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Depression & catching up [part one]

10 May

Let’s talk about depression; my depression. If you know me well, then you know that I have depression. It’s not something I hide away from the world because I’m not ashamed of it. I know that it carries a stigma and most people don’t understand what it is. It’s more than just a low mood or feeling sad. It’s feeling sad, low or moody (usually intensely) for a long period of time (consistently for at least 2 weeks is a base point). Sometimes it even happens for no apparent reason. It’s a serious illness that is just gaining understanding from those who don’t suffer from it (and even for those who are). It not only impacts our mental health, but it will affect your physical health too.

Symptoms of depression can include:
– lack of energy
– difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
– inability to concerntrate
– loss of interest in hobbies, enjoyable activities and life in general
– And most importantly, a persisting low mood.

If you can recover by yourself, then good on you. If it goes away by itself then awesome. Talk to your family and friends about it and ask them to provide support. But if it doesn’t seem to be going away, and it’s really starting to affect your life, then I recommend seeking help and support from a professional. I know that there’s a negative stigma about admitting you have depression and seeing a psychologist because it might make you appear “weak” but I assure you, that’s not the truth at all.

If you can admit to yourself that you have a problem, that’s bravery. If you can be proactive and seek help, that’s courage. If anyone tells you otherwise, they’re just being ignorant. They don’t understand it. Don’t listen to them because their ignorance will bring you down. Don’t let it. Be proud of yourself, that you’re going to fight the depression. Depression is like cancer. Sometimes it appears out of nowhere but it can be devastating. It can even kill you if you don’t seek help in time. So ignore the ignorant and be your own hero.

This won’t be everyone experience with depression, but I’d like to tell you about mine.

I’ve had depression for quite a long time. I think the first time I had it was in high school, about 14 years old. I was lucky and had a supportive boyfriend who helped me through it at the time. But the thing about depression is that it’s like herpes. It can come back at any time. And it did. About once a year, I would get a month where I would be down. I would be moody, I would lose interest in life, and I had to try really hard to get out of bed in the morning. It really wasn’t good for my academics, and I didn’t do as well as I’d hope. It also didn’t help that three of my grandparents passed away during that time, in ’09,’10 & ’12.

I was seeing the school counsellor at the time and she helped a lot, and it went away. But at the beginning of 2013, it came at me once again, and it really hasn’t left since.

If any of this is a surprise to anybody, then I’d like to tell you that for people of depression, we usually try to hide it in front of others. We’ll tell you that we’re fine, and we’ll smile. We’ll throw you off our scent and you wouldn’t think twice about whether we’re really okay or not. But inside, we’re struggling. Perhaps you can distract us for a while, but when we go home, we’ll be crying. We’ll cover ourselves with our blankets and suffer in silence. That’s what I did. I told everyone I was fine when I could. I smiled whenever it was required. And I tried my best to pretend everything was okay. I still do it. But it’s a lot harder to do now.

When it first hit me again in 2013, I made sure I saw a counsellor at university. It helped until it didn’t, and I was doing miserably at university. I couldn’t focus. I couldn’t get motivated to do assignments, or to attend lectures and classes. I was self-destructing. But I was still telling myself that I could push through. I started off well but finished the first semester badly. So I got myself enrolled in the DLU program (Disabilty liason unit) on advice from my counsellor. But life was about to throw me a curveball and I had some personal issues, and the stress very nearly ruined me. See, the thing was that even though I knew I had a problem, I didn’t do anything about it because I didn’t want to burden my family with it so I didn’t seek extra help, or tell anyone how I was feeling except for my counsellor occasionally. So I kept with the snowball effect… and ended up really low. I was in such a terrible place, I was unable to do any work. I stopped caring. I started very destructive behavior and I am lucky I came out unscathed. But I was at a very bad place. I was stressed out, worried, depressed and trying my best to distract myself from it. But it didn’t work and I just broke.

I can’t describe it any other way. I would start crying randomly. I would cry myself to sleep. I was always crying and I kept myself in my room. I couldn’t handle even the simplest thing anymore and to top it off, I was dangerously close to failing. Because of my arrogance, I let myself fall so far down, that even now, I don’t know if I could recover. But it was a wake up call.

I applied for time off from university. I booked myself an appointment with a gp I knew would understand my depression. I got myself on medication and that in itself was a difficult journey. The thing with medication is that one size does not fit all and I had to trial at two different ones. One of them made me dizzy and moody. I gained at least 5 kg because my appetite had become voracious. My head spun whenever I was standing up for more than 30 minutes. It was a good thing I took time off, because if I had pushed myself to go to a lab in that condition, I probably would’ve collapsed over an animal part.

But the biggest thing I did was make an appointment with a psychologist.

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My grandfather.

7 Jun

My general impression is that when people reminisce about primary school, they start to think about all the fun times ; the lack of the piles of homework and the proud grins after conquering the monkey bars. My own impressions of primary school are mostly hazy save for this one very strong memory: the memories of going home as a prep- grade 3 student. Those years were the years that I was driven home by my grandfather.

If you’re wondering why the memories of my grandfather are the strongest… well, my grandfather passed away when I was in year 9. He was the first grandparent I had that passed away and it was the toughest death for me to deal with. We all knew he was weak but it still happened out of nowhere. I remember the day we found out better than the morning I just had. I remember the days that followed and the black cloud that just followed my family for the year that afterwards. I remember the pain and the heartache I suffered because even now, every time I think about him, I want to cry.

We had a family gathering tonight, as we usually do every saturday night, and the parents decided to start discussing primary school. My aunts want my youngest aunt to transfer her child to the primary school I went to as a child as she’s expecting her second child and they want the eldest closer so they can help with pick up. As I was listening to them discuss the school, my memory flashed to the memory of a warm hand. I remember the bony fingers clutching my own tiny fingers tightly. I remember my feelings of reluctance and I remember not wanting to hold that hand because none of the other kids held hands with their parent. I remember dragging my feet and feeling embarrassed because I wanted to be just like every other kid. I remember wishing that my mum or dad would pick me up just like everyone elses’ because it was my grandfather who picked me up. In the blistering summer heat, he would drive to my school in his old red car that had no air conditioner. He would wear his thick corduroy jacket because he was afraid of the sun’s rays. He would be extremely hot but he would still come to my school and wait outside my classroom for me. And I felt embarrassed by this.

As a child, I didn’t know any better. I was always getting bullied and all I wanted to do was become one of the popular kids. Now, I regret the way I acted. Now, I regret not chatting to him. Now, I regret the resentment I had against him as a child because now, even if I wanted to see him, I can’t and it breaks my heart. More than any pain I’ve ever received from a rejection; and even more than my biggest break up. My heart breaks to think that I took those moments for granted; that I hated those moments because now, I want them so badly.

I wish I could go back in time and make sure the childish me cherished the effort he put into picking me up. I wish I could go back in time and make sure I smiled at him when I saw him at the door instead of the disappointed frown I exhibited. I wish I could redo those moments because now they are impossible to replicate.

I guess I’m telling you this story because even though we’re all grown up now, I don’t know if you’re cherishing your moments. I don’t know whether you take the time your parents or grandparents give you for granted. Because I’m hoping you don’t. I’m hoping that you realise that the only guarantees we have in life are the past and now. Tomorrow or even the next hour might not even happen. We can’t predict the future. So treasure the time people give you. Treasure your family whether they’re biological or not. Put down your phones when you’re at dinner with them. Give them your full attention because they damn well deserve it. Don’t take them for granted because you never know when you might lose them and then spend the rest of your life crying about it like I do.

Protected: So this is it. My Secret.

9 Apr

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Moving.

9 Apr

It’s been awhile since my last post but I’m feeling stressed. And what do I do when I’m feeling overwhelmed? I write about it.

Geez… where to start though… Well. I’m moving this week. Yep. After nearly 20 years of being in the same suburb and living around the same people; I’m moving about a 15 minute drive away. It’ll take me an extra 20 minutes to get to university and I won’t be so close to the asian goodness that is Springvale anymore but it’s a quieter neighbourhood and I’ll finally be only sharing my bathroom with my sister… who I’m hoping will finally leave things where they belong and not take them into her room (I’ve gone through at least 5 pairs of tweezers!). However… it also means that I’ll need to downsize the amount of stuff I have. Right now my room is 5mx3m and I’ll be moving into a 2.5x2m room… which is a big downgrade. It means that I’ll have to somehow halve my clothing which should be easy as I always wear the same sort of stuff. But it’s not. I keep making excuses like “I’ll eventually want to wear this but if I throw it away, i’ll have to buy it again”. It doesn’t help it that my parents are telling me the same thing either. “Keep it, you’ll need it”. I might want it again some day, but at the same time my new closet space is only half of what i currently have so I have to throw things away and I don’t know how to do that. Tips please? or maybe just be the wise person by my side who doesn’t let me weaken my resolve? Aside from moving, there’s my confusion about my identity.

If you know me then you also know that I’m pretty much accepting of who I am and I’m not afraid to be me. Forget social cues and polite conversation, I can’t do either and I’ll talk your head off about the best dick size or I’ll be praising self-love. I knew who I was but now, I’m not so sure. I’m feeling lost and really confused about myself at the moment. If I thought you could handle it, I would’ve told you about this because this isn’t something that most people understand. In fact, I’d say that most people reject this. If that doesn’t give you a clue as to what I’m confused about then… well. let’s just say that if there were still witch hunts, I’d be on the top of the list.

It’s not exactly about my sexuality (bi/pansexual in case you were wondering) but it’s something else. it’s something else that is crucial to my identity. And I would love to be honest about it but I feel that if I did, there would be so much judgement left at my door. If I’m already not judged enough for who I am, then this would make it worse. This is worse than the confusion I was going through when I was coming out of the metaphorical closet. It’s stressful hiding who I am but at the same time, it’s stressful being who I am. I don’t want to be thinking about this new quality that I know about myself or at least think I know. If I didn’t already think I wasn’t a decent enough human being, then this will make it worse.

Sigh. Well there it is. That is me right now, sharing what I can to the world.

Dissatisfaction.

1 Aug

Tonight was date night; a Friday like every other Friday. They would choose a nice restaurant to dine at and spend some quality time together away from the comforts of the home they had shared for the past three years. On this particular night they had chosen a sweet little french cafe on a busy laneway. Surprisingly, the cafe was quite empty and they were able to dine comfortably without needing to shout over their meal. The ambiance was wonderfully romantic with soft french music in the background, dim lights and a small candle inside its glass lantern on every table. It should’ve been enjoyable, however she was feeling a slight twinge of uneasiness and dissatisfaction inside.

She had finished her dessert and was now waiting for him. She had nothing to say and didn’t want to bother him whilst he was enjoying his crepe. So instead she sat, thinking to herself. She thought about what they had planned for the weekend and she processed all the news she had gathered from her friends that week. She had been so busy for the past few weeks, she wasn’t able to spend as much time with them as she wished but the last few days had been filled with catch-ups and great news. Seeing as he had finished his dessert, she decided to bring some of it up. For some reason, she really wanted to see his reaction.

“Babe, did you know that Joe proposed to Violet yesterday? The ring is absolutely gorgeous”.

” And I thought he was the sanest one out of us all… I guess not huh?” he laughed, glancing at the chunky silver watch on his wrist.

She could feel the panic rising and she was beginning to grow worried. Her palms felt clammy and her heart became uneasy. Just that one statement from him shook her. She felt as if the stability of their relationship was being tested, as if a block that was supporting it had been dislodged. The movie in her head of the future; the white picket fence, the two beautiful children laughing on the swings, the shared laughter; was slowly rewinding and disappearing and she had no idea how to get it back… Except to offer another piece of news.

” Well… Jack and Danielle just got pregnant ! I bet that’ll be wonderful for them.”

She waited for his reply with a bated breath, her eyes on his face to see his reaction. There was still hope left, she reminded herself.

“Wow… I really hope they’re happy about losing their freedom. I can’t see how they’ll be able to do anything after that. To each their own right?” He frowned. “Should I go pay now?”

She felt as if her whole world had been rocked. The things she thought she knew about him and about their future weren’t connecting in her mind. The plans they had made prior to moving in together were disappearing. The mini-movie in her head had now been erased from and she couldn’t summon it back. What did it mean? Did it mean that there wasn’t a feasible future between them?

There are turning points in one’s life when one discovers something that changes everything and she supposed this was one of them. She had one decision to make and she hoped it would be the right one.

“Babe… wait. I think we need to talk. ”

 

 

30 Oct

Amazing.

Relativity

I once knew a girl.

She was an ordinary girl.
She was not handsome nor talented,
but did possess a curious mind.
And so, she spent much of her time observing,
questioning,
pondering…
She wanted, simply, to be as clever as she was ordinary.

She was a strange soul.
Each morning she would ask herself,
whether she had any fears, or regrets.
And each morning she would lie and say,
that could not be –
it simply could not be.

Instead, wanting to be strong,
she pretended she had no fears,
and told herself each day that nothing was wrong.

She did not want to fall,
regret,
or disappoint;
and most of all, she did not want to fear.

But, it was the case that
she had a million fears still to face,
a thousand dark closets yet to unpack,
and a hundred times still to fall.

She was afraid of many…

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