Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Still Not Dead

Many of you who read this blog have wished me well regarding the personal struggles I have mentioned lately. (shown, at left, singing the blues)

I really appreciate it, it means a lot to know you're thinking of me. Some have suggested chemical solutions – from anti-depressants to pot – thanks for those, too. I am on anti-depressants, have been since '96, and repeated efforts to live without them have failed. I'm not a big believer in pharmaceuticals and hate the industry, but it looks as if I'm a customer for life. Could be worse.

The problems I am experiencing are of a nature that I won't share in detail here, although I'd love to because I'm a real blabbermouth when it comes to my emotions (I have a strong feminine side in that way, and I'm Italian, known for our sentimentality.) But for all involved, it would be best if I leave it vague.

But whatever the cause, suffice to say that things are looking up and I'm feeling better. Life is a series of peaks and valleys and I'm happy to have this particular valley mostly behind me.
If the automobile of my heart runs out of gas on the way up the next peak and begins to roll back toward that valley, I'll hurl myself from the car and crawl.
If the pants leg of my insecurity gets caught on the side mirror, I'll rip my pants off and crawl bare-assed.
If an avalanche of childhood memories comes my way, I'll hop up and down like a Mario Brothers' character and dodge the boulders.
If the grizzly bear of self doubt grabs me and starts dragging me back toward the valley, I'll shove my anti-depressants into his mouth until he chills.

I'm not going back to that damned valley, do you understand?!

Thanks for reading.


John R. Platt said...

Best metaphors ever!

Craig Zablo said...

Glad things are on an up-swing, but this whole thing could be you simply laying the groundwork to rip your pants off and go crawling around buck nekkid.

Brilliant plan, my friend!

On a serious note, you can not begin to imagine how many people's day you brighten with your cartoons and blog!

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to say that I'm a huge fan of both your cartoons and this blog. It's really important to me to have this daily dose of humour and truth. It keeps me sane in a world that doesn't value the same things I do and that can get pretty lonely without any vegan friends. So thanks! Good luck battling your "pants leg of insecurity and grizzly bear of self doubt" you nut.

Anonymous said...

In a world full of ugliness and anger... your comics add a 'Ray of SunShine' to my life.
I love your backhanded humor! Why not make fun of the things that bother us most. I really look forward to your thoughts and insights.
Please don't ever stop them from coming out.
I'm a big believer of saying what's on my mind, after all I'm a product of the 70's. That's when we learned to always 'tell others how you feel and express yourself.' Well.. I DO!
I'm glad you do too!
Thanks for being there!

Unknown said...

I can solve your problems: swap places with me!

Alice Kottmyer said...

I saw your "Parade" comic about the businessman talking on the phone in the cave with the scared cavepeople, and I laughed so hard it sounded like a scream and people had to check on me.

You make my day, dearie.

Jarrell Mc said...

Hang in there, hoss.

Some hikers wear bells to alert bears to their presence, so not to surprise them. I think the bears just hear a dinner bell.

Fight those bears, man. You bring lots o' laughter into this world.

Anonymous said...

for me, knowing why things happened in my past has given me great help when dealing with depression. I don't know if depression is your issue, and if the daily pill regimen is making things livable then I've no right to really contribute.

For me, having insight into why my mother and father did what they did has given me great inner peace, despite the reason for all of their actions (and ultimately death, in my father's case) were due to addiction and untreated depression on their parts. understanding how addiction and a traumatic past rewires people has helped me deal with things a great deal.

When it comes to a human's reaction to addiction and trauma, there is no free will involved. None. My mind responds exactly the same way your mind responds, without exception.

This means that abusers are rarely truly at fault for the abuse they perpetuate;

Anyway. If you're a victim, know that you were victimized as part of the process the human mind goes through to heal, though know that the human mind can never heal psychological damage alone.

cripes i'm verbose.

Jeremy said...

At least you don't have Phil Gramm minimizing your feelings, like he did to the Economy.

Seriously though, good to hear, you are an Icon my friend! I have idolized you since I was 11 and first read your comic in The Comic News here in Eugene, OR.

Lisa Williamson said...


Don't beat yourself up about needing the meds. In this world, the fact that you are as highly creative and socially responsible as you are is remarkable. Sensitive souls are more affected by EVERYTHING, and there is so much negativity everywhere. But, as (I'm sure you know) the poem goes, "With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy."

beforewisdom said...

Cognitive Therapy is one of the most popular non-drug psychological therapies in use today. It is based on the idea that thoughts contribute to causing emotions and that unhealthy emotions can be curtailed by replacing your thoughts with more rational thoughts.

Cognitive Therapy has been clinically proven to be more effective than drugs for depression.

I'm not saying it is the answer for anyone's problems. Some people are born with genetic predispositions towards things and need more help.

However, it is worth checking out.

Dr. Albert Ellis invented cognitive therapy back in the 1950s. This book of his is still one of the best:

For one of the best,shortest, and free overviews check out this article:


Anonymous said...

Dear Dan,

I don't know your exact take on positive vibes....but rest assured I am sending some your way. Take it easy, Mr. Piraro.

Penny Mitchell said...

Go, Dan, go!!!! And don't ever forget: a diabetic need insulin because his pancreas doesn't generate the right juices. It's no different with depression; our noggins just don't churn out the right combination of chemicals on their own. I've tried to get away from my happy pills, too, and frankly...screw it. They were created for a reason. Don't let the social stigma still (STILL!!!!) associated with brain meds get to you. If it helps any, empirical evidence has shown me that depression seems more prevalent in highly creative people. Seriously. Creativity seems to be connected, somehow.

On a lighter note, this is the coolest thing I've seen in a while. It's evidently been making the rounds, but I just saw it today:

We love you, Dan! Keep plugging!

Robin said...

Yeah. All the things that these folks are saying, I feel the same way too.

Whatever you need to do to be happy, just do it.

Anonymous said...

You're awesome. Peace.

PS: Love all your little links. You should put some in the cartoons too. (I know it won't be easy, but it would totally be worth it.)

Piraro said...

Thanks for all these great comments and support. You guys are the best.

My depression issues are chemical and I've resigned to taking the drugs for a lifetime. No big deal, no stigma. This latest crisis was not about that, but about a relationship issue within my family, and we are working through it successfully.

Loved the lion video that "penny" sent a link to. Cognitive therapy is a big help, too. At some point you just have to say you're going to heal and get on with it.

Feeling so much better now. :)

disabled account said...

fake it till you make it and do what you gotta do dan!...(and what penny said too).

we'd all be on that friggin' mountain helping to push your ass up and away from that valley if you asked us to.

in other words...we're behind you! nicely done! now go take your meds.

Anonymous said...

Glad to read you're climbing up towards the happy peak again. Always nice heading that direction after being down in the dumps.

You make us happy with your blog and comics, we do our best at making you happy with cheery comments. :-)

Anonymous said...

seriously d, you have influenced so many people and your work has made millions laugh their soy milk out of their noses, you are the best.

i can not even tell you how much your friendship has meant to me all these years. you are a special one and don't ever doubt the love we all have for you, people in places you have never met even. i bet someone in the far points of greenland have some type of shrine of you surrounded by scented candles and veggie meat. ha!

three woots for dan! woot! woot! woot!

glad to hear you are doing better. :)

CrazyVeganMom said...

Hi Dan,
I am glad to hear you are on the upswing. I, too hate the meds, but so far they keep me from jumping off a bridge, so I must remain on them.
Your comics are a bright spot in my day, so thank you for your humor and your blog.
Much love and support coming your way!

Rebecca C. Brown said...

I hear ya about the family, Dan. People can mean so well and still be so abusive in ways they don't understand. Or, worse yet, they love you but don't mean well at all. Is it good or bad that people can't really break up with their family?

When my parents (er, my mom and my step-dad, who raised me) divorced, I lived on a steady diet of funny YouTube videos to keep myself from crying all day. My mother and I haven't had an entirely friendly conversation in two years. Sigh.

On the bright side, all of the grief I've experienced with my family has also strengthened my relationship with my husband (and I've sublimated by spending more time improving my vegan baking skills!).

But enough about me. Dan, as the rest of us nuts have raved, your cartoons brighten our day, and undoubtedly have helped cheer some of us up when we were in that same metaphorical valley.

I heard that grizzly bears can also be placated with soothing folk rock and snickerdoodles.

Eva said...

You, Dan Piraro, rule - peaks, valleys and bear-herding all the way! Keep those crazy-ass metaphors coming!

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to say that your work is often a source of maniacal laughter in my household, and is much appreciated.

And like I was telling my mom the other day, Silly neurons. They try their best, but they can be awfully misguided.

Anonymous said...

P.S. - How do you manage to live inside (so many of) our subconscious minds?

jmarcv said...

Seriously, your italian! Proscuitto is better than Prozac!


B.A.D. said...

Glad to hear babe! Just know that I am wishing you and yours the best and I hope things only continue to move up. And just try to remember no matter how bad things get there is always a peak on the way.

And if you ever need cheering up:

Or cop-out like I do and just tell yourself to keep your chin up for veganism and the animals

Lorie said...

So, I'll tell you a little story to cheer you up. I was at a swanky dinner party in La Jolla yesterday for my niece's upcoming wedding. The little kids eschewed the fancy hors d'oeuvres in favor of what they thought were those ambiguous goldfish crackers, which little kids eat instead of real fish, that they found in the kitchen. My nine year old niece comes up to me and says "here, taste this, it tastes funny" and hands me what looks like a goldfish cracker only it is redish purple. I took one whiff and gagged. I asked her if all the other kids had eaten them and she said they had. They had been eating cat treats!!

munchy365 said...

You have "tropical depression"