Hey Kids! Remember Me?!

Yeah. Me neither.

There’s been a lot happening in my life since the last update. First, I spiraled into a world of hurt and depression and anxiety to the point where I wanted to end my life. The dark times were longer, the up times were shorter and dimmer, and I honestly thought that this was it.
Then I saw Dr. Patel. He’s the psychologist at the clinic where I see my therapist. My friend works there and arranged a meeting. Dr. Patel was very thorough with his questions about me and my depression. He asked me if I’d taken anything before and I replied yes and it nearly killed me. He prescribed venlafaxine and I’ve been taking it since April.

That first two weeks was, well, I didn’t know life could be like that. I had no idea how many thoughts, negative thoughts, were going through my head at all hours until they stopped. For the first time in my life there was silence. Blissful, long sought silence. I still got depressed, but instead of lasting weeks or a month or more, it was about two days of sadness and self pity. Then I pulled myself out of it.

The next meeting with Dr. Patel went well. He asked about the depression and I explained how short the bouts were now.
“That’s fantastic! What if I told you we could get rid of those two days?”
I jumped at it.
We upped my dosage from 37.5 to 75. I haven’t been depressed in a month and it’s been amazing. I haven’t had anxiety in a month and it’s wonderful. Sadness? REAL sadness? Like the sadness of losing my father? Yeah. That’s still there, but that’s legitimate sadness. That huge lump of self hatred I’ve been carrying my whole life? Mostly gone. All that’s left are habits and old thought patterns to be disrupted.

So all that being said, I guess I’m back to blogging to chronicle the process of healing and about the things I fill my life with now.

It’s good to be back.

Preemptive Mental Con Crud

So tomorrow I’ll be at the Mississippi Comic Con for two days which means today I’m more depressed than I’ve ever been in my entire life. I’m sad, grumpy, and angry, and well, way too many emotions to list including angrosity and sadination. I don’t really know why this happens before comic related events but it does. Let’s take a look at it together and maybe I can start to figure this thing out.

First.
I’m going to be surrounded by some terribly talented artist like Steve Scott, Steve Butler, Geoffrey Gwin, and Mitch Bird. Then there’s me. My goofy, angular and round characters that aren’t quite anime and aren’t quite western. My stories about metaphysical drama around a guy on a scooter. My high school comic about the personifications of abstract concepts. The guy trying to push long form story surrounded by pin-ups and amazing professionals. It’s a little bit of jealousy. It’s mostly feeling less. I feel out of place and like someone threw me a bone by letting me be there. I keep expecting the con people to come up and say “I’m sorry, Mr. Hayman. There was a terribly mistake. You’re not really SUPPOSED to be here. We need you to pack up and go home. Sorry for the inconvenience.”
I know they’re not, but on some level I’d feel this massive relief if they did. I could just pack up and go home and stop embarrassing myself.

Second.
I know, not think, but KNOW that I’m not going to make any sales at any event I go to and if I do, my mind will turn those sales into pity and make me resent them. I realize that this makes about as much sense as covering a mountain in Nutella and then roller skating down it, but there we are. That’s the way my mind works and that’s how depression works in a nutshell. All of your little victories become meaningless and are just veiled insults. In the end you find yourself wanting to crawl under something and crying.  You can’t win. Not because of other people or fate or the Universe or God.
I can’t win because I won’t let myself win. I will always be the guy that came in last no matter what reallly happened.

Third.
No one actually wants to see me. People act like they’re please to see me but it’s a thin layer of nicety over a mountain of “Oh GOD. THIS guy again. Maybe they’ll move me.” My evidence for this, and every other point on this list, is nonexistent. This isn’t confined to events either though. This is how I think people see me most of the time. I don’t get out of the house much any more and see people because I’ve convinced myself that they don’t WANT to see me. Why would they? It’s me. I’m the guy who shows up, tells the same stories and joke over and over and then makes everyone feel bad by the end of the night. Who’d want to hang out with that guy?
Am I really like this? I don’t honestly know. I can’t see outside of myself like I used to. I’m stuck riding around in this truck and there’s no mirrors.

So what have we learned?
We’ve learned that I have some serious issues still confronting me all these years later. We’ve learned that there’s no actual basis for any of this but I still believe it. What we’ve also learned is that despite all this I’m going to the con anyway and I’m going to try and have a good time. Expect an after action report next week and hopefully from a me with a clearer head. See you guys on the flipside.

Fighting Back

I’ve been staring at this text box for about ten minutes now. I’d written most of a blog post once already, but I deleted it. It was a dark, depressing, and negative thing that gave voice to my inner turmoil. The problem is that it was all a lie. Not in the “I’m going to purposely mislead people” kind of way. This was a “This is how I see the world right now and it’s not correct” kind of thing. Now that I’ve gotten that out of my system and deleted it, it’s time to fight back.

You see, I’ve had depression knocking on my door a lot in the last few months. It’s been giving me shit-colored glasses to look through and a horrible way to think. The last time I went to therapy, Byron gave me some fantastic tools to use against it. While it hasn’t destroyed my depression, it has allowed me to securely board the door up so it can’t get in as easily.

Case in point. My previous blog post was a negative little rant about how promoting myself at shows never seemed to do any good and my readership actually DROPS after I go to a show. In my mind these were accepted facts and nothing was going to dislodge them. Well, except for actually looking at my numbers on the comics. There’s no downward trend. There’s been a slight increase. You see, the first thing I need to remember is that depression lies. It lies a lot.

All of these thoughts boil down to one thing. A victim mindset. Of course horrible things happen to me. I’m a victim. They’ll always happen to me. Poor me. Look at me getting shit on by the universe. See all the bad things that happen to me. It’ll always happen so pity me.  You know what though? All that’s bull crap. Bad things happen. The point is to deal with it and move beyond it. To be not a victim or a survivor, but a person who can move on. And that’s what I’m trying to do now. I refuse to be a victim.

It’s amazing just how prevalent that mindset is, too. It’s a way to not be responsible for myself. Well this happened because I have “Kota-Powers”. I do this because of my mom and that makes it ok. Depression. All of it is an excuse on some level. I have to be responsible for myself. I may be responsible TO other people, but I’m only responsible FOR myself and I have to get to work on that more. And I am.

It’s not going to be easy. It’s not going to happen over night. It probably isn’t even going to happen in 2015, but I’m going to damn well lay the groundwork and start building a new me.

This is what it looks like when you fight back.

A Month Gone

The last month has at times been rough. At other times it’s been rougher. Every now and again I have those rare good days where I can go for 24 hours without thinking about my dad. Most of the time though I miss him. And that’s what I’ve been doing since I disappeared back in November. I’ve been trying to remember my dad. Trying to remember his face and his voice. Trying to remember the times I spent with him.

That’s not all I’ve done though. I’ve been working on comics as I can. I’ve been trying to get a membership site set up for fans of my work so they can subscribe for bonus materials and Christmas presents. Yeah. I said Christmas presents. Can you think of a better way to get people to subscribe?

I’ve also been sort of doing the whole Christmas thing in general. Part of that may be me fighting the sadness off, but if it is it’s a double edged sword. It makes me miss my parents in new and fresh ways. It does make me feel a little more connected though.

I’ve got a couple of movies in the pipe to review so expect some more content in 2015. I’m also planning to get back on some form of schedule for updates so please forgive me my momentary lapses. Life isn’t easy and these last three have been particularly hard. Thanks everyone. I’ll see you all next week.

Life in General

personalbannerSo things have been active lately in a lot of ways. The old man has been to the doctor’s a couple of times for lab work and to the hospital today for a CAT scan. No word yet from any of it. He’s having the same problem he had this time last year where he can’t eat much. Hoping to hear back from that soon. On top of that my health hasn’t been great lately. Running around seeing about my dad has killed my rest and recovery so I’m just sort of existing in this marginally sick condition for now.

On the plus side I’m turning out some great artwork right now and I can’t wait to start sharing some of it. Still not bringing any money in. Well, except for one donation so thank you donor who will remain anonymous! Every little bit helps! Mailbox is again a going concern for now. I hope to have several pages done before the re-launch in January. It’s probably going to be a for money series. Print will be available, but PDF’s will as well. I figure 99 cents isn’t too much to ask, right?

I’m trying to become more active in online communities but it’s a bit of a struggle. I don’t feel it sometimes. I’m there and posting but I don’t feel like part of the community. I’m not sure if it’s me or the places I’m posting, but I’m not giving up just yet. I just need to keep positive.

Speaking of keeping positive, I’ve gotten back into therapy. I’m going once a month and I think the big issue right now for me is trying to stay on top of my thought patterns and trying to remember my self worth. I’ve actually started a depression blog over on tumblr called Depress-o-tronic so I don’t pollute the internet at large with the poison that tends to come out of my head. I also use it to post links to things that explain depression and places that can help if you are depressed.

All that being said, I’ll close for now. More as it happens. Till next time!

 

Mood and Motivation

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So one of the biggest problems with being an artist/writer is dealing with how mood effects your creativity. A good mood can have you cranking content out like a machine while a bad mood can shut you down for days on end.

I think one of the biggest problems for me is the mental image I have of the tortured artist. You know, the one that takes the pain and depression and misery in his life and uses it to create the Great American Novel or the most famous art in the world. It’s a stereotype that’s been built up by our culture over the years and even artists buy into it. I do. The problem is it’s bull. Well, it’s bull for me.

Imagine for a minute that creativity and energy are sunlight shining through a beautiful sky. You are there absorbing the beauty and warmth of the sun, bringing you life and joy and inspiration. Depression is like the biggest thunderhead in the world coming between you and that light. You don’t have any inspiration. You don’t have the energy or motivation to try to fight through that cloud to reach the sun. You just sort of shut down until the cloud moves by and the sun comes back out.

That’s sort of where I am right now. I spent an hour last night staring at a blank .sai file last night and couldn’t make art happen to save my life. I eventually closed and decided that today I’d give it another shot. Maybe there’ll be a break in the clouds for me. . .

And where have you been, young man?

So I haven’t really updated here much this week, but I have reasons. First, we’re setting up a new youtube channel that I’ll be contributing to once a week. Second, I haven’t been feeling well. Third, I had a comic to work on yesterday. Lastly, I’ve been doing art to get ready for Free Comic Book Day in May. I know that’s a ways off, but if I don’t at least get started I’ll never get it done.

Then there’s podcasting. I recently got a new mic since I’m actually doing a regular podcast every week with JT Shea and it’s starting to pick up steam. The mic is by Blue and it’s a Snowball. It’s friggin’ awesome. I don’t have to do any special crap with it to get it to pick up like I used to. Before this I was using a usb Rock Band mic and it sounded terrible on most programs. The Snowball on the other hand, well, I have to work at it to make it sound bad.

There is, of course, my usual battle with depression. It’s not something that ever ends. It’s not like you finally beat the thing. It’s something you fight off for a little while until it marshal’s it’s forces and comes at you again. It had me on the ropes there for a bit, but I’m functional again. For the most part.

Other than that, things seem to be going well. My art seems to have improved and my output has increased a bit.