The Role of Sadness in “Inside Out”

photo by Jan Fidler (creative commons)

Unsurprisingly very nice piece by Dachel Keltner and Paul Ekman in the New York Times on the portrayal of emotions in the recent Pixar movie “Inside Out.”

… studies find that sadness is associated with elevated physiological arousal, activating the body to respond to loss. And in the film, Sadness is frumpy and off-putting. More often in real life, one person’s sadness pulls other people in to comfort and help.

First, emotions organize — rather than disrupt — rational thinking. Traditionally, in the history of Western thought, the prevailing view has been that emotions are enemies of rationality and disruptive of cooperative social relations.

Also posted at Pasadena Therapist

Allie Brosh on Depression

“…trying to use willpower to overcome the apathetic sort of sadness that accompanies depression is like a person with no arms trying to punch themselves until their hands grow back. A fundamental component of the plan is missing and it isn’t going to work.”
Allie Brosh – Hyperbole and a Half

People with Mental Illness Enhance Our Lives


A terrific visual chronicle (it’s a comic) of various celebrities. Apparently this was a novel style for the author, Darryl Cunningham, but it doesn’t show. The illustrations complement the material perfectly. Powerful stuff. Recommended.

Those covered include: Winston Churchill, Judy Garland, Nick Drake, Spike Milligan, and Brian Wilson. Here’s the link:

People with Mental Illness Enhance Our Lives.

10 Comics That Can Help You Understand Mental Illness

Following up on yesterday’s post, here’s a piece at io9 (we come from the future). Take a look and see which ones appeal. The styles of art vary quite a bit. I’ve noted a couple that I can vouch for. The comics are:

  1. Psychiatric Tales by Daryl Cunningham. (recommended). A psychiatric ward from the perspective of a nurse assistant. “…combines science, history, and anecdotes to demystify and destigmatize mental illness, and Cunningham’s stark artwork can be deeply affecting.”
  2. Adventures in Depression and Depression Part 2 by Allie Brosh (recommended). Sets the standard for depression narratives. Sad, but also very funny.
  3. Marbles: Mania, Michelangelo and Me by Ellen Forney (recommended). Insightful first-person account of the frustrations of being bipolar.
  4. depression comix by Clay. “…a sometimes gut-wrenching, sometimes tender, often relatable series of comics about the daily struggles of life with depression.” (I don’t know this one, but it looks very promising)
  5. I Do Not Have an Eating Disorder by Khale McHurst. Chronicle of disordered eating.
  6. better, drawn (various artists). Wide range of mental health topics in a variety of styles.
  7. Look Straight Ahead by Elaine M. Will. Narrative fiction about a mental breakdown.
  8. I’m Crazy by Adam Bourret. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Available only on Facebook?
  9. Invisible Injury: Beyond PTSD by Jeff Severns Guntzel and Andy Warner. Addresses the sense of “moral injury” veterans often feel when asked to do something that goes against what they consider to be right and wrong.
  10. The Next Day by Jason Gilmore, Paul Peterson, and John Porcellino. Interviews with survivors of suicide attempts.