Depression

Where the world is all colours of grey, black, lacking colour.

Everything is bleak, mundane, routine, and boring.

Everyone else seems to be happy, colourful, blissful, it hurts my eyes to see.

Socialising is too hard, requires too much effort , too much energy.

You feel like you are being swallowed up in darkness and you can see no way out. How did you even get yourself here?

You feel trapped and see no way out, you can’t find a way out :(.

You forgot how to smile, how to life, how to enjoy the small things.

Slow down

A patient of mine told me to, SLOW DOWN. My job gets repetitive after doing the classic antibiotic and pain killers talk for the 100th time during this rotation.

I haven’t realised that I have gone 100 miles per hour, until a person from a non-English speaking country told me to “SLOW DOWN”. And I stopped, I really do go TOO FAST. Maybe due to the workload, partly because I am an inpatient person. I always want to be fast, effective, and try to do everything. But, I realised, what is the point in doing all this? To achieve everything so soon… to work yourself into a sweat trying to bend your head over for someone who really doesn’t care?

My goal from now on, is to slow down, take a deep breath and ask myself, “Why am I rushing”? What for? Am I late? Then I should change my habits and start being early. Am I not going to get things done? Then maybe it’s time to ask for help or see what else can be streamlined, prioritised to be done later.

Life flies by, and then you realised you haven’t even stopped to smell the flower, enjoy the food, make some friendships. What happened to me that all I became was someone so focused on goals, achievements, and I slowly became someone without a soul, perhaps coming off rude, and a loner.

Embrace Loneliness

I believe you have to embrace being alone. It’s so true how you can be around people, yet feel so alone and isolated.

And when you are alone, you can feel like no one in the world cares about you, if you suddenly disappeared without a trace. If something happened to you, no one would notice, because you are all alone.

Yet, the sounds of people talking too loudly about things you don’t care about, can make you wish for peace and quiet.

So in the moment, appreciate you are alone. You don’t have to make small talk, you don’t have to ask how their day was. Just relax knowing you can eat when you want, sleep when you want, go out and do something you want to on your own. No need to consult with anyone else or what they think. Life is freedom to do whatever you want.

Yet sometimes, society makes you feel bad for being alone. Life and society wasn’t designed for people who are alone. It’s like the loners are shunned in the world.

All the Reminders of the Memories

Now that you are gone, all I have left is fragments of moments in times that are embedded into my memory.

There are so many triggers to the reminiscing that takes place.. It can be a smell, a song, an image, a place.. everything reminds me of you

It’s like the world doesn’t want me to forget you, but I NEED to forget you. How can I move on when I am constantly living in the past?

I hope these feelings of sadness will not last.

Did the bed always feel so cold? Was food always so tasteless? Was life always this mundane?

You lighted up my bleak world with colour, flashing lights, and bells… but now it is quiet once again.

I can only move on when I make fresh memories, try new places, meet more people.

Does a place exist where nothing reminds me of you?

Do you just become sick or do you make yourself sick?

Do we just suddenly fall sick for no reason or are we the ones treating our bodies so bad that it forces us to take much needed rest?

I think I know the answer… I think I sip my ice old glass of soy milk because my coffee is too hot and I already have several mouth ulcers in my mouth.

My blood tests all came back “normal”, nothing out of the ordinary, no infection, not low in vitamin D, iron, or vitamin b12. My blood pressure standing and sitting were “fine”, but I still feel dizzy when walking around. I still feel tired and so fatigued that my mind becomes blank and I barely can make the drive to work without falling asleep. Burn out is real and your body will let you know it has had ENOUGH. You need rest it says…

If you are constantly worrying about work or thinking things will crumble if you aren’t there, then I feel you are overestimating the abilities of other people. If you are always doing everything, then how will people ever learn how to do something? So the cycle continues, because that’s how you learnt in the first place right? When you were thrown into the deep end, it’s either you sink to the bottom or you force yourself to learn to swim.

But you swim too hard, too fast, and you tire out. You forget that you aren’t in some olympic 100m swim race, you are in a marathon called ‘Life’. It’s time to pace yourself, know your limits and know how to love yourself, (that’s a post for another time).

Returning Home to Adelaide

Coming back to Adelaide for the first time since I left was weird… at times it felt like nothing had changed… but underneath the surface, when you looked a little closer, things has definitely changed.

Since I made the move to Melbourne in August, my friend had a baby, 2 of my friends separated from their partners, my sister finally moved into their new home, my dad was diagnosed with diabetes….my brother bought an ipad for $13!! Houses have been built, buildings have been knocked down, many shops have been forced to close, the covid-19 situation leaves its sting on each business. There are QR codes at each business so that people can check in.

My home hasn’t changed … it’s still as messy and full of hoarded stuff.. everytime I see it, I feel sad.. I feel like I want to clean it up, but it’s not really up to me to tell my parents they need to start throwing away…. for example, I tried washing my clothes this morning and the Washing Machine started shaking, vibrating, and stopped working completely… I had to HANDWASH every item and I know I did a shit job. Lol. Haven’t handwashed anything in forever. I dont even have a bucket to do that in Melbourne.. and of course we don’t have a dryer so some of my clothes are still wet 😅😅😅….

My pet turtle is hugeeee now!! Maybeeeee coz I haven’t seen her for so long!! But she looks hugeee! I am so sure my dad is feeeding her wayyy too much.

My little nephew is as cute as ever!! He has been growing taller and since he has started walkingc he has been losing his baby fat! No longer the chubby baby I once knew! He can saw random words on demand..i.e. the colour BLUE, the name EMMA (the yellow wiggle), and the numbers 8 and 9.

It’s weird feeling like a stranger in your own home, I feel like a guest, but then I also feel like I am not. Hard to explain.

Was this whirlwind last minute trip worth it? Definitely… I just hope there won’t be any last minute breakouts which mean I have to immediately self-isolate or quarantine when I head back to Melbourne… fingers and toes are crossed.

Now, let’s all enjoy that weird time between Christmas and New years.

Cheers to a better year in 2021 🥂

Lasik failure :(

I was so worried about post surgery complications, I didn’t even consider that the procedure would be a failure…

Prior to the surgery, I was given the choice to take some sleeping tablets to help “relax me”.. and of course I took it.. I was nervous as hell.. but little did I know what would happen next.

I don’t know how often this happens, but I was all gowned up with the hairnet, shoe covers, and ready to get lasik. I had to go through numerous stinging eyedrops, face disinfected, text over my eyes…and then they propped openmy eyes with something so I couldn’t blink.. that was a bit painful. I had to stare at a green light above me that sort of suctioned onto my eye. It was uncomfortable, there was drilling sounds, I was scared shitless. I think I knew something was wrong because the machine kept coming off and back on to my eye…what felt like an eternity later (but was probably a minute later), the doctor aborted the surgery. He had made two incisions in the flaps of my eye to try lift them, but apparently couldn’t because the shape of me eyes were weird. But mate, aren’t you supposed to check that pre-surgery? At that time I was too drowsy to say anything and really remember much.. I was taken to a recovery area with a ned.. and given an icepack for my now inflammed rye.. they were talking about there being bubbles in my eyes. WTF.

The doctor pulled me back into his room and tried to explain what happened, but he used all this medical jargon (about eyes) which I didn’t understand and was too sleepy to ask about. Why do they do that? After drugging you up telling you all this important stuff? He took out the after lasik pack which had been shown to me by a optometrist assistant prior to going into the surgery. He chucked away the antibiotic eyedrops and said “You won’t need this”. But what if I do? You have made two cuts in my eye! I can see the blood lines there and it freaks me out.

I can’t remember the last time I felt so disappointed, dissatisfied , disgusted, depressed, and yet damn angry. I have been knocked out the rest of the day. All that damn anxiety and dread leading up to the surgery day…

They also made me pay upfront BEFORE i had the surgery. What scammers. In the end they apparently “refunded” it to me on my credit card.. but honestly I can’t see it there yet…I won’t let them get away with that one. 😤😤😤

Some of my friends have told me to sue them for medical negligence. Whilst it sounds like s annoying and long-winded expensive process… I wouldn’t want anyone else to go through what I did and who knows how long my eyes will take to recover? They didn’t even tell me if I can wear contacts again.. do I have to wear sunglasses everywhere? Am I not allowed to wash my hair with shampoo? Which is what their information sheets say, but they didn’t write one up for botched surgeries.

A mixture of guilt and sadness also lies within my mind. Why did I want so bad to not have glasses? I guess they might be the safest option now…

-Sad

The Breaking Point

I think we all have a limit.

A point where just one small thing can put you over the edge.

Something small that usually wouldn’t bother you.

But you have had enough.

I think you know it’s happening, even when you try to convince yourself everything is okay.

People think you are fine when you are barely holding yourself together.

You try to brush it away, pretend it is not real…BUT IT IS there and it eats away like you like an internal parasite.

The parasite is eating away at your and slowly it takes over your whole body.

Slowly you become an empty shell…Where you feel nothing, care about nothing, and do things you didn’t care about.

It’s a ticking timebomb and someday…you are gonna explode.

Then you will know.

It’s too late.

You’ve reached your breaking point.

Tortoise and the Hare

At the gym I go to, they were still open 24/7 over the Christmas/New Period but they stopped running the live classes…

This was a real struggle for me … as I force myself o go to the gym for those classes… so I really had no incentive to go…so I went like once a week.. and that’s mainly coz I am cheap and I hated seeing my membership fees being deducted from my bank account and realising they are getting free money…

Anyways, what I am trying to say is… I normally do not do weights and cardio work out by myself… I am someone highly motivated by having people around me working hard…hence love those classes…!

So I went to the gym twice over the holiday period.. On the first visit..I went on the treadmill… I was like .. hmmm this sure looks like a good way to get my 10,000 steps on my fitbit..!! So I started off slow 4.5km/hour speed.. up to 8.0km/h (not fast I know)… did that for about a minute or so (seriously out of breath…unfit 😦 ) and them took a bit of a break by slowing down to 4.5 km/h just to get recover my breath… coz tired..!! I did this for 20minutes… and was super tired.. I managed to do 2km distance in that 20minutes! Not bad..? For me 😂

On the second visit.. I was feeling really lethargic of late ( prob due to iron deficiency).. and I decided I wouldn’t do those speed intervals because the sprinting really takes the wind out of me… but I also hate walking really slow on the treadmill😭 I am a pretty fast walker…probably due to the fact I work in a lot of faced-paced environments where I cannot walk slow :(.. so I set it at a constant speed of 6.5km/hour.. so mid way between what I did in my first visit…

And it was great .. I didn’t have to constantly look at the little time and have to keep changing the speeds on the right up and down.. and I didn’t feel as exhausted and worn out at the end of 10 minutes.. And I did the same…! At the end .. I got the same result. 1km/10 minutes essentially!

But this way.. was better..easier and didn’t tire me out…

it was interesting how I feel like that can relate to me and how I have been living my life… I go through periods of extreme stress .. leading to anxiety, depression and mental breakdowns…to a point where I can’t take it amy more.. then I am forced to rest… my body shuts down in sickness .. and thats when I recover.. start to remember my health and my sanity again…

The reason why I’ve been working so hard for the last six months with no break (literally working 7 days a week for I am not sure how many weeks it is now)… is because I felt I was so behind in life… in comparison to my friends… those my age are getting married, have moved overseas to work… buying houses.. doing all this exciting stuff and what I feel is “adult” stuff.. and there was me… who blew my savings recklessly on an expensive holiday overseas… and on some scam medicine entrance exam course….I felt I needed to catchup by working myself to almost death -? Because I am so tired all the time, worn out… burnt out… sick so often and can’t even relax…get irritable… can’t eat properly.. don’t have time or energy to see friends…

I am asking myself..? Why do I meed to do all this sprinting to try catch up to everyone else? I am just going o get exhausted and need a really good rest-where I might have to stop work altogether for s break… because if I am constant with myself.. mot too much.. not too little.., I can reach that end goal without over exerting myself.. and still enjoy a good work out that is life…

Thanks for reading my weird analogies o life.. i literally wrote this at 4am because I woke up with blood running down my face from my nose… oops

Stay Joyful guys!

The difficulties and barriers in disclosing a mental illness to others

Hey I am finally back,

sorry for the long hiatus.. I’ll be a bit more freer for the next two months, until the exam results come out and then which I will start the cycle all over again and prepare for the next exam in March 2019. Persistence and resilience or is it stupidity and foolishness? It’s not clear any more.

Anyways, hope you guys have been well.

Today I would like to discuss why it is so hard to discuss Mental Health…There is more “awareness” of it, but I feel very much so, people are still hiding it and are still afraid. Just like how the homosexuals are more welcome, many still hide their sexual preferences for fear of stigma. People with mental health issues want to pretend that they are normal, they fear people will treat them differently if they disclose…or that they will be afraid/mean or spread rumours.

People can be so mean and cruel, by the things they say intentionally or unintentionally.

To be honest, things like “Mental Health Awareness Month” or “RU OK” days…to me its just “Going through the actions” …no one is going to disclose to you their hidden secret of 10 years of struggling with suicidal thoughts, just coz u asked them if they “R OKAY?”

I suspect the real answer they would give. “Yeah I am fine.” – Hiding, because it takes a lot of courage and strength to admit to someone you are struggling and even more to admit you need  help.

 

I believe through developing our existing relationships better to facilitate more open relationships will instead help build a more caring environment around us so that less people will feel so isolated and alone.

 

From experience, once someone opens up to you or you to them, you will realise that so many of the things you fear, experience and have gone through, is more common than you think. Your brain tells you, YOU are the only one going through this trial and that NOONE else understands, BUT the truth is, if you reach out, you will find others who DO understand. …

 

So why not give it a try?

 

If it’s hard to open up in person to those around you, I see no harm in posting in trusted mental health websites like Beyond Blue or Black Dog Institute. Even on the Mighty websites I have read so many articles that describe situations just like mine, I believe if you start realising that others have gone through, and managed things before you, their wealth of knowledge and experience can be a very valuable thing to have.

 

Take care ,

 

Love and Joy

#22 How to understand how someone feels like to be depressed

A common question I suppose that people that do not have mental illnesses may ask, is..
“How could someone be so stupid to hurt themselves?”

“Don’t be silly, you wouldn’t do that to yourself!”

“How can you be so selfish…thinking about yourself all the time?”.

“Don’t you know by trying to kill yourself, you will make us be sad?”

People who don’t understand mock and make fun of vulnerable people…and yet people wonder why there are so many people that are hurting inside and are afraid to show it…suicidal and people who self-harm are scared..often they don’t want to bring attention to themselves.

Well meaning people that love someone suicidal…make them say ..

“Promise me you will never do that again?”

Do you know what I think that means to me?

If I get suicidal thoughts, I won’t tell you …because I can see how sad it makes you and how upset it makes you…

People who want to end their lives, don’t do it because they want to hurt those who love them around them…they want to lessen the burden that those around them feel..

Often they know they are worried about them…and want to remove that  burden from them

Sometimes perhaps no one cares about them and no one would care that they died.

Each case it is different…but most often or not…they just want an end to their suffering…

When getting up each day is a struggle…why would you get up at all? When each day feels meaningless, bleak , hopeless and painful…Why would you want to face the day?

When a simple task like brushing your teeth takes you an hours to get the energy for it…why even bother?

Showering…SO HARD

Eating…SO MUCH EFFORT

I know to some this sounds like “laziness” but this can also be called “depression”.

Before you judge someone else for being “lazy”…why don’t you ask them “How are you doing…honestly?”

 

The world is full of judgmental people…where are all the nice people gone?

Sometimes…we are hurting so much inside…wearing that mask all the time..no one knows how you feel..

Others only notice that you aren’t talking to them as much..

But they don’t really want to know how you are…they just talk to you so that they can talk about themselves. I am sure we are all guilty of it at some stage…but like when it’s like that all the time…the time and energy that we already don’t have…is expended on you…it sucks all energy that is remaining.

So sorry, if I don’t seem like I care about your problems…however, trivial or serious they may be. I need my cup to be full before I can fill yours. I feel like I am lying through my teeth when I try to cheer you up, when I am so down myself.

I care, I just need to care about my self too.

Sorry #notsorry

#21 How to understand how someone with a Mental illness feels going to work

I believe most people don’t like going to work…getting up early when its cold outside? No thanks! But, for those with mental illnesses, it can be torture and takes all their strength and energy to get out of bed. A typical day for me in the past in a retail pharmacy job would be something like this…before I decided to finally get help…

The thought of making small talk with people you might not really like or know is tortuous. Thinking of who will be in the lunchroom with you during lunch time is daunting too. What if your boss asks to speak to you?

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The struggle to leave the bed

Maybe you should just stay home today?? But, we can’t do that! That means explaining to your boss that you don’t feel week and that’s lying and what if they fire you? You can’t tell them you have a mental illness, they won’t care, they won’t understand, they will judge you and label you as crazy, they will think you are faking a sickie. No one is going to hire you. You worked so hard to find this job. You thought that you could join a place that is ‘against discrimination’, but we all know that the stigma still exists. It is safer to be quiet, to be silent and to fight the battle alone …for as long as you can.

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You count the seconds that you can get home

But today, it’s different, the depression comes back…it’s always been there…but you have been fighting it. You are barely able to muster enough strength to go to work. You’ve done it before, you can do it again. Counting down the hours, minutes and seconds till you are back in the comfort of your bed. Where you are safe, where no one can harm you, bully you and make you feel like you are nothing. You don’t know if you are overreacting or if it’s the depression.

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Lying that you are Fine

On the off chance, someone might ask you how you are. “I am fine thanks. Just tired” That’s the best you can come with. If they ask “Why are you tired?” …”Oh, couldn’t sleep”…Due to my racing thoughts of suicide and anxiety. But you can’t say that, can you? They are being ‘nice’, but hey I am not going to unload to some stranger…Work really isn’t the place for that. I think. Please don’t look at me. I don’t want people to notice my sadness. I don’t want to be noticed, I just want to pretend everything is okay. I don’t think you really care.

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You are not productive at work

You are surprised you haven’t broken down on the floor crying. You hold back the tears. You feel guilty…There are sicker people who come to get medicine for all sorts of terrible diseases, yet they are still smiling. Yet you, faking that smile, feel like you are dying inside. So many people are on anti-depressants, but I don’t want to get help…what is work finds out? I work full-time…there’s no time to go see a doctor or a psychologist. These things are bloody expensive as well! No one can help me. It’s just a phase…I will get better on my own. I can’t wait for the weekend so I can sleep through it.

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I can’t deal with small issues

When something small doesn’t go to plan, I just can’t problem solve anymore. I feel like there’s no alternative, there is no way. I am going to get fired for not being able to solve this. I am afraid to ask someone for help, they are going to judge me and look at me like I am stupid. It’s all my fault…I don’t know how to fix this! Why am I so useless and dumb?

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My memory becomes like mush

My brain is constantly fighting with itself, flight or fight. My heart is racing and I am sweating. So nervous… I forget things easily, wait how many boxes of Sertraline do I need to order again? Was it 2 or 4? What was the password again? Oh, I left my keys in the car again. Oh, I also left my phone at home…Why I am so forgetful? Why am I stupid…repeat above. Why do I feel like I am going to cry over this small thing?

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I feel ugly and I hate my reflection

I can barely wake up in time to get to work, let alone care about how shi* I look. My hair is a mess, it’s too long, but I can’t bring myself to get a haircut. It’s too much effort. Who cares anyway? The makeup doesn’t even hide the eye bags due to the constant lack of sleep. I feel like I’ve grown older. I stare at the mirror… Who is that soulless person that stares back at me? I don’t even know her? Why does she look so sad? Why is she so ugly?

No one is going to like her.


I feel apathetic

The normal me, before I became severely depressed, was happy, outgoing and chatty. But when I started at this toxic workplace, I lost it all. I became someone who I didn’t know. I didn’t care about the patients that walked through the door, I couldn’t handle the rudeness with a smile anymore. I just froze and fought back tears. My resilience was gone. The terror of the increasing number of mistakes made the anxiety worse. It made me even slower and made people doubt my abilities even more. I get taunted by the bully, “You are too slow! Why are you so useless?” You don’t need to tell me, I already know.

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The depression makes you stay where you are because it feels even scarier to change

Familiar is not always good. When you stay in a toxic situation, it’s like being in a room full of Carbon Monoxide, it will slowly kill you. The depression lies to you, the bullies lie to you, you can move. You are more than their taunts, you are more than what you think you are. But you don’t know this. You only find out when you leave the toxic place and realise, that a good workplace might exist.

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Well, that’s all the blabber from me today.

I am sure there are benefits from working, income, kill time, learn things and make friends…That can be another post.

Sorry for the emo post! Sorry not sorry.

Joy to the World

#20 How to isolate yourself from social media

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I took part in an experiment which measured the use of social media in a week, my randomised action was that I had to delete the Instagram app on my phone and not use it for a week. Though I was tempted a few times, I quickly asked my self, is it necessary to show the world where you are? What you are eating? Who you are with?

After some deliberation, I think not. So why do people like to post so many selfies of their face on Instagram?

I found the answer on this wonderful article on Loneliness here 26 Things People Don’t Realize You’re Doing Because You’re Feeling Lonely: *Recommend you to read!*. This is also a link to some ‘brutally  honest’ statuses on facebook…35 Brutally Honest Facebook Statuses

I have to admit, I didn’t realise that I was so lonely, until I deleted a lot of my apps, Facebook, Whatsapp, Youtube, Instagram and realised this is the way we ‘communicate’ with some many people. It is what connects us? Yet, also tears us apart. Is there going to be anyone who wants to meet up with me to catch up instead of sending a message? Truly, I am not sure if the world is closer than before or even further away.

So many people are isolated and lonely…and they can sit in front of a computer or phone screen scrolling through the ‘happy’ snaps that their ‘friends’ are posting of their ‘family’, their ‘holiday’ or their latest ‘home’ that they bought. While I am not saying these things are bad, but do you know what you are doing? Are you trying to rub it into everyone else’s faces that you have it better than them? Are you even genuinely happy or do you just want attention?

As I said, I am full guilty of this…I am insecure, I want attention, I want to fool my self that my life is happier, more interesting and better than it is. I don’t want people to see me down, to see me sad or lonely, I feel like people would criticise me…belittle me.

Recently, I have realised that well-meaning ‘friends’ have offended me greatly.  I read a quote today,

It is easier to forgive an enemy than forgive a friend.

William Blake

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It is true though…because we actually care what our friends say and when they make us feel like shit without knowing it, you ask yourself are they even your real friend? They don’t know the struggles you are doing through and are insensitive bitches. This is why I boycotted pretty much all social media. I feel like I am dead, like hardly anyone talks to me now, except family and a few selected friends overseas through Line and Wechat. When did our world become so involved in facebook? Instagram? Snap Chat? When we leave it, it’s like we are dead and forgotten in the world. When we meet someone new, we don’t ask for phone numbers or emails anymore, no we ask for Facebook accounts. SO what if I don’t have one? Are we not going to keep in touch?

It feels weird sending someone a text and them not replying and you not knowing if they have ‘seen it’…but what can we do?

Man, I am getting so hyped up typing this.

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So…. back on topic…how do you isolate yourself from social media? Just delete your apps, log out, delete and deactivate your accounts. Hopefully, those that you are actually close to, will call your phone or send you a text.

Addiction to social media is draining, stupid, harmful and time-consuming. It can definitely lead to FOMO and low self-esteem. Live life how you want to live it and stop looking at what everyone else is doingwhat happened to human interaction? When did we become part robots with phones attached to our hands?

Joy to the World-

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#19 Five ways you can help someone with Depression ; The Dos and Donts

Hi All,

I am going to off with a quote by Thomas Edison himself…The guy who invented the ‘lightbulb moment! and the light bulb too’ …

“Of inspiration one percent; of perspiration, ninety-nine.” -Thomas Edison

So anyway, the point of this quote is that sometimes I don’t feel like writing because I don’t feel inspired to write…but the thing is… If everyone waited for inspiration before they did something great, we would all be waiting around a lot longer for that season 2 of The Good Doctor (shameless plug for my fave show) or the next series of our favourite Netflix Tv Shows (I don’t have Netflix so I am not sure whats on there..). But yes, the main point I am trying to make is that I will try consistently write in this blog, whether or not I am inspired because I have a lot I want to write about but I sometimes don’t feel it is not good enough, interesting enough or it may be written by someone else better. But anyway, everyone has their unique opinion and view and I am interested in hearing your views too.

Also, shout out to ‘The Mighty’ Autism Facebook page and on the main site here for featuring my post on Autism!! I’ve never had anyone except for my sister edit my work and I am forever grateful that they made my text more readable… Hopefully, thanks to the additional exposure to a greater audience, the awareness of Autism will continue to rise!

Anyways, enough babbling from me and now onto the topic of ‘How you can help someone with a mental illness’..The dos and the don’t dos’..does this sentence even make sense? Well, you get my drift right?

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1. Please do take it seriously when we disclose to your our mental illness…

It takes a lot of courage and boldness to share about our internal struggles with the outside world. A lot of hurt, addictions and the stigma that surrounds it can prevent us from sharing. We get affected by how you react, how you might think and the way you may behave towards us after we share with you. No, it’s not just going to go away, it is there for life. Sure, we can manage it with drugs, therapy, and lifestyle changes, but it is a part of us and it has shaped us to be who we are today. So, please don’t belittle our condition, it’s not like we chose to be born with it..or for it to be part of us.

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2. Don’t compare my struggles to your own life-every story and person is different.

This is more so for the people who don’t have the mental condition you have and they try to dismiss your anxieties as something that will pass…They even might say… “I had it worse than you in my own days!” Often this is said by a well-meaning older person to cheer the sad younger person up… but it does NOT help. Your circumstances and mine are different, we are two different people and just because you can’t see my illness, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. From my own personal experience, being brought up in an Asian Christian family meant that Mental Illness is the taboo topic that no one talks about and it made me believe I was flawed and that I had to keep my struggles to myself. I have nothing against Christianity, but I do believe they need to acknowledge that Mental Illness is real as high blood pressure is and may need treatment! Back when I was going through a really hard time due at an old workplace, I finally saw a GP about my insomnia and he diagnosed me with anxiety and depression. He said I should see a psychologist and that I should start medication. I didn’t really want to start medications, so I said I would think about it. I talked to my leader at that church about it and they advised me not to take medications, but to pray to God to heal me instead. So, I continued my suffering…until it got so bad and the suicidal thoughts were real…I talked to a pastor of the church about my struggles and she was like…start the medication…You are in such a bad place-even faith can’t help you right now. Anyways, point being, mental illness is a real condition and while it cannot be cured, you can ‘manage’ it. 

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3. Do keep in touch regularly with your friend/family member that is struggling in their mental illness and don’t take it personally if they are not as ‘happy and fun to be around’ or ‘outgoing’ as they used to be

Having personally experienced multiple depressive episodes, I know the struggles and difficulties of even getting up in the morning from bed! A social gathering with many people I don’t know very well? That’s like me climbing Mt. Everest mate! That’s a lot of effort for someone with social anxiety and depression. While we don’t want to be alone, we don’t have the energy to interact with people and to pretend to be happy and nice to people when we are dying inside. I have had to cancel on numerous people due to being sick because I have been too anxious and had panic attacks… Most people don’t even know I have them, because I am usually reluctant to go out if I feel one coming on. I once went out with someone, who took my panic attack symptoms to be a joke. Literally. They just laughed at me and did not take me seriously…That…really hurt…and made me want to avoid all social contact for a while ( and avoid them)…until I started to trust and build a closer friendship with people that aren’t like them. There are people who will understand you and there are people who don’t and you don’t have to be friends with them. Eff them.  Sorry for the angry rant and bad language… What was I talking about again? Oh yes, please continue to reach out to them! Maybe you can’t physically meet up with them, but you can message them with encouragement, love and let them know that anytime they need/want to talk that you are there for them..<3

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4. Do Help them with resources to help themselves and encourage them to seek help

If someone tells you they are struggling, don’t think that you are now responsible for their well-being and to prevent them from doing harm to themselves. Yes, you care about them, but well all aren’t a trained professional therapist (that’s great if you are! keep doing a good job) and psychiatrists. So, while we can offer peer support, we can help them with real therapy and medications. Let them know about different helplines, drop in places and understanding GPs that can help point them in the right direction. If they are worried about going to their first therapy alone, maybe offer to accompany them for the first few times, until they feel comfortable going alone. Help them build a support network for themselves and this helps you as well so that you don’t have to bear the full weight and responsibility for their well-being. Recommending good articles, websites, books, music, and movies about mental health also help increase their knowledge about the disease too.

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5. Don’t stereotype people by their mental illness

I’ve touched on this in a way on my post about Myths about Autism. Mental illness manifests differently in everyone and by judging you aren’t helping the situation. Even if we have a common certain mental illness, each person’s experience of it is different. After learning that I might have autism, I have since then had the opportunity to meet many others that also have autism…and I can say without a doubt, that they come in all shapes and sizes. Extroverts, introverts, non-verbals and just your everyday quiet dude and they are mostly all interesting people. There is no point in trying to generalise, but there are common traits. One other thing I thought I may add here, is that I have found sometimes doctors don’t take a certain physical symptom I have seriously because they think it is due to ‘my mental illness’. This can include things like my asthma and recurrent migraines (oh it’s just because of your panic attacks, anxiety, and insomnia!) ..but the thing is I literally can’t breathe MADAM and I also have asthma… Also, I have ended up in the hospital due to my ‘migraines’… Hope you get my point.

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Anyways, I am sure there are many more dos and don’t do in interacting with people with mental illnesses. I am curious as to what people have said to you because of your mental illness – Please comment below.

Sorry, it is a somewhat angry post…I not only want to be angry, but I also to change the situation by writing this in the hopes that you can better support those with mental illness.

Thanks for reading!

En-Joy your day!

#17 How to deal with controlling people

Hi All,

Hope you have been keeping warm in this insanely cold winter ( in Adelaide :(). I am currently wearing 4 layers of clothing and a scarf to keep myself warm…!
Anyways, a topic came up among some of my friends in regards to “Controlling behaviours” in their relationships with their parents in particular, but I know it can also happen in relationships between significant others or even friends. It can lead to you feel entrapped in a snare of someone else and it doesn’t feel good at all 😦

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It could also be a controlling boss, parent or kid that is messing your life up…and it IS hard to deal with because they mean something to you and you have to somehow deal with their behaviour.  So basically, from what I have read on the internets, we cannot control the way they behave, BUT they believe they are able to control the way we behave. No one has full control over someone else, so it is like this, even if you point a gun to someone’s head and tell them to “SAY THEY LOVE YOU”, they don’t have to, they have a choice to die instead, but most of the time I guess they would just listen..maybe..

So, often for the person being controlled, I don’t want to call them a victim, but I guess they might feel that way? Which is not good! You are allowing other people to walk all over you. I’ve been bullied in high school and in the workplace and I know how bad it can be and how hard it is to stand up to bullies…I wish I was an expert at dealing with bullies and controlling people, but I am not… I have also been guilty of being somewhat a bully/controlling person to my younger brother, in primary school, and in some relationships. I guess what goes around comes around?

But anyways, no point living in the past, that is in the past and now is a new future which we shall build for ourselves, to not be controlling and not be controlled!

So, I have mentioned before that we need to realise:

1. We belong to no one in particular and it is important to develop our own self-worth.

While being in relationships are great and all, you also need to know who you are and what you like. Don’t feel peer-pressured to doing what everyone else is doing just because you want to fit in all the time. Know that it is okay to do things that you like alone-hey it is even better to make new friends this way.-Forcing yourself out of your comfort zone.

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2. Know that dependent on one person is not good-Strive for Independence

If someone forces you to rely on them for everything, that is not a good position to be FOR YOU. What happens if that person dies the next day? You won’t know how to do anything, because they NEVER taught you, because they wanted you to depend on them. IT’S BAD! Even if that person never teaches you, LEARN TO TEACH YOURSELF! YouTube, ask others for help and advice and if its a workplace, probably best to move workplace. They might think they are doing you a favor by doing everything and not teaching you anything, but they are not, they are sabotaging your future as someone that is independent and CAPABLE. They are looking down on you and not helping you up. Sometimes parents may do this unknowingly, but your child is not going to grow up properly, they might be a child for the rest of their lives 😦

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3. Make some plans to improve your position in this controlling relationship

This may mean that you may need a break from that relationship for awhile until you get stronger or think if this relationship is worth it. This can be particularly hard for significant others or Parent-Child relationships…This is why it is important to start planning early, if you lack the funds to move out from your parent’s home, look for a job and start saving up and plan to move out! Ask friends about places to rent and start looking at properties etc. Sometimes distance from that controlling person, helps you realise how suffocated you actually are and how sweet freedom tastes.

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4. Be the bigger person-Age is just a number and experience is subjective

I have been in the situation where I was belittled for being young and inexperienced. I think this is particularly a big thing for people from Asia, they believe that wisdom always comes with age. Some are stubborn and refuse to accept that maybe young people may be right and they aren’t always right…Sigh…It’s hard to communicate with Asian people with their traditional ways of doing things…sure as a kid I didn’t know any better and also believed that Tiger balm heals everything! But, now having completed my 5 year program to become a Registered Pharmacist, I know many things that can help a migraine instead of rubbing Tiger Balm on my head…though maybe the placebo effect is still important… ANYWAY, back on topic. It is good to still be respectful in the way you act towards controlling people, be the bigger person. This doesn’t mean you have to agree with everything they say, but you don’t need to escalate and fight back with spiteful words, you don’t want to sink to their level. Good guys always win in the end right?

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5. Do your best to negotiate and bring in a mediator/therapist if needed! 

If all else fails, you might need to get someone to help you communicate! An emotionally intelligent individual/close friend may be able to help. If not, a good therapist may help to restore or help resolve certain issues between two people. Looking back at my experiences of being bullied, I can see people who were insecure about themselves and wanted to bully those they felt they were better to feel better about themselves. They projected their own insecurities onto someone else and hence felt some sort of enjoyment in that.  A psychologist could help them come to terms with their own problems and that hence stops the bullying or controlling nature- in an ideal world.

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Like I said, I don’t think I am an expert in this area, but this article was quite helpful in helping me get ideas for this post: Wiki-How to cope with a controlling parent. A really good anime movie I would recommend would be “A silent voice”-which touches on the bullying behaviours of high school kids, a really good watch!

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Anyways, if you guys have any experiences you would like to share, please comment below!

Take care and good luck!

xoxo

Joy