Surreal Illustrations of Mental Illnesses for Inktober

Every year thousands of artists take part in Inktober, where every day in October you draw something. Artist, Shawn Coss, decided to change it up and focus his drawings on various mental illnesses which has been getting tons of hits on Bored Panda.

For more information and images, jump over to his Facebook page here.

You're probably thinking — why now?

I guess the first question is why now?  Why am I publicly discussing my depression?  It's not really what I had in mind when I emailed Jose.  I saw one of his posts about Creatives Against Depression, and what caught my attention immediately was the tag line, "you are NOT alone."  For a number of years, I've had a desire to support the cause of depression awareness as a way to honor the incredibly compassionate professionals who helped me overcome my depression.  That tag line rang the bell for me.  I reached out to Jose to ask if I could help in any way, and he asked for a post about my experience with depression.  I'm not wild about the idea of glorifying my past suffering, but I'm not even remotely ashamed of it either — except, I used to be, when I thought I was alone.

If you suffer from depression, you've got that awful loop of negative feedback playing over and over in your mind.  You're a piece of shit.  Nobody else could be THIS fucked up.  If those other people with their Barbie Doll minds could see inside your head, they'd, Christ you can't even cope with the thought of it.

One counselor (whom I wish I could thank publicly), set me on the road to recovery with one simple revelation.  She let me in on the secret that everyone is fucked up.  You've heard that a lot of times, I know.  Everyone's got their shit.  But you don't really believe that their shit is as bad as yours.  They're just regular fucked up.  You're a freak.  This one counselor knew I wouldn’t believe her at first.  She knew that my disbelief was what stood between me and recovery.  She walked me through credible examples of abomination in other people's lives and thoughts, stayed with it enough to plant the seed of belief in my mind.  She handed me a map.  Recovery is a long and brutal road.  I did not fully appreciate the importance of that map early on.  But looking back, I’m certain I would not have found the road at all without her guidance. 


'If you suffer from depression, you've got that awful loop of negative feedback playing over and over in your mind.  You're a piece of shit.  Nobody else could be THIS fucked up.'


Fast forward.  I've changed jobs, I'm a partner hired away from one law firm to join another.  I'm pretty well known and respected in my community.  I've worked my ass off to keep my depression a secret.  My new law firm wants to buy a life insurance policy on my head, and I need to sit with another very high profile financial professional from my small city to answer his questions for the policy application.  He's been hired by my new partners.  He's doing them a favor.  A term life policy is way below his pay grade.  He's going to get all of my medical information, and when the application is denied because of my history of depression, he's going to have to tell my new partners why.  And, worse yet, he knows everyone I know in the business community.  I'm screwed.

We sit down in a conference room, we get through the basic stuff, and we dig into the medical history questions.  He can tell I'm freaking out.  He says I have to answer everything honestly or coverage can be denied, so I do.  After handing it over reluctantly, he starts to read then puts down his pen.  He tells me about the time he was naked on his kitchen floor sobbing and his wife had to pick him up off the floor.  He tells me he didn't think he would get better, but he's clearly proud that he did, and it's clear he's impressed that I did too.  I had become an avid cyclist because endorphins offset depression, and my overall health was excellent.  My application was approved with a preferred rating.  That seed of belief had now fully flowered.

I've had three bouts of depression in all over the course of 15 years.  Counseling, an insanely patient primary care doctor (whom I also wish I could thank publicly), and, most fortunately for me, good response to medication (take the fucking meds), have all played a role in my recovery.  But if I had not been given that map, that knowledge that I am actually not alone, that everyone is a freak, I'd be dead.  With each succeeding episode of depression, I built on that belief, and each recovery was quicker and more complete than the last. 

It's really true. You are not alone. Put that in your feedback loop.


P.S.  In case you are THAT sick as you’re reading this:  I’m really, really glad I’m not dead.  When you recover, you will enjoy a life so filled with gratitude, and so free of the fear of death, that the simplest daily experiences will be joyful, and the memorable moments will seem like miracles, which is exactly how we are meant to feel.

Tom Hanks Says Self-Doubt Is 'A High-Wire Act That We All Walk'

In his new film, A Hologram for the King, Tom Hanks plays a middle-aged American businessman who is sent to Saudi Arabia, where the king is planning to build a new city in the middle of the desert. Hanks' character, Adam Clay, must persuade the Saudis to let the company he works for provide IT technology and support for this new city.

No matter what we've done, there comes a point where you think, 'How did I get here?'   - Tom Hanks

Hanks tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that he felt particularly connected with his character's sense of self-doubt and dislocation. "No matter what we've done, there comes a point where you think, 'How did I get here? When are they going to discover that I am, in fact, a fraud and take everything away from me?' " Hanks explains.

Despite having won two Academy Awards and appearing in more than 70 films and TV shows, Hanks says he still finds himself doubting his own abilities. "It's a high-wire act that we all walk," he says.

"There are days when I know that 3 o'clock tomorrow afternoon I am going to have to deliver some degree of emotional goods, and if I can't do it, that means I'm going to have to fake it," Hanks says. "If I fake it, that means they might catch me at faking it, and if they catch me at faking it, well, then it's just doomsday."

Interview Highlights

On what drew him to A Hologram for the King

It's the dilemma that Alan Clay is in, which is the dilemma, I think, of our times. If you're going to sum it up in one and one word only, you would say Alan Clay is dealing with China. The fact that China has taken away the companies that he's worked for, the living that he used to make, and it's representative then of all the other failings that he's experienced in his life — he's divorced, he's got a kid he can't afford college for, and he's now taken whatever skill set he had, which is really basically selling things, and he is going to have to go off to a place as alien on the planet Earth as I think Mars is in the solar system — the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

On Hanks' independence growing up

My dad was married to the love of his life — finally — it took him three marriages to get there, but when they landed together, they were so busy having fun and dealing with their own Sturm und Drang that I could've been a tenant who lived downstairs. I just came and went on my own accord and they never said boo.

There was one time in high school I had the flu and I spent two weeks at a friend's house and when I finally came home my dad said, "Where've you been?" I said, "Oh I had the flu, I slept at Kirk's house." He said, "I figured you'd take care of yourself." So that brand of freedom, it wasn't a cruel brand of disinterest, but they were just very busy doing other things. ... That along with attention deficit disorder made me what I am today.

On how Hanks watched TV as a kid

I knew what time it was by what was on television. I don't think there was a clock in our house and I never had a watch, because if Love of Life was over it was time to go to school. When the Hogan's Heroes hour was halfway through, I knew that dinner was going to be ready upstairs. Because of that, about every 12 minutes, when the commercial came on, my attention went somewhere else. I think I still have trouble — I have to be utterly hypnotized by something to truly concentrate on it for anything more than 20 minutes at a time.

On what attracts him to playing brave leading men in films like Saving Private Ryan, Apollo 13, Captain Phillips and the upcoming movie Sully

They are not men with nerves of steel. The thing that has attracted me to all of those characters is they are fighting the terror that is inside them. For example, in all the reading in much of the research that I did for Saving Private Ryan was the terror that men in command felt in combat. ... I have this verbatim from a number of people ... that they were afraid of making the mistake that was going to get other people killed. That is a huge burden of command, and it's something that you have to fight and tamp down, and you can't allow yourself a moment of hesitation, and that faith in oneself is a very — that's the difference between success and failure. It's not easy to do. ...

All of these guys have some degree of accomplishment, but it has been learned and earned at the same time. No one is made a captain of a cargo ship without an extraordinary amount of experience behind them, and that brand of terror or loss of your own self-confidence, look, that's something that everybody goes through at some point. My life has never been in jeopardy ever once, but the artistic creative process of one is still based on your ability to fight down those doubts of yourself, and you have to move forward. ... And you cannot sweat too much the possibility that you are making a wrong mistake.

On why he tweets photos of lost items, like gloves and shoes on the street.

I see the story there. The saddest thing is when you see a little girl's lost pink mitten, or a little glove with those tiny little fingers in it, and that means some little girl now has a mismatched glove at home, and I just think, who are the people that lost it? How did they lose it in these circumstances?

And I see almost like a haiku-like story behind every one of them. Sometimes they're big, manly, expensive leather gloves, something from Hammacher Schlemmer or Barney's or something, and other times they're little happy mittens with Snoopys on them or something like that, and I always think, who passed by this way and left an image? I kind of look at it as urban archaeology in which we can put together the stories of they who passed before us by the gloves that they've lost and sometimes the position that they're in.

Originally posted on NPR.

Everyone Needs Perspective: Don't Fret When You're Not Successful Yet

With all the entrepreneur/hustle/millionaire social accounts, we all think we're going to be millionaires by our mid-twenties. But truth is, that's not really ever the case and we all need a little perspective sometimes:

  • At age 23, Tina Fey was working at a YMCA.
  • At age 23, Oprah was fired from her first reporting job.
  • At age 24, Stephen King was working as a janitor and living in a trailer.
  • At age 27, Vincent Van Gogh failed as a missionary and decided to go to art school.
  • At age 28, J.K. Rowling was a suicidal single parent living on welfare.
  • At age 28, Wayne Coyne (from The Flaming Lips) was a fry cook.
  • At age 30, Harrison Ford was a carpenter.
  • At age 30, Martha Stewart was a stockbroker.
  • At age 37, Ang Lee was a stay-at-home-dad working odd jobs.
  • Julia Child released her first cookbook at age 39, and got her own cooking show at age 51.
  • Vera Wang failed to make the Olympic figure skating team, didn’t get the Editor-in-Chief position at Vogue, and designed her first dress at age 40.
  • Stan Lee didn’t release his first big comic book until he was 40.
  • Alan Rickman gave up his graphic design career to pursue acting at age 42.
  • Samuel L. Jackson didn’t get his first movie role until he was 46.
  • Morgan Freeman landed his first MAJOR movie role at age 52.
  • Kathryn Bigelow only reached international success when she made The Hurt Locker at age 57.
  • Grandma Moses didn’t begin her painting career until age 76.
  • Louise Bourgeois didn’t become a famous artist until she was 78.

Whatever your dream is, it is not too late to achieve it. You aren’t a failure because you haven’t found fame and fortune by the age of 21. Hell, it’s okay if you don’t even know what your dream is yet. Even if you’re flipping burgers, waiting tables or answering phones today, you never know where you’ll end up tomorrow.

Never tell yourself you’re too old to make it.
Never tell yourself you missed your chance.
Never tell yourself that you aren’t good enough.
You can do it. Whatever it is!

Mental Health Issues Rampant Amongst the Arts

Mental Health Issues Rampant Amongst the Arts

Mental health woes are rife in the arts – and it’s no wonder when creative professionals face such insecure and harsh working conditions. Conditions such as uncertain employment, low pay, financial insecurity, poor working conditions, and often long odd hours. The most concerning contention however, is that workers in the entertainment industry (artists particularly), are constantly being asked to work for FREE! A proposal often presented as "in-kind support" for “exposure” or “portfolio building"; a benefit rarely leading to cash payments that can be used in exchange for food or rent.

Ronda Rousey Discusses Suicidal Thoughts After Loss To Holly Holm

Ronda Rousey Discusses Suicidal Thoughts After Loss To Holly Holm

Ronda Rousey opened up about her thoughts after her stunning loss to Holly Holm last November, surprising a lot of people with how candid she was.

The former Champion appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show Tuesday, and spoke about the moments following the fight.

Shining Light on Depression: An Often Dismissed Struggle Any Creative Can Face

Shining Light on Depression: An Often Dismissed Struggle Any Creative Can Face

When I approached my good friend, Jaleel King, about writing a piece on him for Fstoppers, which I was a staff writer for, it wasn't until we met and started chatting about everything that I realized my original direction of just a highlight piece wasn't enough. We needed to talk about the struggle he was experiencing with depression.