Two Weeks Since Burnout
I think it all started in late-2021. I had been feeling huge bouts of depression in the years prior to that, which had prevented me from making comics. But a friend gave me a tip that enabled me to reassess what I had been going through, and that helped a lot. I ended 2021 with writing and drawing a short comic "Zsazsa Zaturnnah sa PNU," commissioned by the Philippine Normal University. It was a breakthrough for me, as the last comic I was able to finish was in 2016. You can read it here.
After that, I dove into finishing the much-delayed "Zsazsa Zaturnnah sa Kalakhang Maynila." I spent the first seven months of 2022 working on the last 50 pages of that story alongside my teaching job at the College of Saint Benilde. I also spent time and energy on the pre-production and promotion of the book. You can download a PDF version for free (or pay-what-you-want) through my Gumroad page. For Philippine residents, you can purchase a physical copy of the book through Shopee.
In August, I was commissioned by students of St. Benilde to write a play for their thesis production. That play, "Indayugang Banal," opened in November, so I really didn't have a lot of time to complete the script. I holed myself up in a motel room for three days so I could focus on that.
September to November was particularly busy for me, as I was assigned another class for my teaching load. It had been a long time since I taught drawing, and the old video lectures I made in 2020 were, well, old. I would create new video lectures and demos every week. Here's a sample of one of my video lessons.
I went to see a show of "Indayugang Banal" last November 10 with my mom. I had not been getting much sleep around that time, but I was still functioning. I enjoyed the show, marveling at the students' efforts, as well as the magic touch director Tuxqs Rutaquio gave to the story. But I wasn't ready for the lobby crowd. The energy after the show was positive and electric, and I felt it overwhelming my senses. I left the venue with my mom feeling really tired and sleepy. I figured that a couple of days of rest would get me back.
But it didn't. It's now almost two weeks since that day, and I'm not yet at 100%. I had not been working as much as I have, dedicating a lot of time to just sleeping and meditating.
It's like I broke something inside of me.
These days, looking through social media feeds feels much more overwhelming than before, and I get terribly anxious when someone messages me about something to do, a strong triggering in my chest, as if my fight-or-flight mode was on high alert. It's like my body's telling me to shut everything off and stop thinking.
I really hope I get better. There's a lot more I want to do.