Archive

Monthly Archives: August 2012

 

So this really happened, post-therapy, which was nice… 🙂

I’ve been doing diaphragmatic breathing and progressive muscle relaxation, and it seems to be really making a difference. Apparently my general day-to-day level is so strung out that it makes even the wee things in life seem massive.

Interesting thing is, after relaxation I’m this completely chilled person that I haven’t been since I was about 19 or 20. I can remember it, being that groovy and chilled, but it didn’t last. But remembering it has made me realise that beneath all this anxiety and worry, that’s who I really am, and hopefully can be again.

 

Anyone who knows me knows I can be an opinionated prick – and those folk also know that I’m not a protester, or an activist, or someone who really gets up off my arse to campaign on things that I’m passionate about. I like to think that balances out more recently with the community art work I do – small changes and all that – but nevertheless, I’m an angry guy who doesn’t do a lot with it.

I’m angry at many things – I’m angry at the polarisation of politics. I’m angry at capitalism. Angry at religion, and the way it’s often wielded, the lack of true compassion and spirituality at the heart of things, and the fact that more often than not in this world, we spend more time worrying about what other people are doing than ourselves. All these things make me rage.

Probably more so now because of the online nature of things. Knowledge is a good thing, if you can use it. But if it just gets you angry, then what is the use? Is it better that I know more about US right wing politics than I ever have done? Should I even care?

Does it matter that our government in the UK has never been under so much scrutiny when it (regardless of political party) appears to be able to get away with pretty much anything? I don’t know. All I know is that I feel like I’ve spent too much time lately getting angry, and doing nothing with it.

So for one, I started putting the brakes on – using ‘Comment Blocker’ on Chrome to block reader comments on most blogs I read, stopping myself from posting big comments that tend to only add fuel to the fire. I’ve got draft emails sitting with me moaning about various things that I’ve stopped myself from finishing and sending. It’s a little, but it will hopefully help.

On top of that, I’m pouring all my anger and rage into a comic book I’m writing and drawing, called ‘Gonzo Cosmic’. It’s a wild sci fi epic, channelling (hopefully) the spirit of Jack Kirby mixed with weird psychotropic 70s cinema. But it’s also intensely political, and I’m managing, I think, to find ways to get all of my anger in there, to play with it, mould it, reshape it, question it and generally turn it into something that I really hope will be more positive in the end.

Meanwhile, I try to stop reading so much online commentary…

Here’s a sneak preview of Gonzo Cosmic #1, which won’t be out until 2013.

 

I’m really pleased to show you all this latest guest post from Gill Hatcher. She’s part of Team Girl Comic  and has a Tumblr page where she’s started to post more webcomics about Trichotillomania.

I’ll let Gill explain what this condition is below, but I just want to say how grateful I am to her for letting me use such a brave guest post.

“One of the most visible ways my anxiety manifests itself is ‘Trichotillomania’. Trick-o-till-o-mania is an impulse control disorder that basically means I pull out my own hair, and have very little control over it. I have been doing this since I was 13 years old, but 12 years on it’s worse than ever.

Last week I looked out a diary comic I made about 18 months ago, following my attempts to stop pulling. Interestingly, despite all the difficulties I was experiencing in my life during that time, I can now see that I had managed to gain slightly better control of my pulling through this method. So I’m taking it a step further and going public. There’s a lot of unnecessary shame and stigma surrounding trichotillomania, so I’m hoping that being more open about my struggle to become pull-free will not only help myself, but others too.

Wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trichotillomania

Trichotillomania support: http://www.trichotillomania.co.uk/

 

First proper session of CBT this week, and we tackled the cycle of anxiety/depression/whatever. That’s it above, basically. Any of the four sectors can be the activator, and each one can lead to any other and back and forward. For me, the most obvious are ‘Thoughts’ and ‘Physical Effects’, with ‘Behaviours’ being the most obvious outcome, especially avoidance, but I think that might mean that somewhere beneath the surface, ‘Feelings’ is the area I have the most issue with.

My therapist said that my general anxiety levels are so high that even small things were being unnecessarily magnified, and advised that I get on the relaxation trip asap. She gave me a CD with some exercises on it, most of which I’ve done before. But working with a guided CD is so much better than doing it on your own – I did diaphragmatic breathing and progressive muscle relaxation then totally zoned out for the remainder of the exercises, “waking up” to hear the speaker talking about stuff I’d written down, which I’d completely missed.

I got up and Mitch commented on how chilled I seemed – more relaxed than he’d ever seen me. Which was a bit of a wake up call, as there was a point years ago when I was genuinely that relaxed a lot of the time… So obviously I need to work to bring that everyday level of anxiety down, and then work on the other stuff. So expect to see me get totally zen over the next few weeks 🙂

It has totally worked though – last night was a pretty big meeting of the Glasgow league of Writers and I managed to not feel nervous. Also I’ve managed to pull some really good art out of the bag this week, so here’s hoping…

More guest posts on their way too, by the way. Thanks to Neil for his wonderful strip the other day – you must have brought loads of visitors dude – you managed my third busiest day so far!! If you liked his strip, I’d seriously suggest to race over to his Etsy store and buy one of the few remaining copies of ‘Nine Lines of Metro’.

 

I am absolutely delighted to have a first guest strip today from the very talented Neil Slorance, co-creator and artist on ‘Jonbot vs Martha’, as well as creator of ‘Nine Lines of Metro’, one of the biggest influences on me doing my own auto-biographical comic.

He’s an absolute gem, and has a fantastic way of capturing emotion in a really raw form, as well as a quite wicked sense of humour too. If you’d like to see more of Neil’s work or catch up on what he’s doing just now, head over to:

neilslorance.com
flickr.com/photos/osm_art
twitter.com/osmart

Thanks Neil!

Normal service will resume on Wednesday and Friday, and I’ve got some more interesting guest posts coming up in the next couple of weeks. If you would like to contribute a guest post, please email me on info@cosmicdesigns.co.uk.

 

Still playing with panel structures, so here’s a wee 4 panel strip. Which is a strange format to use for such a subtle and dense allusion…

We’re obviously talking libido here, which is something that SSRIs are known to affect. The funny thing is, when I started on the anti-Ds, my libido shot through the roof, so I was like, wey-hey! But then it kind of went again… Now it sort of comes and goes…

It’s the kind of thing that gets talked about even less, but anxiety and depression can have a terrible effect on sex drive. Libido is such a basic force that when affected can have a spiralling impact on mental health.

However, I live in hope that sorting my head out in general will have a positive result on these other areas of my life too 🙂