Latest Emotional Webcomic Explains Why Quitting A Job Isn't a Cure for Depression

posted on by Lynzee Loveridge

Japanese net users are delving into all kinds of emotional topics by publishing their manga online. Former idol fans, lonely office ladies, and anime fans have talked in detail about the dark side of their hobbies through this visual medium.

A new manga by Twitter user @Sodium discusses the stress of Japanese work-life, a burden so great the manga's protagonist considers jumping in front of a train. The protagonist's confidants think he should just quit his job if it's making him so unhappy, but the answer isn't that simple. The manga explains that Japanese culture is such that the prospect of quitting one's job and leaving more work for others causes immense guilt. It also means starting over, since Japanese work-culture prefers to promote from the bottom up within a company instead of offering a higher level position to a new hire.

The manga is autobiographical and details how @Sodium almost committed suicide to escape his job.

Long ago, even though I didn't think I wanted to commit suicide, I almost did

At the time, I was doing 90-100 hours of overtime each month (which was a lot less than some of the other people working in my company). Every night I had to sprint to the station and could just barely make the last subway train home.

“All right, somehow I made it.”

I'd never once thought that I wanted to die, but, while I was waiting on the platform, with no one else around, something suddenly occurred to me.

“Right now, if I just take one little step forward, I won't have to go to work tomorrow.”

“One step. Just one step. That's all it'll take.

Then I won't have to go to work tomorrow? Wooooow!!!”

It seemed like such a wonderful idea.

The suicidal thoughts spurred Sodium to find another job, but he explained that in the midst of depression and overwork, that idea didn't seem as obvious as it might seem to others. He described as "walking on a narrow ledge with steep cliffs on each side" and repeatedly falling over at each bump in the uphill road. Eventually the effort becomes exhausting.

Sodium describes being wracked with guilt when he thinks about how much better he has it compared to others and still wanting to quit. He compares the workload to being on a rough, narrow path with no other options. He then makes a heartfelt recommendation to other people who find themselves feeling the same way:

1. If you feel like you keep painting over the same healthy exit, that's a sign of a problem. “Look for a new job? No, I can't. But… No, no way. But still… No… But…”

2. If it's affecting your health, take time off from work and give yourself the time you need to think. See a psychologist. Get some sleep. Even if you can sleep, see a psychologist.

3. If you can't even do that, find a safe place to sit down on your way to work, and call an ambulance. If you think you can't go on, just sit down!! At least do that.

He adds that a good night's sleep will let people see that there really are more options than pushing through a horrible situation where there is no end in sight.

Readers found Sodium's manga very relatable, retweeting it over 140,000 times on Twitter.

Japanese work ethic is no laughing matter. While it can be credited for the country's recovery post World War II, it's also not unheard of for young people to be stricken by karoshi or working to death. These individuals usually suffer a stroke or heart attack despite being too young to be at risk or commit suicide.

[Via Casey Baseel at Rocket News 24]

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