I debated whether or not to just start updating again without explanation, but nah. An unexplained hiatus that long deserves at least the option of an explanation. The short version is, there was a stretch of time where my brain got away from me. The details are behind the cut.
I've been diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder since I was in elementary school, around 1st or 2nd grade. OCD is an anxiety disorder characterized not just by screwed-up stress levels, but by ritual/repetitive compulsions, irrational beliefs, and invasive thoughts. It's always been a nuisance, but the focus was slanted more on compulsion than obsession. When my friend died this dynamic began to reverse.
In the beginning it was just the repetitive thoughts causing insomnia, which I eventually got medication for. Then the hypochondria developed. I'm told this isn't unusual for people who've lost someone to an illness, but it quickly became a serious problem; I developed, among other things, a fear of drug interactions and medication side-effects (although frankly if you've ever listened to the commercial list any it doesn't seem that unreasonable).
Taking medication began to give me panic attacks, which is an innocent term for "the recurring sensation of having a mild but prolonged cardiac arrest." And, because the stress had been so constant, I began to need medication more and more -- by November of 2006 my immune system had more or less shut down, and I was sick for something in the area of three months straight. With the doctors I visited unable to find anything wrong with me, of course.
(A note on hypochondria: If you're like me, you figure that as disorders go this one always seemed pretty tame. Trust me, if it ever gets to the point where you're convinced you can feel your organs shutting down because you took an Advil Cold & Sinus, you start revising this opinion right around the time you're sticking your finger down your throat to induce vomiting.)
The deterioration took about a year. Over that time I began to lose interest in/ability to do various things: drawing, then casual reading, and, finally, writing. My thoughts would stick in such a persistent loop I would doublecheck and revise the same sentence again and again, obsessed with getting it perfect. At their worst, the invasive thoughts intensified to the point just a step below auditory hallucinations.
Despite this, I somehow managed to continue missing the obvious and believed the problem was at least in part physical. This just goes to show that optimism springs eternal.
This continued until serious heart palpitations landed me in the ER in January 2007. Though frightening at the time, it was the best thing that could have happened to me -- when the tests all came back negative I finally had confirmation that this was psychosomatic. I immediately made an appointment with my psychiatrist, who concurred with my conclusions; I was put on medication, finally breaking me out of the cycle of panic, and I started to get better.
So there you go. Don't worry about support/condolences/
As for the update itself, I've tried a few things -- I went for a Lucida Sans font and speech bubbles in an attempt to make my insanely text-ridden strip a bit more readable. The art's, uh . . . serviceable. Since I can count the number of times I've picked up a pencil to sketch since 2006 on two hands -- with fingers left over -- there hasn't been any advancement on that front, but ah well. Fortunately I've never pretended the art was anything but a necessity anyway.
Still wish I could find my damn triangles, though . . .