Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Comics and graphics novels about carers

I'm knackered. Most days I work from home with distractions ranging from texts from the dentist to remind me to make an appointment, to messages from the repairs department working on behalf of the Lettings Agents, who seem to care not for my working schedule, and want to come round at any time of the day to clear out the guttering, because of course, us illustrators just have all the time in the world for such things and obviously don't like drawing, to having a son with depression at home all the time, and the erratic nature of his condition that means that some days he'll be up all night and asleep all day, others, he will be up in the morning, but asleep by 2.00p.m, and you can sit around for days and he won't need any help, but the minute he does need something, it'll be precisely when you have a hundred other things to do.

So, I'm sure there are a gazillion books written by people with mental illness, none of which I've had time to read, as I just seem to mostly do all the washing up, even though I hate doing washing up.
There seems to be very few for carers living with someone with depression or other mental illness.

Books I can think of that address caring in an indirect way would be Jane Eyre.

If you google "carers" and "graphic novels" the results come up with books written by people with mental illnesses of various kinds, and books about foster caring, but not for those caring for their own family.
I found some comics made by women caring for family with conditions such as dementia and psychosis referenced in The Inking Woman.

Una - From The Inking Woman

In thinking about my caring role (which gives me a headache, so I've spent most of the morning drinking coffee and waiting for the paracetamol to kick in), I never know where to start. 
I have a wealth of experience as a teen mother of the early 90's (yes, I was one of THOSE for all of a few months before I turned 20) to later becoming a single mother (although I always was a single mother really) and escaping domestic violence, to doing my degree as a single mother, then the recession, then my son's diagnosis. 
Rachel House's 2009 comic strip about the vicissitudes of art school resonates greatly:

Rachel House - From The Inking Woman

I struggled with the CAMHS system and to get my son the support he needed as his behaviour was getting increasingly weird, he was self neglecting himself, and was kidnapped by his girlfriend's mother - an ex mental health nurse that had been struck off. I have never wanted to give her the notoriety of illustrating her crimes before, as she would probably get some kind of perverse kick out of the fame. But she sits in the middle of a Venn diagram between Nurse Ratched and Annie Wilkes, straddling practically every circle of Hell you can imagine.

Nurse Ratched / Annie Wilkes - two evil women in one.

Imagine this woman, falsely accusing you of child abuse, taking your son in against your knowledge or consent, and neglecting him and abusing him whilst committing benefit fraud.


No comments: