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Pizzamas ends today!

In which John discusses his mental illness, the challenges of living with chronic illness, a recent run of poor health, the end of Pizzamas, and the question of whether things end or just change.


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Good morning Hank, it's Friday, it's the final day of Pizzamas 2015. And what a ride it's been. We've laughed, we've cried, we've suited up, we've learned some art history, and perhaps most importantly, we have made the acquaintance of cheese doodles guy. (Cheese doodles guy: Yeeeeaaaahhhhhhhh!!!!!!! Yeeeeaaaaaaahhhhhh!!!!!!)

But all good things must end, even the excitement over cheese doodles. In fact, come to think of it everything must end. In this universe, to be is to not always be. Or actually, maybe not, maybe to be is just to change. After all, those cheese doodles eventually became poop.

But anyway, the end of Pizzamas also means this is the last day you can order Pizzamas merch. My face, in a nebula, on your torso, only available until midnight tonight, along with the rest of the Pizzamas merch. Check it out at, link in the Dooblydoo. 

But if you leave Pizzamas with no physical mementos, fear not, when Nerdfighter D.C. complained that they were too broke to enjoy Pizzamas, Untapped Inkwell replied, "Pizzamas is just as much a state of being as it is a consumerist holiday". So true. So true of all consumerist holidays actually, which these days is to say all holidays.

But speaking of states of being, you talked about kinda personal stuff in your video yesterday, Hank, so I guess I'll do the same. I have a mental illness called Obsessive Compulsive Disorder which is often associated with anxiety, and depression problems.

I try to talk about that sometimes because I don't think there should be anything embarrassing about mental illness, but I don't talk about it that much because 1) it's personal, and 2) I find it difficult to talk about my own experiences with chronic illness because the central way we imagine sickness, as a thing that we must conquer and then put behind us, doesn't really apply to chronic illness.

Like when you go to the store to get a card for a sick friend, you go to the Get Well Soon section, right? but for people living with chronic illness, it often isn't a question of getting well soon.

Like, Hank, I hope someday they cure ulcerative colitis, but I don't expect you to get well soon. Instead, my hope for you is that you have a rich and full life, and that you aren't marginalized because of your illness. Which is a big problem. I have a theory about this Hank. I don't think that we humans like to imagine our lives as random. We need human lives to be narratives that make sense. So if we can't find causation, we just create it.

Like people get depression because they're weak, or they get diabetes because they don't eat well, or they have heart failure because they don't exercise. All that stuff is either totally inaccurate, or overly simplistic, but we want every effect to have a cause, and when we can't find that cause, we invent one.

Anyway Hank, as you know, I have been very sick the last several weeks as I've tried to figure out a new medication regimen.

Over the years of living with my illness, I've learned a lot about how to make it tolerable. I've learned to celebrate small successes, I've learned to encourage myself without being cruel, and most importantly, I've learned that there is hope, and when I feel like there isn't hope, my brain is lying to me.

But still, it is awful, and after years of relatively good health, I have been reminded in the last several weeks, just how painful and crushing this stuff can be. And that's despite my having all kinds of advantages, that make it easier to live with. An incredibly supportive family, total job flexibility, an excellent therapist and psychiatrist, money to afford medication, et cetera. Most people don't have all those resources and that worsens any kind of illness.

Hank, I mention all this for three reasons, first to tell people who may be living with mental illness that there is hope, that mental illness is almost always treatable, and that how you feel when you are at your sickest is not how you will always feel. And down in the doobly-doo you can find the links to resources that I have found helpful and that people I know have found helpful.

Secondly, I want to remind all of us that what we see in videos, or on Instagram, isn't the whole story. Like, my friends and family have known that I have been unwell the last several weeks because it is impossible for me to hide it from them, but it is very possible for me to hide it with jump cuts.

And lastly, to say "thanks". Thank you for watching these videos and Hank, thank you for the gift of Pizzamas, which has given structure and achievable tasks to my life at time when I desperately needed them.

I'm starting to feel better for a variety of reasons from medication to exercise, but the gift of Pizzamas has been surprisingly important, so thank you for being part of it.

Hank, Don't Forget To Be Awesome, I will see you... NO, no, you will see me, on Tuesday.