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.

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.

Friday and Beyond the Infinite.

I swear, I think the guy down the hall from us has Tourette syndrome or something. He just shot down the hall making gibberish noises and barking. I wasn’t even going to mention that, but DANG someone has to know.

So we have a name for our new Youtube channel. The Vloguum. Think vacuum but vlogging. I need to make a logo this weekend for us. Something to do with space I think. I’ll post info about it here when it goes up and will post the logo on my portfolio site. 🙂

I’ve been having anxiety attacks all week. I don’t know what’s causing them, but I don’t like it. My life has been a living hell all week and my nerves won’t stop. Eating has been difficult and I can’t concentrate. Nothing seems to distract me for long. I’ll make an appointment to see Byron sometime next week. It may help.

I did a lot of art yestereday. I got today’s EA colored during a Livestream and I was so happy to see Toughy in the chat for it! He’s been reading my stuff for ages and he’s a fellow Goon. After that I started inking pages for the Delores origin story. My dearest Kathryn did the pencils for it and I’m going to do the inking and colors. It’s some very beautiful stuff for a very different sort of flashback story. I’ll be doing the wrap around work for it though so my stuff will make her stuff look better. 🙂

So yeah. This weekend is going to involve a lot more art. I need to get a comic done and get the logo for Vloguum done before Monday so we can use it. We’ll see how that went on Monday.

Art IS Therapy

I’ve never understood how someone can call it “art therapy” when art itself is therapy. Nothing cleanses the mind and soul quite like channelling everything into an effort of creation. Sometimes it’s carries the same feeling as your emotions. Sometimes it’s the opposite, but it still clears out the attic.

Yesterday I was in a very bad place. I’d worked on a funny comic, but I still felt terrible. I decided the only other thing to do was to keep working on art. That was the ticket. I still had crap piled up inside my head and that second comic got it all out. It also helped that the comic has Terry being a total bad ass.

Sometimes I forget these things. I do comics for the wrong reasons like money or popularity and I forget the whole reason I started doing them was because a friend tried to kill himself and art was the only thing I could do to keep me sane. 13 years later and I’m relearning that.

Never Could Get the Hang of Thursdays

I had an appointment to see my therapist today. Unfortunately, he couldn’t get out of jury duty this morning so I’ll see him next Thursday. That’s good, because I’m remembering all the reasons I want to see him now.

I’m surprisingly nervous about this livestream tonight. I’ve done this dozens of times but for some reason TONIGHT is the one I’m worried about. I doubt I’ll have more than one person drop in so it’s not that big a deal. Also, I’m really just recording it so I can use the raw footage to make a how to video.

One thing I’ve noticed is just how vocal I’ve become online. I’ve also noticed the small audience I have. Here, on wordpress, I’ve got a few followers. Youtube, I get maybe three views per blog. I really need to start randomly recording when we go out on weekends. Just a slice of what it’s like in my life. I suppose the big deal is that there are so many people yelling for attention that you can’t always get people to look your way. Also, it’s still very early in my vlog/blog life. I need to be patient and that’s not always easy.

I watched the last episode of X-Play today. I’ve been watching it since G4’s launch, but not much recently. Now the channel is switching formats and X-Play just isn’t part of their new image. Neither is Attack of the Show. They’re both getting canned and who knows what’s going to replace them. I honestly think the Nerdist Channel on Youtube is more of what they were trying to do with G4 than G4 was. It’s hard to do a television show/channel about something as amorphous and fickle as the internet.

I’ve also been concerned about my health lately. Nothing specific, just in general. I’ve never taken very good care of myself and trying to make myself exercise is like trying to get me to. . .
I can’t think of anything I avoid as much as exercise. I don’t know if it’s laziness of a general fear of hurting my back again while failing at some stupid move in an exercise routine. The only time I’ve ever been thin was during the stressful time I was a manager at Roses. I wasn’t eating and my weight dropped by 30 pounds. I looked good. Then I got a job I could handle and the weight came back.

That’s about all I can think of to say this time around. Maybe tomorrow I’ll get back to amusing and thoughtful articles about things, but right now I just needed to vent.


I haven’t been to therapy in quite some time and I feel troubled. I need to start going on a more regular basis. I still feel anxious and depressed. Because of that I’ve got an appointment to see Byron next Thursday. Hopefully I’ll still have money.

I know a part of what I’m worried about are my student loans. If I don’t hear anything soon or my deferment gets rejected I’ll head down to Antonelli and try to get a payment plan set up.

Also, I need a job. A real job. The kind with a good pay check and workable hours.

To sum it all up, I’m worried about the future and I don’t know what to do about it or if there’s anything I CAN do about it. I’ll update more on that next week.

Break Throughs and Break Downs.

It’s funny the stuff that gets dredged up because of a desk. I did one simple thing. I turned my art desk from facing the wall to facing the bookshelf. Suddenly my entire room felt better. After a short time of thinking on why this made me feel better I remembered. I almost wish I hadn’t but it’s definitely for the best that I do. Here’s what popped up.

When I was living in Vicksburg as a kid my mom somehow managed to get me enrolled in Hall’s Ferry Elementary School. It must have had a good reputation or something but I was a kid and didn’t know a thing about that. I didn’t even know she’d pulled strings to get m there until a few years ago. It wasn’t a happy experience being there though.

The general feel of the place felt militaristic. Talking in the lunch room was governed by a traffic light. Green, you could talk. Yellow, you we getting too loud. Red, dead silence or you’d be punished. I remember two times the light was green. Most of our lunches were quiet. We also had to eat quick because they didn’t give you long to sit and finish lunch.

The real problem was recess. I’d always been, well, different. I got bored easily and needed speech therapy and was very very curious. I didn’t have a lot of friends before school so I didn’t really know how to act around other kids, either. I got lumped in with the delinquents. I spent the three years at that school being punished with violent and angry youths. Their favorite punishment wasn’t paddling or beatings. It was the wall. You had to go out at recess and stand on the wall. They’d take us outside with all the other kids and make us stand facing the wall of the school. We couldn’t turn around. We couldn’t look left or right. You just had to stand for the entire recess.

I’d stand there facing that wall and listening. I’d hear kids laughing and running and playing. The sounds of life all around and I stared at a wall lightly banging my head against it and wishing I had the will to bash my skull in. The laughing and fun burning my ears and mind and soul, I came to hate those sounds.

Don’t get me wrong. I got to play some, but it was on precious few occasions and when I did I really didn’t know what to do.

Before 4th grade started we moved to Jackson. Lee Elementary didn’t have those rules. It was looser. I had freedom. I could do anything I want. By then the damage was done. If we weren’t made to play softball or kickball I was by myself usually wandering around the few trees in the playground. I had friends, but I usually just walked around trees and kept to myself at recess if I had my way. At least, those are the times I remember. I’m sure I hung out with the other kids some. I remember Bobby Cody and some of the others.

How has this effected me in my adult life? Well, I don’t like having “fun”. I enjoy things and what not, but activities give me the willies. Large groups of people having fun makes me want to go find a tree to walk around. The laughter and joy of children playing cuts straight to my soul and causes me to resent the sound. Lastly, of course, I can stand facing walls. . .

Fighting the Demons

Everyone gets depressed. I don’t say that to try and marginalize what anyone is going through, but to remind everyone that they are not alone. I know I’m depressed on a regular basis and I tend to forget that others go through the same thing. What I want to do is talk a little about some of the things I think when I’m depressed and how it can be fought. Maybe it will help me, but maybe it can help someone else too. I’d also like to talk a little about therapy for those thinking about it.

What I feel doesn’t matter. – My life isn’t fantastic, but there are some very good things in my life. So much so that when I get depressed I feel guilty for being depressed. What have I got to feel bad about? There are people out there worse off than me.
Well, that’s true, but that doesn’t mean what we feel isn’t important. Depression isn’t a mood. It’s a disease. It’s a problem that is very difficult to overcome and just because things seem ok from the outside it doesn’t mean things are ok on the inside. You have a right to feel the way you do and no one should make you feel bad for that.

Nothing is ever going to get better. – That’s a tough one to get over. When you’re depressed life seems to turn into a long dark tunnel with nothing at the end but, well, the End. The problem is that  tunnel goes both ways and it walls off the good things in your life. It makes you forget last week when you were in a good mood and had lunch with your friends. It can make you forget that you have a support group. It makes you forget that moods do actually pass. The best thing I’ve found is to remember that. Even if it seems hopeless, this WILL pass. I know everyone says it but it’s the truth. Eventually you’ll have a good day. You just need to hang on.

I want to be alone. – No you don’t. You think you do and it feels like you do, but you don’t. If you listen very closely there’s that tiny little voice telling you that being alone isn’t what you need to do. Being near people helps. It really does. Just being around my friends does wonders for my depression. It gives you a reason to not dwell on the horrible horrible things that go through your mind and it makes you act a little brighter since there are other people to consider. If you’re really lucky you can talk to those people about how you’re feeling.

What’s the point in getting help? This is who I am. – No it isn’t. Maybe you’ve been depressed so long that you don’t remember who you are and how you normally act, but depression isn’t who you are. It’s something that’s happening to you constantly and it hurts. When you’re hurting you act differently. You should find help. Friends, support groups, therapists, group therapy, medication. Whatever it takes to get you better. If you had pneumonia you’d see a doctor. This is no different. You need help and there’s nothing wrong with asking for it and getting it. I did.

A few bits of advice.

Let’s say you decide to find a therapist and get some help. Here are a few things to keep in mind that I’ve run across through other people.
First, don’t lie to your therapist. You’re paying to be there, they’re trying to help you, and all lyings going to do is hold back the healing process. For some reason LOTS of people I’ve met go into a therapist’s office and start lying. They admit that they lied once they’re out and can’t tell you why they did it.
Second, it’s ok to cry. No, really. Some people think when a therapist makes a patient cry they’re being a jerk. They’re not. It’s the first step toward healing. I cried in the first few sessions with my therapist and while I ended up being a blubbering wreck for a little bit I felt better afterwards than I had in years. Crying is a form of release and nothing to be ashamed up. Even if you don’t go to therapy I recommend a really good cry every now and again.
Third, find a therapist you’re comfortable with and can trust. Just because someone is a therapist doesn’t mean they should be YOUR therapist. I lucked out with Byron, but I have a friend that went through a few before he found the right one. If you aren’t comfortable with that person, you’re not going to get anything out of the sessions. You have the right to choose so exercise that right.
Fourth, see them when you need to. I don’t just mean those “Man, I need a therapist!” moments. I mean those moments where you feel like you don’t WANT to go and you feel helpless. Those are the best times to go. Therapy is a tool. It’s something to help you so use it.

Remember, you deserve to be better. We ALL deserve to be better.