Posted March 2, 2024 at 09:00 am

first, because of how flighty i've been with updates, i would like to encourage you to use an RSS feed reader and add the "a ghost story" RSS feed to it by clicking "find feeds in page" or "add new feed" and entering or dragging and dropping it if you use a different RSS feed reader. rss feeds are how the ancients used to navigate the web and through it they knew when things updated immediately. using an RSS feed has 2 major benefits: 1. you can get updates without having to use any social media or following my social media. 2. you can keep up with the comic when updates get sporadic without having to hopefully remember to check it some day in the future.

second, i do not like to advertise the patreon when i am behind on rewards and have been unable to deliver anything of interest beyond comic pages for a while, but consider throwing a buck a month at me to see pages a month early. that's something.

i realize that webcomics really need reliability to survive, so i'm genuinely so annoyed and so unhappy that i'm in this situation. i toughed it out as long as i could, but this final leg has been the fucking pits. it sucks. effexor is a notorious nightmare of an antidepressant to get off of and boy were they not kidding. i'm down to a quarter pill doses, but my body is rampaging because i'm not dosing it with the norepinephrine treat its become accustomed to. its never so much that i'm like, in acute physical or mental distress, its just bad enough that it makes working consistently hard. i had a buffer up until this last month when it was completely used up because i was too busy thinking about how bad my entire face hurt. or how my eyes felt like they were vibrating out of my skull.

i started effexor two years ago and was on a pretty high dose. i got the most bizarre and unpleasant side effects on this drug and the reason i didn't do anything about it was because the drug's primary effect was to instill me with a sense of overwhelming apathy. this is a great effect (intentional? i'm not sure) to have when the symptom you were trying to treat was "unbearable anxiety". not joking, it worked incredibly well for at least getting me mentally back to a baseline level of sane. after that, though, with nothing irrational to be apathetic about, my brain decided that household chores, basic hygiene, and my job were pointless and stupid or unpleasant. food tasted bad. not bland, bad. showers felt annoying instead of relaxing. i would look at the dishes piling up in the sink, the barest minimum i should be doing around the house on a daily basis to maintain a comfortable living space and would think "well that is just impossible".

but i was also putting up with a lot of stupid shit from my body. it made my right hand fingers and lower back feel distractingly stiff. my lip was split for a year straight and would re-open every time i opened my mouth. my nose and gums had open sores. i got a rash on my face that lead me down a rabbit hole for months trying to figure out if i do or don't have lupus (i dont)(neat). i would get insomnia so bad i would be up for 36 hours regularly, but i was too tired to get anything done. and with the withdrawals i would get all of those and as an added bonus i got to enjoy body aches that felt like bruises all over my body. they hurt so bad that laying on the couch was uncomfortable as a consequence of newton's third law. and i'd have weird meltdowns about the cats hating me (?). i am only boring you with all of this whining to try to explain the amount of distractions i was fending off while still trying to be a productive member of a household, experiencing common adulthood problems galore (basement....), and trying to create comics for you and for me. i am telling you this because it sucked, and sucks, so bad.

on top of everything else, the impact the effexor has had on my creativity has been eye-opening. i realized there was a correlation between my dosages increasing and my ability to draw nosediving. the "impossible" feeling of the dishes carried over to my comic work which got lazier and worse and i knew it and it was frustrating. there is a special kind of shame and guilt you develop when you charge someone for something you know is not your best work, just the best you could do in the moment. or when you are just sitting in front of your computer staring at it blankly and thinking about how much you'd like to draw if only it wasn't the hardest thing in the world. you feel like a lazy sack of shit, knowing that there is nothing physically preventing you from working. your brain simply cannot make

i started the weaning process in i think november so am pretty much on track for this to actually be over soon. there's light at the end of the tunnel. its happening. and there are bright moments in between doses where i can actually do things. like right now! i drew this very easily instead of being in hell for hours. but these precious moments are short lived until the withdrawal symptoms start up and i have to take another pill that nerfs me.

anyway APRIL 6th! dont forget me or ill cry.