It’s GOT to be brain chemistry…

You know, I really, really, really hate the down-swings I suffer through. They run something like this:

1) I don’t feel like working.
2) I try to work, and STILL can’t get much done.
3) I feel guilty about getting nothing done.
4) Now I can’t play, because I have guilt preventing me from enjoying it.
5) The day ends, and I hope that I’ll wake up in better spirits tomorrow.

Usually on a day when I’ve got huge quantities of work to do and that work is DIRECTLY CONNECTED to money, I have no problem getting moving. Today should have been a joyous celebration of “doing what I love.” Instead I moped, slept, inked a few panels, colored a little, and basically followed the numbered dance steps above.

Fortunately for you guys, Sandra and Kiki began laying out work for me in my office. I can begin sketch edition work in earnest tomorrow (as soon as I finish coloring a week or two of comics. Yes, Sunday’s strip is only partly colored right now. Ideally, tomorrow I will color a week of strips and then knock back about 200 sketch editions. If there’s any hand left, I’ll ink a week of strips.

Believe it or not, I LIKE 12-hour days. And on the days when I don’t like them, I WANT to like them. All I can figure is that on days like today (and yesterday, truth be told) something is wrong with my brain.

–Howard

11 thoughts on “It’s GOT to be brain chemistry…”

  1. I’ve been locked in that loop for quite a long while.
    I wish I could break completely out of it. There are so many fun things I want to do, but I end up not getting them done. Or even starting.
    I don’t know if it’s perfectionism, or fear of failure or laziness or what.
    Insight would be appreciated.

  2. I used to suffer from the same thing, and still do, sorta. I didn’t believe in mental illnes; I thought it was just a character weakness.

    Thing is, I *knew* that I was perfectly capable of being productive. I finally admitted to myself that I had a problem when I was sitting at my computer, with an empty Coke can on the desk, and I could not bring myself to reach out and pick up the can and put it in the garbage can located at my feet. I wouldn’th ave even had to get out of the chair or reach or lean or anything. When I found myself unable to do THAT, I knew that I had a problem; NOBODY is that lazy/ineffective/unproductive naturally.

    It was posited that it was a neurotransmitter thing. I tried Paxil (which blocks seratonin reuptake so that it sticks around in the synapses long enough to get the job done), but not only did it not work, it turned off my nether regions (a common side effect). THen I tried Wellbutrin 300XL which operates on dopamine and norepinepherine.

    The difference was daylight and dark. I know it wasn’t a placebo effect, because one would think the first drug would have worked if I were susceptible to the placebo effect. Also, no sexual side effects.

    Everybody’s brain chemistry is different; different people respond to different drugs. I can promise you that it is worth taking the time to find the right one.

    1. Goodluckfox, I had *exactly* the same experience. Well, except for the Coke can. Serotonin reuptake inhibitors – I tried two of them – actually made the problem *worse*. But Wellbutrin 300XL changed my life. I don’t have those down days where I can’t move anymore. I’m happy, I have energy. It took about four weeks to really kick in, and now it’s been five months, and I’m finally believing that it’s really real. And the only sexual side effect has been… well, that’s better too. 🙂

      I hated the idea of taking antidepressants, and I wish I didn’t need them. But that’s like a diabetic wishing she didn’t need insulin shots. When I realized, like you did, that this was a brain-chemistry problem and not a character flaw, I felt better because I knew there was something I could do. I did the research, I picked out Wellbutrin for myself after Prozac and Zoloft didn’t work, and it was so very worth it. I hate to sound like a cheesy commercial, but I finally have my life back.

  3. I was depressed yesterday for what seems like the first time in MONTHS. I think it was triggered by some concerns I have with my company’s direction, then extended into guilt-for-not-getting-stuff-done, to completely abandoning hope of feeling better until today.

    Maybe the Sun’s gamma-wave quotient was high, or something.

  4. I feel like that almost every day except for small bursts.

    It’s a little better knowing that someone like you who does a constant churn of productive, creative, life-bettering work has a day like that sometimes.

    Still — I wish I had more days like you seem to. Keeping something like Schlock going for as long as you have and with its consistently high quality is truly amazing to me.

  5. This happens to me whenever I’m either overwhelmed (somewhat of a paradox) or completely disinterested in the task that needs doing. Both result in major procrastination.

    I do find that a little guilt-free procrastination resets my brain to a mode in which it’s willing to accept being forced to work… worth trying if you can manage rationalizing your procrastination for a couple hours. 😉

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