health

MMPI Results

Posted in health on May 2nd, 2019 by Jin Wicked – Comments Off on MMPI Results

In the midst of sleep-deprived, last-minute preparations for Free Comic Book Day and MSP Springcon 2019 today, I was finally able to sit down and discuss the results of my MMPI test with my therapist. Nothing really surprising there. It was fairly in-line with my own self-assessments and existing efforts.

The therapist initially attempted to cushion? the results a bit, I suppose, but I told her that these conclusions seemed accurate to me. She replied along the lines of, “Having interpreted thousands of MMPI results, I honestly expected yours to be worse.” And we both laughed a little. She also told me much later on that I seem surprisingly well-adjusted, given many of the situations I have been/lived through. I attribute it to a lifetime of service-oriented jobs.

Full report below. Click the images to embiggen them.

MMPI Page One

MMPI Page Two

MMPI Page Three

[VIDEO BLOG] Jin’s Office Tour

Posted in health, video on April 3rd, 2019 by Jin Wicked – Comments Off on [VIDEO BLOG] Jin’s Office Tour

A short video tour because MY OFFICE IS CLEAN!

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Jin's Office

So, I have been on ADHD medication for almost two weeks now, and this has been a game-changer for me. It feels incredible to not be exhausted all of the time. This drug is also used to treat narcolepsy, which makes sense, but even with a full eight hours of sleep and multiple energy drinks in me I would often be sleepy throughout the day. I drastically reduced my caffeine intake!! Other than the first few days of caffeine withdrawal headaches, I have felt great.

Tuesday last week, I completed the MMPI (Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory) so my therapist can do more of a general evaluation, and help me develop more effective strategies to accomplish my goals. Since beginning my medication I have been on time to my day job every day, knocked out a list of over-due errands, cleaned and organized my office and supplies, and created that past-due watercolour commission in a week instead of a month. (Actually less, because I painted it once, was not satisfied, and redid the whole thing.) The lower dose is sufficient to keep my head in the game at my day job, but I did need more to keep my ass at the table while I was inking and painting. It feels so good to just DO WHAT I WANT TO DO, rather than chase every stray thought or shiny object in the periphery of my brain. And I found even as the medication wears off for the day, or the days of “break” I have taken when it is not needed (recommended by the doctor to help reduce tolerance), I feel less overwhelmed. I can listen when people talk to me, it does not turn into gobbledegook after five minutes! I can remember things for longer than thirty seconds! I CAN READ A BOOK. WITH THE PAGES. IN ORDER.

Golden Hour after Bill Watterson

Golden Hour after Bill Watterson

So, yeah, game-changer. I am also back on my carb-free protein shakes, and in the gym four or five days per week. Sadly I did lose some of my gainz. I am working out harder and more frequently than before, and eating more. Now I get to really learn how quickly I can build muscle. On to Swolehalla!!!

Here we go!

Posted in health on March 24th, 2019 by Jin Wicked – Comments Off on Here we go!

No vlog this week — I am still feeling a little under the weather, mostly with a persistent cough. I do not really feel bad otherwise, so it may be some form of allergies, as Spring is breaking out here. Regardless, I will not subject you to my mouth full of lozenges and occasional sneezing. I also want to locate a couple of items before I record a “video tour” of my workspace.

Thursday morning I met with my psychiatrist, and after speaking with her for about an hour and a half, I left with a prescription for the lowest dosage of an extended-release ADHD stimulant medication. Thursday felt weird. By the evening, I was in an exceptionally crabby mood, which improved after eating. I was able to stay at my computer desk and edit about seventy photographs along with the video for my Dugsi Academy visit, including the corresponding posts and uploads. That took roughly ten hours with a working dinner break. Friday and Saturday, I worked at my day job. Friday I felt very “awake” and definitely noticed the crash about eight hours in. However, I am also reducing myself down from a high caffeine intake, and one Excedrin gave me a second wind about an hour later. Saturday was “smoother” and my co-workers were surprised to see me show up a few minutes early for my shift. I did not really make any extra effort, but it is easier to be punctual when not distracted by everything, constantly. Time will tell if this dose is effective long-term, though she did give me her permission to double-up if I feel I need it. I suspect that may be necessary for my most tedious projects, especially inking.

Saturday evening I also noticed I felt much less compelled to check my phone constantly, or respond to messages instantly. In my interview the psychiatrist did bring up OCD, which I have long suspected I have a mild degree of. Door locking and checking repetitively is the big one, related to childhood traumas, but primarily the type centered around rumination. (This is, in fact, where the title of my blog comes from, sharing a title with this series of comics — which in retrospect is more accurately an illustration of ADHD.) She commented that I seem quite analytical and offered me to take the MMPI if I would like to, so I am going to complete that this week as scheduling permits, before I see her and the therapist again. They both seem significantly more insightful than the therapist I saw for anxiety issues in 2016, which was a waste of time.

The best I can describe what it has been like “inside” my head until this point is to imagine yourself locked in a room with a dozen televisions and countless radios, playing different and sometimes contradictory channels at full volume, constantly. It creates a mental “fog” that demands a huge amount of energy and deliberate effort to stick with one track of thought, even manifesting into physical exhaustion. The bursts of hyperfocus on projects I am excited about are where I have traditionally gotten big things accomplished. Of course, that can be, rarely, artificially-induced by procrastinating until deadlines, etc.

By Friday and Saturday, I started to feel the “fog” clear, as if putting on the correct pair of eye-glasses for the first time. It is a strangely calm, quiet, and peaceful sensation, nothing like the lethargy and sluggishness characteristic of anxiety drugs I have taken in the past like lorazepam. I am confident that with the combination of medication, feedback from my therapist, and lifestyle modifications (such as using earplugs to fight overstimulation), my struggles with productivity can finally be overcome. I have seven books to finish.

Five years ago, I accepted a commission for a watercolour piece “in the style of Bill Watterson” or as closely as I can emulate it. I still cannot recall why?! I accepted this fool’s errand to begin with, but I decided I am ready to tackle it at this time. How quickly I can complete this is going to be the first real test of the efficacy of my ADHD medication. Let the experiment begin.

[VIDEO BLOG] Pay Attention

Posted in food, health, video on March 12th, 2019 by Jin Wicked – Comments Off on [VIDEO BLOG] Pay Attention

Baby steps.

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Thursday night, I made my best friend Al a CRAPPY birthday cake! I had Steve bring the cake to a small gathering hosted by Lance, and surprise him.

Crappy Birthday Cake

Crappy Birthday Cake

Crappy Birthday Cake

He loved it, and ATE THE POOP! which was crumbled chocolate cake.

As I shared in this week’s vlog, I was diagnosed Monday morning as having a combined-type ADHD (Mayo Clinic) (NIMH) (Wikipedia). I have an appointment with a psychiatrist later this month to discuss medications and, with luck, find something that will help lift the fog that my head is stuck in much of the time. I have also set up monthly sessions with the ADHD therapist to get feedback, and help continue developing strategies to improve my executive function.

The knowledge that I have been attempting to run a marathon with both my shoelaces tied together for most of my life, is both simultaneously frustrating and encouraging. Aside from visual art, I showed promise as a student with the viola, violin, trumpet, and piano, but I quit playing music once I reached higher skill levels that required long sessions of practice I could not maintain. I vaguely remember taking the SAT test in middle school. It was probably this program? “Duke” something was all I could recall. I do remember completely blowing it because I was unable to focus on the preparatory materials at all. I studied French for three and a half years in high school, but as the need to study increased right at the point I started to become conversationally fluent, I gave it up. I attended community college for about six weeks at my parents’ insistence. But outside of high school, I could not even reliably go to class on time, or at all, much less pay attention or complete reading assignments.

As a young child, I was able to coast by and get excellent grades, in spite of all my doodling and daydreaming. That all came crashing down by the time I was a teenager. I will never know what I might have accomplished or done if there had been more awareness of ADHD in girls, and in general, in the early 1980s. I needed compassion and understanding. Instead my parents chose to discipline me, ineffectively, with violence and screaming when I was small, and name-calling, judgement, massive invasions of my privacy and trust, and threats as I got older. They praised with one hand, and struck with the other. It has taken me thirty-nine years to break this addictive cycle, and undo the self-loathing they instilled in me. I am not allowing other people to define me or undermine my sense of self-worth any longer. Now that I have dug to the root problem, I am ready to work with my therapist and psychiatrist to unlock my full potential. I have come far already, with my shoes tied together.

Cohesion

Posted in health, work on March 3rd, 2019 by Jin Wicked – Comments Off on Cohesion

My evaluation with the ADHD specialist is coming next week. I am hopeful for that. Two weeks ago I scrubbed my bathroom from top to bottom, and threw out a large trash bag of old makeup and other products, and put all my “daily use” makeup together in a box to keep it clean and neat. It is a chicken-and-egg scenario — but I cannot tell whether I am happier because of the clutter, garbage, and superfluous stuff I am throwing out, or whether I am throwing these things out because I am happier. Of course, it does not really matter.

I am not sure how I still have anything left after two years of purging!

I took photographs of my office, the last “disaster” I am fighting to overcome, for the specialist and/or therapist. I have tried many, many times to organize my office, but every time I succeeded, the room spirals back to “piles of paper everywhere” state very quickly. I sincerely suspect this is contributing to the productivity issues — like the noise issues I mentioned before, the mess feels incredibly suffocating and overstimulating. In my reading about ADHD recently I ran across something called the Touch-It-Once Rule, so I have been slowly rewiring my habits to incorporate that behaviour. I am also utilizing a timer to spend about thirty minutes per day sorting papers, and discarding everything that is trash or that I can bear to part with. I have been sketching at my day job in quiet moments and on breaks without any “fidgety” problems.

Last night I sat down with several spiral notebooks that I hand-write scripts and ideas into, taking stock of my entire body of work, and engaging in some “big picture” thinking. The comics feel more manageable laid out this way.

1. Crap I Drew on My Lunch Break – webcomic, book/minis, almost complete
2. A Dollar Late and A Day Short – webcomic, book/mini, almost complete
3. Have Tablet, Will Scribble – webcomic, minis only, ongoing
4. Queen of Assholes – webcomic, TPBs/volumes, ongoing
5. The Book of Al – webcomic, single book, one-shot
6. TBA sketchbook project – poetry/prose, single book, one-shot
7. TBA sketchbook project – comics/drawing, single book, one-shot

Projects number six and seven are unique, in that I want to execute them in a “sketchbook” style. I aim to work on them exclusively outside my office until I reach the publishing stage. I like that an overall theme has emerged among all of my primary projects, including the TBA ones — an exploration of change, growth, connectedness, what it means to be human, and the impermanence of life. Thirty-nine years upon this planet have lead me to this moment, in this place, at this time, but it was my new day job at the beginning of 2019 that has finally sparked the “why.” My days are filled with art, books, and hard but fulfilling work — and making people laugh, smile, or think. I have rarely been poorer, owned less crap, and never felt more whole. I am grateful.

I have had several people lately express their preference to support my work without using Patreon, and over the next few weeks and months, I am going to be shifting focus to my general support page rather than Patreon. At the same time, I have been quite happy with Patreon, myself, and I want to find new ways to value-add for my supporters there in the future. Patreon is still my preferred method of support, as it is very easy for me to manage, much in the way Etsy helps with the store-side of things. But there are options.

This weekend I am preparing my presentation for the school children I will be speaking to soon! If that goes well, I should have some photographs and/or video, along with a trip report, for you later in the week.