I hope very much that this comic doesn't come across as too flippant. I am very sorry for my suffering forebears, and for anyone in such pain. Any flippancy comes from anger at those who dismiss mood disorders as an ordinary part of life that we should suck up and not complain about, like our hardy pioneer ancestors, or whatever. Now, I really have hardy pioneer ancestors, farmers who fought the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, worked the land, and in some cases killed themselves in the most shockingly violent ways imaginable. These were not weaklings or whiners. Nor were they people going through ordinary emotional turbulence. They were people who had awful diseases and died of them.
I only recently learned about the cousins in the last two panels, but I have known the story of my great-aunt's suicide all my life, because she was my grandmother's beloved older sister, after whom my own aunt is named. That's the kind of story that haunts a family.
This comic might indirectly lead to more obsessing about Freeman, for two reasons. First, because sometimes people ask me if I'm so fascinated with lobotomy because I think I would have been given one if I had been alive say fifty years earlier. My family history is relevant to that question. Second, because one of the things I want to talk about is how Walter is sometimes used as a club to beat all of psychiatry with. How can you trust people who were advocating lobotomy fifty years ago? is a question one hears a lot from the anti-psychiatry people. (Almost inevitably ECT is lumped in there with lobotomy as a grueling horror that proves psychiatrists are sadists.) Well, it turns out that the human brain, untampered with, is fully capable of manufacturing its own horrors. What about those, anti-psychiatrists?