LIFESTYLE

Artist's Comic About Alcohol Addiction And Depression Proves We Need To Redefine Masculinity

'Being tough doesn't have to be how invincible you are, being tough can be showing your vulnerabilities and wanting to improve yourself.'

09/06/2016 16:14

An artist has created a deeply personal comic strip about his battle with alcohol addiction and depression, and the struggles of internalising his feelings as a man.

Luke Humphris, who is originally from Brisbane, Australia, but now lives in Toronto, Canada, said he created the comics to help him deal with issues in life - including the fact that, as a man, he is expected to stay strong and deal with any situation. 

He said when he put his feelings on paper and acknowledged they existed, he began to feel like he could finally take control.

Luke Humphris

In his comic, Humphris talks about how he was affected by witnessing someone take their own life, but typical notions of masculinity - or "toxic masculinity" as he calls it - meant he was unable to talk to anyone about it.

"I remember everyone panicking and calling ambulances. But they were already dead," he wrote. "A few days later I found out I knew who they were. I did not tell their family that I was there. I did not go to the funeral."

"It's hard for me to talk about," he added. 

Humphris, who has also tragically lost his mum and brother to suicide, said witnessing someone take their own life was a real turning point for him.

He explained that society expects men to mute their feelings if something bad has happened and simply "stay strong".

But Humphris is determined to change that.

"I believe the best thing to do is to not feel pressured to what everyone else defines as masculine," he told The Huffington Post UK.

"It's up to you to decide what sort of person you want to be and what traits you hold as meaningful.

"Being tough doesn't have to be how invincible you are, being tough can be showing your vulnerabilities and wanting to improve yourself."

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His latest comic, below, explores a timeline of Humphris' alcoholism and depression. 

He talks about how he was not a very outgoing person growing up. But when he drank alcohol, his personality changed and he became the life and soul of the party.

"As time went on I began to drink more and more. I got to the point where I had trouble relating to people who did not drink," he said.

"Drinking slowly became what I needed to have fun. I figured that the more I drank, the more I would have fun. I would constantly drink until I blacked out."

He continued: "If I did get hungover, I wouldn't feel sick or have a headache. I would just start to feel deeply depressed."

Humphris' comics are about externalising and making sense of his feelings, and encouraging others to do the same. 

"A lot of people have contacted me feeling a connection to the story," he said. "It helps people feel less alone. Including myself."

Nowadays, he's learned how to better deal with these issues, but that's not to say that he's recovered completely.

"I do still drink," he explained. "While it is nowhere near as heavy as it once was, I still occasionally drink so much that a deep depression sets in."

Here is his latest comic in full:

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