I'm not worried the new comic won't be good. Everything you wrote so far was so respectful and so thoughtful of the people around you. I feel that to be fair is important to you and that is why I believe the new comic will be great. I look forward to reading your story. It is very interesting to see how mental illnesses can play different parts in different relationships – I find it helpful to see different perspectives and to read about those different experiences from other people's stories.
Btw: I think it is perfectly fine to be “self-centered” in one’s own story – no matter how objective we try to be, all we have is our own perspective, and that is OK – trying to be objective is great and important and a success in its own.
Thank you for your encouragement. It’s really important to me that I portray my ex in a positive light, because she truly is a wonderful person deserving of love and respect. We didn’t break up because there was something wrong with her (or me), but because our needs had diverged to the point that we were no longer compatible.
Autobio comics are by their nature pretty self-indulgent, but the real point of this exercise is to help me process my feelings, so I guess they do need to be pretty self-serving. I feel so grateful (and honestly disbelieving) that so many people have decided to join me on this journey anyway.
"I think the issue of mental illness in relationships is extremely complicated, and it’s good that we’re engaging in discussion about it." YES! My ex-boyfriend has depression and I wanted to support him, but I found no resources ANYWHERE. And he wouldn't talk about it, it was hard for him. It was a trainwreck for both of us, in the end I was miserable 'cause I didn't know what to do and he was miserable 'cause he was guilty that I was miresable, on top of everything else (cont)
Even though we both tried and loved each other we had no idea of what was happening and we broke up in a bad way. I found your comic soon after and it helps me a lot. So, I was worried when you said you would be talking about your ex cause I was afraid of feeling bad for “abandoning” him again, but I do think it is something to be discussed by both sides. I’m really looking forward to see your new comic, and thanks for bringing this issue to light :)
I’m glad you’ve found value in the comic. I think it’s really important that we talk about these issues. Mental illness in relationships is so, so hard, on both people. My ex did a really good job of supporting me, for the most part, but she had her limits, and had issues of her own to deal with. We stayed together for as long as was healthy for the both of us. By the time our relationship ended, we were still deeply in love with one another, but our needs had diverged so much that we were only hurting each other, and feeling guilty about the pain we were causing.
You shouldn’t feel bad for ‘abandoning’ your ex. You did the best you could under the circumstances. Depression creates a huge strain in a relationship, and there is only so much you can do to support someone who is suffering. I think there’s this terrible fantasy that floats around that people with depression can be ‘saved’ - that if the right person comes along and says something perfect, that magically the depression will be lifted. Depression doesn’t work like that. Recovery can take years, and having supportive people to help is only a part of the picture. Even though you loved your partner deeply, there would have been only so much you could do to help. As hard as it is to watch, most of the work has to come from him. Having someone care about you really makes a difference though, and I’m sure you helped him a lot. Please don’t doubt yourself.
My ex boyfriend ended up abusing me because of my depression.. It started off supportive, but ended with him using the idea of him 'tolerating my depression' to emotionally and sexually abuse me and ended up dumping me for 'not being good enough'. I have seen lots of brilliant cases of support and recovery but please make sure people are aware that although it might be tricky for a partner, it is their choice to stay and help and it is not your fault if that is a negative experience for them...
I’m so sorry that you had this experience. There is actually a huge problem of people with chronic illness being abused in relationships because they are dependant on their partners and feel like they can’t leave. I hope you are in a position of support and safety now.
I think the issue of mental illness in relationships is extremely complicated, and it’s good that we’re engaging in discussion about it. Part of the benefit of IDNHAED is that it gives some examples of how to be a supportive partner, because for most of our relationship, my partner was wonderful. But I’m hoping that this new comic will also shed some light on some of the hardships that come from having mental illness play a part in a romantic relationship.
No matter what you’re struggling with, you are always deserving of love and respect. You deserve to be treated with kindness. I hope you’re able to surround yourself now with people who can give you that.
My ex was depressed and had bpd. I was 17 when we met, moved in at 18 and loved him so completely, wanted to help so much. I stuck around, even when he drove me away (including breaking up with me), for 2 years. One day I couldn't stay anymore, we were unhealthy- when he hurt me, I was hurting him back and I feel guilty to this day about the damage I caused. I was young and ill equipped to 'save' him. Your girlfriend loved you too and chose to stay -not your fault. Please believe that Khale.
Thank you for the kind words. I’m sorry that you found yourself in such a difficult situation with your ex. I’m sure you loved each other deeply and wanted nothing more than to support each other, but sometimes we just end up hurting each other. That’s what was happening by the end of my last relationship, and so we decided to end it. We still loved each other and wanted to be together, but we knew we were only causing more harm by staying together. It wasn’t an easy decision to make. Even though I grieved over my girlfriend for months, I entered a much healthier phase of my life after that. I have made so much progress since the break up, and that never would have happened if we had stayed together. I know I made the right choice.
I hope you’re in a good place now and that you have the support around you that you need.
I've been on the other side of the "you were forcing your mental illness on your girlfriend" issue. I had a girlfriend who was going through some pretty serious problems, and from this side, I don't think you were doing anything wrong! She chose to stay because she wanted to stay with you, and that's her decision. Eventually, it became too much, and she left. I admire you both, and shame on the people who think it's okay to criticize when we haven't heard the rest of the story there.
Thanks for adding your perspective. I think everyone can only really speak from their own experience, and clearly a lot of people have felt very hurt when they’ve found themselves in these circumstances. We are each doing the absolutely best we can in any given situation.
I'm worried the new comics won't be good. You are always referring to your ex as being supportive of you but it isn't necessary. It isn't fair at all to the other person to have a big black hole sucking out the joy from life. You are still very self focused in your commentaries when you write about your ex. Living with your eating disorder is difficult but forcing your depression on someone else because they love you is cruel. I'm in therapy now because of the hand my ex dealt me. Try objectivit
I’m worried the new comic won’t be good too. It deals with some very delicate subject material, and I’m worried that people will have strong opinions on it and that I won’t be prepared for their reactions. But I’m going to persevere anyway, because I think there’s still something valuable to be gained from this.
I think it’s important to be clear about something: I never forced my depression onto my girlfriend. She loved me, and made a choice to be with me every day, even though my depression was a part of the picture. I never begged her to stay. The depression was hard on both of us, but she still loved me, and so she stayed - not out of guilt, but because she wanted to be with me.
We were two people who both had a lot of feelings — we talked for hours every day, about anything and everything. When my depression was getting the better of me, we talked about it. When her anxiety was taking over her mind, we talked about it. And when we reached a point where she felt burned out and didn’t feel like she could talk any more, we stopped talking about it. We always listened to our own needs and to each other, and did the best we could to accommodate each other.
Living with someone who has a mental illness is an extremely difficult situation to be in, no question. I have had a lot of people write in to me since I started telling this story and tell me that it was unfair of me to put my girlfriend through what I did (living with my mental illness). Maybe that’s true? Maybe I should have broken up with her when I was first diagnosed, even though we still loved each other and wanted to be together - maybe I should have dumped her because it would have saved her the heartache of putting up with me. But that’s not what happened. I was diagnosed with depression, anxiety, an ED and later bipolar, and through it all, my girlfriend continued to tell me ‘I love you. I want to be with you’. I am simply telling my story the way it happened and the way it felt to me, because that’s the only perspective I have to work with.
Throughout this journey of publishing IDNHAED online I have heard from a lot of people who have lived on the other side of the coin and felt greatly burdened by having a loved one with significant mental illness. Those experiences are real and they are valid, and if they are truly important to you, then I would encourage you to tell your story. I wish I could give you a voice, but I can only tell my own story.
You have a lot of sexualized nude women on your page. What are your thoughts on playboy?
When I read this, my first thought was ‘Do I…?’, so I went scrolling through my pages to have a look at the content I frequently reblog. While there are some nude women on my page, the majority of them are clothed, and I don’t think too many of them are particularly sexualised. But that may be a matter of opinion (for example, if I reblog a photo of two (clothed) women kissing, I may see as as simply ‘what a cute couple!’ whereas someone else may see that as an overt display of sexuality).
I have some pretty complicated opinions about pornography created for the male gaze, and the sex industry as a whole (disclaimer: my exposure to pornography is not particularly vast. If I’m looking for porn, I tend to seek out female-created or queer-created porn. My experience of porn created for the male gaze is typically through examples give in literature debating the topic). I don’t necessarily have a problem with the concept of pornography - women are entitled to own their bodies, their sexuality, and to use them however they want. If a woman wants to create pornography using her body, perform, sell sex as a service - then she should be empowered to do so, and we should respect her right to that choice. But the reality is that these industries do not exist in a vaccuum. While women should be respected and empowered when it comes to their bodies and sexuality, this is not always the case. Pornography has evolved significantly over time, and common themes emerging often gravitate towards domination and dehumanisation of women. That’s not unique to pornography though; you can see that in advertising wherever you look.
I have to confess, I’ve never read a Playboy, so I can’t comment specifically on how they represent women. My assumption would be that the women posing in the magazine chose that role for themselves, got paid for it, and should be respected. Are the images celebrating the bodies of women, or dehumanising them? It’s hard to say. I remember reading a few years back an interview with Ruby Rose (an Australian VJ, DJ, model and actress, openly lesbian) about her choice to model for a men’s magazine. I was absolutely baffled at how she could choose that. ‘But she’s a lesbian! Why would she want men looking at her? Isn’t she contributing to a devaluation of the female body?’ etc etc. In the article she talked about being a teenager, figuring out her sexuality, and getting her hands on some adult magazines. She said it had been eye opening to her to see naked women and understand more about herself based on her reactions to those images. When she chose to model for an adult magazine, she was thinking about other young women who might be questioning their sexuality, and how much it would mean to them to open up a magazine and see someone they could relate to. I’d certainly never thought about it that way before.
When we talk about the over-sexualisation of women in the media, there’s also the issue of the extremely narrow body type that is idolised today. I don’t particularly want to get into it because it’s a big discussion, but I think it’s fair to say that most media is perpetuating an unrealistic image for women to adhere to, and that includes pornography.
At the end of the day, I don’t think I’d ever be able to sit down and enjoy flicking through a Playboy. I love women, and sure, I like naked women too, but generally speaking sexual images of women created for the male gaze don’t tend to appeal to me. I think it’s crucial to respect the women in the porn industry (and the sex industry) and to ensure their working conditions are safe and ethical. But I’d also encourage people to ask of the porn they’re consuming: Is this respectful to women? Does it encourage violence towards women? Would I want the women I cared about to be treated this way? Try to be objective.
I’m sorry I couldn’t give you a clearer answer, but like I said, I’ve never read a Playboy.