Semester No. 5

My semester begins tomorrow. I’m very anxious. My body has been tense all day…all week, really. I’m not anxious about my classes – I’ve re-evaluated them thrice now and I’ve taken my health and spoons into account so I’m only doing one in-person class (US Government), and two online classes (English 5, and Cultural Geography) in addition to my Student Government & Laney Queers organizing and my independent study (which is essentially writing down what I learn in the student senate).

I’m anxious because this is the first week of school and on Wednesday I get snake cameras and sedation instead of doing fun Welcome Week activities, on Tuesday I meet with my department chair and have my first class while on a liquid-only-diet and then get to drink the colon cleanse “juice”.

I think I’m more irritated that my first week as a senator is going to be interrupted by being sick and there’s nothing I can do about it than anything else. I’m realizing a lot of my life is going to continue to be interrupted by being sick and there’s nothing I can do about it and it’s really just…. quietly devastating.

That knowledge hangs on me like a heavy jacket twice my size. It’s with me every moment of the day. It envelops me when I struggle to put together a meal because I can’t get out of this fatigue and brain fog regardless of how long I close my eyes. I’m quietly haunted by my own ghost that I can’t figure out how to release.

I don’t know how I’m going to get through the next semester. I don’t know if my body will hold together or if I’ll have to drop out. Everything feels so precarious and I’m so so exhausted.

So tonight I managed to make myself some Gluten-Free low-ish-fodmap peanut butter energy bites so I can at least have something to munch on during the days I can eat solid food. Doing post colonoscopy Kieryn a solid.

ha.

Undo.

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Sometimes I wish for an undo button, not because of regret but because I’m afraid. I applied to a job doing IT support and now I’m anxious about it. What if they hire me? (Like I’m not the one with ultimate say?) How will my life change? 
Before applying it seemed like getting a job would be a good way to get myself out of my apartment (and make money) but in a way that’s maybe easier than all the MeetUps I talk myself out of? But now I’m nervous. 
What if I suck? What if I’m just harassed because I don’t look like an IT Person (TM)?
Change – even theoretical change is scary. Change that involves leaving my apartment and interacting with other humans is terrifying. I wish it wasn’t. 
But when I write it out, these are all factors I can control for, and when I remember I have agency, a job offer isn’t so scary. 
Strangers on the other hand…

Cryptic nuggets

I should do so many things.
I should write more about sexism and gaming.
I should make that ruby app I’ve been planning.
I should reboot KieryGeek.
I should be better at marketing my patreons.
I should be brave and find my voice and use it.
I should be more friendly.
I should not feel bad about not doing all of those things in lieu of taking care of myself.
I should not feel bad for being anxious and tired and overwhelmed.
I should not feel bad for feeling lost.
I should not feel useless or worthless because reasons.
 

waning

It’s been a rough week and I think at the back of my mind I’m worried that maybe my new meds aren’t going to work, or aren’t working (I’ve only been on the new dose 4 days, so).
My shoulders are massively fucked at the moment, shocked the massage person who said it was really good that I came in and that they’re really bad and it’ll take multiple sessions to fix. I was like, yeah, I kinda figured…once my neck decided it didn’t really like turning. Apparently I held up really well for what we did with the deep tissue massage, I think I feel it more now than I did at the time, but I can move, and more importantly, I think I can sleep again.
I’ve been fighting a lot of general insecurity and self-loathing and shit-feeling – like for some reason, when things are going okay, I feel like something must be wrong. Especially wrong with me.
How fucked up is that?
I’ve been feeling ashamed of my body, in part because of the shit that went down last week, partly because yay bloating and lactose intolerance, and partly because I gained a couple pounds and the lady at the doctors office made a face when weighing me.
Temporary bloat and uncomfortableness aside though, I’ve been feeling okayish with my weight/how my body looks. On a related front: upping my water intake and dabbling with pescetarianism vegequarianism and probably cutting out dairy for a little while because hahaha tummy (Y U NO LIKE ICE CREAM?).
Today I felt like I failed at everything even though I managed to get my 2nd Gardasil shot, and a massage, and run errands….I felt like it was my fault that things took longer than I wanted them to (the waiting time at the doctors office, is I think, probably, actually, out of my control), my fault for needing to spend money to make my shoulders/neck work again, my fault for trying to talk to people and being confused and tired (because I haven’t slept much/well the last few days because pain)…
I kept running scenarios over and over in my head, convinced I was stupid for this or that, or not doing this, or not being sure how much I should undress because the massage place was in/is part of a gym and I was so out of my element and in pain and tired…
^^ not an overly relaxing thought process for getting a massage
But I think I’ve also been scaring myself with baby-steps towards progress too.
Like looking up web jobs in Seattle, and realizing that I could do that, and not only that I could get a job, but I might be able to manage doing the Ada Developers Academy.
Almost seriously considering getting a local summer job didn’t completely freak me out for like 10 minutes (depressed by the options on the other hand…)
I kinda feel like venturing to the new game store we discovered.
But then I still have this little tiny, but people!!!!!!! thing…and then I overthink when I talk to them, but I feel like there’s a little progress, and then I’m like OH NO WHAT’S HAPPENING.
So, that’s probably normal, right?
Writing this all out helps me feel better and helps put things in perspective.
I do have some really cool shit going down (besides just E.R.A. —> which if you become a patron, you can get the full-size comic download /plug) that I’m looking forward to sharing after I convince myself I’m not a shitty shit face.
<3 Thanks for listening

New Meds Muse: Zoloft

I’ve been taking the full-dose of Zoloft (currently 50mg a day) for about a week now. I was going strong until I got stressed out on Friday, and then everything just kinda has been a haze of anxiety. I was super focused and creative and fucking fantastic for a week…excusing the bouts of nausea/dizziness and general there’s-a-new-chemical-in-my-body-side-effects that lasted a few days (and then went away, and then came back randomly but only for an afternoon or so off and on, I’m only in week like, 2.5 of new meds, so). Sometime over the weekend it’s like I forgot how to focus and I’ve been really tense.
A couple circumstantial things don’t help: our shower drain has been clogged since the weekend and the plumber was supposed to come today but didn’t, and the subsequent sink drains have decided to join in on the clogging fun, so I have a bunch of unwashed/gross/dirty dishes from a failed attempt to wash them just sitting on the counter, I haven’t showered since the weekend (because pooling just feels bad when you can’t clean the tub, and feeling grosser after showering than before is sorta pointless), and the bathroom sink is all slow now, so doing anything for longer than 30 seconds is basically out.
On the upside, I’ll be at a wedding this weekend and the hotel will have a working shower, and my pit hairs are kinda cute right now.
I’ve spent a lot of this week trying to still work on things – I ended up managing to get a lot done – this week’s comic, for instance, I finished already and I think it’s awesome, but KieryGeek is gonna wait because I just couldn’t, at that point, the anxiety had pretty much taken over. I’ve been working on my Ruby site pretty regularly, though I feel like the going is pretty slow. Some of that though, is just how learning a new language is and has less to do with my meds.
It’s so weird though, because I can tell that the meds are doing something, I know there’s an edge of anxiety that’s missing, because there’s a tiny tiny calm space even though I feel like, today, I’m on the verge of a meltdown.
My current plan is to ask to up the dose when I go back in July. I know they’re doing things but I feel like I did before I needed to up the dose on my anti-depressants – work great as long as there’s no stressors or anything, but as soon as something is there, it’s like, just doesn’t have enough umph. And some of that might just be because I’m only 2.5 weeks into the new medication, but if one lunch & some plumbing issues can throw me for a loop, I’m thinking…yeah with the upping being a good idea.
And if that doesn’t work, I guess we’ll try something else.
It was so nice to be creative and focused again though, even if it was only for a few days. I want that back.

Kiery's Stages of Getting Help

1) Meh, this is probably not anything. I can deal with it, everyone else is probably the same way.
2) I deserve this, I shouldn’t fix it, it’s just part of me and most likely my fault (thanks bad theology for roping yourself into the worst places)
3) That’s bullshit, no one deserves to live like this, I can’t do anything I like anymore and it’s driving me crazy
4) Freak out because I’m going to the doctors office to talk about meds

4a) Stay up all night running through the conversation with the doctor in my head, 12 hours before I go to the appointment

4b) Anxiety because of having to explain something that is felt so deeply but doesn’t really lend way to words that accurately convey the amount of depression or anxiety I’m dealing with. Also anxiety about talking about it, and forgetting key details.

5) Leave the doctors office with new prescription and hope I did okay. Reason that I must have because I have a new prescription and hopefully it’ll work.
6) Feel validated because I fixed point 3 and realized 1 and 2 are lies
7) Go back to bed to catch up on sleep from being stressed out all night, and then pick up prescription
tl;dr:  I got help. Finally.

Paralysis

I’ve been in a block all month.
I haven’t been able to garner up the motivation to do anything that I actually/usually want to do – especially creatively. It’s taken all of my willpower to push through and draw the last couple comics and art journal entries. Things that usually energize me or at least make me feel better. I feel less explosive, but no less pointless and futile.
It’s weird how we – or at least I – can ignore the glaringly obvious, or at least not think about it. I was catching up on Wil Wheaton’s blog and found this (read the rest of the entry here < because it’s accurate and helped me figure out wtf):

And you feel like shit because you aren’t making anything, or creating anything, or actually doing anything.  And you desperately want to make something, but whenever you start, depression wraps itself around you and whispers in your ear, “Why bother? You know how much you suck.”

And that, dear void, is exactly. EXACTLY. how I’ve been feeling all month – in addition to the  weekly minor-ish tragedy that sends me into a tailspin for days, only to find upon resurfacing that there’s something new wrong with me, my life, or the world.
Between the depression and the anxiety I can’t help but feel that everything is so pointless. But I know depression lies, I KNOW it’s all bullshit, but I’m stuck in an infinite loop and it’s so fucking hard to escape it. Honestly, it takes me about a week to escape it (so yeah, the random gut-punches that have happened on a weekly basis this month, NOT HELPFUL), sometimes longer, and I can’t escape it by myself. My antidepressants help a lot, but they don’t mean I don’t ever feel depressed or don’t ever get stuck in a loop, or don’t ever experience depression – they just manage it so I can live normally most of the time (yay!).
It’s hard to bother getting dressed or out of bed, it’s hard to draw, I haven’t even been able to think about actual vlogging because I am constantly reminded by the voices in my head, voices from the past that I am inadequate, I am not enough, I am not worth doing what I enjoy doing, and I deserve to be punished and have bad things happen. Voices that tell me I’m being punished for some discrepancy against a cosmic asshole I don’t even believe in anymore. It’s weird how much crap sticks to you. It’s weird how much being told you’re a horrible worthless piece-of-shit person (under the guise of loving christianity) from birth fucks you up when you’re an adult.
When things happen close together, even if they’re unrelated, it’s hard for me to cope. I feel like I don’t have time to process the last thing and be okay before the next thing hits, and eventually (or rather quickly) it devolves into anger and self-loathing and paralyzing depression and anxiety (< which I’m not treated for yet, but I need to be), and lots and lots and lots and LOTS of self-doubt. Like SO MUCH self-doubt that all of the progress I thought I made, I don’t know where it went.
I don’t really want to wake up and deal with another day. But I know that’s a lie too.
It’s easy for self-loathing to start at one place and end up at another. Maybe I start out feeling like I’m just stupid, and eventually I end up also feeling ashamed and embarrassed about my anatomy (especially vaginismus) and I just start seeing myself as completely and utterly broken because I have a body. It’s times like this where I tend to disassociate from my body more, but that hasn’t happened so far – just a lot of anger at my avatar.
It’s paralyzing.
I’m scared and I’m tired and I feel like it’s never going to end. I’m worried this creative block is permanent and  I’ll never finish KieryGeek because I can’t muster up the energy to talk to a camera. I’m ashamed and embarrassed and I feel incredibly worthless and insignificant.
But I know it’s all bullshit. I know it will pass. I know depression lies. I just need time.

Brain Stuffs

I crashed for two hours and I feel a little better about things.
I’ve been dealing with a lot of self loathing and emotional exhaustion and anxiety and just feeling like I’m the most horrible person ever to walk the earth (which is ridiculous if I think about it, because I don’t actively TRY to hurt people, but the fact that I do, or may inadvertently, tends to kill me sometimes, especially because I often don’t know if that’s actually happened because I’m just overthinking every single thing I think and say).
So, I feel a little less like I should just be eradicated from the earth, which is a plus.
A lot is happening and has happened, and I don’t know really how to deal with everything and I don’t know how to give myself what I need.
I don’t know how to extend to myself the humanity that I try as hard as I possibly, humanly, can to everyone else. And the fact that I often times, fail fucking miserably at it doesn’t help either, because then I feel like I really don’t deserve and shouldn’t be patient with myself at all.
I don’t actually know what brought this on, and I’m guessing this looks fucking ridiculous to everyone reading, but it’s not a healthy headspace for me (add the completely valid discussion of privilege, but used to call one specific set of people out and/or shut people down, and it’s sort of a recipe for disaster in my psyche. I KNOW that’s not how it’s supposed to work or be interpreted, but for some reason it’s a fucking loaded term and just triggers a complete shutdown and self-hate autocycle in my brain), and I don’t really know how to fix it, so I’m doing the only thing I know how to do that does actually help, which is put it here.
Feel free to ignore – this isn’t meant to make sense to anyone outside my head, I just need to like, get it OUT of my head so I can sleep and not deal with insomnia or try to build a house out of rocks so I can live under it.
 

Failure and Creatives (me)

I follow awesome people on twitter – and Erika brought up something that I had thought about at PAX (and then forgot because I was confused by my sudden lack of 4 molars), the subsequent short conversation with Kiri (who, btw, is awesome incarnate – not just because we pronounce our names the same way) then spurred me onto a twitter muse which I realized would be better suited for a blog post, because all the thoughts are way more than 140.
I feel like a failure – and if twitter is any indication I’m certainly not alone in that feeling. If you’ve read here before, you’ll probably have seen that strewn across the blog relatively frequently, if in vague terms.
That’s been escalated lately, exponentially. At some point, you become comfortable with your relationship with failure, and hiding in the dark, and doing stuff with little response – even though you desperately want response, all creators do (as hard as that is to admit because it feels…vain?).
Kiri wrote a post the day before I started my kickstarter about the same feeling. Between that and this post by Katie Lane…I’ve expressed the general terrifying-ness and failing feels of everything, but I’ve been so afraid to say what for fear of…I don’t really know.
I think I’m afraid that if I get into detail here of how I feel and why, everyone who’s been there for me and backed me is going to think I’m a horrible person. Which probably is playing a huge part in the creative block I’ve been facing.
I made it into the first round of the G&S Vlogs, my Kickstarter following that was successful, before PAX even! So the paralyzing fear and anxiety should be gone, right? Because everything worked?
Ah, but you don’t live inside my head. I waffle between YAY PEOPLE THINK I’M COOL and OH MY GOD I NEED TO NOT FUCK THIS UP. WHAT IF I’M AWFUL AND THEY HATE ME?
Strangely, the “just don’t fuck this up” part is wayyyy louder than the, “hey people like what I do!” voice.
Because I was successful I’m met with more stress than living in the shadows and making things maybe 30 people saw – most of whom I know, on a good day. It’s gone up a bit since The Daily Beast and Geek and Sundry and Kickstarter and it’s wonderful.
But damned if I’m not fucking terrified. I was funded, partially because Harry Knowles pissed people off, which I mean, I’m not complaining about – but the internet can be scary. I don’t want to piss people off, and I’m afraid that if I don’t deliver something perfect, it’s going to end poorly.
Which I know in my thinking brain isn’t true, because I have a years worth of content people could go back and look at, people knew what they were getting into when they funded me and they liked it, it doesn’t have to be The Best Show Ever(tm) is just needs to be KieryGeek, which I’m actually good at – when I’m not hiding in a corner being afraid.
I’m afraid that I’m not getting things done fast enough, or that I don’t know what I’m doing (I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing anymore, even though I’m doing the same thing, but being actually able to show it this time), or that it’ll still fall short (I’m reminded of Ira Glass on Storytelling) of what I want it to be.
I’m worried I won’t get the rewards to everyone on time, or they won’t like them, or I’m not making KieryGeek episodes fast enough (even though I’m still waiting on my mic to arrive), and I should be making ALL OF THE THINGS right this second, and I’m failing because I’m not. Instead I’m writing this, or playing animal crossing or painting my Archangel (which is actually related, because warmahordes). I’m worried I won’t be able to keep the Humorotica schedule that we’ve only tentatively set, or that if I draw all of the times my drawing will not get better and it’ll just be lamer and lamer (which, I KNOW is bullshit, you can’t get worse at doing something all the time..right?).
I’m afraid that my comics are lame (drawing, not words, because I have a great writer), or that I won’t be able to balance comics and KieryGeek and jobs – even though I’ve been doing that, dare I say successfully, for months.
I’m not sure how everything is going to work from here on out. I know what I want, but I’m also terrified of achieving it. I want to be able to support myself making comics and filming vlogs about games and making webseries and painting and making other digital art. I want to not have to rely on my partner for everything all of the time. It’s really awesome that he doesn’t mind, but, I’d like to be able to contribute too, you know? With more than $9 an hour seasonally.
I’ve not done things because I was afraid or too drained to, and I regret those a lot. I wanted to make friends with all the G&S Vloggers during the competition but didn’t – mostly because I was coming off of hellcation and the PTSD that brought (which, fed into self loathing, oh yeah, that’s tied in too – this is a nasty beast). I’ve regretted it since and haven’t really known how to deal with it. I didn’t meet any of the strip search artists at PAX even though they’re some of my favorite people because, SOCIAL ANXIETY. I feel like I talked a little about the meltdown I was dealing with over that weekend, it’s basically all of this stuff and existential crisis and creative self-doubt.
But, I DID muster up the courage to buy a shirt from MC Frontalot because I was too scared at PAX East…so…that’s a plus? If you don’t listen to the internal montage of “dude, you sounded so stupid” that played for a couple days later.
I realized there, that everyone deals with this – all creatives do – probably all humans, actually. I don’t remember which story Scott Kurtz was telling that made that point, but it was perfect. I think it was about how you put so much of yourself out there that you get exhausted, which…so true. Sometimes everything in my head is exhausting, and everything external is exhausting and everything is just exhausting.
But I can’t not do it.
And that’s what keeps me going – through the blocks and the fear and the anxiety.
I know what happens when I don’t create (I go nuts and YAY MORE MELTDOWN KIERY).
I have to (and I love it).
I realize that ultimately, the problem is coming from myself and my own hangups and my own fears and I am quite literally my own worst enemy. I am the one with the unreasonable expectations and overactive internal critic.
I just don’t know how to fix it – I’ll let you know when I do.
(If you’ve discovered the elixir, tell me? please? begs)

Strangely Quiet

I feel like I’ve been spending the last two weeks trying to catch up from when my teef were taken out of my face. I feel like I missed an entire week of stuff – probably because I did.
Honestly, it’s been a little stressful – I’ve been overwhelmed trying to get things going, or done, or out of the middle – and I’ve been exhausting myself while doing it, which creates more stress, so I’ve lived in a stress bubble for the last couple weeks. Not as fun as it sounds.
On top of that, the vicodin negated the effect of my antidepressants, so that’s been exciting to deal with. I’ve been paralyzed in a cycle of anxiety, depression, and self-loathing because of those reasons + hormones, so yeah, that’s why it’s been so quiet. I can’t relax and everything in my brain is all scattered and overwhelmed and I generally feel like I’m made of fail.
Writing this out, I realize I just need to let go.
But I needed to see it in front of my face first.
Sims 3, tea, and candles for the rest of the day it is, while I ride this out.