Stacy LeFevre's 'Strange But Beautiful' Comics Highlight the Challenges of Depression and Anxiety
LeFevre’s comics focus on her experience living with depression and anxiety and the challenges she faces in trying to manage both conditions. “I have a fascination for autobiography comics, I love being able to peek into the lives of others. But I was sure that my own life was too uninteresting to be written about,” LeFevre told The Mighty.
“There was one day at the beginning of last year that I felt really anxious and so I drew this little monster bothering me, voicing all the things my anxiety would say. I posted it and got a lot of feedback on it,” she said.
LeFevre took her comics to the Vancouver Comic Arts Festival (VanCAF) in British Columbia in 2015, where the 26-year-old met a variety of other illustrators who inspired her to keep going with her comics. “The artists there [were] so humble and it really showed me that I didn’t need to be special to write a comic – I just had to do it,” LeFevre said. “I thought about what I would like to share with my teenage self, and decided on a comic about my anxiety.”
LeFevre, based in Seattle, is currently in psychotherapy for anxiety and depression. LeFevre has tried a number of different treatments to help manage her conditions. “Having a mental illness isn’t a choice and it isn’t something that can be completely cured,” she said. “I’m still struggling with the latter notion, that being on antidepressants and working out and eating right would ‘fix’ me and rid of me with anxiety and depression completely.” While LeFevre hasn’t been clinically diagnosed with depression or anxiety by a psychiatrist, she has been prescribed antidepressants under the care of her regular physician.
Drawing her experiences has made LeFevre more comfortable taking antidepressants. “I really was on the fence about it and it feels a bit silly to admit that I took the plunge ‘for the story,’ but I really want readers to explore antidepressants should they choose to,” she said “And having an unfiltered experience that I illustrate may help them do so as I navigate through switching meds and side effects, which are totally normal and nothing to be ashamed about.”
LeFevre posts her comics on Tumblr. So far she has posted over 40 illustrations. Of all of her comics, “I Feel Nothing,” is her favorite. “I drew it last year when I was struggling with depression and the grief of my grandmother passing,” LeFevre said. “It was difficult feeling so numb and so uninterested in life, especially when I was surrounded by friends and family and their love.”
To see more comics, check out LeFevre’s Tumblr.