IT’S ALL ABSOLUTELY FINE is a darkly comic, honest and unapologetic illustrated account of the daily struggles with mental health. Ruby Elliot, aka Rubyetc, is the talent behind the hit tumblr account, ‘Rubyetc’, which has over 210k followers and growing. Taking readers on a journey through the ups and downs of life, the book will encompass everything from anxiety, bipolar disorder and body image to depression and identity, shining a light on very real problems – all framed with Ruby’s trademark humour and originality.
It’s All Absolutely Fine is the slightly strange brain-child of Ruby Elliot, whose illustrations can be found all over the Internet. A bit of a memoir, a bit of a thinking-things-through, this is mainly a collection of illustrations that talks about mental health in a way that I absolutely adore.
If you don’t like dark humour, this is not for you. In even the first chapter, there are hilariously bleak illustrations, including one of of Eau de Depression (a delightful scent made up of snot-infused tears, hint of panic perspiration, and notes of yet another lonely microwave meal). BRILLIANT. She talks about therapists (and how hard it is to find a good one), self-harm, and bras, amongst many other things! I found myself laughing at some of the most bleak illustrations I’ve ever seen.
However, there are uplifting illustrations of Ruby’s safe spaces and coping mechanisms (though she writes brilliantly about how much that term makes her want to scream). Like I said, it is dark humour, but it is also Internet humour. I think that the art style also helps lighten up the generally dark tone. As I’m sure you’ve seen from Ruby’s tumblr, it is sketchy and a little bit child-like. She also doesn’t depict any graphic scenes, such as suicide or self-harm, which I appreciated. I think that would have tipped it over the edge of being too bleak.
Personally, I would have enjoyed a bit more of the writing, because it is really quite good. I know that people have differing experiences of mental illness, but this is one that spoke to me throughout the entire book. I am not bipolar, but I do experience anxiety and feelings of life being overwhelming. She so accurately portrays the ridiculous thoughts you can have when depressed, and the ways that this impacts the ways you think about yourself and the world. (It also very much amused me that she occasionally refers to her body as a potato, as I do that too.)
All in all, I thought that this was a brilliant collection about personal experiences with mental health that manages to be dark and uplifting at the exact same time.