Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Meanwhile, 3 months later...

"Many symptoms of mental illness are
difficult to recognize from the
"Others can't be seen from the inside
because they're too overwhelming."
My health issues have been becoming more difficult to ignore or hide. It's become impossible to pretend that I can function like a normal human -- that I can function like I used to. It's been 3 years since my health took a major downturn, and while a lot of amazing things have come about because of me being forced to alter the course of my life, it still sucks.

In the last year, I have begun to look into applying for disability. I am disabled. Day after day I wish that I had the energy, the wellness to leave the house and do something "productive", and in the last six months, I've been trying to work part time delivering food and whatnot. Not once in that time have I been able to work enough to pay all of my bills. Sometimes I get closer, but mostly, I get halfway there and call it good enough because I am not physically capable of more.

This. Is. Devastating. There have been times in my life when I have worked less, or made less money because I was goofing off, but this isn't the same. I'm not enjoying life, I'm writhing in pain, asleep, or stoned out of my mind because there's one  thing that does anything to touch my pain. I haven't even really been making art because when I do have energy I'm hustling to make enough money to pay my student loans, credit cards, and phone bill, and when I don't have energy I'm feeling sorry for myself because I don't have enough energy. I'm depressed. I retracted back into my shell, abandoned many cherished social circles, and have drifted away from several important people. I lose track of housework and actual work.

As a result, art projects have been postponed. FibroShark Hungry has been in post-production limbo for months. I'm not making excuses here. I know I wanted to have the book finished and in your wonderful hands by now, but ironically the reason this book is needed is also the reason it's been delayed. This is affecting my already-fragile ego and I continue to try to avoid the project (or even talking about it!) because I'm so ashamed at my inability to finish it on time.

So check it out: I'm sorry this is taking longer to complete than I originally planned. I'm sorry you haven't gotten your rewards yet. No one has hassled me about it, but I know you're waiting and you want your books, plushies, tshirts, and other artwork. I haven't forgotten, and most importantly I haven't given up.

I'm starting to feel like I'm coming back out of my shell, partly because it's essential to analyzing my current circumstances and finding viable solutions. Some NRE is helping me move about more freely in my own head, and I'm no longer actively putting off contacting a lawyer to get started on disability filings.

The other thing I'm no longer actively putting off is re-scanning the original FSH artwork. I've put it in my planner, so that means it'll get done. I've also written this update, which is kind of a big deal. I know that those following my career and supporting it want to know what's going on, and my history of transparency with my health issues means I can just be frank with you: I've been very depressed. I've felt useless, lazy, unworthy, and impossible. I've felt like giving up and just not making art anymore.

But I still have ideas. I still want and need to make art. And I look to my life for fuel and fodder. So, I'm going to make weekly FibroShark cartoons. They'll be posted here and on FibroShark's facebook page. They will address real issues in the lives of spoonies. Some might even be funny.

This week, I offer the above: two observations about the ways one can become trapped inside one's own brain. Sometimes you're trapped because no one can see that you need help; sometimes you're trapped cuz you don't know you need help. These are not mutually exclusive, and they both suck. But I think we all go thru either and both at various times in our battles with mental illness. You're not alone.

Anyway, it's a new day, and I'm feeling marginally adequate...