Talking About Mental Illness With a Comic Zine

Talking About Mental Illness With a Comic Zine

by Justin Richards

One night I realized one of my truest fears was the idea of being quietly alone with my own thoughts. I would rather fill my time with any noise and distraction I could, rather than allow myself to slow down long enough to listen to my inner dialogue. As a comic book writer, this would inspire me to write a short script that would slowly morph from a single private story, into a number of creative outlets and collaborations all in hopes of sharing a message: You are not alone. WE are not alone.

What made me fear A Silent Night was knowing that waiting in the dark was a voice; a voice that would feed all my inner insecurities. Growing up I never felt like I fit in and I developed a lot of self-doubt. I felt alone. It wasn’t until years later that I would meet new friends, who felt a lot of the same things I did. There was just one key difference between us: They were willing to talk about these problems. I always shut away and hid from my feelings. When I realized it was okay to talk about and to accept help I felt a huge, sudden relief. I felt like I held some level of control over my own feelings for the first time in my life. It has become my mission to share this message with as many people as I can.

All of this is what culminated in my newest project: A SILENT NIGHT. This is a comic zine that I got a lot of super talented people to help me create. It's all about those fears and hopefully finding a way to keep them in check. It’s a project that is near and dear to my heart and I am incredibly proud of. 

When it came time to make this into something more than just a small script in my saved files I knew I wanted to use it to help spread awareness about the subject matter. The ADAA was a perfect fit. The resources they provide to those who need it, combined with their desire to help improve quality of life for people like me made this a no-brainer. I’m so happy to be able to work with them and share my experience and story with their community.

Visit Justin Richard's Twitter to learn more about A Silent Night

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After viewing my art and story, I want others to understand that we are not alone in this and…