MushyFeelings. #8 Crowds.

‘How was your day.’
‘Good-ish.’

I used to be energised by being amongst a large group of people. Usually being the loudest one to either react exaggeratedly, or shouting at the top of my lungs, masking my fear of disobedience with a false sense of leadership.

Now.

Crowds. Any group of 2 or more people. Tire me out drastically. I am not myself, and the minute I say a last goodbye and turn away from the crowd, I start analysing each detail. Each smile. Each word. Each gesture. And slowly, the lines and thoughts of sadness just start to cover me like layers and layers of blankets.

After a while. I start suffocating from a blanket of bad thoughts.

I know that they are not mine. But there seems to be two of me in my head. There’s me. and then there’s other me. But other me is not me. It’s someone else, someone who speaks words of harm and anger. Words that I would’ve never imagined myself say. And yet, other me is so much better at speaking and shouting than me.

I used to be loud. But I am never loud enough for ‘other me’. I need people to drown it all out. I need activities. So I make plans. Fully intending to enjoy myself, to recharge, to be happy. But the happy doesn’t last. Not anymore. And I don’t understand why.

I just want to be okay again.

MushyFeelings. #7 Words I will never be brave enough to say.

(written yesterday)

I don’t speak to my family enough. I miss them, and I wish to tell them that. But it seems that every time I speak to them, I run out of words to express what’s really been going on.

Family: ‘Are you better?’

No I’m not, and I’m fighting it everyday, and it’s tiring. Help me. Please. I just want you to be there, you don’t have to tell me it’ll be alright, I just need to be able to sit and breath with you.

Me: ‘Yeah I’m fine. It’s slowly getting better.’

I feel helpless. Because I don’t even know how to start helping myself, let alone give instructions to those who care regarding how to help me. I’ve failed once again. I’m an open book, but the words are all jumbled and no one can understand them, neither can I.

Throughout primary school, my parents had both worked, taking on busy schedules, and only returning home for dinner. Occasionally accompanied with toys and gifts from a trip abroad. I was used to walking home alone, to extracurricular lessons, to do my homework, to meet friends.

I’m not afraid of being alone.

From a young age, I had been sent off to many summer camps, learning, enjoying, and spending time away from home. It prepared me to feel entirely comfortable living in tents in a dark forest, where the night sky is illuminated with stars and occasionally occluded with dark clouds.

I’m not afraid of the dark.

In the last two years of high school. I had spent time away from home, studying at a boarding school in Hong Kong. Enduring the most serious and heart-wrenching breakup, withstanding the falling apart of what was mistaken as friendship, and surviving a whole two years of learning about myself.

I’m not afraid of bad times.

But all those time away from home, away from family, it’s different from now. I came home alone and left home alone knowing that my parents would be there in the evening. I left for the summer knowing full well that I’d return by August. I got through boarding school knowing that graduation was a definitive end to bring me home.

All the other places were simply temporary destinations, places that I’d reach out to, and then bounce back, like an elastic. But this time, it’s different. Home is the temporary destination that I’d visit, and return back here to England, to the UK.

 

MushyFeelings. #6 You matter.

I woke up in the middle of the night, stomach howling with pain at the typical monthly torture each girl must go through. Finding it hard to fall asleep again, I decided to do a day of independent studying at home on the Thursday and get some rest.

Sitting in front of a the window, a truly grey sky. Not dull. Just grey. A very dark shade of grey. The contrast of the room light, the soft light glow from the ceiling just seemed like too much of a contrast to be allowed to fill my room. Instead I’m writing under the table lamp that focuses itself onto my desk, casting shadows of the ridges on the floor from staplers, papers and books stacked on my desk.

I woke up this morning to her messages for a call. The camera of her phone was pointing towards the ceiling. I could tell she had been crying, and that she was holding hard onto every word. She says that she’s just tired, tired of holding on. To life. To herself. A person she no longer desires to be.

I guess I’ve just realised I’m not a very nice person. I’m selfish. You seemed to be getting better, and I just don’t want to drag you down.

She feels like the spotlight shouldn’t belong to her. Her achievements. Her emotions. Her life. She doesn’t want to lean on anyone. She feels like a burden.

But she’s not.

To you my dear friend. Here’s what I want to say:

You do matter. The only reasons why I may seem better sometimes is knowing someone understands. That YOU understand. That you will still care for me. I got mad at you a few days ago because you wouldn’t let me care for you, but just as I was able to care for you, I could put forward my rational mind to speak to myself.

If you don’t lean on anyone, at least lean on me. Trust me. You’re holding onto me as much as I am holding on to you. Please don’t let go. Because if you do, I have nothing left really to hold on to.

Feeling helpless. Because I want to help. And I want to be helped. But I don’t either of us really knows how to help one another, or let other people help us. But at the very least we can ‘not-know’ what to do together. And at least then, we’re not alone.

When life is happening around me.

I’m sitting at the King’s Food cafe in New Hunt’s House, facing outwards towards the two friends who are chatting, working, having lunch. There is a quiet conversation to my right, and in the background, the sharp squeaks and clicks as the barista makes another order of the large cappuccino.

I’m not working, nor am I worried for working, because this hour was meant for a missed session of patient history taking practice. One where the patient didn’t turn up. This hour was meant for something else, so the more responsible part of me has her mind occupied with the framework. Presenting complaint. History of presenting complaint. Systemic Enquiry. Past Medical History. Drug history and allergies. Family history. Social History. Summary.

But instead, for a little while, I felt like I can write down a sense of calmness amongst the business that surrounds me. The feeling that I’m frozen in a bubble of my own, frozen in time, in another dimension, as those around me hustle and bustle like bees, carrying out their tasks and lives, whilst I pause my own for a little while.

With the office skirt forcing me to sit upright, and the just recently eaten toffee banana muffin pressed against the thin leather belt, I write this post.

I’ve started questioning a lot lately. All the choices that I’ve made in my life. My academics. My career path. My faith. My relationships. Were they my own, or otherwise influenced by parents, friends, peers, society, external unknown and yet-to-be-known forces.

My views mainly remained unchanged. But I can’t help but wonder whether or not I’m simply holding on to those choices and ‘sticking with it’ for the fear of what it means to let go. What it means to scrap it all and start with a clean slate, pushing forward only driven by passion.

Academics. But I do want to do well. I want that satisfaction and acknowledgement of the hard work I’d put into studying an exam, designing a poster, or even writing up my notes.

Career path. I do want to be a doctor. To be torn between the rewarding feeling of success and the pain of losing to an ‘un-personifiable’ disease. I want to be able to say that I, at the very least, had a chance to change someone’s life.

Faith. I do want to chase after God. I want the security of knowing that there is something beyond this life, that there is some purpose in what I’m doing, what I’m living for. Or rather, that there is something to live for, beyond my own selfish desires.

Relationships. I chose my friends. I chose to enter into past relationships. I chose to maintain hurtful friendships. And I chose to let go of others. Some were good and some were bad, but am I allowed to blame some on others, on circumstances?

I won’t know for sure. I feel like I’ll never know for sure. What it all means to make choices, free will, God’s sovereign plan, it’s contradictory, yet something I’ve accepted through faith alone, without questioning the incomprehensible higher power which governs the spinning of the earth around the sun. I’ll take responsibility for my choices. Or at least struggle to find someone to take blame before accepting the truth that I am the only one to blame.

But is happiness really a choice?

If it is. I’d like to choose it. As simply as pressing a subscribe button on YouTube. As easily as pressing submit for a takeaway order online. As straightforward as bringing your steps towards one past as opposed to another at a crossroad.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, I’m at a crossroad. And I want to move towards one. But I’m still. Immovable. And I don’t know why.

MushyFeelings. #5 Silence.

She didn’t have much to say for yesterday.

And I think I’m all talked out. I’m tired and it just doesn’t seem like rest alone is enough.

Auto-piloting for a few more days until I can afford to let my emotions take over. I won’t allow these things to catch up to me. So I’ll sprint another few stretches before catching my breathe with hands on my knees, until I can’t run away from it anymore.

MushyFeelings. #4 Autopilot

Me: “How was your day?”
Her: “Full day of uni.”
Me: “I’m glad you managed to make it through.”
Her: “Well, it was compulsory.

It’s so easy to go into autopilot.
To go through the day neglecting hidden feelings and pushing all the emotions aside, prioritising what ‘should’ be done as opposed to what we ‘want’ to do. Which some days may range from laying in bed all day doing absolutely nothing, to doing everything that inspires us.

She needs rest. She’s tired.

She just needs rest. Take it slow. Take it easy.
But it’s hard to truly rest, knowing that the academic pressure to stay on top of things is looming over her head like a grey cloud. Though we may stare off into space without any one particular thing occupying our mind at a time, there are instead many trains derailing one another before it can reach it’s destination to form a coherent thought.

But she is strong.

She’s still holding on to the sanity to lets her enjoy TV dramas, and speak to friends and family. She grasps on to the relationships that support her, and she will pull through this. The future may be foggy and gloomy right now, but the sun will shine through. She will pull through this.

MushyFeelings. #3 Fresh start

I want a fresh start but every time I’d been given a fresh start I seem to forget how much I wanted it in the first place and everything ends up being the same. I always tell myself tomorrow I’ll be better and I’ll do better but then each day just ends up being the same.

Fresh starts are hard to come by. There are so many moments in your life, where it seems like it would just be easier to forget about all that had happened in the past and simply let go of all that you have spent time on. Knocking down the house of cards you had building, the one where each card was placed with such caution and concentration.

She and I had once talked about how it may be easier to have fallen into a coma, to be in a car crash, to be in an accident that would simply put us in a place, where we can say: ‘This is where I can change everything and begin anew.’ We want to hold on to the precious memories that make us who we are, but throw away all of those that cause pain and anxiety. But looking back, it’s those moments of uttermost heartbreak and despair that build you up to be who you are today.

I have heard from those suffering from depression that it’s beneficial to count the little things. To appreciate that today, you went to the grocery store and bought eggs, and you felt the muscles on your arms not weaken carrying the bag home, that you entered your room without breaking down into yet another flood of tears that are all too familiar.

For her, it’s not enough.

She is a perfectionist. She is comforted by neatly organised academic notes, she becomes at peace with the satisfying feeling of completing a task. She meticulously maintains a clean room, with each spec in order, in it’s designated place.

To you my dear friend. Here’s what I want to say.
Today, you may have written for me that it’s a good day. I thought that I was getting better. Though, as I was Skyping a few friends in the evening, things almost revert back to the original. I limited the amount of people who knew about everything, afraid that it would circulate right under my nose, without my control. I need that control, it’s the last bit of it i have left.

I don’t talk about it much now. It just lingers. It’s in the corner, watching, observing. But the moment it’s mentioned, tears start welling up into my eyes, and my heart tightens at the thought that it is still present. Why can’t I get better and leave it behind.

Fresh starts don’t come easy. But it’s also impossible to leave the past behind you when it’s so much a part of YOU. Make lists. Count the sunrises. Wave to the sunsets. Buy eggs. Buy milk. Take it easy. Don’t be so hard on yourself.

(a classic, may you end up inspired and comforted.
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3FrEmqyM4-k)

MushyFeelings. #2 Ashamed.

ASHAMED
/əˈʃeɪmd/

(Adjective) Feeling embarrassed or guilty because of one’s actions, characteristics, or associations.

I know that she was struggling today. And I wasn’t able to help her. But maybe growing up isn’t all about continuously leaning on someone else, but rather learning to stand up straight all by yourself, with those who taught and supported you surrounding you beaming with proud smiles. It’s like learning to ride a bike, eventually the training wheels come off, and you may fall, scraping your knee against the gravel and getting up again, willing to give it another try.

You keep trying. Falling. Getting up.

Maybe the mix of tears and dirt on your face start to sting your eyes, and your palms are sore with redness and the thought of giving up on trying seeps into your mind, but hold on, just give it one more try. Ask for help. You family, your friends, a stranger. Ask them to hold you up, just for that small stretch, until you can pedal as fast as your little legs will carry you, and it’s only then that you realise that they’ve let go a long time ago.

You did it.

You can feel the muscles in your leg contracting at every pedal, pushing yourself along the winding gravel road, the wind blowing through your hair, and the sense of success that accompanies an uncontrollable feel of scream ‘YES. I DID IT.’

But then you lean.

And it all goes wrong, you lose your balance and your arms sway violently from one side to another trying to return to the way things were, when all was balanced and it seemed that you had mastered how to control it all. You don’t look forwards, but rather, you start looking down, at the way the wheels is twisting this way and that without control.

You fall.

She told me these were the thoughts she’d like to share.
‘I feel really ashamed of myself today. Everything from the past and everything that’s happening now.’
After falling so many times, it must be hard to pick yourself up from the ground, and have enough confidence to get onto your bike once again. The fear of falling again grips you and you start to wonder why you had chosen to start it in the first place.

To you my dear friend. Here’s what I want to say.
Yes. It’s hard. Yes. It’ll be rough. Yes. There will be scars. But they are unique to you. There is only one of you in the whole wide world, the one of you which can brighten someones day with a certain kind of smile, the one of you which comforts a sorrowful soul with a particular type of love, and the one of you which is made up of experiences and stories, old and new.

Look back, be grateful, take what you need, leave behind the regret, and charge forward head on. No. It may not have been perfect. No. It may not be truly what you would’ve chosen. No. It may not be what you now define as yourself. But nonetheless, it is your past and it is your present. So hold on to what you believe in, maybe change who you are for a little while, but no matter what you do, trust yourself to be strong enough to get on the bike once again to ride off, into your future, with confidence and ompf.

I believe in you.

(yet another song for your ears: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6BahULUIdf0)

MushyFeelings. #1 Voices.

The purpose of life has always been one of those questions that seemed too philosophical to tackle. Instead, we don’t ask about why certain checkpoints have been placed into our lives with the aim of directing us to the ‘ideal life’. We simply follow the rules.

For her, the beginning of this rollercoaster started when grades started becoming important to our future. Her desire to be perfect placed her in a situation where excellence is a goal to strive for, and anything sub-par may be unacceptable. Every piece of homework a percentage that is part of an average, every assignment a obstacle to surpass, and every exam paper a determining factor of the level of success she would have in her future.

We may be driven by voices in our heads.

  1. Parents. The loving voice that may at times seem harsh and unrelenting. A voice which pushes us to be better and reach our full potential, with the hidden tone of faith that believes that we can reach higher.
  2. Friends. The caring voice that seek to share goods and bads, the ups and the downs. A voice which may not meet expectations but wants to understand and wants to show that they care.
  3. Peers. The pressuring voice that demands similarity and shared interests. A voice which searches to be unique and strong, hiding the underlying desire to belong.
  4. Self. The contradicting voice that confuses, reassures, and is constant. A voice that has so much power over each of our actions that it may be the voice that dares us to dream, and the voice that shatters it the minute after.

Or we may be driven by silence.

Her mind is silent today. It’s void of feeling, and unknowingly familiar sense of longing for thoughts that inspire and comfort. There are questions that are left unanswered, but no answers that form coherent sentences sufficient to respond. Trains of thought begin to form but are breathed away into mist that fills the emptiness.

To you my dear friend. Here’s what I want to say.
It’s okay to question one thing. And it’s okay to question everything. We question because we’re unsure, so keep asking until you are sure. Until you’re sure of which voices you want to listen to, which voices that push you to be the best you can be, the voices which inspire you to be the best YOU possible.

And whilst there may be emptiness, enjoy the calmness of nothingness, imagine it in a white space echoing with your heartbeat. The heartbeat that reminds you that you are alive. Today. You are alive. And if there is nothing else to be grateful about, be grateful that you are alive and loved. And slowly let that white space be filled with pink, the more cliché that represents love. And also the colour that I will plan to dye my hair with. In loneliness and emptiness, think of me with pink hair.

(and play this song in the background if you must: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qY9kUbx3sq8)

Phobia.

My brother is a boy of unique interests. One of which, included the interests in all the different phobias which existed, from strange fears of the number 8. Octophobia. To the fear of everything. Pantophobia. I always thought that they would one day be useful when he would be able to answer the final question to a TV quiz show. But now, I only wished that there were labels to describe my fear of… well, me. The me that doesn’t feel like me at the moment.

It’s a feeling of total suffocation, even when you are surrounded by empty space.
It’s a feeling of total loneliness, even when you are surrounded by people who care.
It’s a feeling of endless pain, a pain that only the feeling of having no feelings can make it better.
It’s a feeling of hopelessness, with voices talking and telling me that the happiness won’t last.

I used to think that I knew it all.
I was one of those people who tried to fix people who came to me talking about having a bad day, I was someone who didn’t understand until I came across it myself. The anger and frustration towards the world, and wanting to just collapse into myself and become nothing.
I used to think that feeling depressed was selfish.

‘But you have so much in your life that you can be happy about.’
‘It’s just one of those days, I definitely understand you, but I’m sure it’ll pass soon.’
‘If you try to focus on the good things, maybe you’ll feel better.’

I never understood how those words could do more harm than good. I don’t underestimate the genuine care and love the person is feeling, but they have no idea what the voices will say in response to those words.

‘You have absolutely nothing to be happy about, because you don’t deserve any of the good things in life.’
‘It’ll pass, but then it’ll come back again, and seep into every corner of your life, slowly taking over, and you’ll never feel that happiness ever again.’
‘Focus? Focus on this: you are worthless.’

I have a slightly overactive imagination. Show me a horror film, or better yet, even just a horror film trailer, and I’ll start imagining the characters appearing through my day, near my bed, lurking in the corner. But what’s scarier are the feelings in my head, when they shoot out like tangles of thread, and I can longer pull them back, because the harder I pull, the more tangled it gets. Until it fills the room and all that’s left is me. Suffocating. Under a really thick blanket of bad thoughts.

As much as I fear admitting it, with a lingering feelings that the second I say it, it’ll be taken away…
I had a good day today.
But tomorrow, I’m not so sure.

It started late September, and in early October, I knew something wasn’t right. I wasn’t myself.
It was like I was shut into a box, banging at all the walls to get out. But it won’t let me, the black film that covered the box, and when it finally opened the lid, I crawled out, with the black film clinging to each bit of my skin. A piece of clothing too tight that it was suffocating, a piece of what felt like myself trapping the real me inside.

I reached for help before it was too late, counselling.
Tomorrow is my first appointment.
After hearing it too many times, I had already created my ‘ideas, concerns, and expectations’. I can only hope that they are met. I guess we’ll see.