Hyperbole and a Half is a very popular online personal blog that contains numerous posts and comics. It was created by a woman named Allie Brosh, who would use the blog as a medium to show her emotions and her problems, as well as her attempts to solve them. It was basically the story of her life, drawn out in a fun, interesting way. She uses a computer program called Paintbrush to draw the iconic comics that are in each post, and the style is poorly drawn, but detailed. It is actually very impressive, and the poorly drawn look was the idea. It makes the site look approachable, and gives each post colorful personality, instead of the usual, boring walls of text.
Allie Brosh told the stories of her youth in the blog; however, as you can tell by the title of the blog, Hyperbole and a Half, she does exaggerate certain stories. The blog also goes over some of the important events in her adult life, as well as problems she comes across along the way. Some of her stories, including her critically acclaimed post on depression, start off by showing glimpses of her childhood, and use this as a base for her adult problems. Brosh has also created a web series of online videos, animated using the same intentionally crude design as her blog comics, and they have been very popular.
Allie Brosh got her inspiration for her blog from the comic series “rage comics”, which also has a purposely poorly drawn design. They are very similar in style, but the actual content is far different. However, some of Brosh’s images from her blog posts have been directly influenced from “rage comics”.
The success from her blog was phenomenal. She was able to release a book based on the blog, and it was an instant hit, selling a ton of copies. However, the blog eventually became empty, as no new posts were made. What happened to Allie Brosh? Why hasn’t she been adding content to her blog?
Brosh lived in California during her early childhood, and then at age seven, she moved to Idaho. She was a very successful track athlete, with some very impressive times. She was recruited by the University of Montana, and she eventually accepted a scholarship and went there to get her degree. After college, she and her two dogs, who have been in her web comics, moved to Oregon. She said that she moved there for the fresh air, saying that it is “quite possibly the best place on earth”. She felt that breathing the air was like “huffing joy and celebration”. Unknown to most at the time, Brosh was dealing with severe depression, and this was a move to help her get through it. Her husband, Duncan Hendrick, whom she married in 2012 after being in a relationship with him since 2005, was always trying to help her and do what was best for her mental health.
Brosh soon started up an online blog, for her to express herself and tell her story, along with some humor to entertain visitors of the site. She named it Hyperbole and a Half, and wrote about all kinds of things in her life. She has stories ranging from her battles with depression, to her experience with the world while having ADHD, and the effects synesthesia have on her view of the world. Her blog is full of creative, crude drawings, with some of them becoming popular internet memes, including her “improved medical pain chart”, and an imaginary creature named “Alot”, which is what she always pictures when people make the grammatical mistake of writing the two words “a lot” into one word. Her blog is very popular among the internet, with sites like Reddit and Digg linking to her content a lot. She also did an AMA on Reddit, which stands for “Ask Me Anything”. Users of the website can ask her questions, and the person who created the AMA thread can respond to them. Her success even got her invited to write a humor section for the popular blog The Gloss. Her blog was also listed on PC World’s list of the “funniest sites on the web”. A book based on the blog came out on October 29th, 2013.
On an October post in 2011, Brosh posted a long comic on depression. It was critically acclaimed, as it showed one of the most accurate and personable portrayals of the disease. Fans of the blog who also suffered from depression loved it, calling her posts some of the most relatable looks at depression they had ever seen. However, shortly after creating this post, she disappeared from her blog, and didn’t make any more posts for over a year. Fans were very worried. She had just let everyone know about her battle with depression, and then all of a sudden she disappeared. No one knew what to think, but a year later, Brosh broke the ice by answering a Reddit thread asking about what had happened to her.
She started off by letting everyone know that she appreciated the amount of support she was reciving from her fan base, and the kindness they were showing in their comments. She said that it was very humbling, and she that she would never had expected so many strangers on the internet to think about her, let alone care about her. She was also happy that her disappearance didn’t cause many people to “hate her”.
She went on to say that the last few months were hard for her. She had been dealing with depression, and when she posted her last blog post on the disease, she had a small breakthrough, but it was very small, and she still felt depressed and just stopped adding more content. She used a metaphor, saying that she wasn’t yet “out of the woods”, and that she had been trying to get out of the woods for a while now. She said the woods ending up being much denser and deeper than she had ever thought. She said that she would cry over everything, and nothing made her happy. She had an epiphany, though. She realized that she needed to improve herself, and that she wasn’t what she wanted to be. So she went and got help from people who were trained to help people dealing with depression. They agreed that she was badly depressed, and they gave her some anti-depressant medications. She also started to open up more, and talk about her feelings in ways she never had before. She said that most of her feelings were just thoughts that she was on the verge of messing everything up, and with one small mistake, everyone who actually liked her would stop, and that she felt that she was worthless. She would also experience an existential crisis, often wondering what the point of life was, and if there was a point. But not just with life in general, but also in her own existence. In one of her blog posts, she used an example of her bowling. She wrote that she realized she was just knocking down objects with a ball. What was the point? What was the point of anything? This was the kind of thinking that she had to stop having, as it was becoming destructive, and even gave her thoughts of suicide.
She went on to say that her days range drastically; sometimes she has a great day, other times she has a terrible one. However, since she started getting help, the great days have increased in quantity drastically, and the terrible days, while they still occur, happen much less frequently. She still doesn’t feel normal, but she is on track to leaving the woods. She then apologized for the hiding, and said that she felt bad and didn’t think anything she wrote was funny and it would have been a waste of time to continue on her website. But now that she was in a better mental state and had gotten the help and treatment she needed, she said that she was ready to write more content for the website.
She then released a very long new post on her blog, “Depression part two”. It got over a million and a half views in the first day it went live. It went into her suicidal thoughts, and gave a more in depth view of her depression. Many medical and psychology experts, including Johnathan Rottenberg, have given Brosh a lot of credit for her work, as it offers one of the best depictions of depression.
So what happened to Allie Brosh? She hasn’t posted updates in a while, and some may think she has stopped adding new content to her blog. However, on her blog, she updated her FAQ section to go over why she doesn’t update as much.
She says it is because of how long it takes to write a post. Sometimes what she writes will take multiple weeks to create; it’s not as easy as it seems. And she only posts things when she feels like she has something worth posting, and something that she feels like she has to post. She values quality over quantity, and she says that she would rather have just a small amount of content instead of a large amount of content that she doesn’t think is worth posting. She wants to make points, or talk about things occurring in her life, and on top of all of that, she wants to be useful. She wants people to read her posts and feel better, feel like someone understands, and she also wants people to laugh, as her content is always comical.
Another reason she says is that she wants to maintain a life outside of her work. She used to sit in her self-described “troll cave” all the time, but now she tries to leave the house and do more things. It really helps her with her depression to feel like she is actually doing things. She used to update her blog four times a week, but now, that isn’t good for her mental health. She said back then, she would write to avoid having to face her reality of how useless and pointless she felt she was, and it helped her at first, but it had her keep all of her emotions stuck inside of her, all bottled up. Now she is trying other things to help with her depression, and her old practices aren’t an option anymore.
Allie Brosh still updates her blog, just very rarely. However, that is a good thing, as it means she is out there doing things, and that she doesn’t need to write posts to feel like she has a purpose in life. She is improving rapidly in her depression, and she is also helping others out their deal with their own depression. Allie Brosh did a great thing. She took one of her problems, and shared it with other people who also experienced the same problem, and she helped them know they weren’t alone. Allie is helping not only herself, but millions of other people in the world. She used to think nothing had meaning, and that she had no purpose in life, but in reality, she was helping others, and she probably saved lives. The world would look a lot different without Allie Brosh, and hopefully she knows just how impactful she has become.