Worry Wart is an autobiographical comic written, drawn by and starring Dani Abram, whose other work Razarhawk has also been featured on this blog.
But while the star of that comic, Kitty Hawk, is rather the badass adventurer fighting monsters from inside a robot, this title is something entirely different; an honest and touching look at battling one’s own monsters.
Dani was diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder a few years ago, and while she struggled from day to day between treatments and juggling her work and social lives she also drew a comic diary to keep track of the biggest obstacles and sharpen her focus on getting better.
And it’s a great read. The comic diary is an especially bold form of expression as it’s a mix of honest imagery and even more honest dialogue that’s bound to make any normal person fear the idea of laying it all out there, but Dani bravely borrows from the spirit of the comic hero she helped create in Kitty Hawk to speak up – and readers will be all the better for it.
I really like the art in this book too – the ever so slight caricaturisation that Dani uses in illustrating the people in the book for me is a great touch in saying that these things don’t just happen to her, and as long as other people can see themselves in her shoes then the art should try and help that feeling along, which it does brilliantly.
As well as personal anecdotes on the big challenges which faced her, Dani also writes about some of the treatments she tried such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and various herbal products, as well as the physical and mental exercises she could take in order to feel less anxious and even a couple of apps and websites that helped her. It’s all laid out in great detail and Dani makes a great effort of showing how trying each thing affected her and whether or not she felt it worked.
Mixed in with the saddest and most sympathetic moments are some unexpected bits of humour, adding an extra bit of personality into Dani’s character and making the reader care even more for her story.
And it is fortunately a happy story, but you really ought to find that out for yourself, as Worry Wart is a very moving look at what I can also personally say is a horrible thing to happen to anyone. And I probably wouldn’t feel brave enough to say that myself without having the inspiration I found in these pages.