Category Archives: recovery

Coming out to play or how an introvert fails to thrive

jessica doyle self portrait

If you are a creative person you likely have many drafts or unfinished pieces of work in various stages of completion laying around your studio or stored on the computer.

In early November, 2011 I began entering a burnout from working online and from life in general. And by mid-January 2012 my health had completely failed and I was hospitalized for seven days. It’s only now that I’m coming out of it (publicly) so to speak.

What’s sad, is that I knew it was happening all of last year but didn’t know how to stop it or where to go for help or how to financially afford treatment by taking time off of working as I have no health insurance or employment insurance. I wrote the following on November 7th, 2011, the night before my 38th birthday, and never published it here on the blog.

What exactly does it mean when you hit burnout or rather when you succumb to not be able to creatively think or do anything else other than change who you are.

And when you are introverted, adjusting to extroversion is almost painful at a cellular level. To an introvert, extroversion feels like being tickled everywhere for an extended period of time and forced to exert and use one’s senses in life in an outward fashion that others can see, taste, smell, watch or feel immediately.

An introvert on the other hand basically sponges all that external sensory stimuli, balls it up, swallows it, mentally digests it and assimilates it all into the brain for use in original and unique regurgitation onto paper, instrument or dialogue that extroverts absorb in the form of entertainment.

The above few paragraphs are by no means a finished thought but they do summarize how fast my fragile boundaries were eroding. I was utterly overwhelmed most, if not, all of last year. Only those people closest to me knew the extent of what I was trying to deal with if they even knew at all. I didn’t share too much here on the blog… I don’t think I knew how to. Yes, my failing thyroid is playing a part in all of this and yes I’m keeping up with the blood tests and adjustments in medication again.

And what finally prompted me to sign into this blog and break the silence and actually write today was perhaps the most awful therapy appointment I’ve ever had the pleasure of sitting through yesterday. And it wasn’t that it was awful per-say, it was just unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before… and I’m going to submit myself to it all over again next week. Haha.

A few weeks ago my Mom gave me a camera to use, that she had won at work, as she already had a camera of her own. It’s a Canon Powershot SD 3500 IS, 14.1MP. I’ve begun playing with it. I snapped the pic above in the upstairs bathroom.

Taken by surprise or how it ended

something and nothing - relationship breakup- sadness - illustration by jessica doyle

When you make assumptions about something, especially someone, it can become hyperbolic to an enth degree that perhaps you don’t realize until well after the climax. It’s so easy to generalize and compartmentalize people’s actions and words into man-made stereotypes that we forget that none of us fit into them, nor should we fit into them. We may carry or display a few of the stereotypical characteristics but ultimately we are all at least a little bit unique in how we adapt to situations that arise that took us by surprise.

You kind of get to a point where you know you have to snap out of it and move forward and stop sobbing, pacing and begin eating properly again and get back into the game even with the broken heart. I didn’t realize it was a broken heart until this morning when I woke again with that familiar pang in my central chest that I haven’t felt in a very long time… years maybe?

And I feel so foolish and just don’t understand even what happened over the last few weeks… a complete 360º spun wildly for sure.

I’m well aware that some of you who are reading this know both myself and the man involved but here’s the thing I don’t have anything bad to say and that is why this hurts so much. It really shouldn’t hurt this much right? It’s just the timing is off right? We were not meant for each other right? The stars were not aligned right, right? The age gap was too big? He’s just not that into me right?

And here I’m thinking and asking myself why I keep attracting the same man over and over again and expecting a different result when in actual fact this person is not the same as my two long-term ex’s at all. While there are similarities it was the emotions I was experiencing while spending time with him that made me think he was similar to my ex’s when in actual fact this man was quite different.

It was exhilarating to spend the holidays with him at each of our respective households. We both were not working (on holiday) and kind of jumped head long into a whirlwind romance. Maybe it was just what we both needed? We could talk about anything, cook and eat food together and both enjoyed walking immensely. We had things in common but really we had much that wasn’t in common and that is what I enjoyed so much. He told me stories and sang to me while playing guitar while I drew in my sketchbook. He introduced me to his family and friends and he likewise met some of my people too.

And while I can pin point a few things that made our relationship end I really don’t understand why it ended but have resolved that it has indeed ended.

I’ve dated some men over the last few years in search of a long-term relationship and have experienced break-ups either of my own doing or of the man’s doing and I was always able to pick myself right back up and move on with no regrets. For God sakes… I’ve been eating chocolate for the last three days. I DO NOT eat chocolate ever. Chocolate bars have been known to go stale in my fridge.

This time… it’s not so easy to go back to online dating.

So how can one learn from this experience?

Throw everything you know out the window and just let yourself feel and be vulnerable to whatever is happening.

When we base attraction only on physical it can lead to being attracted to the same people over and over again and expecting different results. I think this is where people’s “types” come into play. Like always buying apples and hoping one apple will become an orange. Well, I met Mr. Clementine in mid-December and he was tasty. And then, my dating patterns and beliefs were smashed to smithereens which is a very good thing.

Yet, this whole experience is beyond bittersweet.

I miss him.

The illustration above is from the children’s book Every Someday that I illustrated a couple of years back. I have a few soft cover copies here in the studio. If you are interested in purchasing a signed edition get in touch and let me know.

Artist Tip #22 – Just Doodle

Sometime last year I updated my Facebook account saying something along the lines that I couldn’t draw and wasn’t finding any inspiration in life. A cousin of mine, Marc, commented on that Facebook update by simply stating “Doodle”. This is one of those times when I wish Facebook had an internal update search engine as I can’t and will not go back through hundreds of Facebook updates to find Marc’s comment. That word though, and comment have stuck with me when I feel overwhelmed and can’t seem to be productive.

These are some recent doodles. Continue reading

Bloody nose or why I was in a fight yesterday…

…with dust.

Upon waking my nose ran away and my eyes cried as I climbed out of bed at 8:30AM and trotted for the bathroom. I grabbed a tissue and began blowing blood. My poor sinuses went through hell yesterday while I was at Value Village; a local second hand chain perusing then trying on clothing.

In the midst of pulling a grey cardigan over my head my eyes swelled, nose began leaking water and my throat began to close. I began sneezing uncontrollably, unable to catch my breath. It was the worst allergy attack I suffered through in a long time. I climbed out of the sweater put my own clothing back on, left the fitting room and handed the culprit to Lisa. We walked to check-out and I paid for that damn sweater because it was the only that fit out of the 20 I tried on. The woman ringing me through told me they allow patrons to bring their pets in! Geebus! It’s not so much dogs and cats that freak me out but dust, chemical detergents, pollens and scents.

Add to that I started my period and was already cramping more than normal. I told Lisa I’ll see you outside as her and Gillian were still shopping and pushed the doors open and prayed I had more kleenex in my purse. The sneezing dissipated as did the whole body shaking while I breathed in fresh air. I knew a simple laundering of that grey sweater would clear up any allergen in it.

They dropped me off at home and I ingested a half of a pink tablet of diphenhydramine-hydrochloride. I felt a bit better but could not breath through my nose and my stomach was bloating something awful.

Over the last 6 weeks I have ingested more allergy meds than I care to count and they are simply not working.

I cooked supper for Lisa and Gillian who were making their way back into town for a birthday party we were attending. We ate, shared a coupe of glasses of wine and I stayed home and went to bed with a hot pack on my belly.

The three of us went for breakfast today then out to their place. They have four dogs. I went absolutely berzerk. I love animals. BUT after a reaction like I had yesterday have to be careful and didn’t have antihistamine with me. They had some and offered me one. A Reactine. I was always leary of taking non-drowsy allergy meds due to the fact that they make me bounce.

I took it on the way out the door when they were driving me home and I CAN BREATH through my nose for the first time in 6 weeks!

I feel like a human being right now. I took it at 2:00PM and it’s going on 9:00PM and I CAN BREATH. My sinuses are open and I almost cried hallelujah an hour ago because I have been feeling shitty for weeks.

Allergies make you feel anxious and scared to do things you would normally do. I think my gut, period, intestines etc have been feeling crappy due to the fact that I was a walking ticking time bomb waiting to explode and boy did it happen at Value Village yesterday.

My new best friend is Reactine.

Photo credit – my new grey sweater on my light grey duvet cover

The Process – 513 days

Cleansing the mind of mental madness is normal human activity. When the dots run out it’s time to jump; land elsewhere. Things unspoken become clearer. You can visualize remembering both good and not so good again. And this is OK. Interacting with those feelings, one needs become fearless for instants, seeking the other side. How did you look while he was looking at you looking at him.

In time, I find this becomes possible. You begin to feel the anger. Then the ahn yah breath. Finally, it bursts. The lapse pre-burst time could be days, minutes, even years. Does it get easier I asked myself. No I answer. But the mental state of mind increases in size, categorizing knowledge, post-burst. And life begins anew.

Today I have been clean of GHB for 513 days.
Continue reading

Chapters of my life, and loving the bounce

Chapter 1

jessicadoyle_sunset.jpgI walked down the sidewalk and
fell into a deep hole.
I couldn’t get out and I couldn’t fugure out why.
It wasn’t my fault.
It took a long time to get out.

Chapter 2

I walked down the sidewalk and
fell into the same hole again.
I couldn’t understand.
It wasn’t my fault.
This time it was easier to get out.

Chapter 3

I walked down the sidewalk and fell into the same hole again.
This time I understood why and it was my fault.
This time it was easier to get out.
Continue reading