Kurtis Wiebe is well-known for creating some amazing comics, including gamer favorite Rat Queens, Peter Panzerfaust, and others. Two years ago, he opened up about his struggles with anorexia, and last week he shared a very personal story about his recent mental health struggles on his blog.
Content Warning: Discussion of suicide.
Wiebe’s story is a familiar one for many of us: struggling with depression without really noticing it, until something pushes us just a little too far.
JUNE 19TH. It was an ordinary day, like any other that had come before. I’d struggled along, unaware that each ordinary day was one where I’d slipped just that little bit further. Not realising there was a weight pushing me down the tiniest bit more.
Every extra hour I’d spend in bed in the morning. Each additional day I’d go without showering. More days that would pass where I refused to leave the house. It had become a pattern, and I was completely blind to it.
But on June 19th of this year, the normal day ended in a very bleak place. I would say it came out of nowhere, but in retrospect, every sign was there from the beginning. I’d let my mental health collapse.
It was that night, after watching Birdman, where I had to admit to myself that if I didn’t have a family, I would’ve killed myself. Hell, I even sat with the thought of suicide all night. I’m lucky that the reminder of my daughter asleep in the other room spared me an awful decision that night. But I had to face the facts:
Family couldn’t save me forever.
It’s a story that sometimes ends badly, but often those moments are the ones that convince us that we need to take steps to heal. That’s what Weibe did, and just a few months later he’s returned to share the steps that made the biggest difference for him.
1) Seek Help – There are many ways you can do this. There are hundreds of options out there. It is the most obvious of answers to those suffering from depression, anxiety and thoughts of suicide. The problem is, we believe that because we have dealt with it our whole life, we are in control of it.
The reality is, mental health is taken less seriously than any physical injury. If you had a broken hand, you would go to a doctor to get it fixed. You wouldn’t shrug your shoulders and carry on. “Well, this is just who I am now.”
It’s not always easy to find the right help, either, but the struggle is worth it. I promise you. I know it seems like all you’re getting is common sense suggestions, and that you’re doing all the work while they’re getting paid for it. But here’s the truth:
You are responsible for the hard work.
It took my counsellor to point out the obvious because I’d lost that perspective. And there was an actual shift that occurred in my clouded brain. Like I could see again. That was the beginning.
That’s only the first of the steps Wiebe took. He also worked to create structure in his life and to put aside negative self talk. The full post is remarkable, and well worth the read, so go give it a look.
Remember, if you’re dealing with a mental health crisis, you’re not alone. Reach out for help, talk to a professional, or contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (or another lifeline in your region). It’s dangerous to go alone, but we’re all in this together.[Inside the Mind of Kurtis J. Wiebe]