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You might have seen some of my comics on socials recently, describing my working through taming my inner critic. That work all came about from listening to Clare Bowditch’s excellent Audible Original series Tame your Inner Critic. Extremely helpful, accessible, wonderfully uplifting and funny. People seem to have liked what I’ve drawn…I will keep doing it when I have the energy to.

The very fact that I felt like drawing to express my thoughts and feelings is a huge thing — I felt creative and had the energy to do something with it! I find distilling things into comic form can make them easier to digest, both for me and the reader.

I started drawing in my journal while sitting in a hotel room, looking out over the Hobart waterfront when mum and I went south for a couple of days. I have continued the comics using Procreate on my iPad (I still think that is a terrible, terrible name for an app, but hey, it’s a good app).

The two things that bug me about my drawings is maintaining consistency (as you can see, the main character has one hairstyle in the image above, and a completely different one below) and that I find profiles of heads impossible to draw (almost worse than hands!). Hopefully I shall improve at both.

Anyway, one of the things I drew about this week (above) was fear of returning to work. But I had to do it…the longer I stay away the harder it would be to go back. I need to start using those parts of my brain again, but it’s a Couch to 5K kind of process; I can’t just jump back in at the same pace I was going when I hit the wall back in August. And nor should I want to.

And I have done it! I’m starting off with eight-hour weeks, then gradually increasing the hours as the term goes on. It was scary though, like dipping your toe in a river that is still rushing past at breakneck speed, while trying to remember sensible strategies for not getting swept away by the current.

It was as bloody exhausting as I thought it might be; I did three hours work on Monday and then came home and slept for three hours. Today was exhausting because the day started off with a doctor’s appointment and blood test, followed by work meetings. I’m still finding it hard to find the right words for things and put coherent sentences together, which is challenging. I feel like I get met with blank stares a lot (I probably don’t, but that’s how it feels). But then I got to meet a friend for coffee unexpectedly and that was really encouraging.

The doctor had said to me “You need something that isn’t at work or at home, that is just for Rebecca. What is it?” and I couldn’t think of anything. Pre-COVID it would have been theatre and band, but of course theatre is still inexplicably not happening (because theatres can’t open to a big enough capacity here yet) and band has been on a break. So seeing a friend and not just rushing home to my bed was a positive thing.

Much as my comics don’t have punchlines, neither does this post. But oh, yes that’s what I wanted to say — thank you so much to everyone who has been praying for me/sending me encouragement/thinking of me. This has been a really rough time and as you know I’ve been telling myself all kinds of warped stories, so having you all there has been like having silken strands of spider web floating through the ether that I can latch onto and weave into a supporting structure. That might sound fanciful…it makes sense to me in a kind of Charlotte’s Webby sort of way.