It’s been a long week. Have a comic.
It’s been a long week. Have a comic.
Tonight Manthing asked me if he could catch up with a woman for coffee. For anyone who’s been around this blog for a little while (or anyone who has read my ‘about me’ section) knows that our relationship doesn’t exactly conform to your norms. We are in an open, polyamourous relationship and it works for us, we’re happy with it and that’s all that matters at the end of the day. In this post, I ask that you do not judge, try to convert or otherwise criticise my relationship mechanics because you do not agree with it. That’s not the point of this post
But tonight manthing asked me if he could catch up with a woman for coffee, and I was gripped by a sense of panic. After sitting down and talking about what was bothering me, I came to two conclusions.
The first, the idea that if he finds someone he likes, that he or she would reject me as his partner, she would make me feel unwelcome in her presence, she would throw my position physically, socially or financially in my face or she would otherwise disagree with the idea of sharing time with Manthing.
The other is that, in his adventures, he would find someone that made him happy, and while I’m entirely happy in my relationship with him, that I would fail to find connections with people outside our relationship and would end up jealous and unhappy.
During our talks, I realised that these issues, and many more, came down to one thing. My ex boyfriend and our ex girlfriend. The relationship I had with them has coloured my perception of the world so drastically that I hardly noticed until I stepped back and asked myself “Why?” Why am I upset? Why does this cause me distress?
In one relationship I was undervalued. I was cheated on multiple times. I had a partner that wanted a parent and a secretary. Someone who had no motivation of their own, no drive to improve themselves as a person and, rather than fighting, he simply shrugged and gave up and was happy with “I tried”. I did love him, but by the end it felt hollow and one-sided. I felt like slapping him and screaming at him to try and keep me, rather than rotting away like a corpse in a basement. I did love him, but by the end, all that was had been tainted by the bitterness and anger that I held against him for failing to walk beside me as I moved forwards in my life.
That left me with the impression that I had no value as a person. That I was expendable, replaceable at a moments notice. It told me that I wasn’t worth the effort of stepping away from the PC, that my happiness came second to someone else’s. It taught me that I was an idiot to trust people and that I would ultimately end up getting hurt.
After Manthing and I became an item, there were many challenges we had to face as a couple. The greatest is something I’m still fighting to this day – that I have an intrinsic value as a person, and that anyone that truly loves me will show me this every single day.
After some time, Manthing and I became involved with a girl. To this day I’m still madly in love with her, and I find my heart aching when I come across the photo of her sitting on the couch in my jumper. I miss the way she smelled and the softness of her hair and her skin. I miss her laugh, the way she could light up a room just by walking in, her stunning smile and I miss knowing her intimately, physically and otherwise. A few months ago I found a video she had made for us when we were together. She sang a beautiful song. I couldn’t watch more than a few seconds before I was in tears. But, while things were wonderful while they were good – she proved that there was very little in the world that made me happier than both her and Manthing being a part of my life at the same time – the note the relationship ended on… well, I would take broken bones over that heartache any day.
While there were many unaddressed issues of her own health and her lack of management thereof, what sealed fate was the fact that she commited the cardinal sin against someone with a chronic, uncontrollable illness and told me that she couldn’t cope with it. That it was getting to her. She told me that MY illness had become HER problem. I understand that, after a time, it can be wearing to see someone you care about face battles you can’t fight. I do. But what was said to me that evening was unforgivable, and it reinforced my greatest fear – that someone I had opened my heart to and truly loved with every part of my being, that they could cut me down where I stood by using my own personal hell against me. She had proven that, with my conditions, being in a relationship outside of Manthing simply wasn’t possible because my health was too much of a burden on others and that I would have been so much better off either never having revealed my Achilles heel, or even loved to begin with.
And so I find myself tonight sitting here and trying to make sense of the thoughts rushing around in my head. I listen to the way part of me desperately yearns to make meaningful connections with people, and I hear the other part of me that says “No, it’s too dangerous. You will only find hurt and loneliness” and I don’t know which one is more right than the other. The real question begging an answer is “Can I allow Manthing the chance to find happiness (alongside me) and am I willing to risk not finding it myself?”
Life is inherently one giant risk. We risk traveling through our mother’s body to the world. We risk our lives leaving the house. We risk our ego every time we speak to people. We risk being hurt when we give them more than a “hello”. What I ultimately need to decide is whether my happiness, and manthing’s is ultimately worth that risk. Because a part of me deep down inside still believes that it may be worth it. Not every time, but sometimes. And that sometimes can make all the difference.
Oh god they’ve changed the editor again. Why again? I’ve only just gotten over my separation anxiety over the last change. But seriously. I have to learn this all over again
So, I’ve been doing some work on my end. The flare seems to have broken, I found out I likely have arthritis in my knees at 26 and I’ve been drawing more shit.
It seems to be keeping me sane thus far. Or at least some variant thereof.
Manthing keeps yelling at me to blog more, but a lot of the stuff that’s been going through my head has all been pretty morose and upsetting and that wasn’t what I wanted this blog to be about. So I’m presently chewing my lip over what I want to and don’t want to share. And drawing more nonsense.
As much woe and misery as there was in my last post, I’m still in the middle of a really bloody awful pain flare that’s kept me either chair or bed bound, but I’m emotionally feeling much better. My knees are footballs and I feel like I’ve been sodomised by a pachyderm, but my hands are mostly functional. I’m still mostly keeping to myself because I may actually maul someone. I’ve had some work to focus on and have been enjoying some reference/anatomy work on cats, because who doesn’t love something that’s half fur and half liquid in the least disgusting sense?
Since I haven’t posted a comic on a while, I figured I would share what I HAVE been working on.
My cats are amazing. Especially because some of them actually look like cats. This is a big achievement for me. I couldn’t help myself with the captions. It kind of just happened.
For all my comicy friends out there (I’m looking at you Tony :3), I actually found a brilliant reference engine. It’s quite easy to find a reference engine for humans, nudes and inanimate objects/still life, but this is the first one I found that actually covers a detailed and broad range of animals and other things for when you don’t want to draw a semi-naked barbarian woman, or other frivolous human things.. Seriously. This is the equivalent to a wet dream for me.
Ladies and gents, presenting your not-quite-neighbourhood-friendly Abigail!
It’s been quite some time – months, in fact – since I last submitted a blog entry of any kind. I’m honestly a little sorry for the time it’s taken me to get back in the saddle, but also feel an apology isn’t needed. My time off was quite deliberate and much needed.
To pick up from where I left off those months ago, I was admitted to hospital with what turned out to be a double whammy of atypical pneumonia and bronchitis. The heart palpitations have now become somewhat of a weekly guest, though only one or two at a time, until I get sick. In the time between then and now, I’ve been sick a further two times with various bugs and another bout of (slightly more mild than last time) food poisoning. As a matter of fact, as I’m writing this, I’m attempting to wrestle control for my body back from a nasty sinus bug. It’s been rough riding, but I haven’t fallen too far off the horse yet. It also seems necessary for me to basically pump my dreamteam of Zinc, Echinacea, Garlic and Vitamin C to boost my immune system during flu season.
While I was in hospital, I learned a few things:
To start with the first, it didn’t help that I was admitted while running a massive fever, scared out of my brain because my heart was backfiring left, right and centre, and so many kinds of exhausted. That generally doesn’t make for good terms to enter into any unfamiliar situation, let alone a high-stress one in a loud and artificially bright ward filled with screaming patients. You can add another layer to the “How the fuck will this make me more calm?” cake when they hooked me up to a heart monitor and every 35 seconds to a minute my heart would do the Macarena and the machine would scream. I swear I now have a Pavlovian response of complete panic whenever I hear the sound of an irate heart monitor.
I suspect the majority of my fear comes from the fact that you don’t exactly go into hospital to get a scratch-and-sniff sticker from the doctors. Every experience I’ve had with hospitals in the last decade have been because something has inevitably gone wrong with my body for the first time and part of me is half-convinced I may croak. What I find out after is that it’s just another perk of being Abigail, or more specifically, being stuck in the body of Abigail.
Point is, when you combine all of these things with my anxiety (which has gotten significantly worse due to the stress of it all) it makes for the perfect panic-attack-inducing shitstorm. To boost the “OHCHRISTFUCK” signal coursing through my brain, there was an utterly shitfaced bloke yelling at the staff and walking the ward. It was almost what I imagine a meth-addicted Santa to look like after Boxing Day. I can laugh about it now, but believe me, I was in almost histerics by my second night.
To move on to the second point, Manthing was incredible. He slept in a chair next to my bed the first night and on the floor of the hospital on the second. He brought me a book, my colouring gear, my DS and my favourite blanket, which I covered him with on the second night. The only time he left me was when I sent him home halfway through day two so he could get some sleep in an actual bed and de-stress a little. He put up with my panic attacks, kept the conversation up when I was anxious and did everything he could (including bringing me pajamas!) to make me comfortable.
I had some family contacting me when they could with reception, friends keeping track of my updates on Facebook (it was far easier to just comment on a status than message everyone individually) and taking to me to keep me distracted when I was stressing. I also had some friends fall short of what I had hoped my friendship meant to them. I wasn’t asking anyone to drop what they were doing and come and visit me. If I’m sick in the ER and under care of Infectious Diseases, what do YOU think I want you to do? But what I needed was the support of my friends to tell me everything would be fine, to tell me they gave a shit about my health condition and to just generally be friends. When I got single-word responses, suffice to say the ranks of my friends shifted a little that day.
Number three is a big one. If I’ve just come out of hospital and I’m really fucking sick, do you think I want you to come over and bring your flu/cold/arse herpes with you? It sucks that I’ve had to do this, but for the last three months, I’ve effectively had to screen people before they come over. I’ve had to politely ask people to just not show if they have a cold or the like, because I just can’t risk it. The fact that I’ve caught three bugs in this time kind of shows you just how stupid my asshole immune system is, and how careful I have to be now. If I go out, I take a risk. If I go to a public event, I have to pump my vitamin dreamteam for 3 days beforehand and 3 days after, just in case. Chances are, I’ll still pick something up. It’s not pleasant, but it’s my reality. I’m also at the point where being polite can go and choke on a big hairy cock. If you’re sick and in my house, I WILL tell you to fuck off, because you obviously don’t have any respect for me, and don’t give a shit.
Number four is an honest truth. You always hear the jokes about how bad hospital food is and you think it’s just a joke until you’re there. I swear to god, one night my dinner was breadcrumbed cardboard and string greens. It was honestly tempting to just order a pizza to the ward.
The important thing I learned is that the palpitations I get aren’t dangerous. I still have a perfectly healthy and functional heart, it just adds an extra beat from time to time, especially when I’m tired and run down. Getting a single ‘hiccup’ as I call it is the definitive point where my body goes “Too much! Bed! Now!”. Getting more than one is my body screaming that it’s exhausted and I’m run down. See: Sick with any kind of bug. It feels horrible and awful and then more horrible on top, but the bloody brilliant news is that it’s just uncomfortable, not dangerous, and I couldn’t have asked for a better answer.
All in all, I learned a lot from my miserable experience in the hospital. About both myself and those around me. I’ve also had to learn new coping mechanisms when my body goes batshit, I’m wrestling with the idea that it’s okay to go to bed during the day if you need to, and that pushing my body right up to the limit helps nobody, least of all myself.
I’m going to finish my blog here tonight because I’m god damn exhausted and need to put this meatsack to bed before I fall off my char, but I’ll be updating my blog regularly again and filling you guys in on all the juicy details of the last few months ❤
If I forget, feel free to shoot me messages filled with words that will make a sailor blush,
It’s been a while since I posted something. I know, I’ve been bad. I’ve also been all over the place and have had trouble finding a mental space to blog from. I normally use According to Abigail to catalog my thoughts and experiences relating to health and life, but every now and again I find myself in a place where I’m far too overwhelmed to begin the process. Too much simply just happens and rather than being able to sit down and clear my head, I’m left juggling chaos and working on getting through another day. This was one of those periods. I’m sure at some point I’ll have the mental acuity to document my thoughts and feelings over that time, but not right now.
Actually, the reason I’m writing this blog entry is because I’m having an adventure! For the first time ever, the manthing and I are on a holiday. It’s less about plane flights and resorts and more about a change of pace. More importantly, this is a chance to get away from all the stress and nonsense and a time for us to have some fun.
The thing is, I have no idea how my health issues are likely to affect us. Not only is this a very physical adventure, but it’s also a test to see just how well I can manage the chronic health issues while out of the comfort of my own home for a fortnight.
One of the first things I really noticed was the ‘sick’ bag. How many other people travel with a lap – sized bag full of creams, tablets, medication and heat packs? I have to make sure I have all my nightly medication in sufficient quantities (including vitamins and pill cutters), my painkillers need to be enough to get me through the trip even if I have a bad flare, I need my script for carrying such large quantities of painkillers and I need other creature comforts like a hot water bottle, arm warmers and a face cream to make things easier if I do have a flare up. I decided early on thst it was far better to be prepared for the worst case scenario and not need it, than to hazard a guess at my average for the time away and not have enough.
I also need certain items from home to ensure I don’t make things problematic while away. My pillow is important if I want to avoid a splitting headache and neck issues. My lap blanket gives me that extra bit of warmth to keep pain at bay while I sleep. I see these as things that most healthy people would forgo, but I’m willing to be wrong.
Today manthing and I completed what was close to a 9 hour drive by the time we reached our ‘halfway’ mark. We both took turns driving for about 3 hours at a time and had to make fairly regular rest stops every 2 hours or so, just so I could get out and stretch my legs. I had to find ways to mitigate the lethargy from the Chronic Fatigue and make sure I wasn’t borrowing spoons from tomorrow at the same time. It’s been a bit of a hassle but I’ve done my best to avoid a day of micro management and just have fun.
Because this is the first time we’ve done anything like this, I have honestly got no idea what to expect. I do suspect that after our weekend, I’m going to need a few days to un-exhaust myself, and will need to get a lot more sleep than I would at home (hello 10pm bedtime!), but I’m actually pretty determined to blog every few days, if not every day about our little escapades. Specifically, any observations or chronic ‘life hacks’ I discover on the way.
I’m going to leave this here for tonight and try to get some sleep, so I’ll catch you all on the flip side!
I actually want to make an effort to
Over the last few months, I’ve noticed that my ‘nerve pain’ has been coming back.
Nerve pain is the term I use to describe the sporadic, usually-short-lived bursts of pain from parts of my body. Sometimes it feels like a knife in the knee, another time it’ll be a back spazm, the time after that, it can be a very short cluster headache. It’s always random and entirely unpredictable and is very intense. Usually enough for me to cry out/swear/punch a table/use your imagination here, and stop me in my tracks. It can hit anywhere from between my fingers through to *ahem* very specific bits of my ladyparts (which is NOT a fun experience, I can tell you). Anywhere where there might be a cluster of nerves. It can happen once a day, or anywhere up to 50+ times a day. It depends on how much of an arsehole my body is feeling like at the time.
Now, I was initially put on Lyrica in the hope that it might help my overall pain levels, but it only succeeded in making me really groggy. We upped the dose to the 150s I’m on presently and found, quite conveniently, that it actually stopped my nerve pain. Not altogether, but to such a degree that it took my daily average of “[Inert expletive here]!” down from about 30-odd times a day to about 1 or 2. It was amazing. I still felt like a zombie, but I could go about my business without looking like I was about to have a stroke in the middle of the supermarket because my knee just felt like I had been stabbed by an angry dwarf on cocaine.
The problem is that my body, never being content to take the easy street, has decided we’ve built up a tolerance to the Lyrica. So we’re still Queen Derp, but the nerve pain came back and announced itself most spectacularly with a punch-in-the-head cluster headache the other day that had me hugging my own skull. I had noticed an increase in the amount of nerve pain up to then, but had chalked that down to stress and other things.
Now, I had called my specialist a month or two beforehand to let him know that we couldn’t increase my dose to the 150 because I was already on it, but had heard nothing back. This morning I left a message and got a call back after I had already discussed my issues with my GP.
– On an aside, awesome news. Turns out my sinus infection was a twofer. One bacterial, one viral. Yeehaw –
Long story short, I’m right in my assumptions, my GP no longer thinks I’m an idiot and I get to pay less for medication. Downside is that we’ve got two options, both okay’d by my specialist. Option A is to double the dose of Lyrica I’m on and see if it fixes the issue, but then I’m on twice as much as I was before with every chance of me just having the same problem. Or B, we can wean me off it, stay off it for a month to clear my system and then start it up again and see if it works. I feel like this is the human equivalent of “have you tried turning it on and off again”.
I’ve opted for the second one because, frankly, knowing how my body reacted to going on Lyrica, I’m going to be completely braindead if we double the dose. I’m barely functioning now, but at least I’m not putting-my-hand-in-the-sandwich-toaster kind of stupid. Yet. The issue with coming off the Lyrica, though, is the same as going up a dose. It’s not going to be fun. From what I know, it won’t be quite as bad as coming off the Duloxetine, but it’s still not overly fun. And this isn’t the nice, gentle let-down either. It’s a week of every other day and then cold turkey because we need it out of my system asap.
So, tonight is the first night of no Lyrica. I won’t fully feel the effects until about tomorrow afternoon, knowing my body (or maybe sooner, who knows) but I’m probably going to feel like I’m hungover without the ‘fun’ of actually getting there. After this, both my specialist and my GP have said that this is pretty much it. There’s nothing else we can really do without any more research or findings. It’s the end of my proverbial golden road of treatment until someone extends the footpath. Ultimately, if all the Lyrica is doing is stopping those shooting pains (and I’m getting a head full of wet sand in compensation), I think I’d be happier being off it entirely. I’m going to keep logs of how I’m going in regards to pain, just to see if it’s actually worth being on yet another tablet for much ado about nothing in the long run.
Anyway, I’m exhausted, so I’m heading in for the night. As a treat to those who have made it this far, if there’s any animal, mineral or vegitable in particular you want to see immortalised in a comic or just on it’s own, leave a comment and I’ll get back to you at the sound of the beeeeeeep~
This has been doing the rounds on a few sites now, but it’s just too damn good not to share. As someone who’s been in the other position many times, I find this incredibly satisfying.
To start, I’d like to clarify that this isn’t me seeking attention or looking for sympathy. This is me trying to make sense out of a series of situations I’ve been in recently and to work out where I stand in it all. This also isn’t directed at any one specific person, but is a collection of memories from past and present friendships, written at a very emotional point tonight.
I’ve written in the past about how maintaining friendships is a challenge when one is chronically ill. Regardless of what you’ve been afflicted with, it makes an impact on your life that few people can understand. I’ve written about how a careless word here or there can really bring someone’s world down around them. I’ve also written about how lonely it can get when one is cooped up at home all day, every day.
This post is more than that. To me, this is an attempt to make sense of everything I’ve been through with past and present friends to date.
Right now it’s almost 11pm. I’m sitting in bed with my laptop and I’ve just had a good 20 minute sob to Manthing about how unfair it is that people just don’t ‘get it’. I’ve had 7 days of above-average pain. It’s worn me down in places I’m not usually aware of. I’m beyond exhausted. Because of how run down I am, I’m in more pain than the last few days, anyway. I won’t lie. This is hard. This is really, really hard.
I used to tell people that I was very lucky because my support network for hard times like these were a select few friends I could call upon, whenever. Some online, some a few suburbs away. In fact, before myself and Manthing were a ‘thing’, there was one night when I had hit my first 9 on the pain scale. It was 3am and he had work the next day, but I could still ring him up and he talked to me on the phone for about an hour until my painkillers had kicked in and I could sleep.
In the last few years, this has changed. I find myself here on a night like tonight with almost no support network whatsoever. People have gone their own ways, life has changed, things have come up. One friend decided it was okay to treat his friends like shit. Another got a girlfriend and suddenly didn’t have time anymore. Another couldn’t understand that being sick wasn’t like being in bed with the flu. Another still decided to tell me that my illness was THEIR problem. One by one, all the people I felt I could approach at that 3am mark drifted away and left me here on my own little island of Fuck, where I find myself tonight.
I guess this entry is a bit of lamenting the fact that I feel so alone right now. Once upon a time, if a friend caught wind that I wasn’t doing so well, I’d have an SMS within minutes. I’d get a check-in every now and then. “Just thinking of you. Hope you’re okay.” I’d get a message online or they’d even just show up out of the blue. Once, I had someone even deliver a care package because I had spent the week in bed. You know who you are, and you should know I genuinely cried, even through I didn’t say anything out of pride when it happened. It’s the little things that turn a fucking awful situation into a not so bad one. It’s knowing that someone has your back that can sometimes give you the strength to get through the day. Right now, thanks to the pain and the depression, I feel like I could vanish for a month at a time and nobody would even know I was gone.
For what it’s worth, I always did what I could. I like to see myself as ‘that friend’. The one that would always check in. If you were having a shitty day, I’d send you an awful joke or a picture. If you were stuck in bed, I made digital get well cards. Driving an hour out of my way to help a friend out even though I wasn’t in the best state wasn’t something I thought twice about. I just did it because they needed me there. I’m the one that left the messages. “If you ever need an ear or someone to talk to, I’m here.” Maybe I wasn’t that person to everyone. Maybe I wasn’t that person to anyone. But god help me, I tried. I genuinely tried to be the best friend I could be.
As I got more and more sick, sometimes I’d miss a beat. Sometimes there’d be a week where I was stuck in bed and didn’t know you were upset. I tried to catch up and still check in. I really did. With more than a few people, I tried to organise times when I was well enough to meet up, but they were always busy. Things don’t often work the way we plan, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t genuinely put an effort in.
Right now, I feel empty. I feel like, for everything that I’ve been through, I only have Manthing with me. I feel so alienated from other people that it physically aches in my chest. People I used to be really close to. I think at one point I had half a dozen people and I felt so very special because of it. I think about all the 3am nights we used to spend out getting slushies and I cry. Things aren’t that way anymore. I think about the skype calls we had where we’d see who could burp the loudest and it hurts. You got a girlfriend and I vanished off the face of the earth to you. I remember the times we used to make running jokes and confuse everyone else in the room. You don’t even answer my messages now.
I think about how, once, I felt like I had people who were involved in my life enough that, when I needed someone to vent to, they understood I wasn’t looking for attention. I just needed someone that understood what I was going through. I know I’m not the easiest person to be friends with. I really do understand that. I’m a lot of work. I ask things of people, I can’t always go out or catch up and sometimes I hurt people because of it. But seriously, do you think that it hurts any less for me? I’m the token cripple friends. I’m the one people make allowances for. I’m the one that forgets and needs assistance during games. I’m the one that makes the group walk slower. But I’m still human.
Yes, I do still have friends, and people I talk to occasionally, but it’s not easy. Imagine how it feels to not be able to talk about some things because they just don’t understand – or, in same cases, just don’t give a shit. Imagine someone walking away mid-conversation when you’re trying to explain why you were so sick yesterday. I’m the one that has to make the allowances for other people. I have to watch my words so other people aren’t accidentally offended because they can’t deal with their own stresses. I have to curb my own humour because, god forbid, someone might be offended by a joke I make about myself. I have to constantly remind people that, for me to go out somewhere requires some planning. I can’t just get an invite half an hour before X starts. I often don’t have money with over $200 of medication per month. I am a difficult person to be friends with, but I’d like to think that I’m no less worthy of friendship for it.
I’m genuinely afraid of making new friends, even thought I’ve tried. Try to imagine what it feels like to be immediately judged as being ‘too hard’ or ‘too much work’ the moment you mention chronic illness. On top of dealing with all my other physical issues, I then have this exhausting charade of social interaction, and it wears me out.
I won’t lie. I have very little patience for those that can’t accept me as I am, but I’m desperate. I want friends and I’ll take what I can get.
I do still have people that genuinely give a shit about me, and I them. People that don’t care if I’m in my pijamas when they show up. People that are happy to change plans to a night in when I can’t move. People that don’t hate me for something I have no control over. I hope that, one day, they read this part and understand. But those are far and few between, and with some, we barely even talk anymore.
I don’t even know if I’ve made much sense with this post. Manthing actually pushed me to blog about it and, in it’s own way, it’s been a bit cathartic. That little voice of anxiety in my head warns me that I might offend or upset a past or present friend reading this, but then the little logical Abi in the front of my head says “Let them be.” I guess if someone’s offended by this, it’s because they feel that there’s an ounce of truth in my writing. Let them fix it. If someone feels a prickle with one of the things I wrote, it’ll be because they relate to something in there. It’s never my intention to offend with these things, but people are stupid. If there’s an issue, do something about it.
After a solid half hour of writing, I’m thoroughly exhausted and no less miserable, but I’ll leave it here for tonight.