Yes, this blog still functions.
Where have I been? What have I been doing?
I have been back and forth between Minnesota and Denver for work. A lot. I had two trips in August and another two this month.
The travel is a little wearing, but I am getting a lot of work on Norah Locke done, so that is a plus. I think I am about 65 pages into the book and it’s going pretty well. When I am home I am working on The Retros. The fifth “season” just started a couple months ago and I am about 180 pages in on what will be a 240 page story arc, so I have a comfortable lead on that.
So, that’s where I have been, and that is what I have been doing.
I have also been having somewhat of an existential crisis and I have been aware of it for some time. The reason I haven’t written on the blog for a few months was because I was tired of myself. No, not tired of myself and wanting to end it at all (in any sense), but I was exhausted and a little embarrassed at these wild and extreme mood swings. One week I would be on top of the world and full of optimism, the next I was frustrated beyond belief. There is no middle ground. I know life is about ups and downs, but the severity of both of these feelings, and how quickly I could move from to another, became pretty alarming when I looked at some of my previous posts.
This became impossible to ignore on two different occasions. I started to write an entry a few weeks ago that was full of despair and gloom and wanting to give up on this art dream. Not give up on drawing, but perhaps thinking that I would ever hit one of my goals. The entry was depressing and I never posted it. I felt that I had crossed a line and I was worried about myself. Again, I am not tired of life or anything, but speculating about why I even bothered to create and send whatever I wrote and drew to publishers and that it was hopeless seemed like it was just… too far. Did I really feel that way?
The second moment was just feeling something wasn’t quite right. I woke up one Sunday to see an email from work about how something went a different direction than I would have preferred and for some reason, this sent me spiraling into a level of sadness and anxiety that I had never felt before. One minute I was bullet proof, the next I was a puddle on the ground. This was not the first time I had this sudden, extreme change of self-worth. Neither feeling invincible or feeling worthless is not healthy. It is not healthy to feel either extreme.
I knew that it is not normal to feel this way. I knew I was tired of feeling this way.
I felt better when I decided I was tired of feeling this. I used to think that feeling frustrated was a good motivation to draw more, draw better, finish projects, and send them to publishers. But that day I decided that it wasn’t helping. I didn’t need to be frustrated, to beat myself up to motivate me to make art. I loved making art, that’s all the motivation I need.
That evening my wife and I sat on the deck as the sun set. I told Amy what was going on, and the next day I made an appointment with a psychiatrist. I had my first visit a few weeks ago and they prescribed some Prozac but it took me about two weeks to actually begin it. I kept the prescription bottle on my desk so I would see it often and it would help remind why it was prescribed to me. I was a little nervous to begin taking it, to be honest. I am not comfortable with things altering my….well, anything. That fear was one of the primary reasons I quit drinking almost three years ago. Keeping the medication within eyesight helped me make peace with it and I started it on the first of the month.
One of the side effects in some people was bizarre dreams and the first night I dreamed I called Tom Petty and tried to talk him into doing an album of Grateful Dead songs. So, we can check that box.
Otherwise I haven’t noticed much change, but perhaps that is the purpose. I didn’t want to all of a sudden feel AMAZING and MANIC and INVINCIBLE. Amy said I seem calmer, more balanced, more present. When I saw my coworkers on my last trip to Colorado I was told I seemed more positive and had a calmer energy.
This is good. I feel good. I feel calmer. Over the last few weeks I have had moments where previously I would feel crushed and defeated, moments that I would dwell on for hours, even for days. But they bounced off me.
I have also had great things happen, things that would have caused my self-esteem to soar beyond what is normal but I felt…. happy, but not deliriously so.
I feel…. just great, to be honest. I feel normal.
So, I guess I wanted to apologize for the whining, the despair, the seemingly endless blog of complaining that I am not a published cartoonist. I’m excited to be better. In every sense.
I almost deleted this whole blog and started over, but I decided not to. The path to anything, success, mental health, happiness, is littered with bumps and setbacks. I guess this is part of that. Instead of starting over I gave the blog a face lift to reflect what I hope is a new direction.
Going forward I promise to talk more about art instead of my frustrations. Thanks for reading this.
And just to lighten things up, here’s a drawing I did of my daughter’s cat.