why she felt this way, and why those feelings would not disperse.
Through carefully chosen words and perfectly evocative imagery, Brosh explores the nature of depression and the exact reasons why it is impossible to “just snap out of it”, demonstrating how difficulties in doing so can lead to further feelings of self-loathing which only add fuel to the fire of the initial problem.
And yet, in doing so, she also explores how this very inability to change the situation can lead to something extraordinary: that it’s possible to look back with hindsight, and realise you “just snapped out of it” accidentally, setting things off on the road to wellbeing. Recovering from depression requires tremendous effort on the part of the sufferer – effort that it can feel like it is impossible to make unless a situation forces you into doing so.
Like ‘Alot’, and indeed much of Brosh’s work, ‘Adventures in Depression’ is eye-openingly observant – but it is also unwaveringly poignant, and I found it to be deeply, profoundly moving. Give it a read.