The webcomics blog about webcomics

Mental Health Tuesdays

It was a week ago that I wrote about Unhealthy from Sarah Winifred Searle and Abby Howard, and the journeys that each of them has had through not only the experience of fatness, but the mental health implications of their size. I mean, it’s not just being told by society that you don’t deserve to exist that leads to disordered eating and self-destructive behavior, there’s the whole coupling between brain chemistry and gut¹ that we’re only just beginning to understand.

Speaking from the experience of growing up in a chubby family², my father would always experience serious brain fog if his weight got too low (in this case, still well into the range that is diagnosed as morbid obesity), to the extent that he was as slow and labored to respond in conversation when at his thinnest (in his late 40s)³ as he was after a stroke he had (in his late 50s). What I am saying is, our mental state is intricately integrated with the rest of our bodies, and trying to force one in a particular direction will necessarily tug on the other.

And today, we have a look at mental health from another point of view, from Erika Moen. I’ve dubbed her Hurricane Erika in the past, because she’s a force of nature, one that’s willing to share the highs and lows of her life with brutal honesty, which exposes her to griefers and jerks of every stripe, but which also likely reaches people who are vulnerable and desperately need to see that somebody else understands their own struggles. Today’s Oh Joy, Sex Toy is about both the latest variant of the Magic Wand vibrator and mental health.

In fact, it’s mostly about mental health. Starting in the comic and continuing into the blogpost below, Moen recaps her bipolar diagnosis (for the benefit of those who haven’t been following her ever since the Dar! days), shares the story of her recent interaction with an intensive outpatient program Space Camp, and her future plans for a six-month behavioral therapy program. The purpose of all of these is to figure out management strategies for adapting your life to your particular set of mental health challenges. She doesn’t sugarcoat things — it’s not a cure, and there probably is no cure.

But you can reduce your suffering. And no matter how unlike yourself you feel, making (letting? allowing?) yourself to feel physically good can help with the brain trubs.

If you’re hurting, she’s been there. She’s not a therapist and she’s especially not your therapist, but she’s been there and doesn’t want you to be there a moment longer. She knows that getting to the point of not hurting is work, and requires more effort than those of us without brains lying to us will likely ever understand. She’s helping to destigmatize mental illness, and she is a godsdamned rock star that will save lives because she’s brave enough to share. The only thing I’d disagree — politely — with Moen about is the bit in the comic where she says:

My mental health has never been great. I mean, you could probably guess that. Look at what I do for a job.

Sorry, I don’t think that getting to explore all the myriad experience of sex and test drive a buncha sexy toys/sites/experiences for review purposes makes you broken. I think it means Erika and Matt won at life. I mean, they got a fuck couch4 out of the deal!

Sorry, I got a little distracted. Read today’s update. Do a check in, make sure you’re okay, and that the people around you are okay. Anybody that’s not okay, follow the links she provides for resources and that structured help that’s needed. And if OJST has ever brought you amusement, or understanding, or information, or led you to a kind of personal pleasure, maybe drop her a note of thanks. Even forces of nature need a metaphorical pat on the back.

Spam of the day:

unique domains backlinks package

I can’t wait to figure out what kind of sites you’d offer me for SEO purposes that make any kind of sense. I’m talking about family medical history, mental health, and fuck couches on the same page.

¹ All those brain chemicals that you learned about from Radiolab? Turns out as much as 80% of your body’s stores of them are in your stomach and your intestines, not your gray matter.

² Those of you that have seen or met me know that I’m rail thin; I’m also adopted.

³ Not to mention he felt like crap all the time when he was merely overweight. Constant colds and aches. At his resting weight, healthy as a friggin’ horse.

4 To paraphrase a wise observer of such things, When the universe offers you a free [fuck couch], YOU DON’T TURN IT DOWN.

RSS feed for comments on this post.