Really Strange Graphic Novel Series on Mental Health

Forgiveness is Really Strange

An atypical subject that has a wide range of meanings and stories surrounding it. I enjoyed the simplistic art, which aided my understanding of the topic and didn’t detract from what is being recounted. This graphic novel comprehensively condenses such a complex emotion. There is an interesting array of advice and wisdom within these pages. This includes the benefits of forgiving and letting go on the victims of hurtful actions. This is the self-help style reference that is needed in the world right now. We should all aim to effectively build towards both a peaceful world and a peaceful mind.

I enjoyed the segment of ‘prescribed forgiveness’ as I agree that it’s a useless and unnecessary tactic to force forgiveness. There was also an interesting segment on abuse and how forgiveness is in some cases a double-edged sword. Often abusers may misconceive forgiveness with excusing or condoning the hurtful behaviour. Forgiveness is Really Strange also explores the cycle of hurtful behaviour and how not forgiving can also be emotionally damaging to us.

The only problem I had with this graphic novel was that in places it seemed overly basic. Personally, I’d rather it had a more questioning theme that allows more personal exploration. I feel that there were ample opportunities to make readers think that the author did not take advantage of.

With a variety of sources including first-hand accounts and psychological research, it gives an introspective look at what forgiveness is to us as people. Forgiveness is a force for good and very powerful in its own way. My favourite line is:

“People will let us down and forgiving is about letting go of the expectation that they won’t.”

Anxiety is Really Strange

Anxiety is Really Strange is a self-help book with a comic book twist. It explores the topic of anxiety, the causes and coping mechanisms in an insightful and detailed way. There was a good explanation of a few key models of feelings such as the model of constructed emotion, fight or flight and nature vs nurture. I enjoyed the metaphors and comparisons that were drawn and think that they aided my understanding of the subject.

I also thought it was interesting that a lack of anxiety was considered a trait of psychopathy. The advantages of slight anxiety were mentioned as a way to encourage preparation and prevent overconfidence.

I was not as fond of the lengthy, yet well-referenced paragraphs at the end of each page, though they did provide some helpful background and sources. I felt they were not conducive to an effective graphic novel layout. Having the paragraphs on each page made the interesting format choice feel somewhat forced.

The simple yet effective art style is used effectively and helps cover a broad variety of interesting snippets. This graphic novel forms an introduction to the sometimes contradictory nature of anxiety.

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