CW’s: mentions of anxiety, depression & past abusive relationship
Representation 🌷 Anxiety & Depression
Bird Brain is a collection of brutally honest, brilliantly weird comics exploring what it’s like to live with mental illness . . . using pigeons.
When Chuck Mullin began experiencing anxiety and depression as a teenager, she started drawing comics to help her make sense of the rollercoaster. Eventually, she found that pigeons—lovably quirky, yet universally reviled creatures—were the ideal subjects of a comic about mental illness. Organized in three sections—”Bad Times,” “Relationships,” and “Positivity”—and featuring several short essays about the author’s experiences, Bird Brain is a highly relatable, chuckle-inducing, and ultimately uplifting collection of comics for anyone who has struggled to maintain their mental health.
Thank you to Andrews McMeel Publishing and Netgalley for providing me with a digital Arc in exchange for an honest review! All pictures are taken from the Arc and therefore subject to changes.
💖 “Bird Brain is a raw, honest portrayal of what living with a mental illness is like, told through heartwarming comics that are both relatable but also can make you chuckle.” 💖
I’m so glad, that I picked up Bird Brain because it was incredible! I heard that it was up on Netgalley and the concept of it immediately drew me in. A comic? About mental health? With pigeons? I was sold immediately and flew through the book during one lazy Sunday afternoon. Let me tell you, Bird Brain is a great comfort read, broken up through texts centered around a topic that breaks up the comics that follow and were right up my alley. There is something comforting about someone understanding what struggling with mental health is like and so many people being able to relate to the comics, that have been around on the Internet beforehand! Here are some of the things I loved about this:
- I loved the mix between comics and texts by the author. The book consists of several topics and I liked that this centered the comics around a theme and allowed the author to share her experiences both in text and in her art. Going in I didn’t know that there would be short texts provided by the author, but I feel like they really helped to understand her comics and own perspective on her life with depression and anxiety.
- The portrayal of anxiety was so real and relatable to me, as a lot of the comics illustrated what it’s like to think differently from people and fall down a big negative thought spiral. Even the most mundane things like texting can become a huge burden when you’re convinced that everyone hates you. I appreciated the author talking about it so much and also highlighting that you need to challenge these thoughts even though it’s so hard. Her experiences and art resonated within me a lot!
- There’s also a focus on the author’s depression (which I cannot talk about, as I don’t personally have it) and her experience with taking medication. I appreciated that she discussed her own experiences with medication, while also making sure she transported that she didn’t speak for everyone and that, of course, different kinds of therapy work for different people.
- I loved the art style a lot and especially the author’s choice to depict herself as a pigeon in the comics. She spoke straight to my heart, as – like her – I think that pigeons are pretty misunderstood and often victims of the bad circumstances they live in (like in the city when they don’t get appropriate, healthy food & there is so much overpopulation), but can be kind and gentle animals. [Little Known Fact about me: I’ve always appreciated pigeons and think they can be really cute if cities make an effort to offer them good food and a place to stay. That’s why I resonated with the author’s choice so much because she just got it!] She reclaimed a scorned animal as that’s how she felt as a person with a mental illness and it definitely gave her comics a special meaning!
Bonus: The Most Relatable Page of the Book
In the end: I definitely recommend reading Bird Brain, because it has amazing artwork that might make you like pigeons more than you usually do and offers some great insights into the author’s experience dealing with depression and anxiety. I found many parts of her perspective to be so relatable and the comics truly warmed my heart, though they also confronted me with some of the less comfortable truths of having anxiety.
Are you going to read Bird Brain? What is the book you have most related to? 💖