38. Activity

20 Nov 2017

I’ve been neglecting this blog somewhat because most of my attention and time has been focused on Depressed Dave’s comics. I’ve set up Instagram, FB and Twitter for DD Comics, and you can follow it at @depdavecomics.

Drawing comics causes me to lose track of time. I want to focus on an idea more than an art form, and yet I feel there must be a basic amount of work done to get the comic to a minimally acceptable standard. For example, there must be sufficient reason to expect people to see a kitchen and understand that it’s a kitchen, rather than some abstract art that resembles a kitchen. I don’t want the lack of artistry to detract from the message.

For the comics are not only a distraction for me, but also a different medium to spread mental health awareness. Many if not all of the issues I draw about are close to my heart, and on at least more than one occasion, I have put the stylus down because there’s just too much going on in my heart as I try to put what I have visualized in my head down on the canvas. As I draw, I find myself drawing my feelings into the expressions and words, simple as they are, and constructing dialogue can be as painful as it is liberating. I intend to continue anyway, since it helps me to release a side of me that is otherwise kept inside.

Thing is, drawing a comic is very different from writing a blog. I can use lots of words here, but a comic needs to be concise and to the point. I’m not good at that, but when I do succeed, it sometimes is so pointed that I feel my own pain in what I write on the comic. Someone told me that it’s a lot darker than my writing, and that my writing allows her to empathise with me better. I’d say the comic is a different way to relate to my struggles, and it may hit home harder because you, the reader, have to interpret it through your own lens of experience, unlike in my writing, where I can bring you through in greater detail, what my mind experiences.

I’m still struggling with letting go of work. I have been having an undercurrent of un-wellness, and we’ve traced it to my work. I do still struggle with abandoning a decades-old career, and right at the point where I seem to be doing something more advanced, something that I care for. I know cognitively that I care more for mental health advocacy, but the sadness does cut into me. Tomorrow – or rather later today – I head into office to do my exit clearance. I don’t really feel ashamed of having to ask for, and receiving help from brothers and sisters who love us so much. But it still is something sad, and while I don’t ask why, I do feel the wrench of giving up something dear to me.

On that same note, thank you to all the brothers and sisters who’ve volunteered to help. We’re really blessed!

The future is still uncertain, but I’m still not ready for work. Just today, my wife had to go for a baking teaching session, and early in the morning, we had a disagreement, and it made me very upset. I left the house with the boys as planned, but we did so earlier than she did, and she forgot a file that she needed as she now had to lock up the house and carry her stuff out of the house without any of us helping to hold the door. I was upset and angry, at myself as well, for my reaction, and for a long while, I was struggling to keep down tears and anger, for the sake of the boys as we headed to lunch. I was fighting hard not to look down on myself for what I’d done, but it was difficult. I did again pray for God to take me away, as I felt so terrible, guilty and useless. But He didn’t.

By about 3 plus, I was calm enough to decide to cook dinner as an apology. I managed to pull it off, completing the meal just when my wife reached home, and fed the boys as well.

I have a ton of homework to do before Thursday as well, for my therapy. We’re at the stage where I can start to analyse and work out how to correct my thoughts by identifying what are unhelpful ways of thinking based on a list of possible unhelpful mental thought processes that I’ve been given, and then by asking myself some questions to figure out what is wrong with the thought, and then give a replacement thought. All this requires time and space, but recently I find myself taxed either with the kids or with just going out because I feel too lethargic at home. So I need to find time to do my homework as well.

My presentation on depression at my current / to-be-ex workplace is next week, and I need to clean up my slides as well. I’m not freaking out, but I need to take everything one step at a time. While I’ve managed to take a long walk from Ikea Alexandra through the Southern Ridges and ending by taking the cable car from Faber to Harbourfront, I think I won’t be able to take long walks until the week is out.

So things are generally improving, even if daily challenges are still quite tough to handle. I’ll just have to keep on fighting and pushing myself to do my best, provided my best doesn’t cause a relapse.

Be well, all.

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