Understanding who we are has less to do with discovery and more to do with remembrance than is typically understood. Have you ever had a realization that didn’t precede a laundry list of examples, isolated moments and meaningless experiences and random relationships that compile to reveal a pattern or truth? Probably not.
The real work of anything is simply becoming conscious of what is already true.
The essential point of a psychological guidance system (religious or not) – rather, the kinds that work – is not to supplant a mindset into you. Rather, to give you the tools for introspection, to figure out the answers yourself. To pose questions, give examples, have you reflect and through that recognition connect to your inner guidance system, your intuition, your essential self.
I say this with complete sincerity: the answers to these questions are some that have (literally) changed the course of my life. I’d be remiss…
Studying oversea changes things. Chinese new year is one of my fav holiday of the year because nothing is better than spending good times with cousins who I’ve grown up with. But family gathering like this will not last long, because soon enough each of us will grow up, get married, have children, live abroad. Soon enough, things start to fall apart. I’ve a friend who is currently having oversea exchange finally shares the feeling of being in between, torn apart by your heart and mind. No matter how excited knowing that I can get back to Malaysia and have my yearly/biannual food feast, I always have this unpleasant feeling that clutches my throat. I’m afraid to see what I’ve missed during my absence. As I came back this time, I witness the changes with my own eyes. Aging is inevitable. I noticed the growing fine lines at the corners of my mother’s eyes. Once my mother commented that taking care of my 4-months old nephew reminded her taking care of me when I was a toddler, which is almost 20 years ago. Her words gave me shivers. I’m afraid what comes next. My grandmother took over my room so I was sorta kicked out of my own room. My childhood room is now the memory of the past. The room is now filled with muskiness, clutters, boxes of my old belongings and my favorite pillow is nowhere to be found. My parents too, start showing symptoms of mild amnesia and have been asking me the same questions over and over. It really frustrates me but too, I’m wary that this is only the beginning. An old relative of mine talked to me earlier today,
“I can never remember who you are anymore but please call me, tell me who you are and remember me, I can’t remember anyone anymore.“
She talked with her head nodding profusely, as if those words are her mantra, telling me while telling herself reminding herself she cannot remember anything anymore. It is painful to watch someone having parts of them slip away. I tried to assure her,
“It’s okay. It’s okay you don’t remember but it’s most important you’re happy now, okay?” I’ll remember you.
I’m not concern about death. Death itself is not scary to me (at this moment) but the idea of getting old is petrifying. And the transiency of life, those changes. I never fancy them. I don’t like losing control. I tried to reach out, turn things around but I failed myself. Maybe I’m the type which is self-defeating and passive aggressive. But when I see my toddler nephew, he reminds me of so much hope.
No doubt he is a happy baby (potentially a very active extrovert, I can foretell) and there are so much life ahead of him. At the same time, I just want him to remains a toddler, tiny, innocent and lovable. I’ve to admit I’m obsessed with permanence, but I know this is just one of my absurdities. Freud once said,
“A flower that blossoms only for a single night does not seem to us in that account less lovely. Nor can I understand any better why the beauty and perfection of work of art or of an intellectual achievement should lose its worth because of its temporal limitations.”
It is indeed easier to say than done, but he is probably right. How foolish of me to let my emotions take over the enjoyment of beauty albeit its transiency? Then again, melancholy is my strong suit. I am only human. From what I remember, home is never the same.
Mental health suffers from a major image problem. One in every four people experiences mental health issues — yet more than 40 percent of countries worldwide have no mental health policy. Across the board it seems like we have no idea how to talk about it respectfully and responsibly.
Stigma and discrimination are the two biggest obstacles to a productive public dialogue about mental health; indeed, the problem seems to be largely one of communication. So we asked seven mental health experts: How should we talk about mental health? How can informed and sensitive people do it right – and how can the media do it responsibly?
End the stigma
Easier said than done, of course. Says journalist Andrew Solomon: “People still think that it’s shameful if they have a mental illness. They think it shows personal weakness. They think it shows a failing. If it’s their children who…
I got a few days of state of calm and sanity back since last conversation I had with D. There are more clarities and I was really busy with my new semester, assignments and internship. I don’t even have the time to indulge in my crazy thoughts of D and my miserable life.
Then again, it’s the loneliness. The days that I spent alone, eating, studying. I barely talk to anyone. Without assignments, my life could be very empty; lifeless. Because I have no one to share my life with.
Then I remember how pathetic I am.
Behind the shades, shadows and masks, what do you see?
A smile, a laugh, sorrow and tears, what do you see?
No one can tell, no one can judge, only you can tell.
When the drapes are down, when the lights are out, when the guards are down. when the dark creeps in.
Here I am, sitting in the cubicle somewhere in the corner of my school library. Terrified, jittery. Last night, I was urged to message D in a stern, almost emotionless manner. Because I don’t have a choice. I quit being a nice person and that person has used up all of my patient on waiting him to take any actions. He has pushed all of my buttons and left me at the edge of desperation. I’m very desperate and no way I’m going to deny that. But soon after I messaged him, I felt instant regret. I gave in to my temptations again.I have better self-control than this. I thought.
Now I’m struggling to study. Again. My brain is messed up with thoughts of possible conversations that we going to have later today at 8pm HKT. And I couldn’t think of anything. I haven’t been talking to him for nearly 3 months and I really lost track of him. This thought really gives me chill and I’m terrified. I’m not too sure where should we begin our conversations. What should we talk about? What topics? Chimpanzee? His bad mandarin accent? My Taiwan trip? His family? My family? My psychological states? My meetings with my counselor? His new life there? His new friends there? UK’s culture? HK’s umbrella movement? Chinese New Year? His birthday? Where should I begin with? There are so many, many things that I want to talk to him, but I don’t know where to start with. It’s terrifying. I can feel that I’m nervous about our upcoming conversation. It’s almost like I’m going into an interview very soon. I can’t believe that I’ve lived through the days without him. Without sharing those little things with him. I can’t believe how many days I went through by having phantom fantasy conversations with him.
Then again. Things have changed. He changed. I changed. D is not D anymore. What I once loved, might not be the same person anymore. And he is the illusion I craved and creation of mine.
So what are we going to talk about later? I seriously have no idea.
Anxiety level (on the scale of 1 to 10): 7
1 February 2015, Sunday 1.02am
It didn’t take away my anxiety even after talking to D. Well, we talked about almost two hours. The details were boring and the internet connection wasn’t so good either. He seems okay, slightly fatter, fatigue.
It just feel indifferent. Maybe I was looking for a magic cure from him. Maybe I want something that could ease my pain, and my anxiety. After the conversation, I returned to my seat and continue to burry myself with pages of textbook. With my anxiety level, I could barely concentrate, but I need to get through it.
Later when I got back home, during shower, I felt better. Elated, to be correct. It’s really odd. At the same time, reflecting how fuck up I am. I have no idea what makes me feeling better. It’s almost like having borderline personality disorder. I must regain my control. I need to find an answer to this.