1770 Support.

This post is mostly me venting about my health. You can skip it if that bores you.

I’ve been feeling a bit off for a couple three days or so. I’m not sure what exactly is wrong with me, but I know my anxiety is making it worse. I start to feel bad and then it triggers anxiety attacks that have the same symptoms as being sick with all manner of things so I can’t tell what are physical problems and what ones are being caused by the anxiety. Additionally the anxiety is very hard on my body so it seems to do more actual damage than the allergies, or whatever actually do. Ever since I originally got sick with the bacterial infection, however many years ago it was, my body stopped reacting to things in ways I was familiar with. Like being sleepy no longer had warning signs. I don’t get drowsy very often anymore. I just have to kind of guess that because I feel nauseous I might actually be sleepy. I’m also very rarely thirsty. I want to drink soda, but thirst for actual water is rare. Hunger feel like it’s more in my brain than in my stomach now. When I was a kid being hungry came from my stomach, but now it’s like the signal almost never comes from there. Even when my stomach growls the feeling of needing to eat seems to come from my head. Being hot or cold doesn’t register the same way. I’m almost always hot. Even when I’m shivering I will sometimes feel hot. Right at this moment I understand that I am having an anxiety spiral. If something doesn’t happen in the next couple of days to convince my brain that I’m perfectly fine it will just keep getting worse until I am actually sick. My body will make itself sick to take control of the situation. I’ll get more and more anxious until my body finally feels like it would be okay if I just died and then the anxiety will give up. No amount of internal reasoning can stop it at this point. It’s so hard on me. Mentally as well as physically.

It’s strange to know logically that most of what is wrong with me at any given time is being conjured by my own body, but being unable to prove it to myself. For someone who wants to control everything all the time it’s hellish. Only an outside source can convince me I’m fine. Honestly, if a doctor treated me with a placebo and convinced me that whatever it was supposed to be would fix some of my symptoms it would probably work because my mind can convince me of the opposite so easily. I never ask what the side effects of the drugs I take are before I’ve taken them for a while because my brain will make whatever I’m told happen regardless. It’s also why if people give me armchair diagnoses I stop reading as soon as I realize that’s what it’s going to be. If someone says I have the symptoms of MS my mind will start making the symptoms I already know about start happening. No matter how unlikely it is. Virtually all human sickness has the same symptoms. so you can slot in anything to any of them without looking close.

Anyway, I’ve been trying to get back to walking every day since my foot doesn’t always swell up when I do anymore and most of my calf muscle is grown back in. It’s not a lot but it’s the most I’ve been able to do for a long time. It may be too little too late at this point. The constant stresses of the last five or so years have really worn me down. Every time I think I’m okay I get knocked back down a little bit & it’s been harder to get up each time. I’ve walked for a minimum of 15 minutes every day for over a week. Longer if my foot didn’t start to hurt. Maybe part of what’s wrong with me is just acclimating to being more active. It’s kind of strange to me that spending 3 hours walking around a store is not as difficult as just walking constantly for 15 minutes. I mean it’s a slight incline but it seems like it shouldn’t be that big a deal. It’s such a minimal addition to my regular walking around. I guess just walking without stopping to look at stuff is just more focused work.

Anyway, I’m dizzy, my eyes burn, and I don’t want to look at my computer anymore. Maybe tomorrow I’ll be okay again. Cross your fingers kids.


Good on ya, for that daily walk. I need to start doing that again, myself.
A while back, a local theme park I have an annual pass to had a contest, one entry per day, and so I went down there EVERY DAY to get my chance, and then have a “walk in the park.” At the end of the month, I’ll admit I was feeling a lot more energetic.
Too bad I never won anything in the contest, though.

“Support conversations”? She seems like someone who would play full AP Lux support, especially if her brother were her teammate.

Jess doesn’t support anyone except herself, and has already demonstrated that she expects to be supported in her whims by her brother. Entitled, parasitic and barely disguising it with a pretense of charm.

Her brother should give her something, all right…a restraining order.

Glad to hear you are still stubborn enough to be making the effort and managing to make progress, even if it is a quantum leap.

Quote of the day: Loonier than a lake in Muskoka.

I’m sorry to hear you’re having such troubles with anxiety. I hope it goes away and let’s you relax. I’m also happy to hear that your leg is healing and that you’re getting out and actually walking on it. You mentioned focused work in your blog post, and I wanted to comment on that but in regards to your anxiety. If you’d like to skip this and go straight to the accolades, I have conveniently broken it off into a separate paragraph for your convenience.

Neurological research shows that the more you focus on something, the better you get at doing that thing. Unfortunately, this applies to absolutely everything. Imagine a scene where 2 older gentlemen are playing chess while soft music plays in the background. If one of them focuses on the game, they will slowly get better at figuring out tactics and predicting their opponents moves. If one of them focuses on listening to the soft music and contemplating it, then they will get better at hearing music and picking out sounds from other sounds. And, the important bit, if one of them decides to focus on how bad their back hurts from sitting so long, the nerves that run from the source to the brain will slowly thicken and the myelin sheaths around the neurons that activate those pain receptors will harden, making the person more sensitive to pain and more likely to notice it when it happens. However, if they ignore those things and focus on something else, then the myelin will degrade over time until the neurons involved in those processes will either rarely fire or die off entirely. The point of this is that I’ve found that trying to focus on something other than the pain and the symptoms and the discomfort makes it so much more bearable, until over time they all actually lessen. My image of choice is to think about trees, or the next thing I want to write. The pain/symptom/discomfort never actually goes away, but it is highly diminished, and much more manageable. I understand that anxiety is a bitch to deal with that requires therapy and/or medication to truly treat it, but as someone who is too poor/stubborn to see a damn doctor, this is next best thing for me. I’ll understand if you completely ignore this, but I just wanted to share a no cost band aid that has helped me in the past.

Otherwise, I want you to know that I love this comic that you put out, and I am just flabbergasted by your work ethic. I’m pretty sure you’re the hardest working webcomicer out there. Keep up the fantastic work!

Walking every day is almost always good for you, and it’s a good way to gradually increase your endurance without hurting yourself. Even a little bit helps; it’s not like you have to hike 10 miles a day to make a difference. And it helps with your breathing, which sometimes can help with anxiety.

Stick with it. Let us know how you’re making out. :)

Sorry you’re feeling bad. I wish an armchair “You’re fine!” would help but somehow I doubt it works that way for *good* things. Although maybe it does! Cheers to hopin’.

It’s good that you walk around. I’ve been told that a brisk walk for 30 minutes per day keeps you in reasonable shape. You can get there, even if it’s a slow walk for 15 minutes now.

The disconnected hunger reminds me a bit of when I’m fasting or trying to lose weight, when I tell my body that ‘hunger has been duly noted, now suck it up and wait’. So without making light of it, maybe it can be a good thing too?

One approach could be to set daily alarms for stuff like going to bed, eating, etc. at fixed times.

About drinking soda, I sometimes have streaks when I stop drinking soda entirely and just drink water for a couple of weeks or more (along with coffee and stuff, so uh). Soda tastes a bit funny when you start up again, far too sugary for instance. It’s probably better to run mostly on water. On the other hand, I haven’t quite managed to switch myself.

Hope you feel better soon. Sounds like you probably have to make a schedule for yourself to eat and sleep, since your body isn’t giving you the right reminders.

Your tale gives me insight, Jackie. I am trying to learn what I can about living with anxiety, to help my teenaged daughter. She is only now starting to open up about her anxieties from 2-3 years ago, but keeps the lid shut tight on anything current. One of the strategies we know is theorised to work on anxiety is being open about it; exposing exactly what is the stressor to air, to avoid the festering spiral. Sounds from your post that airing and identification isn’t necessarily enough. Anecdotal evidence, but still valuable. *fret*

In the middle of some health issues right now, and I have to not eat for three months-just be on an IV. Guess what helps take my mind off of food? Cooking.

Hey uh, we care about you and love the work you do.

Hope you feel better soon.

Shit, feel like all I’ve got are empty sounding platitudes right now. You’ve got our support, it just feels like that’s not enough considering what you’re going through. Damn. I’m bad at this….

I had to de-lurk because I have anxiety fits pretty much exactly like you’re describing, but they’ve mostly gone away. For me, walking helped a LOT. Every time I would get too panicky and start falling into that hole where I can’t tell reality from anxiety anymore, I would make myself go on a walk. Somehow doing that, knowing I could do that, helped reassure me that I was probably okay. Since then I’ve scaled up the exercise quite a bit and it seems like the fitter I get the better I feel mentally. I feel more in control of myself and my body.

Take it slow and steady (and check in with a doctor if you need to) but keep walking. I also recommend light stretching if you aren’t already doing so. Any kind of moving around. I hope that with time it helps you as much as it helped me.

I have similar anxiety and have also noticed my body’s signals changing as I grow older. Helps to have meals at regular times (breakfast right after me and gf get up, lunch in between class periods, and supper at 6 pm), spend at least an hour standing or walking every day (usually happens when I’m cooking) and do as much stretching as I can manage (I really need to do it before and after exercise, but even just doing it before bed helps). Switching from soda to water isn’t fun, but it feels better in the long term. Learning how to breathe deeply helps when I’m freaking out about some health issue. And establishing regular bedtimes + doing something non-electronic for about an hour before bed also helps actually feel sleepy (I’ve noticed that if I stay on the computer, I don’t actually feel tired until about 2 hours after my normal bedtime – but if I instead read and draw for an hour, I feel physically and mentally tired well before I’ve finished the last chapter for the night).

When my symptoms are shit, I also have trouble picking out signals from noise. I am not above using an alarm clock to remind me to eat something.

I’ll also, like, do constant troubleshooting to try and fix whatever. I’ll be anxious and nauseous, but I haven’t eaten in a while, so I’ll take a bite of *something*, and see what happens. I’ll have trouble focusing and feel like nothing’s worth doing… so I maybe am too tired. I won’t know I’m feeling bad until I start to feel better… which usually requires doing whatever the right thing *is*, blindly. And that sucks. Do I need a nap, a snack, or a run? If I’m wrong, can I still try one of the other two?

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