0383: "Helping"

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superjoe30
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Re: "Helping" Discussion

Postby superjoe30 » Wed Feb 13, 2008 7:34 am UTC

Drostie wrote:The art is a bit taxed to its limit here, so just for the record:

I believe the first panel is the top-right inset, with the man's right hand on the woman's shoulder. I just want y'all to notice that his left hand is actually away from her. It's not a backrub or a chokehold or anything like that; he only has one hand on her shoulder.

She is holding that hand by the wrist with her left hand, leading me to think she's pushing it away. So it's not checking her pulse, I don't think.

In the main panel, when he realizes that she has pushed him away and he can't take responsibility for her happiness, he is, I think, a bit startled, and stepping out of her box, leaving her be.

The third panel -- the bottom-left inset, I think clearly shows her with her face buried in her hands. She is upset because she just pushed away someone who Really Cares about her, and it has only made her situation more depressing. (If you don't understand the reasons why one would do this, it's difficult to explain. As I understand it, it is the compassion of not dragging someone else down with you, lightly mixed with the fear that they'll reject you do to your depression. In any case, she now faces the uncertainty of having turned him away.)

I think the fourth panel -- the bottom-right inset -- comes a bit later in the evening. I think he wasn't satisfied with the epiphany -- came back to check on her, found that she'd OD'ed or else overtly attempted suicide, and called some paramedics.


Ah, finally. This is what I came to the forums looking for.

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Re: "Helping" Discussion

Postby Kalos » Wed Feb 13, 2008 7:41 am UTC

sandonthebreeze wrote:
chardish wrote:Weak like emo poetry. Stick figures are not the adequate medium for conveying what's actually going on here.

I've always been put off by intentional vagueness masquerading as brilliant subtlety when what really happens is people read what they want to into the art rather than extrapolate a message from the art.


Seconded. The stick figure aspect has certainly been powerful in the past, but the message just seems to get lost in trying to figure out what's going on. Also, in your second sentence you said exactly what I was thinking the entire time I was reading the comments. Well said.

If you honestly can't follow the it, here's my foolproof guide to reading/comics: rows right to left from top to bottom.

As for cardish's comment, one of the most brilliant things about good art is that 100 people can all look at the exact same thing and all take away from it something completely different. Much in the opposite of you, I hate it when artist's attempt to be deep by spoon-feeding their victim the message. The message of this one is rather simple, but personal experience (especially given that Mr Munroe's readers tend to be withdrawn, introverted, cynical and/or non-social) allows each person to interpret it in their own way.

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Re: "Helping" Discussion

Postby smrtdmbss » Wed Feb 13, 2008 7:44 am UTC

Hmm just wanted to add my interpretation/explanation to this ...

Using the formatting mentioned above, with the "epiphany" in the center as the present:
- top right - he is attempting to comfort her because she is quite sad, but at the same time, she is rejecting his attempts
"are you -- "
"no...just leave me alone"
- bottom left - she has withdrawn and just sits there by herself, alone and crying quietly
" *cry* "
- bottom right - he had finally decided to get her help/ she required immediate medical help. he can only stand there, seeing her off.
" *slow, sad, resigned sigh* "
- center - he realizes now that she was perhaps beyond what help he could give. he knows he did the right thing / feels he was
justified getting her the help that she truly needed after speaking with whoever is now taking care of her.
"you've done all you can, now let us try to help her"

:?

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standinginherfield
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Re: "Helping" Discussion

Postby standinginherfield » Wed Feb 13, 2008 7:44 am UTC

Lyra Ngalia wrote:I think the ambiguity actually helps the feel of this comic. It reinforces the "something's wrong and I don't know how to deal" feeling of the situation nicely.

Yes. Good point.

(also know that she could well be gripping his hand as he touches her shoulder. He can't be responsible for her happiness, he can't find the 'make everything better' button. and in the end she may...just do what she feels she has to do. But in that moment, his putting his hand on his shoulder may just be the best damn possible thing that she could want.)
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e946
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Re: "Helping" Discussion

Postby e946 » Wed Feb 13, 2008 7:57 am UTC

I think we can all agree that no matter what order you read the panels in this is a pretty sad comic.

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Re: "Helping" Discussion

Postby Quixotess » Wed Feb 13, 2008 8:04 am UTC

I read the main panel as the first panel, because it's almost like a 2x2 format with the top left panel expanded.

And my *personal* reading of the event was that she was a victim of a violent crime, possibly sexual assault. In which case, sending her to the hospital is a good thing so she can be checked. But I know that was just me and certainly not canon.

Truly moving however you interpret the situation.
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Re: "Helping" Discussion

Postby keozen » Wed Feb 13, 2008 8:05 am UTC

This hits very close to home on a few episodes in my life past. It's a sad truth that would be so very liberating if only i could truly believe it.
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Re: "Helping.png" Discussion

Postby aleflamedyud » Wed Feb 13, 2008 8:10 am UTC

mudge wrote:Dammit, now emo crap is taking over XKCD.

Call for actual humor in a comic more than every other strip seconded.
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Re: "Helping" Discussion

Postby Mr. Mack » Wed Feb 13, 2008 8:21 am UTC

For some reason I got the impression that she isn't physically injured, but is so emotionally injured as to feel dead. Of course, I said the same thing about Winnie the Pooh.
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Flux
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Re: "Helping.png" Discussion

Postby Flux » Wed Feb 13, 2008 8:27 am UTC

aleflamedyud wrote:PREVIOUSLY UNKNOWN REVELATION: LIFE DOES NOT SUCK. IT IS, IN FACT, QUITE GOOD. I DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU PEOPLE ARE BITCHING ABOUT ALL THE TIME.


A statement like that is simply naive, losing a loved one to suicide/a psychiatric hospital is not "quite good", it is in fact rather terrible.
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Re: "Helping" Discussion

Postby patimen » Wed Feb 13, 2008 8:30 am UTC

Damn, I haven't had a good cry in a while...

I've been there, both with her being taken away to where she could get help and her being taken away forever. Seven years ago now my first wife finally gave in to her bipolar/addictions/general death wish.

The comic is crystal clear to anyone who has been through this, though entirely different for all of them.
It is him, standing there, wanting her to feel better.
It is him trying to fix it, trying to make her happy.
It is her most definitely not being happy.
And it is her going away, though in the comic it is not forever.

And even after you know you can't be responsible, you see her in pain and can only watch as she is driven away. The epiphany may keep you sane, but it doesn't erase the pain of watching her suffer and go away. The comic says everything I could say and more. It is beautiful.

If it wasn't the middle of the night, I'd go kiss my beautiful wife and tell her how much I love her, and play with my 3 month old son so I could hear him laugh and see him smile. Please, never forget how much you have, no matter how little you think you do.

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Re: "Helping" Discussion

Postby starkruzr » Wed Feb 13, 2008 8:33 am UTC

I didn't learn this until I was 19. I always had the typical White Nerd Knight Hero Complex and it took a girl (whom I fell deeply in love with) calling me every night threatening to commit suicide and once calling me "The Living Embodiment of Everything I Hate About Myself" to learn.
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Re: "Helping.png" Discussion

Postby JayDee » Wed Feb 13, 2008 8:37 am UTC

Flux wrote:
aleflamedyud wrote:PREVIOUSLY UNKNOWN REVELATION: LIFE DOES NOT SUCK. IT IS, IN FACT, QUITE GOOD. I DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU PEOPLE ARE BITCHING ABOUT ALL THE TIME.
A statement like that is simply naive, losing a loved one to suicide/a psychiatric hospital is not "quite good", it is in fact rather terrible.
Um, that's his sig. Been there a while. I don't think it has any intentional connection to the comic. Just so you know.
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Re: "Helping" Discussion

Postby Madcap » Wed Feb 13, 2008 8:39 am UTC

Ow. Christ. New user just to post this.

This wouldn't have been as powerful a comic if I hadn't been thinking "Ah, read XKCD before bed, get some lulz." First comic that's made me step back and need to think about it or I'm going to cry. Kudos. It might've been a suckerpunch of emotion, but it was good, at least.

ironhill
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Re: "Helping" Discussion

Postby ironhill » Wed Feb 13, 2008 8:41 am UTC

Andrew W.K. is sad? Classics like 'Party Hard', 'I Get Wet' and 'Girl's Own Juice' were inspired by emotional times in his life like this.

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Re: "Helping" Discussion

Postby bitwiseshiftleft » Wed Feb 13, 2008 8:44 am UTC

One more vote for "this comic is awesome, if a little too close to home".

For those of you who think it's weak, well, you probably haven't been there. For me, it was a punch in the arm.

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Re: "Helping.png" Discussion

Postby q00u » Wed Feb 13, 2008 8:49 am UTC

Flux wrote:
aleflamedyud wrote:PREVIOUSLY UNKNOWN REVELATION: LIFE DOES NOT SUCK. IT IS, IN FACT, QUITE GOOD. I DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU PEOPLE ARE BITCHING ABOUT ALL THE TIME.


A statement like that is simply naive, losing a loved one to suicide/a psychiatric hospital is not "quite good", it is in fact rather terrible.


I'm truly sorry for your loss.

But we are not responsible for your happiness. aleflamedyud's life sounds nice. Don't be upset; be accepting that some people do, in fact, have quite good lives.

All of us (beyond a certain age), have lost loved ones. It happens. It's part of life's cycle. You can choose to grieve for the rest of your days, you can choose to get over it quickly, or something in between. That's up to you.

No one is responsible for the happiness of anyone else.

My life, like aleflamedyud's, is also quite good. Sure, I've lost beloved family members, grown distant from former close friends, been poor, been homeless, been abused. But that's life. And no matter how bad it seems at times, someone else surely has it worse. There are six billion+ people on the planet, anyone here think that THEY are the one with the most problems?

I choose to be happy. I choose joy over the alternatives. That's my choice. That's my life; I take responsibility for it.

A few years ago, I had a girlfriend who had bouts of depression. I couldn't make her happy; that's impossible. That's not my responsibility, it's hers. I tried to explain that to her, as this comic is trying to explain it to everyone here.

She eventually chose happiness as well, so ^_^


Life does not suck.

It is,

in fact,


QUITE GOOD!

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Re: "Helping.png" Discussion

Postby Willl » Wed Feb 13, 2008 8:51 am UTC

Flux wrote:
aleflamedyud wrote:PREVIOUSLY UNKNOWN REVELATION: LIFE DOES NOT SUCK. IT IS, IN FACT, QUITE GOOD. I DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU PEOPLE ARE BITCHING ABOUT ALL THE TIME.


A statement like that is simply naive, losing a loved one to suicide/a psychiatric hospital is not "quite good", it is in fact rather terrible.

In the school of critical thinking, you just equated losing a loved one to the whole of life. This is a bit of an insult to the fact that you ever had that person to love, and is exactly why aleflamedyud wrote the sig, and indeed why today's comic does not paraphrase as "life sucks" but as "sometimes you can't do anything about somebody's sadness".

For those of you who cry "emo", I'd say a truly emo strip would not be so concerned about another actual person. It also wouldn't challenge how sad the girl's story should be. The way I read it, you first see the face value sadness of it, then revisit the opening text and realise there was nothing that stick guy could do about it anyway.

[props to q00u who beat me to it in defending life's anti-suckness; I think this is pertinent too]

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Re: "Helping" Discussion

Postby Deskchair Intellectual » Wed Feb 13, 2008 8:55 am UTC

This comic was so relevant to what I was fighting over my friend with.
I was more upset than anything but I kept telling him to stop caring because I didn't need that right now, and he just wouldn't listen.
I go to check the XKCD update out of an attept to distract myself and come upon this jewel.
I cried so much.
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Domovoi
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Re: "Helping" Discussion

Postby Domovoi » Wed Feb 13, 2008 8:56 am UTC

It didn't really come across to me either. It's obviously intended as very sad, but it didn't really work for me. Oh well.

bitwiseshiftleft wrote:For those of you who think it's weak, well, you probably haven't been there. For me, it was a punch in the arm.


Don't pretend to know how everyone's psyche works.

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Re: "Helping.png" Discussion

Postby patimen » Wed Feb 13, 2008 9:02 am UTC

q00u wrote:
Life does not suck.

It is,

in fact,


QUITE GOOD!


Well, very well, said. I'm going with it. I understand better than most of you wippersnappers the crap that happens (see my previous post), it doesn't mean that the sunset ceases to be beautiful, or music touching, or comics funny (or sad!). There are always those who have had it much worse than you, and are happy. At the least, let those who have happiness enjoy it without pissing your "life sucks, then you die" flotsam at them.

Not that you'll make us unhappy anyhow... :)

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Re: "Helping.png" Discussion

Postby Flux » Wed Feb 13, 2008 9:05 am UTC

JayDee wrote:
Flux wrote:
aleflamedyud wrote:PREVIOUSLY UNKNOWN REVELATION: LIFE DOES NOT SUCK. IT IS, IN FACT, QUITE GOOD. I DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU PEOPLE ARE BITCHING ABOUT ALL THE TIME.
A statement like that is simply naive, losing a loved one to suicide/a psychiatric hospital is not "quite good", it is in fact rather terrible.
Um, that's his sig. Been there a while. I don't think it has any intentional connection to the comic. Just so you know.


Ah my apologies, it would appear I interpreted his sig as relating to this specific xkcd.
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Re: "Helping" Discussion

Postby Diosjenin » Wed Feb 13, 2008 9:17 am UTC

Joined to post.

I. Look, guys. The presence or lack of an 'artistic message' is not even close to a relevant discussion. The obvious reason is that the only possible artistic message given by drawings of generic stick figures and crudely drawn settings is that of the exact broad application and ambiguity many of you are (or seem to be) complaining about. While I don't have much personal experience drawing comics of any sort, I would personally be a bit frustrated if I spilled the emotional, real, human thoughts in my head to the general public and watched them proceed to try and find an artistic message in it.

Randall is only being honest with us. If he wanted to lie or cover up what was going on in his head, he could have drawn something completely different. If you can't tell what's going on... maybe he can't either. And given the general emotional air of this particular comic, I wouldn't really be surprised if that was exactly the case.

If you want meaning from this comic, it is exactly as patimen said.

The comic is crystal clear to anyone who has been through this, though entirely different for all of them....



II. What great timing. I've been pondering this exact line of thought for the past week and a half or so now. I have a very close friend who's almost a month into an insanely rough patch in her life. She started pondering the state of her relationship with God, and what she's found has bothered her so much that she barely comes out of her dorm room anymore. Even when she does manage to come down and study or whatever else in a group - for that matter, even when manages to laugh... *sigh*. I can see in her eyes how much trying to set all of this right is just killing her. It hurts just watching. And I *desperately* want to help her somehow, however I can - but I know that's not possible. Not really. What would I tell her that would help, you know?

I got a new Bible about a week ago, so I started reading the book of Job to try and wrap my head around this. For those of you who aren't familiar with it (I would imagine most of you), the basic idea is that God and Job are great buddies. Job's this righteous, outstanding guy, and God has blessed his life in return. So when God starts bragging to Satan about Job and what a righteous person he is, Satan essentially bets God that he can make Job curse God if he (Job) goes through hard enough times. So God lets Satan have at it, and pretty much in an instant, Job's entire property and riches have been stolen, his children get killed, his wife leaves him (if I remember that right), and he gets blistering sores all over his body.

I'll spare you guys the rest of the spiritual stuff (but I would highly recommend taking some time out and reading it yourself, along with a decent commentary), but the majority of the first half of the book involves the time that Job's three closest friends spend with him right after he's had all this happen to him. They sit down with him for seven days (as in they do not return to their homes and come back in the morning - we're talking 168 consecutive hours) and over that entire time, they do not say word one to him. They just sit there with him, sharing in his silence. But as soon as they try to comfort him with words - saying things essentially mirroring "look, things are going to get better - they have to eventually, right?" and various derivatives of that - Job either starts going on about how badly he wants to die as if they said nothing or he starts yelling at them for trying to say such meaningless things. The two really scathing bits I've come across so far are "What miserable comforters are you all! Will your long-winded speeches never end? What ails you that you keep on arguing?" and "If only you would be altogether silent! For you, that would be wisdom."

So at some point along the way, it occurred to me that, once people pass a certain internal threshold of grief, there really isn't anything that you can say to them that can help them at all - and it usually just ends up making them angrier. Not necessarily at *you*, per se, but just in general. Maybe they're angry that even the most heartfelt comfort that people can offer can't help them come to terms with anything. I'm not really sure what the source of that kind of anger is myself - and it's certainly something I've been through.


Anyway, I need to get to bed. (I can hear the direct quotations now - "Late? It's only 3AM!"). So, Randall, if you ever read this yourself - I am praying for both of you, whatever it is you're both going through.

And as much as I feel that the act of quoting individual Bible verses is kitschy, shallow, and runs a high risk of misinterpretation from a lack of context, I feel that in this case, the following is rather simple and appropriate.


"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." - John 16:33


- Diosjenin -
Last edited by Diosjenin on Wed Feb 13, 2008 9:35 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: "Helping" Discussion

Postby Phoenic » Wed Feb 13, 2008 9:31 am UTC

This comic claims another - registered to post:

This struck a chord with me, and apparently a healthy number of other xkcd readers (as evident from this thread). Upon reading it though, my mind instantly drifted to a song by Dream Theater called "I Walk Beside You". The lyrics do seem to exemplify, or at least align with what the protagonist of this xkcd is thinking/feeling. Food for thought for those of you who want to check it out (listen as well if you're a fan of progressive metal).

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Re: "Helping" Discussion

Postby Markavian » Wed Feb 13, 2008 9:38 am UTC

But why, why is she sad, why is she so sad?

Edit: Maybe shes a halucination. Who lives in a house a barren spare room? Maybe he's a ghost, helpless to help the needy. Maybe these are just lines and shading, and I should think nothing more of them.

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Re: "Helping" Discussion

Postby DavidRS » Wed Feb 13, 2008 9:50 am UTC

Again, another reg. to post...

I didn't really get it the first time through. The next time I looked at it... I was nearly in tears.

But Randall is right. We can only make our own happiness or sadness... we cannot control others.

I have enough trouble controlling my own emotions as it is.

You can try to help all you like... but sometimes it just won't work.

First time I read it, I thought the alt text really took away from the comic. Now... there are times I wish I had my own "make everything right" button.

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Re: "Helping" Discussion

Postby darwinwins » Wed Feb 13, 2008 10:17 am UTC

a lot of people might understand this comic but they probably don't "get" it unless you've actually lived and survived this situation as the observer, the willing participant, the friend who couldn't do anything despite doing your absolute best to provide the happiness you think your friend needs. after the suicide attempt, the guilt lingers. your friend is hospitalized and you visit and still you try to make her happy and fail.
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Re: "Helping" Discussion

Postby marcyt » Wed Feb 13, 2008 10:19 am UTC

This comic makes me think of Britney Spears and how no one can help her but herself. It's also true for non-celebs. We can't be responsible for other people, but there is help for those who need it.

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Re: "Helping" Discussion

Postby saizai » Wed Feb 13, 2008 10:33 am UTC

Yet another reg-to-post.

Analysis that others haven't really noticed:

Look carefully at the top right panel. There are two dark black circles. Randall doesn't draw hands as circles generally; nor does he draw ears pretty much ever. Plus the hand configuration would be wrong for that, and it doesn't match any of the other heads in the comic (sitter or stander). So that is a phone. Both the standing and sitting people have their hand on it (or close enough to be indistinguishable).

If you accept that, then the sequence is simple - and follows the standard left-to-right, top-to-bottom.

1. main panel - some bad situation
2. stander hands sitter phone to call in as a 5150 (that's the CA penal code at least; it's "danger to self or others", i.e. suicide detention) -or- sitter calls while stander is holding zir shoulder
3. sitter is greatly upset in expectation
4. sitter is taken to mental hospital by paramedics - the stretcher and mask is just their routine, and has nothing to do with zir physical status as such

I know a bit more about this than mayhap I'd like from both sides; this seems the most plausible sequence. 2 and 3 might be reversed, but that seems less likely - and artistically worse, as the main panel already makes the 'sitter's messed up' point; repeating it in the next panel would be redundant, whereas putting it as a reaction after the topright panel makes a new statement.

Opinion:

Psych treatment does help many people. I'm not convinced that it helps, or can help, everyone. I'm not convinced either that everyone *can* be helped. Sometimes what is necessary is for someone to bottom out and stop maintaining whatever defenses they still cling to to avoid experiencing the painful parts that are part of getting really over stuff. But it's always worth a try.

To the previous poster who suggested that one should cajole or even *force* someone to get help - I'm sorry, but I cannot agree. People must have the ultimate right to decide whether they wish to live or not. They should do so rationally, soberly, having had full opportunity to try less permanent resolutions, sure. But it's most certainly not *your* choice to make for them, and nobody can be forced to sincerely make a try towards recovery.

Helped, absolutely.

But presuming that you can force it is just the same "white knight syndrome" that the comic is about.

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Re: "Helping" Discussion

Postby darwinwins » Wed Feb 13, 2008 10:40 am UTC

dear everyone,

stop over analyzing the comic. it's elegance is in its simplicity.
"if you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking. that's the world of hicks and slobs. " - haruki murakami

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Re: "Helping" Discussion

Postby nowonderimconfused » Wed Feb 13, 2008 10:43 am UTC

I just found out last week that one of my closest and most dearly loved friends has glioblastoma multiforme, a deadly form of brian tumour, that will almost certainly take her life within the year. The first thing I did when I found out was tell her how much she means to me, how much I adore and cherish her. All I can do now is try my best to make her last days as happy as possible...I don't know how that relates to this comic, but I guess I feel that same sense of helplessness...the impotence of being unable to do anything to truly heal the deep fissure from which this black depression and despair spring forth, reduced to merely soothing whatever outward signs of pain I can perceive in her. It's a terrible thing to see someone you love hurting, pricked by thorns whose sting only they can truly feel. I am thankful though for the chance to tell her how I feel, and to say goodbye...I know that many unfortunate others don't even get that.

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Re: "Helping" Discussion

Postby Dobblesworth » Wed Feb 13, 2008 11:08 am UTC

I do like how this comic has a very sombre, silent theme. No conversation or extravagant action; just a few single snapshots of what must have been a traumatising moment for the stick figure protagonist. Just his inner thoughts and concluding statement. I have yet to deal with one of these situations yet in any of my relationships, but I'm sure it's probable.

For some reason, when I first saw the comic and read the text, I interpreted 'happiness' as the state of being at that high level of "everything's coming up roses", rather than the measure of someone's emotional state from depressed to exstatic. This led me to believe the protagonist was calling the authorities to take away this girl who was ruining his life by being 'too happy.'

Although now I realise it makes much more sense to see the girl as being depressed/suicidal and the protagonist is resolving it all by letting things take their course, step back a bit and let the girl/professionals work things out.

Does make for an interesting change from the recent comics focusing on humour, science and maths.


Now, everybody - a one, a two, a one-two-three-four!

Always look on the bright side of life! Do-do, do-do do-do do-do!

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Re: "Helping" Discussion

Postby tope » Wed Feb 13, 2008 11:28 am UTC

You should all also be aware that if you cannot find the 'make everything better' button behind the bookshelf, there's a 'white chocolate' button by the light switch for emergencies.

Not entirely sure I get this one other than that some people just cant be helped no matter how hard you try, but it's nicely drawn.

oohh, my first post!! :shock:
Last edited by tope on Wed Feb 13, 2008 11:34 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
Do grammar nazi's fall prey to Godwin's Law? (these thoughts keep me up at night).

Zierlyn
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Re: "Helping" Discussion

Postby Zierlyn » Wed Feb 13, 2008 11:32 am UTC

This comic certainly has had a lot of readers sign up for the forums, eh? Oh snap! I'm one of them! But anyways, this comic struck a chord with me as well, as helping others is something very important to me. I couldn't stand the guilt and the helplessness of being that observer, seeing someone in pain and knowing there's absolutely nothing I could do. I got fed up with that feeling. I got sick of feeling helpless. So I quit my job, and now I'm working on a degree in counseling psychology. Because for everyone out there that entrusts a loved one to the hands of a professional, there better darn well be a professional equipped to bear that responsibility.

Even with a degree, I know that bringing someone happiness will not be my responsibility, nor would it even be remotely possible. The statement in this comic may seem bleak, but it's only a statement of fact. Happiness is something personal, and can only be realized by the person themselves. The only thing anyone is able to do is help another person find their own strength and passively encourage them to stay on the right track. It is impossible to ever understand what it is like to be someone else. Anyone who believes the words "I understand how you feel," and tries to comfort someone with that is conceited and a fool. You may have experienced a similar situation, but no one can know all of the context of a person's feelings.

I also know that I cannot help everyone. I am not so egotistical as to think that I will be able to provide all my clients with the exact words they need to hear in order to claw their way out of their suffering. But I'll be damned if it's wrong of me to try. Keep in mind though these would be people who have come to see me. Interventions are an entirely different matter, and really what this comic is about.

Also, on the topic of people that think life isn't that bad, and that people should quit whining and cheer up... I have but one thing to say. If you are happy, it is your duty to live your life in appreciation of that happiness, not shove your philosophy in other people's faces. Many people can't just "suck it up," and very often, cutting away a part of your past or bottling up your pain is going to cause a lot more damage than embracing those feelings and accepting them as part of who you are, as someone else has also mentioned in an earlier post. Saying that "life is full of pain and suffering, so get over it and move on" is not the sign of maturity as some may believe. That's simply running away. The truly mature ones accept that "life is full of pain and suffering," but also think to themselves "so what can I do to change that?"

Honestly... Of these two statements, which do you hear more often:
1. Your life sucks more than you think it does.
2. Your life doesn't suck as much as you think it does.

Depressed people may gladly tell others how much their own life sucks, but aren't going to comment on the quality of someone else's life as often as non-depressed people do by saying #2.

joelodom
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HILARIOUS!

Postby joelodom » Wed Feb 13, 2008 11:53 am UTC

Oh, man. That one cracked me up.

Last_resort_33
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Re: "Helping" Discussion

Postby Last_resort_33 » Wed Feb 13, 2008 12:01 pm UTC

Markavian wrote:But why, why is she sad, why is she so sad?


Unfortunately there doesn't need to be a reason.

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Kartoffelkopf
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Re: HILARIOUS!

Postby Kartoffelkopf » Wed Feb 13, 2008 12:02 pm UTC

joelodom wrote:Oh, man. That one cracked me up.

^ Horribly misplaced post, there.

Anyway, I had to read the comic over again to understand it. Myself having a depressive disorder, this particular comic strikes a chord with me.
Everything else, has been said already.

Black ICE
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Re: "Helping.png" Discussion

Postby Black ICE » Wed Feb 13, 2008 12:18 pm UTC

patimen wrote:
q00u wrote:
Life does not suck.

It is,

in fact,


QUITE GOOD!


Well, very well, said. I'm going with it. I understand better than most of you wippersnappers the crap that happens (see my previous post), it doesn't mean that the sunset ceases to be beautiful, or music touching, or comics funny (or sad!). There are always those who have had it much worse than you, and are happy. At the least, let those who have happiness enjoy it without pissing your "life sucks, then you die" flotsam at them.

Not that you'll make us unhappy anyhow... :)


It is indeed, especially if you have money it can be even better :D I don't have a LOT of money, but it's all that i need 8) .

dr.cello
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Re: "Helping" Discussion

Postby dr.cello » Wed Feb 13, 2008 12:27 pm UTC

Oh boy, another registrant. (I've been meaning to for some time but am seldom moved to register for new forums. This is not relevant.)

So, I get the distinct feeling from this comic that it is slightly more personal than usual. Though I laughed at the alt text, I think I did so mostly because of the stark contrast with the deeply emotional nature of the comic. Previously, any comics that weren't funny were, at the very least, not prone to invoking a negative emotion. There was usually an undercurrent of humor, or at least of a general light-heartedness. As much as I was touched by this comic, it feels out of place. I hope everything is okay with Randall.

It's sad. I remember falling in love with a girl who was severely depressed and wanting more than anything to make her happy. This was impossible but I nevertheless tried. So this is close to home for me. I sadly was not around when she finally chose to make herself happy, but she did, and she did it on her own.

Mostly I registered because of posts which contain phrases like 'move the fuck on' and 'that's just life'. If life isn't profound, then what is? One of the reasons I read xkcd with such regularity is Randall's ability to take things which are 'just life' and making comics about it in a manner which is elegant, yet simple, sometimes joking about it, sometimes asking us when we forgot our dreams--but nevertheless they all speak to me in some way. Many webcomic authors distance themselves from their comics in some way or another, but I've always gotten the impression that Randall writes from the heart, as it were. It's life--that's what I like about it. He's not trying to be profound or deep or to show off his brilliance. He is simply capturing the moment the way an artist does.

It's not deep. It's all right there on the surface: you can't take responsibility for someone else's happiness. This doesn't speak to everyone, and I think it's a matter of temperament more than experience: it's not that they have never tried to make someone happy, it's that they have never wanted to. I don't think this is a bad thing, but I wish they wouldn't try to foist that ideal upon others. And I certainly don't think it's the same thing as realizing that life sucks. I don't believe it does--taking into account that people die, do terrible things to themselves and each other, and that things tend to turn out badly, I enjoy life, a lot. Well, enjoy isn't the right word. I am profoundly glad to be alive and to experience being human, with all the triumphs and disappointments and pain and happiness and indescribable moments. That's what liking this comic is about. It's not about learning something new, it's about being human, connecting on some level, and celebrating that.

Sorry for the novel. My next post will be 'me too,' I promise. (Okay, I don't promise. It actually won't be. But it was worth the joke.)

Dft
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Re: "Helping.png" Discussion

Postby Dft » Wed Feb 13, 2008 12:29 pm UTC

Shit, this comic utterly floored me. Hits too close to home. Too much experience being the one who keeps people from drowning in their misery. Yes, the only people who can handle their lives are themselves, the only people who really are in charge of their happiness is themselves, but sometimes one can give important assistance to them. Sometimes one tries too hard, though. Difficult to resist, sometimes.

mudge wrote:And I'm sorry to all of you that have only recently realized that life sucks and the actions of others are out of your control, but honestly, we should have all gotten that out of our systems in high school and moved the fuck on. It's not profound. It's fucking life, and we all go through it.


Good sir/madame, I realized that life sucks at the age of 5 (child abuse - fun for the whole family!) but that does not make the comic any less moving. Something doesn't have to be profound or unique to be powerful. I think the strength/weakness of this comic is that the execution of it strongly contributes to the mood of the comic.


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