Skip to main content

In which comics are more profound than expected.

I'm really trying to break my addiction to xkcd. I really am. Promise.

But today...I went to go check if there was a new comic up and I saw this one. And it hit me pretty hard. Thankfully, it doesn't apply to my life right now. But oh goodness does it remind me of how I felt all summer.

Without going too much into the unnecessary, gory details, I will state that this summer was one of the darkest times of my life. I spent much of it feeling alone and broken, not knowing where to turn for comfort. I worried that I was doing something wrong. After all, they teach us that if we do all the right things, share our toys, and believe in ourselves, everything will work out hunky-dory, right? So if you hurt or you're scared or you're alone or you can't go a day without locking yourself in your room and bawling you must be making a mistake, right?

But I couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong, and that made me mad. Every inspirational quote about the power of optimism, every song about finding hope in adversity, every loved one who told me to stop feeling sorry for myself and find my own happiness just hardened my anger. I felt that I was doing everything I was supposed to to be happy: working hard at my job, going running every day, spending time with family and friends, spending a lot of time outside, trying new things, serving others whenever I could. And yet my heart still was ravaged by pain and loneliness.

After a couple of months, however, I came to realize that whether or not my anguish was my own fault or the result of my circumstances, I needed to do something about it. I talked to my parents about the possibility of clinical depression. I started taking vitamins. I made an appointment with a therapist. In essence, I said what the main character in this comic said: "Screw this. My attitude isn't my problem. My disease is my problem, and I'm treating it. I'm going to be glum and depressed and pessimistic some days, and I'm going to get better anyways."

And, little by little, I did get better. I stopped feeling guilty for my own emotions. I accepted the fact that I'd gone through a major ordeal, that I was still dealing with the repercussions, that some days were going to feel like crap and that was okay. I can't even express how liberating that felt.

So, I survived my summer. I am into the next season of my life, and I am happier than I remember being ever. I think I can honestly say I love everything about my life right now. Do I feel perfectly optimistic every day? Not at all. Some days I feel like I'm back where I was this summer, but instead of beating myself up, I'm learning to just wait it out then move on. And you know what? Life is beautiful.

I don't know if I'm being very clear. I guess what I'm trying to say is that if you're hurting, if you're scared, if you're sick, do not feel guilty about it. Please don't. Don't tell yourself that your pain is silly or pointless or unfounded. Do what you can to treat the problem, and then wait, realizing that some days are still going to suck. "There are no silly fears...If you're afraid of something, it's real, and it affects your thinking and performance no matter how valid or invalid someone else says it is. It's like there's no minor pain when it's yours. If it hurts, it hurts. What you got to do is figure out how to deal with it, not use up your energies trying to decide if it's real or not." (Phule's Paradise).

Pain is a part of life. It is a part of everybody's life. Not just the weak, or the inadequate, or the pessimistic. Everybody. I think when we try to pretend everything is cheery and rosy all the time, we deprive ourselves of the opportunity to feel true pain and to grow from it. And somehow, that deep darkness gives greater meaning to the glorious light that replaces it.


  1. I love you Karissa my Baker. Thank you so much for this post.

  2. **HUGS!** I know I keep saying this, but I KNOW EXACTLY HOW YOU FEEL/FELT. You are so sensible and down-to-earth. You have your head on right and know what's right. You are a ray of sunshine and I love everything you've brought to my life. If more people were like you, we'd have a pretty awesome world.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

In which I need to figure out what happiness is made out of

Let me tell you a secret:

During my month working at camp this summer, I think I took my medication...twice.

And guess what?

I was fine. No, I was happy.

Let me tell you another secret:

Last week, I only took my medication twice.


I was not fine. I was miserable. The world fell apart and I found myself crying about things like not being able to eat at Chick-Fil-A because I'd forgotten my debit card.

And so I've been asking myself...what made the difference? Why could I be blissfully content without my medication at camp, if I still depend on it for my happiness back at home?

There has to be something, and if I only could put my finger on it...

Maybe it was singing all day, everyday, sailor songs and whaling songs and songs about nature and songs about fish heads and songs about friends, just letting my voice ring out because that's what humans do, they sing.

Maybe it was always having opportunities to help others, or seeing the effects of my work with my own eyes. Ma…

In which my life teems with simple delights

An Internet community I frequent recently discussed the question: "What is a small good thing that has happened in your life lately?" And I realized that lately my life has abounded with small, good things.

1) My husband learned how to make Pad Thai and has made it twice in the last week and a half. He is very good at it and it is awesome.

2) My mentor told me that I'm doing a great job as a teacher. On a day when I was frustrated with 6th graders who refused to participate and 3rd graders determined to sow chaos, this meant a crazy amount.

3) I've been going to therapy, and it's working! I'm learning some simple strategies to cope with my anxiety, and I haven't had an anxiety attack in over two weeks. Everyone, go to therapy.

4) A little boy in one of my special ed classes sang yesterday! I'd never even heard him talk before, and he was singing every single song word for word, perfectly in tune. I wanted to give him the biggest squeeze in the world.

5) I…

In which I smatter a disjointed smattering of thoughts.

I think I'm a morning person at heart. I love feeling like I'm the only one awake, like I have a head start on the rest of the world. I love the pink-grey-gold of morning air, the streaks of sunrise peeking from behind the mountains. I love the prattle of birds welcoming the day, the quietness of a still-sleeping world. Unfortunately, my circadian rhythm doesn't share this love of the early hours, making me wired with energy late at night and sluggish in the early hours. So...mind over matter, I guess?

My dear friend Bekah is back from her mission and I'm remembering how much I adore her and her blog. This morning I was 25 minutes late to a choir rehearsal because I was rediscovering her writing. And it was probably worth it.
So this one time a few weeks ago, I was in a band. We played at the ward talent show, had big plans to try out for Acoustic Explosion, and then kind of fell apart.. But it was a good run. There's something magic about the artistic collaboratio…