On Depression: I don’t like the phrase “A cry for help.”

Seen in a therapist’s waiting room..

(art by Aria Heller)
not a cry for help

I don’t like the phrase “A cry for help.” I just don’t like how it sounds. When somebody says to me, “I’m thinking about suicide, I have a plan; I just need a reason not to do it,” the last thing I see is helplessness.

I think: Your depression has been beating you up for years. It’s called you ugly, and stupid, and pathetic, and a failure, for so long that you’ve forgotten that it’s wrong. You don’t see good in yourself, and you don’t have any hope.

But still, here you are; you’ve come over to me, banged on my door, and said, “HEY! Staying alive is REALLY HARD right now! Just give me something to fight with! I don’t care if it’s a stick! Give me a stick and I can stay alive!”

How is that helpless? I think that’s incredible. You’re like a marine: Trapped for years behind enemy lines, your gun has been taken away, you’re out of ammo, you’re malnourished, and you’ve probably caught some kind of jungle virus that’s making you hallucinate giant spiders.

And you’re still just going “Give me a stick! I’m not dying out here!

“A cry for help” Makes it sound like I’m supposed to take pity on you. But you don’t need my pity. This isn’t pathetic. This is the will to survive. This is how humans lived long enough to become the dominant species.

With NO hope, running on NOTHING, you’re ready to cut through a hundred miles of hostile jungle with nothing but a stick, if that’s what it takes to get to safety.

All I’m doing is handing out sticks.

You’re the one staying alive.



I don’t know the source or if it has ever graced a therapist’s waiting room wall (after all, it’s not the right message for every client) but it’s a good and true message.

(via Karen T. and 9gag.com. Thanks!)



  1. Maria says:

    Very evocative. Of course we depressives don’t believe it for a moment – but maybe just a little bit will stick. Or maybe a friend or loved one will see it and have a different perspective.

  2. Angel Frangos says:

    Created by Aria Heller an artist. She has disappeared on the scene but there is a Boggle the Owl Tumblr with many more cartoons.

  3. lee says:

    Thanks for the pointer, Angel. I added attribution to the top of the post. I read some Boggle The Owl posts and they are really important.

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