A Chat: Answers

Cheers to that.

Really trying to adopt this motto into my own life.

I mean, there isn’t more that we can do except live one day at a time, right?  Doesn’t do any good trying to live too far in the future.

This is admittedly easier said than done, especially for someone like me, whose anxiety just LOVES to focus on things days/weeks/months/years down the line, taking me completely out of the present.

But like Lars says, it’s worth a try, right?  Better to try than not at all.

Here’s to the present.

Surgery After Care

Quincy takes caring VERY seriously.

First of all – I’m fine.

It was just minor surgery to correct an issue that I’ve been dealing with since last year.  And I’m feeling much better.  Or at least I’m getting there.

It was a series of firsts for me, though.  First time having to put on a hospital gown.  First time getting an IV.  First time getting wheeled away on a gurney.  First time getting one of those canulas shoved up my nose.  All stuff I’d seen before but I’ve never experienced myself.

And I was extremely nervous about all of it.

Especially the anaesthesia.

My anxiety-riddled brain decided to focus primarily on that.  Every worst what-if reared their ugly little heads.  What if I had a bad reaction?  What if it sent me into a coma?  What if it just didn’t work at all?  Fun stuff like that.

It was probably a control thing – being sent to sleep by something else that wasn’t me.  Or a deep fear of death.  Possibly both.

I just kept seeing this surgery as some weird endpoint.  Like, everything was going to end on Monday and I couldn’t see anything else beyond that.  I wasn’t going to finish my list of books or play Pokemon or draw or eat or anything.  It would all just end.

Clearly, though, it didn’t.  I’m still here.

The anaesthesia as a whole was an interesting experience that could be basically summed up like this:

Anaesthesiologist: Okay, I’m giving you the anaesthesia now.

Me: Huh.  I really hope this works.

H   E   A   D   R   U   S   H

Me: Woo heady I guess it’s working –

Cue me coming to in the recovery room feeling extremely loopy.

After finally being able to get up without feeling dizzy and getting dressed, I was able to go home.  Which is where I’ve been for the past few days recovering.

I am doing much better than I was for the first couple of days – I was mostly tired and sore and not wanting to do much.  Just been taking it easy.  I actually get to go back to work tomorrow, where I will not be pushing myself.  I will just be going slow to make sure I don’t end up hurting myself.

In the meantime, I’m going to be spending my last day at home relaxing and continuing to heal.

Because even though it was technically minor surgery, it was still, indeed, surgery.

Breathe Easy

What a wonderful feeling.

Saturday.

I was at work, doing what I needed to do, collecting books to be placed on hold, trying not to think about anything super hard.  I’m just about done when I hear this noise.  No idea where it came from, almost sounded like some kid that was either really upset or super excited (hard to tell sometimes).  I shrug, and wander into the back room to start processing books.

That noise was my boss.

And that was how I found out that Joe Biden won.

Honestly, right now my feelings are a bit more mixed than presented in the comic.  Characterwise, I’m sure Lars is breathing just fine.  And so am I.  It’s like 2020 decided to finally throw us a bone at the end of the year.  Kind of like a miracle.

And yet.

I’m still struggling with this deep down feeling of doubt.  Like, some lingering unease or anxiety lurking about.  What if something else happens?  What if things suddenly flip and What’s His Face manages to pull something off?

What if, what if, what if.

I want to be Lars here.  I want to be able to fully embrace this and just breathe without these under-feelings.  And I believe I can.  I need to take care of myself, though.  I need to make sure that I avoid falling down certain rabbit holes and winding myself up, period.

Then I can settle into this peace.  Hopefully.  And actually celebrate.

Last Week

Been a while since I drew these guys.

Last week.

My god.

Last week was one of the longest, most excruciating weeks I have had the displeasure of experiencing period.

Like, all of the anxiety I’ve had during 2020 was jammed into the span of a week and heightened to levels that I haven’t felt in years.

All due to a very particular event that pretty much captured everyone’s attention and likewise had them refreshing endlessly whilst fueling their own worried states – Election 2020.

Jesus, give me strength.

Sunday and Monday were fine.  Normal even.

Then Tuesday rolled along.

I remember the last Presidential election and what it did to me.  How when states started falling to What’s His Face, I immediately had a massive panic/anxiety attack and fell apart.  So, I thought I’d be wise and turn my phone off all day, making sure to hide it away in my brother’s room just to be safe.

Didn’t stop me from worrying, but I thought’d that would be fine.  I’d manage.  Sure, there was anxiety building up, but then I’d go to bed and wake up to some sort of result.

Wednesday – of course, no result.  Because nothing can be easy in 2020.

After having some bizarre Election dreams and not sleeping well at all, I wake up to a big old mess.  Nothing’s been called.  Votes are still being counted.  Joe Biden’s behind in several very important states.  Another four years of What’s His Face.

Anxiety and stress levels immediately skyrocket.  What fun.

Several things happen when I get stressed.  One is that my sleep patterns go straight out the window.  Two is that I can’t eat.  I am not a stress eater.  At all.  My stomach just won’t let anything in.  Of course, if I don’t eat, my stomach immediately goes, “Why haven’t you eaten anything?!  Eat something now!”  But then if I do get something down, it’s all “Why did you do that?!”

So I’m exhausted, not eating, and chain-worrying.  I’m stuck in some weird suspended animation, just constantly refreshing, refreshing, REFRESHING.  Not doing anything else – I don’t have enough bandwidth to do so.  My attention span shrinks, only able to take in a few minutes at a time.

And I thought I was okay.

I honestly did.  I thought I was managing things just fine.  This was okay.  Totally, totally okay.

Thursday – I am not okay.

I am so far from okay it’s not even funny.  Exhaustion is catching up to me big time.  I’m probably dehydrated at this point as well.  Still can’t do anything else except hit that damn refresh button.

I should also mention that I was home this entire time.  Didn’t have to go to work Tuesday through Thursday, which really would’ve been a big help in keeping me distracted.  It seemed great weeks ago – until I got stuck in Election Purgatory.

And – a very BIG and – we had people working on the house, replacing the siding.  Which turned out to be a noisy process.  A very early, noisy process.  So sleep ended early.  And my psyche slowly cracked further under the constant hammering coming from every which way.

I do manage to make my way to my friend Suzy’s house, which ends up being a much needed respite from the noise/anxiety/screens/refreshing/everything.  Honestly, I’m amazed that I make it there, considering how tired I am.  But we talk.  We sat in her basement room, and just hash it out.  The first time that week that I say out loud to someone other than myself that I am not okay.  That I am stuck deep in some anxiety hole.

That evening, I end up getting so overwhelmed that I break down into my Chinese food.  I’m tired.  I’m hurting.  Why can’t I break out of this cycle?  Why am I here in this pit?  Why can’t they just call the stupid race already my GOD.

Friday.  The workers are gone.  The house looks nice and fresh.  I get to wake up naturally.  I get to go to work.  I’m still a mess, but at least I’m functioning kind of.  And things are starting to look up Electionwise.

Which is where more what ifs show up.  What if there is 4 more years of What’s His Face?  What if Pennsylvania doesn’t flip?  What if, what if, what if.

And yet, for the first time in days, I’m hopeful.  It’s just a spark, but it’s something.

Still can’t eat properly, by the by.  And starting to feel a depressive front moving in.  Just what I need at this time.

Then, Saturday.

Glorious, glorious Saturday.

They start calling the Election.  Biden’s in the lead – and he’s won.

I’ll get further into the story Wednesday but holy crap.  Like, holiest of craps.  What is happening.

What am I feeling?  Relief.  Disbelief.  Shock.  This isn’t real.  But it is real.

And the anxiety fog starts to lift a bit.

I’m actually able to eat a full plate of dinner.  I manage to sleep through the night.  And Sunday, I can take a nap without struggle.  It’s amazing.

So, here we are in this week.  I’m still feeling the after effects, honestly.  And I still need to be careful of what I’m checking on my phone because anxiety is a beast and I don’t want to set it off again.

But I’m so much better.  Each day I feel more and more alive again.  I’m drawing.  I’ve started a new book.  I’m turned on my Switch.  All the coping mechanisms I should’ve been using all of last week, according to my therapist.

I’m glad to be out of suspended animation.  I’m glad to be moving around and feeling human again.

And I’m feeling very, very good about the next four years.  But again, that’s for Wednesday.

Right now, I’m doing stuff.

Mistakes Were Made

How will I check Instagram 10 times an hour without it???

Yep.

Fell down a rabbit hole of election news for a good solid hour a few days ago.  Managed to get my heart rate/anxiety up.

On the plus side, this is the first time I’ve done that in ages.  And I don’t plan on doing it again soon.  Because I’m not actually learning anything or taking anything in.  Just worrying.

Therapist Hunting

It’s one way to handle the search.

I know what you’re all thinking.

And the answer is – yes, I really can’t draw dartboards.  Looks like I’ll have to add it the list, alongside cars.

In all seriousness, though, I do need a therapist to get my anxiety under control.  And I am in the process of looking for one.  It’s not as easy as I would’ve hoped, and it does honestly feel like I’m throwing darts at a dartboard hoping that one will stick.  I just don’t want to make the wrong choice.

Oh, and also I don’t know what Quincy is either.  I…just liked the way he looked.  So, here he is.

I seriously need to introduce some characters.  I still introduce Dot’s monster friends.  And get back to her storyline.

One thing at a time!

Right now: therapy.

The Slightest Sound

Neither Nigel nor the burrito deserved that.

Still getting used to the new car, as you can see, even though it’s already been two months.

There have been times where I’m like “NO NO NO NOT AGAIN – oh, wait, it’s just my knee knocking against the paneling.”  Or I tune into a certain sound and turn off my music to find out what it is, only to found out it was just a part of the song.

Clearly, still a bit traumatized from the Incorrigible Bastard.

Walrus Studies: Interview

Trying not to sweat all over his resumé.

Well now, look at our walrus friend here!  All dressed up nice and neat, with a briefcase in one flipper and a resumé in the other,  with a look that says, “Pretty please hire me – I am not too proud to beg.”

Basically reflecting how I’m feeling at this very moment.

I have an interview coming up this Tuesday, and if all goes well, I could get that promotion.  Which is both exciting and nerve wracking.  On the one hand, I am so ready to be taking this next step on the library ladder.  Love being a page, but it’s about time.  Plus I could use having more hours at work.

On the other hand, I’m terrified at the notion of leaving my current library.  And I do enjoy this current paging position.  There is this nagging little voice at the back of my mind saying, “Don’t do this.  Be a page forever.  It’s a good gig.  Why rock the boat?”

And the interview itself…gracious.  I need to present the best me possible to this panel and NOT screw this up.  And of course, me being me, I’ve been thinking the worst.  Because anxiety is fun times.

However, I do have to remember that unlike the last time I interviewed, I actually have a job that I can keep on working at.  So that helps.  And I have been getting a metric ton of advice from pretty much everyone I work with.  Plus, I did just take an interviewing class.  So I’ve got a couple of things working for me there.  Just need to remember to ask questions and tell them everything that I’ve done in the past few years at the library.

Hoping for the best.  Now it’s time to find some nice pants to wear.

Autumnal Worries

"Seriously, man, stop checking Accuweather every 2 seconds."   "BUT I MUST KNOW IF IT CHANGES."
“Seriously, though, you need to stop checking Accuweather every 2 seconds-“
“BUT I MUST KNOW IF IT CHANGES.”

…yeah, I’d be lying if I said that I don’t do this every Fall.  I’d also be lying if I said that I don’t check the weather forecast at least two months out, because I worry that it won’t cool off at all and it’ll just be warm forever.  Because I do.  And Accuweather is an enabler of this very bad habit.

What can I say?  I like nature to stay on course.  And in my honest opinion, summer has more than overstayed its welcome.  Yes, technically it’s still summer.  But it should start edging towards fall now instead of being so bloody hot.  I know I’m not the only one who feels this way, what with this heat wave up and down the East Coast.

So let’s all hope that this blows over fast.  And that I don’t end up bothering too many people this Fall with my, um, seasonal anxieties.

Toothpaste and Other Cleaning Things

Cut to about 10 minutes of me spitting and swishing.
Cut to about 10 minutes of me spitting and swishing.

Confession time: I am afraid of toothpaste.

It’s not that I don’t use the stuff, because of course I do.  That would be disgusting, otherwise, not brushing my teeth.  And I did go through a period where I didn’t brush for a good long while in college – led to some rather bloody gums, and I’ll just leave it at that.

A part of me thinks it was because I was lazy, or perhaps it was just the tedium of the chore itself.

Or maybe it was because I’m terrified that I might swallow it.

It’s true – the main part of toothpaste is that I’m afraid I’m going to end up swallowing some minute portion and it’s going to enter my system and I will end up dead.  Dead from brushing my teeth.  I mean, it says don’t swallow on the tube itself, and I guess a part of me takes that very, very seriously.

I’ve taught myself to shut off the back of my throat and breathe through my nose while brushing my teeth.  But still, there’s that moment where I feel something tickle my throat and I think “Well, that’s the end of me.”

After I finish brushing, I have to swish out my mouth very thoroughly, just to make sure that there isn’t anything left behind that could potentially poison me.  And then I end up spitting for the first maybe 5 to 10 minutes afterwards, just to be on the safe side.  After all, who knows what could be there, lodged in my teeth, waiting…?

This is probably the most OCD thing that goes on in my brain.  Lord knows it’s not having things organized – all you have to do is look in my room to see that that ain’t true.  It’s this contamination thing that lurks in the back of my mind.  Anything that could potentially poison me or somebody else because it is on my person needs to get OFF.

And it’s not just toothpaste.  It really branches out to all things that have to do with cleaning.  Laundry soap, bleach, Windex, Clorox wipes, even air fresheners – stuff that is made to clean and freshen things up cannot be on me.  It mostly has to do with my hands.  If I get some on my hands, they need to be washed pronto before I can literally do anything else.  Because what if I decide to get some food, or touch the countertop or my eyes or my parents?  What if it got under my skin and into my bloodstream somehow?  What if I end up breathing it in and it gets in my lungs or destroys my brain cells – or somebody else’s?  In my mind, that spells doom for all.

Yes, I do realize that cleaning, whether it be the house or my teeth, is important.  But my brain needs to be absolutely sure that after the act of doing see, I need to be completely cleared of anything potentially “dangerous.”

My brain is like one big fun house of weird.  I mean, it’s just toothpaste.  And I realize that.  But I think that’s a facet of OCD – realizing that it’s strange, but having to do it anyway.

Side note: no, I have not been diagnosed with OCD.  But sometimes, with stuff like this, I have to wonder.