Up Close and Personal: Lately, I Haven’t Been Feeling My Best…
Lately, I haven’t been feeling my best. And while in the past I have always tried to handle and figure it out myself, this time around I decided to be honest and open with my struggles. Even if it could help just one person, then I could die happy.
Please be warned that if you’re easily triggered regarding suicidal thoughts and the likes, this post might not be for you.
A Small Introduction
I left everything and everyone that I have ever known––my family, my friends, the house that I grew up in. I left everything and embark on a journey that I had to take on all by myself. I was 17 at the time, and I went studying abroad in a country where I don’t speak the language, have no interest whatsoever in the culture and people. To keep it short, I was basically uprooting my whole entire life back in my home country and restart from zero in this new country.
As any sane teenager would, of course, I was scared. I was terrified, I was lonely yet I knew I had no choice. I will not get into the whys of things, because it didn’t matter. This is the reality of my life now, and I have to survive. It’s sink or swim time. This time around, there will be no lifeboats and no life jackets.
I am all on my own.
The honeymoon phase came and went––it didn’t last long in the first place. I kept myself busy to the best of my ability, and for the most part, it worked. I was able to keep my loneliness at bay.
I hung out with friends, did my schoolwork, went to my part-time jobs like a good soldier. It all went on like clockwork. Wake up, do morning routine, rush out the door, don’t come home until i’m dead tired. Thinking back now, I might have had high functioning depression back then. Because that first year was a blur, I didn’t feel any sort of happiness or joy in my days. It was just constant background noise, and me moving through life like a dazed person.
At the time, I was young. I dated someone who was toxic to me. We would fight and then he would ignore me for days––and I would in return, sob for days begging him to come back. One night, we had a really big fight and as per usual, he ignored me when I needed someone most. I knew that I couldn’t tell my parents, because they would worry. I begged to visit them for my summer vacation, and I was denied.
“If you ever decided to come back home, then you have failed as a daughter,” was what my father said.
Usually, I would have just sucked it up and move on with life like I normally do. However that night, something broke in me and I cried all night in my shoebox of an apartment. I cried until I had no more tears to cry, and my head started to pound. It was at that moment that I decided that I would just kill myself to rid me of this misery.
So Small, Yet So Sinister
It was midnight. I was sobbing whilst holding a knife to my wrist. I even googled how best to slice into myself because if I’m going to die, I wanted it to be quick.
It was all ready. The knife was sharp and I had it in my hand. I knew if I cut into my wrist and didn’t call for help, I would die before anyone ever found out. But I couldn’t go with it. The picture of my mom’s screams came into my head, and the thought that my death would bring her so much misery––maybe even drive her insane––made me unable to proceed.
That night, I cried some more. That night, it really clicked that I am the only person that I could count on.
Life is a bitch, and that night the realization dawned on me. But what’s more; that night I didn’t kill myself.
Throughout The Years
Seasons come and go, leaves change colors and life continued in the land of the rising sun. I wasn’t exactly happy here, and there were times where it would get bad again and those suicidal thoughts gave me a few visits. Whenever that happened, I would just bunker down and deal with it. Like one would hunker down for a typhoon or hurricane.
These “sad and slightly suicidal episodes” as I call it, come twice or three times a year. And usually, it’s not too unbearable. It was as if all of a sudden a switch flicked, and I would see a car––and wonder what it will be like if I walked in front of it, or I would see a train coming––and count the steps it would take the jump off the platform. You know, fun stuff like that.
However, I would never do it. The thoughts are there, but I knew I would never do such a thing because there are people who will be sad if I die.
Usually, I won’t even cry during these “sad and slightly suicidal episodes”. I would just feel numb to everything as if living in a haze.
2020 hasn’t been the best year for everyone’s mental health. You know it, I know it, even the grandma down the street knows it. Spend enough time cooped up with yourself, a lot of suppressed mental issues that you’ve never dealt with will come crawling up.
And that’s what happened.
Last week, I had a burnout. For the longest time, I have felt one coming. But like the stubborn egghead that I am, I didn’t deal with it, didn’t take the time to slow down until it was already too late. I broke. I had panic attacks, was crying non-stop, was blaming my closest friend for not being there for me 24/7 even when he lives across the world from me.
It was a shitshow.
Not to mention, this time around, those suicidal thoughts too are coming back with a vengeance. In the past, I was able to suppress them, but this time around they seem to not be taking no for an answer. And for the first time in a while, I was really, truly scared for myself and my sanity.
I need help. It’s not a want, it’s a need. I cannot continue living like this, or else this time, I might just truly drown.
Finding Way Back to Myself
I started seeing a therapist. To be honest with you, I don’t know why I was so against it in the first place. It might be the stigma against seeing a therapist growing up, or it’s just me being a stubborn egghead disbelieving that therapy could help solve my problems. Whatever they might be, I am extremely glad that I went. Because after my first session––tears filled of course––I instantly felt so much lighter.
It was as if I was lugging this giant boulder wherever I go, thinking that I need to do so when in reality, that was never the case. Talking to a professional who’s objective about the things I’m going through really does do wonders for my mental health. As bad as this might sound, because I know I’m paying for their time, I worry less about their feelings and how what I said will impact them. Because I know they have heard and seen worse, and it’s their job to be there and help guide me through whatever it is that I was feeling at the time.
Another thing that I started doing was meditating. Coming from someone who never believed in meditation and any spiritual stuff of the sorts, I will admit that I was wrong. Before this whole burnout fiasco happened, I had a friend who suggested that I start meditating, but of course, me being me I never listened. It was after that one day sometime last week when I couldn’t get myself to stop crying that I tried a 5-minute meditation. And it helped. While I could sense that my mind was still a mess of chaotic energy, I managed to get myself to stop crying.
Why Am I Doing This?
Coming from someone who outwardly looks like she has her life under control but was fighting for it on the inside, I want you to understand that feeling anything less than happy is not an ideal way of living. Yes, I could have continued to live my life as I have the past few years, not seek help, and have a few mental breakdowns every year. I definitely could have settled with living life that way, and I had for the past 4 years. Why did I finally decided to step up and face my fears and problems?
Because I know I deserve better. While my small spec of existence might not be special in the grander scheme of things, there is only one me in this world. And I am the captain of this ship. If you own a ship and see it starts leaking water, would you not do your best to try to fix it? It’s the same thing with your mental health, just because it’s not visually visible, doesn’t mean it’s not there.
Sure, there is the saying, “fake it until you make it”, but you have to know where your limits are and know when to seek help. Like in my case, I have been faking that everything is okay for the past 4 years, and I knew that if I kept going like this, somewhere down the line I’m either going to have a psychotic breakdown or quite literally just flung myself in front of a train. I realized that it was about time that I seek professional help because it’s getting too big and too much for me to handle alone.
I’m writing this post and being this candid to let you know that it’s okay to ask for help. You deserve all the happiness that the world can offer, but you have to be willing to put in the work to get there.
I understand that therapy is not for everyone. Therefore, I will link a few YouTubers and meditation videos that I have been watching in the past week that has helped calm me down when I get a tad bit too anxious. I hope this could be of help.
Ps. For meditation, I do it whenever I start feeling anxious or off-center. It could be as much as 4 times a day or as little as 2 times a day. There is no rule or limit to how many times you can meditate in a day. Listen to your body.
Pps. For the meditation-videos, if you don’t have an adblocker, it would be a good idea to download the videos before meditating as you don’t want to be bombarded with ads in the middle of meditation.
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