Up Close and Personal : Hi There, Are You Happy?
I think we are a little bit overdue for another “Up Close and Personal” post since it’s been a while since your girl just takes away all pretenses and gurgles up whatever is brewing in her mind.
For the past week, I have been holing up in my apartment. I didn’t really get much of anything done, other than roll around in bed all day and calling up friends while crying my eyes out because of a quarter-life crisis that just decided to slap me in the feels out of nowhere.
Well, if you’re talking to my therapist they’d say that feelings don’t suddenly come out of thin air and there is a reason for everything. But today I don’t want to be logical, I want to feel my feelings in peace, and therefore I shall do so.
How have I been this past week?
Hmm…let’s see. I have been tired, lonely, a tad bit suicidal, sad, sometimes very sad. However, at the end of the day, I came out on top. I always do. I guess when the world is constantly changing and the only thing that is constant is change, I know that I can always count on myself to pull through.
You know, sometimes I’d look around people who are on their phones tapping away, or busy clicking and clacking on their computer––I wonder if they’re happy with their lives. Or if they are like me most of the time, using social media, work, and other projects to distract themselves from the reality that we’re all lonely people inside. This is something that I just thought of recently when I was bawling my eyes out because I felt so lonely despite having friends who care. Sometimes when we’re in the throes of emotions––especially negative emotions––it is very easy to sink into a hole of hopelessness and thinking that you’re in this alone.
“You come home, make some tea, sit down in your armchair and all around there’s silence.
Everyone decides for themselves whether that’s loneliness or freedom.”
But the honest truth is, we’re not. Whatever we’re feeling, be it deep sadness or inconceivable happiness, many people have been there before and lived through it. That’s what I tell myself, every time I have negative thoughts creeping into my head. It’s not easy, especially with how stubborn and logical I am even when I am at my lowest. But it helps. Not by a lot, but then again, when we’re feeling hopeless and tired, every little thing counts.
Being crazy busy or just burning through time?
Some people really like to ponder why they are alive, what is the point of being human and what is the meaning of it all. Call me a cynic, at my best I’d say we’re alive to enjoy life and live life to the fullest. And at my worst, like many out there, I’d say that life has no meaning at all. We’d like to think of the earth as a testing ground where if we do good then we’ll go to heaven when we die and if we do bad then we’ll go to hell.
But at times, I really wonder what if hell is actually Earth and we’re living in it right now? Some people also believe in the afterlife, and for me personally, I’d like to believe in it too, but I wonder too if it’s just another thing I tell myself to self-soothe in order to be able to function like a normal human being instead of freaking out over the next stage after death.
When people ask me what I like to do with my time, I always answer with, “I like to fill it to the brim. The busier, the better.” At the time of me saying that, I felt invincible. I felt like I was a part of the society where the busy and the ones who are always chasing and on-the-go are rewarded. It is something that I always pride myself on, that I am efficient with my time, and the fact that I always bite more than I can chew but would then always stubbornly swallow the whole thing anyway.
I always thought of myself as greedy. I am greedy with my time and attention, I want to try so much and experience so much and there isn’t enough time in the world for all of that. And it is still true to this day, but after this week, I started seeing my love for being crazy busy in a different light. Not necessarily bad, mind you, but it is a new way of seeing things that I have never thought of before.
I wondered if I always filled my schedule to be brim and always running from one place to the other is due to the fact that I couldn’t stand spending too much time on my own. Could it be that I couldn’t stand being in my head for too long that I need constant distractions? Be it from work, or side projects, or school.
Because I have been self-isolation this past week to recharge––I might have also done too much too soon––but I have realized that after spending hours with just myself, at the end of the day, I almost always broke down and cried because of how lonely I felt. Again, it could have just been the extrovert in me that needs constant flow and ebb of people, but still an interesting food for thought.
Burnouts are never fun, kids.
That was what happened this past week. I was going non-stop for two weeks straight, 7 days a week. Your girl was chasing deadlines, pumping out contents, eating like shit, and only sleeping 5 hours every night for a week. Anyone with half a brain would have guessed how this turned out in the end, just like you predicted, like a car that has been running on 100mph without maintenance, I broke.
There was always a telltale of burnouts, at least for me. I knew those signs, but sometimes I am stupid and wouldn’t listen to myself until it’s too late. I always figure it out when it’s too late. These days I am learning to be better, they talk about self-discipline needed to get stuff done and stop procrastinating but people never talk about the other side of the coin. You also need the self-discipline to stop piling things to do onto your already over-flowing plate––this is something that I have been struggling with, especially for the past year.
“You must want to spend the rest of your life with yourself first.”
I’m not sure about other people, but for me, my telltale sign of burnout are tiredness, inability to focus on details, crying out of nowhere, and lastly, suicidal thoughts. In the past, I didn’t know what these signs mean and I would quite honestly drive myself so hard to the point where I would just sit in my room at night all by myself and just cry for hours on end. I have been suicidal, I have been depressed, I have had panic attacks a few times a week because of how hard I push myself to excel and succeed.
I am sharing this because I understand in the world that we’re living in today, with the competition that we have, and especially now with COVID, mental health has been in a crisis with people all over the world. I want anyone reading this post to know that you’re not alone and that I––and many others, too––have been in this position many a time.
I don’t have any advice for you if that’s what you’re looking for. I too am dealing with this and winging it as I go. But despite that, I still want to let you know that you are not alone and that you are loved.
Therapy, therapist, for everyone?
Another thing I realized in my one-week haze of recuperating and doing nothing: perhaps therapy isn’t for me.
With how much importance people put on getting therapy and talking to a therapist or a counselor, it somehow gave me the image of “everyone needs a therapist because who knows what kind of trauma we hid inside our minds.” So like the fun bean that I am, I decided that maybe I too need a therapist. If not to work out any types of issues I have, then perhaps just to talk without judgment. And while it was fun while it lasted, I started to realize that I don’t exactly need a therapist but more like I need someone to sympathize with me while I go through sludges of poops that life throws at me from time to time.
And I also find that I am more receptive when the sentiment is from friends instead of a therapist. At first, the feeling of anonymity pulls me in to share more with my therapist, but I suppose, at the end of the day my therapist will not know me as my friends do. While yes, they might know a darker, more twisted part of me, but my friends are the people with who I have shared my best moments, since they have known and accepted the joyful and happy part of me, perhaps it would be okay to share sad and exhausted part of me too?
Again, this is not an advice. It is merely something that I have discovered during my one week of holing myself in my apartment. Everyone works differently, whether or not therapy would be beneficial to you is only for you to decide.
Am I happy? Are you happy?
Ah, a question that is not asked often enough. Since we’re being quite honest today, I will be forthcoming with my answer to this question as well.
It could easily be said that up until last year, I have never been truly happy. I have always needed a person around be it a close friend or a boyfriend, and after finding such a person, I would pour all my attention towards them in hopes of being able to receive the same. Your girl was always very clingy, and very needy in a relationship. I never really made peace with myself or took the time to work and focus on myself because there was just so much work to be done and I didn’t know where I should start from.
Things started to change last year after I broke it off with my ex, I was in a very bad place for a while. Was using people to substitute for my ex, I cried a lot and some night would even wake up in cold sweat because of how lonely and alone I felt. I saw how weak I was at the time, and how I was all alone because I alienated all my friends while I was in a relationship. My relationship was the focus of my whole life, and without it, my life was in shambles.
I think that was the first time where I saw myself clearly, and instead of backing away and hiding behind yet another relationship, I decided to grow a pair and face my problems head-on. It was a lot of work, probably a whole ass bucket of tears has been shed as well as plenty of negative thoughts later, I could positively say that yes, I am happy.
Sure, life has its ups and downs, but I have built a life that I feel secure in and I have friends who love and care for me. So yes, I am happy. The question is, what about you? Are you happy?
“Burn your tongue on a cup of tea. Eat too much chocolate. Cry for a few hours or cry for a few days. It’s okay to make mistakes and it’s okay to not be okay; you will always learn how to heal.”
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