1474 Batterwitch.

Poor Maddison, all you want it to love him long time and Alex keeps filling your mind with cake. Who can withstand cakey distractions? Well, me for one, but generally cake isn’t a lie. A friend of mine has a fetish for girls eating cake. I don’t like cake particularly, so when I try to draw gifts for him it always feels a little hollow because I project myself on to the things I draw. Since I don’t like cake I tend to draw sandwiches, or things I like. Even Carol liking ice cream is a stretch because I don’t particularly like ice cream. Almost every woman I’ve known has loved ice cream though, so it seemed more real for her to obsess over that. The onlt really sweet thing I am addicted to is DR pepper. Generally I like chips and stuff. I’ll forego desert so I can have more regular food because for me dessert is usually meh.

I wrote this earlier today when I was feeling more manic than I am now and I can no longer tell exactly how likely it is that I won’t finish on time. My body is swinging wildly from one feeling to the next so relatively normal J.T. isn’t sure how accurate sick and miserable J.T. is. Just know that sick me tends to be emotional and sincere, so the feelings presented are true even if my comprehension of the circumstances is possibly skewed.

Guys, I’m not gonna sugar coat this, I don’t know if there will be a new page up on Monday. So many things have happened at once that I just don’t know if I can make it happen. I’m going to try my best, but I don’t want this to come as a total shock if I fail.

Just as an update on what’s wrong with me, my blood tests show that my cpap isn’t working right. Its not working right because I can’t get an acceptable mask for it, I can’t get a mask for it because the company screwed up my insurance claim so my account is all fucked.
I also have some kind of infection in my sinuses that is preventing me from using my other mask. I’m on antibiotics for it that make me a bit sick.
My blood pressure is no longer under control. I get dizzy and weak if I get angry or am under a lot of immediate stress. It’s running high from the constant anxiety that everything is causing me. My medication has been returned to its higher dose because of this.
I’ve also been put on an anti anxiety drug, which worries me. Ironically not knowing what effects it will have on me increases my anxiety. I took the first dose last night and felt… not good. Its supposed to take a few days for it to start having its proper effect, but last night was weird. I didn’t like it. It was an unfamiliar feeling that took most of the morning to go away. It made me sleepy too. Sleepy in that way that sleep drugs make me, which I don’t like.

Everyone keeps telling me to calm down like its something I can just turn on and off. If I could I fucking would. It’s not like I chose for all this bullshit to happen, I’m just trying to live through it.

I guess it should go without saying that my foot hasn’t ever healed as well. It’s a little better than it was, but the blood vessels still haven’t healed. Without the cpap, and with all the other stuff, my krecovery has been retarded. It hadn’t ever healed fully the first time and that had already been months. Who knows how long it could be before it’s even close to normal.

Basically the only thing that makes me calm is a sense of security. My sense of security comes from the financial stability the comic brings me. So when I can’t work on it my sense of security gets shaken, which leads to anxiety, which hurts my body, which slows me down, which further erodes my ability to remain calm. It’s a cycle that’s incredibly hard to break.

I know you guys mean well when you tell me to take a break, but this comic is all I have. It has to keep being read, or I don’t have enough money to keep being sick. There is no fallback position for me, this is the last line of defense. When I’m making the comic it’s like I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing. When I’m not doing it life feels wrong. I’ve struggled to be here on time, every time. You guys have allowed me to do something with my life I would never have believed was possible a decade ago. I can’t throw that in your face by not trying my hardest all the time.

I don’t know what’s going to happen from one day to the next anymore, but I do know that I’ll be trying to be here for you on time, every time, even if I fail. I hope that’s enough.

I’m going to try and do Monday’s page right now. Hopefully my body will hold out long enough to at least finish the inking. If I can do most of a page a day I can stay a tiny bit ahead of things. Maybe tomorrow I’ll have a good day and feel better.

75 Comments

What would the charge for a properly fitting CPAP mask be? I seriously can’t stand the thought that you are this ill and not able to get one because of insurance fuckery. I can’t think of anything I’d rather get someone for Christmas than a shot at improved health.

A quality Cpap mask will run around $100-150 U.S.D. for a good one there are cheaper ones out there but they don’t fit right.

Jackie? This match what your insurance company is telling you? Which mask do you need? Let a brother know and I’ll hook you up.

cheers,
Phil

I actually don’t know the name or product number because I ended up with nasal pillows, I think they are called. The problem is that they hurt my head in various ways and I can’t use them if my allergies are too bad. So I need a face mask that fits for those occasions. Its not as effective as the pillows but its better than nothing. Right now the care people keep losing the papers that say I’m compliant with the insurance rules. Ive actually got a copy now of the most recent ones, just so I can shove it in their fat faces.

Check out the Resmed Quattro ™ FX Full Face Mask System. ($185.00 USD via http://www.thecpapshop.com/resmed-quattro-fx-full-face-mask-system) It’s a very good fitting full face CPAP mask. I can’t breathe through my nose from it being broken three times. (When being a mouth breather isn’t a sign of low IQ, just poor sledding ability) I am sure, allergies or no, it would to quite good for you.
I’ve been using this style for about three years now, and it’s so much better than the ones with the pad against the forehead.

I find both of these women delightful for different reasons.

Nice to see their personalities get fleshed out a bit, they’re a much more realistic take then when many a webcomic tries to squeeze in (yukyuk) a heavier girl.

I say don’t even bother with Monday’s comic. Your health is more important than our entertainment and I’m sure the lot of us are willing to wait for as long as it takes for you to get healthy again.

I say, do your best. But do remember that your best might be to slow down slightly. I trust that you will decide to do what works best for you, and in the end, that’s what counts. As, in this case, what is best for you is best for the comic, which is best for it’s readers, namely me. And as selfish as I am, I would like you to do what is best for me, that is, what is best for you.

But I do have some altruism. So, if there is no new page on monday, I shall reread this page.

Hey Jackie –

I’m really sad to hear how bad you’ve been feeling … you deserve better.

I have some experience with sinus infections (more courses of antibiotics than I can count an surgery twice).

The thing that helps me the most is twice daily rinses with salt water. This sounds awful but is not at all painful if done correctly. The description at:
http://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/library/allergy-library/saline-sinus-rinse-recipe.aspx
is pretty good, but I would do a much larger volume and find that about 50% more salt is better.

I hope you feel better soon.

I do that twice a day already. It does help and after I got used to it it’s no big deal. It seems to help prevent sinus headaches. Thanks for the well wishes.

I don’t write on the comments here, but I do always read your posts.
Today I decided to write.

I don’t know if it’ll help, but with anxiety medicine, or any drug, they need to find the one that works with you. Just cause it worked for person Y doesn’t mean it’ll work for person X. You might need a different Doctor, one who listens to you telling them how your body reacts more, because I have a family mbr who as soon as she tells her dr the medicine affected her in an averse way he tells her not to take it and they look for an alternate solution (not that your doctor doesn’t listen to you but just trying to stress my point as I’ve been a witness to the above for 20+ years).

I do hope you get better, even though I know that kind sound sort of cheesy, I don’t mean it that way. I love reading the comic and I have grown to love the characters and the world. What you do is something I wish I could do, but while I start many ideas, I have never come close to finishing them. I admire your work.

This is the first time I’m using anything so I’m just supposed to see if anything happens. So far I can’t tell if its doing anything at all. After the first night it didn’t even make me sleepy. Apparently it takes a while to do anything and my dose is the lowest you can get.

On the comic: that Betty Crocker line got me. Bravo.

On the post/blog/whatever we’re calling it: if a page is missed, it won’t be the end of the world. We (all us readers) would not hold it against you to just take the weekend and have a couple of days off. Your health is important, and despite all the challenges/obstacles/whatever-other-bullshit that get in the way of you taking care of yourself properly (the ill-fitting cpap mask/medical supply company not working with you being a prime example) even just taking a you-day to try & not focus on all the crap could help. Not saying it with any certainty, especially because I know how irritating & stress inducing it can be being behind schedule on something, or not finishing something when/how I wanted to (did jewelry design for a bit, and when something would go wrong it was like a punch in the gut, followed by a couple dozen more to the ego; not fun)

Hmm, getting a bit off track here. Anyway, the long & short of things are: we care about your health, we care about the comic, your well being takes precedence over a comic update, do what you need to do and we’ll be here supporting however we find ourselves supporting you.

Be well, and good luck with whatever the weekend brings you.

As an alternative to completely stopping, what if you went back into the archives and revamped things? I know that the first arc is supposed to be in black and white, but maybe adding color would let you feel like you are being productive while adding content. Maybe spend some time writing ahead, or consider switching to two updates a week, Tuesday and Friday, with a third chapter released on weekends you are feeling healthy?

Actually, two updates a week might be the answer. Give yourself a little more time between pages to relax a bit or work at a slower pace instead of working like crazy while being stressed out to make a deadline. And like I said, if you feel up to it, release a bonus page for the weekend because you are feeling better.

Also, just going to point out that I have been a supporter of you through Patreon for a long time, at least a year if I recall correctly. That’s not going to change, no matter what you do. I’m interested in your work, but I also respect you as an individual. Your health is important. Take the time you need to figure out a plan to become healthy again. Even if you only find some temporary fix, find another quick fix, just keep on working toward a healthier you.

Healthy Jackie = Happy Jackie

p.s. If you posted the phone number of the CPAP people, us readers could probably just call and annoy them to death until they get their act together and help you. Maybe overwhelm their website with bad recier. Use the Dark Side of the internet to your advantage. Remember kids, crowd sourcing is fun!

*Bad reviews
Not sure how auto correct didn’t catch that.

Another thing I forgot to mention: three pages a week is already more than a lot of other comics do, and the people who do three or more a week do so while healthy. If you feel that two pages a week isn’t enough, consider making them two really good pages that you are totally satisfied with, pages so good that they can go directly into the print version.

tl;dr: 2 pages a week instead of 3. Quality over quantity.

I’m not so much on the dark side of the Internet bit, but I would like to know just to avoid them. Any company that’s willing to mess with people’s care isn’t one I want to work with.

If you want to know who they are feel free to email me. I don’t want to give them any ammo for libel. I feel like they are shifty enough take me to court over it.

Long time reader, first time commenter. You sir are one of my favorite, if not the favorite comic artist I follow. I admire your dedication, and I completely understand how you feel about owing us your best.

However, something I’ve recently had beaten into my own thick skull, is that you have to take care of yourself first. Without your health, nothing else matters. We’ll forgive a late or even missing update. What matters to us is that you, the artist, are well. Cut your schedule, take a break, or whatever you have to do, but get healthy, as healthy as you can, we’ll be here, and your supporters aren’t going to abandon you because you paused for health reasons. Please, get better, without you there is no comic, and losing you would be very bad for the world.

Please don’t take this as advice – it’s not – it’s pure perception.

Your comment reminded me quite strongly of AmaziGirl in the most recent DoA story arc. Must… Not… Fail… Ever! While bouncing off a speeding car.

Hey Jackie,

I have only been reading your comics for about 2 months now, but I feel like I have found a piece of myself in your characters (being in a mind-numbing, soul-destroying retail job, I know how it is).

But I also know that in order to look after us with content, you have to look after you as well. Being a webcomic artist is fickle work (Jeph Jacques and Dave Willis made it big, but there are a semi-infinite number of tales out there that barely make it out of Blogspot), and if you are feeling poorly, shitty, or completely fucked up, then the comic will fall.

However, the people who donate to your Patreon (myself included, starting tonight), care about you enough to encourage your comic further. But to do that, you need to get your health into a better state than it currently is. If that means that you only do a two-page week for the time being, so be it. If you still want to contribute three days a week, do a blog, a story piece, or even allow the Teen to ramble a bit. But get your shit in order first until YOU feel you are capable of going back to a three-page week :)

Thanks for your support. Hopefully after the holidays I’ll be able to relax and everything won’t seem so overwhelming all the time. I’ll muddle through somehow, but I’m glad you care enough to contribute.

If you have to muddle through somehow, be sure to hang a shining star from the highest bough.

A little Christmas humor, there.

‘Tis the season to be… well, amazed at the sheer lunacy of the human race and vaguely wonder if any of those conspiracy theories that are ranted on street corners and online might just possibly be true :)

Just gotta push your way through it, mate. Shoulder charge if necessary :D

And no worries. Every little bit helps :)

I can’t speak for everyone, but I know that I wouldn’t withdraw my pledge if you needed to take a hiatus for a bit. I’m quite happy reading comics that update only once a week, and you’ve been updating far more than that. It’s one of the things that has really impressed me about you – your incredible work ethic. But by my count, you’ve built up a huge lead on how many comics you “need” to do, and if you need to scale back for a bit, it should be fine.

I know it’s unlikely, given how everything has gone so far, but I can only hope you start feeling better soon.

I like coca-cola myself.
People take my meaning wrong when I tell them I’m Coke addict though.

And we aren’t going anywhere, so you don’t need to apologize while you get your life sorted. Just keep pushing forward.

I don’t know what to say here, so I’m just going to say I hope things take a turn for the better for you soon!
As a side note, I’m glad my favorite webcomic Author has acknowledged the superiority of Dr. Pepper! :D

No worries, JT.

I get what you’re saying, but just know I love your comic, and if you happen to not update for a day, or a week, or however long it takes, I won’t stop coming back and checking. Comics, for me, are all about story, and you’ve got a great one going.

Please do what you need to do, and if that’s skipping Monday, try not to let it bother you as best you can. Keep fighting the good fight, buddy.

The CPAP mask crap is so frustrating! I sympathize! I went through four different masks before I found one that worked. My supplier was kind enough to not charge me or insurance until we found the right one. I hope yours gets their act together.

About a year after I finally found one I like, the manufacturer discontinued it. I found surplus headbands and mask pads on Amazon for that make/model and bought out every supplier I could find. It cost me about $200, but I have enough mask supplies for the next three years. If you find one you like, I strongly recommend splurging for replacement parts. The rubber and elastic wear out especially quickly if you have CPAP high pressure and keep it strapped on tightly like I do.

I’m with you on the sweets/desert thing. I’d take more food or chips or Cheetos over cake/candy/ice cream any day man! Also, hang in there … it’s tough and i know what you mean that missing work give you more anxiety. (I’m also in that same boat with you…) we all appreciate the hard work. Maybe some Splatoon is in order as a distraction for an hour or two this weekend! I picked it up over black Friday weekend. I haven’t played much this week, but i think i’m like level 8 in turf wars … It’s a great game. I pretty much got it based on how much you raved about it. anyways … You rock, Jackie! We all hope ya feel better soon. None of us like seeing you go through tough times

DUDE.

It won’t be any big thing at all for a bunch of us to chuck in a few bucks to help pay for a fucking CPAP mask. Do a gofundme link or something so you can just buy a proper mask outright so it’ll work and so you can heal up.

I mean, if you can’t quit the comic (which a lot of us totally understand, we *get* it) then at least let us chip in a few side dollars or maybe hold a drive to bump Patreon funding up for a month to make it happen.

Aaaaaand… in the spirit of putting my money where my mouth is, I’ve bumped Patreon from $4 to $20. Of course it’ll take a billing cycle to show up but, less fees, there ya go.

And I’ll keep it up until you have a CPAP mask that fits, or until July since that’ll mean I’ve funded the cost of a whole mask myself.

Anybody else reading: Please consider helping out this way if you’re on Patreon already, so I’m not buying a whole mask myself and so that Jackie isn’t waiting a long-ass time to get it.

Just sent him $20 through PayPal … wish I could do more.

He has PayPal? Well hell, that’ll get him the money faster.

If it’s a shareable thing (you found it through making a purchase from him or it’s on a site somewhere, not just a personal profile he doesn’t give out) then post it and I’ll contribute that way instead.

If you are in the US, then you can send money for free to anyone for whom you have an email address. Jackie’s email is under the About tab.

I assumed that he has an account and I know that you can set one up for free, so hopefully I haven’t created a new headache for him … he might prefer the Patreon thing … I don’t know but since I can’t afford to make long term commitments right now, this seemed best …

Late to reading these posts (been sick for a little while), but I’m 100% behind this. Moved some Patreon money around from some creators who in my opinion are doing just fine thank-you-very-much over to Jackie to take it to $25. Hope it helps.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I LOVE the story, and the art is SOLID. You have fans Jackie, never doubt it. Anxiety and depression are fucking hard, I know because I have both, and when you find the right meds they can be a fucking godsend. They keep me functional on my worst days, and anyone who says they are bad for you can eat a dick. It can take a while to find the right ones, and it isn’t fun while you are trying to find them. Side effects are a bitch.

Good luck and know that we are all rooting for you.

i hear you when you say the comic keeps you going. Its like the thing that grounds you, connects you to the normal amidst all the chaos of the rest of your life. Balance will be incredibly hard to find right now, but try to slow down how it comes at you maybe. Take things 1 hour at a time, 10 minutes, 1 minute… stop and think about your breathing. Three deep breaths changes your body chemically for the better.

Just try to be more gentle with you. i can feel the panic from here. hugs!

Take as much time off as you need, man. Monday, Wednesday, 2016, whatever you need. Your health should always come first, and I’m pretty proud to say that this community in particular seems to be a particularly patient and understanding one. We understand, and we want you to get better. So rest up. Trust me, I’m a doctor.*

On a different note, godDAYUMN. I dunno how you did it, man, but over the course of the comic you made me fall a little in love with Alex. A considerable achievement, given my well documented heart of ice (a medical marvel. Doctors are baffled how I’m still alive given that an organ in my chest is a literal lump of ice).

*This man is not actually a doctor.

First time commenter, long time lurker. I’ve never supported an artist through patreon before, but it seems like you can really use it. Just started up a recurring payment for you. Feel better man, and even if you have to miss a few updates i’ll be leaving my pledge up. I’ve been reading your comics for years now, and not thrown any money your way.. it’s the least I can do.

If torrent of comments don’t say it enough. If your late or just don’t do Mondays comic we will all still be here waiting. However, I also understand you wanting to keep your streak going till the comics anniversary.

I understand the need for financial security and that the comic is your life line. So, saying that you do what you have to do to get better and I have to say you produce more while you’re sick than any other artists I follow. Your community wants you to be well. We enjoy the world you are crafting and the threads that run through it.

On anxiety and blood pressure, have you considered/tried meditation for control?

On the risk of sounding new agey, it might be something that you can do to gain back a bit of control over them. Works for me and it really doesn’t have to be mediation like you see in the media. For me it’s more about resetting my thoughts so I can not be overwhelmed and prioritize things.

I’m pretty sure people have said this already but you can take a break for a couple weeks and get yourself all sorted out. Hell with holidays upon us I’m sure no one would fault you anyway. Go destress and be healthy come back after a bit.

If they don’t stop arguing about cake, this is going to turn into a pie fight. Which would be good because any pie — even a meat pie — better than the best cake.

So on a quick health note, if your anxiety is a medication side effect, then medication should be sufficient to fix it, though you want to work with your doctor to find something that works for you. If it is a longterm condition, then medication plus therapy seems to work better for most people than either just medication or just therapy alone. I’m not sure what your therapy options are since I don’t think you live in a big city, but if you can find a good group therapy session, they are usually cheaper than individual sessions, and are in some ways more effective. If that’s too difficult, you can self-educate on treating anxiety disorder via various books. And let me pass on a technique from my own group therapy counselor. 4×4. Inhale for 4 seconds. Exhale for 4 seconds. Do this 4 times in a row. Do all this 4 times a day. (Best if you schedule the times) This is a calming technique, but if you practice doing it when you aren’t necessarily having an anxiety attack it becomes easier to do when you are having one.

That all sounds super shitty. Just take care of yourself. As much as I love this comic, I would like it much better when the creator is happy/healthy.

Keeping good thoughts for you.

I’m more concerned that you feel like the comic is all you have and that when you feel financially unstable, you panic.

I deal with this all the time from my mother, who unwisely insists on helping me out. So when I didn’t realize until today that she got stuck with a $1,000 bill for a diabetes medication, I got both barrels of her stress over the cost. Which stresses me out. I fear that someday one of my mistakes will simply kill her because of the stress she pushes onto herself. But I also know that I’m the opposite of her, and I don’t really care about money, and that’s not right either.

I don’t what the answer is, because I see people who are very successful because they know how to do one thing really well. But I also know people who are successful, perhaps not the classical sense, because they try their best to be good at many different things, and not just the things that butters their bread. Some do it because they channel their stresses until it’s like a diamond, and some are successful because stress washes over them like water off a duck’s back.

So I haven’t read all the comments, but I like the idea of moving to a two-a-week schedule. It helps take some pressure off of you while still keeping the comic going at a reasonable pace.

Sending love and prayers and warm fuzzy thoughts. And unicorns of course. Totally sending unicorns. Hoping you feel better soon! And we support you all the way with whatever you decide.

As a show of support, I went and just dropped a pledge on Patreon. Meant to before, but I forgot to do so when I finally set one up. Take care of yourself, those health issues have a way of compounding when you put them off–I’ve been there and done that more than enough times to know better now.

This also reminds me of how you wanted to look into getting help from someone for the comic a long time ago but it didn’t pan out. Maybe you could like…open the floodgates again for other comic people to do some stuff? Lots of comics do that around this time. It might be good for building a backlog of comics back up at a not anxiety-inducing pace while still having your comic update. Or just reduce the number of updates you do cause seriously man, you work like crazy. Either way, do what’s best for you. Your fans will stick with you.

I’m not usually the chatty type, but for what you wrote, I think I cannot resist.
Firstly, what everyone says is correct, your health IS more important than the comic. Don’t make your health worse by pushing too hard on the comic. If the updates are a bit slow, we will still be here. (Especially since this whole cake routine is comedic gold, funniest comic by ANYONE I’ve read in ages)
I know what having CPAP, allergy issues and blood pressure problems can do, since I have all that too. Apnea has had me on a CPAP almost 10 years now. I’ve had two heart attacks, so no fooling, deal the best and most aggressivly you can on the risk factors like the blood pressure.
Not sure which antianxiety they gave you but if the run-up is anything like the anti depressant I have, takes a month for things to settle back to “normal” but it IS a better feeling normal.
You are a strong person, and CAN weather all this, and you’ll feel so much better when it is done. Don’t sweat the comic so much, but since it helps YOU out so much too, don’t quit it either, just do the best your body will let you, and take time to heal properly.

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