When anxiety eats you, the personal story of René Merino

The cartoon book “Everything will be fine (sometimes)” recounts one of the hardest moments in the life of the illustrator René Merino. The boss reached the limit after a bad streak triggered by the loss of a job and the arrival of a “monster” called anxiety

René was already an illustrator and muralist before success came to him on the networks. He was working as a graphic designer in a textile company, but in 2014, his boss fired him for one of the cartoons he posted on his Facebook.

With a complaint for “insults” and the dismissal letter under his arm, he decided to set up on his own and left conventional wage work forever.

Through intimate as well as political and social issuesthis cartoonist connects with young audiences, who identify with his humor, his sensibility and the way he reflects the everyday life of his generation.

And in this third book, René Merino shares bluntly how he overcame mental health issues.

By losing his job, the author enters a spiral of symptoms (anxiety, insomnia, panic attacks…) that condition him to the point of not being able to continue with his usual routine: one of those moments in life when someone “breaks”.

René Merino fights against his ghosts and his prejudices until he finally seeks professional help… and begins to recover and then decides to tell.

“I thought about it a lot before getting into this mess (that of the book) because it’s not always easy to show your inner self. You feel exposed because you show your vulnerability publicly and also as if you are doing something illegal, and it stinks and shames you”, the illustrator tells EFEsalut.

Vignette by René Merino

First symptoms and falling into the depths

The first symptom that something was not as it should be was an episode of anxiety while sleeping and that began to repeat itself more and more frequently, until, without knowing much why, “the creature” as he name anxiety in this book, it grew and encompassed everything.

Then comes the descent into the depths and the creature, he explains in his book of vignettes, manages to plant a seed there that will gradually grow larger inside him.

“They were strange days, especially the nights. He repeated phrases like: It will pass, “The creature” will eventually get tired, if I don’t pay attention to it it will get smaller and smaller and disappear. And I trusted to get up one day feeling well like someone coming out of a cold”.

But nothing changes and everything gets worse, and the panic attacks appear, and the vomiting comes, and the difficulty in breathing, and the tachycardia, the confusion, the permanent feeling of fear, weight loss…).

His social life begins to crumble, breaking important emotional ties, such as his partner and losing friendships due to isolation.

The author hits rock bottom and a very strong feeling takes over: the desire not to be.

“I am clear that I never intended to hurt myself, but I do remember a strong desire not to exist. I wanted it all to stop. Stop hurting. A switch that turned everything off. I didn’t want more…”

And when he can’t take it anymore, he has no choice but to swallow his prejudices and go to a professional. For the first time in his life he goes to therapy… with a lot of work comes the comeback.

Vignette by René Merino

Anxiety, René Merino: prejudices

He believes that the prejudices when it comes to going to a psychologist or psychiatrist are still very present in his generation.

“You feel like a pest, very judged… then in private conversations you see how there are others who are also in your situation, who have mental health problems, but it is difficult for them to talk about it openly”.

In the book, explains René Merino, I wanted to explain my personal experience, through the drawings, I wanted to express myself only through them, not to speak, and the truth is that the texts cost me a lot”.

“I don’t intend to talk about psychiatry, I’m not a specialist, just to give my personal testimony and help others, if that’s possible.”

Humorous cartoons have today become a valuable method of communication to connect and transmit in all areas imaginable: emotions, fears, social criticism, environmental…

They work with audiences because they are sincere and go beyond the written word.

René Merino is a great example of how to use this smart humor through platforms like Instagram, where a new generation of graphic comedians laugh at the world and themselves and claim and express what’s on their minds, say the responsible for Lunwergthe publishing house that publishes his books.

From portraits, murals, illustrations, drawing and painting classes… the illustrator has done it all.

But where he feels most at ease is with cartoons and comic strips, which have been giving him popularity on Instagram, where his account @rene_estamal has been rising non-stop.

René Merino is also the author of “It’s bad but it can get worse” and “A day passed.” Microstories”.

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