Autophobia
A coming of age comic about two dorks falling in love

Chapter 14 - 19

15 PAGE UPDATE >>Go back to page 05!<<

Some strategies to use when having an anxiety attack:

1) Remind yourself that you are having an anxiety attack. Knowledge is power and understanding your body can go a long way...during an anxiety attack your "fight or flight" system is turned on. Remember that your body WILL calm down...~*homeostasis*~

2) Belly-breathing. Breathe in through your nose, hold your breath, and breathe out through your mouth. Helps to bring down the "fight or flight" response and turn on the ~*MELLOW*~ response…both systems cannot be on at the same time! (for more scientific names, these systems are your sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems).

3) Muscle tension exercises. Tense muscles around the body and hold it for 5 seconds, then release. Try it with your jaw, your fingers, hand, toes, feet, knee, stomach, etc...has same affect on the body as belly breathing. Also helps if you are having sensory overload, which means your body is taking in too much sensory info...you might crave pressure or the absence of certain stimuli like touch.

4) Visualization techniques. Imagine yourself somewhere calm and add sensory details. Immerse yourself in this scene. For example, you are at a beach, you can feel the grainy sand crunch beneath your feet. The waves hitting up against the shoreline, coming up, going back down.

What to do when someone is having an anxiety attack:

1) Remember that what is happening to this person is out of their control. Their muscle spasms, hyperventilating, screaming, repetitive speech, rocking...it is not something they can control and in fact for some people, these can be coping mechanisms. Remember that anxiety is a brain thing.

2) Use limited language with the person. When anxiety is up, it is hard to process information. Use visual cues and body language to communicate.

3) Be present for them. A person having anxiety is going to have more anxiety that you are witnessing them having the anxiety...let them know that you are not leaving them and that you do not judge them.

4) Understand that mental illness in general is complicated...this person is a person and should not be reduced to "being crazy"...because they are NOT crazy. Everyone is different, with different backgrounds and biology: practice empathy and reduce judgement.

User's Comments:

Reply Kyabo (Guest), December 3rd, 2016, 11:32 pm

... so real .. i´ve been there ...by god .. i can tell it hurts ...i am crying so much right now.. and to me that shows the passion and care the autor puts in the comic, we can fell their pain, and their happiness (when it happens for a moment x) )

thank you , and good luck today ^^

Reply Platycarpus, December 3rd, 2016, 11:47 pm

I want to tell you that this was a...terrifying depiction of an anxiety attack, and I want to commend you on it. You showed how they can be sometimes very well and I really empathized with louis.

Reply Seasonal (Guest), December 4th, 2016, 12:29 am

Well this was an emotional 15 pages. And i loved it, Im kinda happy it didnt end in a kiss or anything. It just feels genuine this way.

Reply xX-Ghost-Xx, December 4th, 2016, 1:10 am

Man... that was extremely difficult to read.... I have been there so many times.... Anxiety is truly a terrorizing thing and you did a great job is capturing that.

Reply black-blaze, December 4th, 2016, 5:30 am

T_T @G.H.S.T i love/hate you rn

Reply Rowan Buchanan, December 4th, 2016, 5:39 am

I cried a little. Oh boy.

I've never had an attack that bad. It's all totally internal and I have some control over it, but I have hit myself before to try and make it stop.

Reply blue (Guest), December 4th, 2016, 6:14 am

*Slow clap that turns into roaring applause*

Reply PoynterJones, December 4th, 2016, 6:24 am

I'm crying. Like actually crying.
I wondered when you'd actually show this scene and my God...

This is probably inappropriate in some way I guess? but well done. I have to commend you on how you wrote and drew this.

I 100% understand what it's like to be in this frame of mind and this literally almost mirrors what used to happen to me, so it kinda triggered me a little, not going to lie (I was well aware of the warning so don't worry, I knew what I was getting into), hence the tears, but really kudos to you for doing it.

For some people who have never experienced an anxiety attack or this intense of an attack, it's really difficult to understand what actually goes on inside someone's mind or even comprehend how someone feels, but you really managed to get that across. It's truly frightening and my heart really aches for Louis. I know this is just a fictional story but the condition and situation is real and for anyone who suffers like this I want nothing more than to do what Daniel is doing and just be there for people, even if to them it may feel like a presence is doing nothing.

With regards to the comic, I just wanna say that I always look forward to every update, even if it's a sad update, and like this update, upsetting or terrifying. Thank you for taking on such a difficult task of creating this comic and making people aware of this and I hope that Louis is able to feel better in the future. I really hope that he's able to break free from his demons and really hope that he's able to suppress the dark thoughts, even just a little bit.

Reply akemikae, December 4th, 2016, 6:51 am

I related to that anxiety attack. A LOT. I suffer from an anxiety disorder myself, and it gets really bad and scary sometimes. They're not fun, and you depicted it really well. Especially with the erratic, repetitive speech. I know for a fact I am a broken record when I get started. They frustrate me, and I sit there mentally screaming at myself to stop, but they just don't. They have to run their course, and it's awful!

Very well done. I applaud you, because not a lot of people can do that very well.

Reply Sheila Q (Guest), December 4th, 2016, 8:24 am

Wow. Thank you so much for this. I'm sure it was hard to create. It was definitely hard to read. This is such a brave, terrifying, accurate depiction of an anxiety attack. Thank you.

Reply jsmccarthy, December 4th, 2016, 12:37 pm

That whole scene was very powerful, it brought tears to my eyes. What a huge milestone in their relationship

Reply Ralend, December 4th, 2016, 2:58 pm

that was a hard thing to convey with a comic. nice job

edit: you've earned a damn break lol

Reply FluffyRhino, December 4th, 2016, 4:14 pm

That was intense. I've suffered from anxiety/panic attacks, chronic depression, and an anxiety disorder all my life, and it's amazing to see things I've lived through represented like this.

Reply Kara (Guest), December 4th, 2016, 5:32 pm

I cried. I feel so uncomfortable. You pictured anxiety attack without making it look cheap or untrue *bowing to you* thank you.
(sorry, it's long, trigger warning)
I remember the first time I had an attack like this. I was supposed to meet my best friend the next day but when my mom saw me crying uncontrollably, we decided I will say I'm sick. I felt so bad about it.
I had the attacks few times but never as violent, as terrifying, as senseless as the first one.
Unfortunately, my mom doesn't know what anxiety is. She doesn't know I can have this. So now she gives me few words of encouragement and then cold shoulder. She believes I will calm down. But I don't. And after I stop crying in front of her, I go to my room and cry silently.
She once asked me if I have depression. But asked jokingly, probably didn't know how to ask seriously. And I said that I probably just feel down and it will go away. I saw relief on her face.
I think many times about going to the psychologist. I want to be one in the future so it might be a good way to start a conversation that I want to go to one first. To see how real appointment goes.

Thanks again, dear author. Your comic is truly a great experience. I couldn't wait for the new pages. But the feeling these new left is sour.

Reply Stand.By (Guest), December 4th, 2016, 5:33 pm

Shit... I'm in tears oh man

I haven't been diagnosed or anything with anxiety but I certainly get anxiety attacks. Over little things like a raised voice or the fear something is wrong even when I know nothing is wrong and I can't stop crying or catch my breath. I'm an outgoing musical theatre performer and genuinely a happy go lucky person. I didn't think it was normal for me to feel the way I do without any issues socially or in my family life.

And this despite being a different situation, has beautifully put into it's pages a graphic, yet extremely relatable expression of one of those attacks. That's how I feel when they happen, and I'm sure it does formany other people. Thank you for tackling this imagery the way you have.

You're gonna make a lot of people understand.

Reply Twenty-One (Guest), December 4th, 2016, 6:24 pm

Yeah, that hit super close to home, uncomfortably so. To cheer myself up I went back and reread it with the My Heart Will Go On recorder cover, as suggested.

Reply Reservedatcopywright, December 4th, 2016, 6:33 pm

@G.H.S.T: do you have anxiety/panic attacks?

Also thank you for this, I need this for my best friend, I never really knew how to handle it. She doesn't have this bad of attacks but its still hard on her. Thanks.

Aaaaaand I love your comic so far it really is good. The art in it is really great and I enjoy the story.

Reply Cassanthia, December 5th, 2016, 2:19 am

You describe anxiety attacks very well. I'll have to keep those tips up the next time I have an attack, you did so well! I feel so bad for my son? Good job!! Such a big update :0

Reply Vini (Guest), December 6th, 2016, 9:46 pm

This is so heartbreaking and yet so beautifully illustrated. I'm actually crying right now! This is true art, I'm soooo glad I can read your story and I hope this helps people to understand anxiety and break the stigma of mental health...and for that THANK YOU!

Reply thebloss (Guest), December 7th, 2016, 1:20 pm

I think it's really cool how you not only depicted anxiety attacks in metaphorical terms and artistic symbolism earlier in the comic but also depicted one in graphic and explicit terms as one would experience it in practice.
A lot of artists I've seen only use the first method--which is useful for communicating a general feeling to an audience who might not understand it--but I feel can also distance people from the often ugly reality.
This was hard to read but I think was ultimately a really lovely bit of storytelling that allows us to share in the experience as it would happen in a literal context.
I've been on both sides of this equation and I think a graphic artistic depiction like this really does the experience justice in a way metaphorical representation often doesn't.
This was a really powerful update, thank you.

Reply Criizmeow, December 8th, 2016, 7:21 am

that... was amazing.
I´ve followed this comic for like 6 months and haven´t posted a comic in all this time.
but it is incredible, I´ve only had two anxiety attacks in my life, buy your way of portrait them is amazing, I don´t know much about it myself but I feel you totally reglect what it feels like.
I love this comic, I just love it

Reply Unearthlyones, December 9th, 2016, 8:52 pm

Wow just, wow. This story is so amazing, I never thought it would be this good. Like I can barely describe how much I love it. So much emotion was put into this comic and so much effort as well. I am so impressed right now I am just rambling.

Reply sparklemaster, December 10th, 2016, 4:06 pm

hi, um, so, i just wanted to say this is my favorite webcomic and well like my fave comic in general i guess ummm so yeah
just wanted to
give positive feedback
or something

Reply VioletsnotRoses, December 11th, 2016, 6:46 am

This comic makes me feel less alone. Almost no one talks about anxiety outside the context of getting better, and it's easy to feel ashamed of it. Thank you for helping me remember that it's okay to not be okay sometimes.

Reply b3aster321, January 12th, 2017, 5:14 pm

Well just caught up reading to here, and I'm currently wiping tears away.
Dang that was intense.
I love our story so much <3

Reply Kyotee#2, January 30th, 2017, 3:50 pm

I HATE HOW REAL THIS IS.
your comic has always been my favorite, and its what got me into webcomics. I cant wait till i can buy this.

Reply ZHODY the delfinator, February 1st, 2017, 3:08 am

Oh god, that was so beautiful and now I'm just crying right along with them, haha.

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