to die or to vivify

a soft flame flickers

on the boundary

between glorious hope

and absolute darkness

 

the faithful come

to pay their respects

they whisper a prayer

underneath their breaths

and disappear into the shadows

 

a storm stirs in the distance

and so we must wonder

if such a fragile illumination

will be able to bear

the onslaught

of the tempest.

Advertisements

156 – The same monster with a different name.

I am feeling a lot better today in comparison to that awful morning. I realized that my writing down only negative feelings was not giving an accurate representation of the whole spectrum of my experiences. For my own sake, I’d like to reflect on the after, on how I move through my depression (and now my anxiety). Continue reading

152 – Life is always worth living.

This is a confession – one that’s had a long time coming. It’s been a long while since I’ve been able to bring myself to really process and reflect on things happening in my life. I suppose I was riding the wave, trusting that it would bring me to where I would need to be, whilst closing my mind from all the negativity that was tearing me apart. In a way, it worked. It got me this far. But it’s time that I called out my demons in such a way that they won’t keep coming back to hurt me.

I was in an awful state of mind for most of my undergrad senior year. Most of the anxiety and feelings of worthlessness stemmed from my thesis project. Nothing seemed to be working out the way I envisioned it to. While everyone else was making progress on their projects, I felt that I was continuously hitting a dead end. Even simple reactions that were shown to work by my supervisor somehow turned into a mess of unrecoverable chemicals. While no one in the lab wanted to put me down nor did they ever make me feel ostracized or unwelcome, I felt another piece of whatever self-esteem I had left break off and shatter every time I walked through those doors.

Things got worse throughout the year, instead of the better that I was promised. I set fire to a waste bin because I forgot to thoroughly clean a syringe of a highly oxidative reagent. A lab mate’s quick thinking saved the situation as I just stood there frozen in the fear of what I had just done. I almost wish they had kicked me out of the lab for good then. Maybe I would’ve been spared all of the misery that continued to pile on after. The only consequence I received was increased supervision so that an accident like that wouldn’t happen again. And of course, I would fuck up again a few months later by forgetting to turn on the ventilation on the glove box after purging it. I was a walking disaster so to speak.

I wasn’t okay. By February, it was clear that I was sinking further and further into a hole I could not crawl out of. I very much should’ve given up and dropped the course, but I felt that I couldn’t approach the administrator after he had given me a special pass after handing my application in late. I didn’t want to let yet another person down.

My friends at school knew I wasn’t happy with the course, but they probably didn’t expect that it was destroying my mental health. They were surprised when I broke down at the poster presentation where you had to present your research to professors. I felt incredibly stupid, like I didn’t know anything after months of trying to get a grasp on this project. We buried that day in alcohol with my friends saying silly things about the prof that put me down in order to cheer me up. As much I would like to put it all behind me, I don’t think I’ll ever forget that hollow feeling of worthlessness that drowned me.

Things spiraled out of control so easily and so quickly. I should’ve gotten help somewhere along the process, but didn’t. I would never suggest that anyone attempt to deal with something like this alone, but I did anyway. I genuinely wanted to kill myself several times over the course of those two semesters. I spent more nights crying myself to sleep than I can count. Even now, I feel like a disappointment looking back on how little I had accomplished.

The little things saved me. The little things that told me repeatedly that life was still worth living. Attending class and dinner dates with my friends. Playing video games. My favourite drinks at Second Cup whenever I was having a tough day or had a late lecture. The many “I miss you” messages from my mom. Knowing that I would be somewhere better next year. And my boyfriend at the time…(whom I cannot thank enough for being my escape from all of the misery; our recent break-up was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done).

I just wanted the time to make this blog as a reminder of why life is always worth living. Depression is not terminal. There will be good days just as there are bad days (or bad years). While it takes a great deal of strength and courage to commit suicide, it takes just as much to continue struggling through this hell and persevering. Sometimes it can be easy to feel alone in this great big world, but you’re never alone in feeling that way. Even on the nights when the sky is grayed out, you can rest easy that the stars are still out there somewhere in space. Even when the world seems to be full of darkness, there is light somewhere beyond the horizon. Believe in it. There will always be a chance for things to get better. Hold onto it and don’t you dare let go.

151 – where my heart is.

It’s been a long time. I wanted to do a proper update with how I’ve been doing the past few months, but this past week has been tough. I feel this plethora of emotions weighing upon my heart.  I hope that by working through these thoughts, the heaviness will go with it.

—————————

I found myself in tears last Thursday on the bus home from the hospital. I had just finished my elective in geriatric psychiatry and was feeling really inspired that this was something I’d be interested in doing for the rest of my life. But a sort of doubt or guilt was festering in my mind. 

On Tuesday, we talked about social inequality as a determinant of health. Many of my classmates shared their personal stories about how growing up in a socioeconomically disadvantaged community affected their views on life, education, health, and privilege. I did not share my own story then, but I thought about how lucky I was to have someone like my mom in my life. How fortunate I am to be where I am now.

My mom fought through more hardships than I could ever imagine. Her family immigrated to Hong Kong from a rural town in China, but they were penniless as they struggled to adapt to city. Even now, my grandmother and aunt live in an apartment the same size as my bedroom in Vancouver. Despite being a straight A student, my mom couldn’t afford to go to college, opting instead to work to support her family. In contrast, my father scraped through college with D’s across the board. Life isn’t fair.

Life certainly continued to be unfair as my mom worked 80 hours a week while caring for two children. Some nights I stayed up until 2 to 3am, worried if something might’ve happened to her. But she came home every time without fail (and very cross because her eight year old was still awake). Yet, I never really appreciated what she did for me while I was growing up. Even at times when she only had a couple hundred dollars in her bank account, she never let our poverty stop us from doing anything. Never, ever, ever was i left hungry. There was somehow always enough food in the house. I took lessons in swimming, skating, art, piano, violin, Chinese, and Japanese. Instead of denying me these opportunities, she worked more hours instead. Sometimes I wonder how I learned absolutely nothing about diligence from such an amazing human being.

In contrast, my father could not serve as a better example for what I didn’t want to be. While my mom worked herself to pieces, he cheated on her. Buying some unknown woman an apartment and being stupid enough to not put his name on it. I still don’t fucking understand.

We almost lost our house when I was in tenth grade. Since my father technically owns half the house, he wanted to sell it if my mom wanted a separation. Clearly, the money meant more to him than the livelihood of his children. I remember their heated arguments as I stood outside the door, devastated and confused. In the end, we still have the house and they are still together…on paper anyway. When I moved for university, he took over my bedroom, destroying many of my belongings. Although I’ve forgiven him for everything in the past, I still feel numb at the thought of him. But I digress, that doesn’t matter anyway.

I suppose what I fear the most is becoming like him. He is thousands of dollars in debt because of a gambling addiction. I look at myself and my own reckless decisions and can’t deny how much I am like him. I put myself in debt by moving across the country for university, a decision I still can’t justify was worth it. I look at my gaming addiction and I think about how gambling isn’t that far off. I feel like the more that I reflect upon my behaviors, the more I realize I am just as ungrateful and stupid as he was. And it scares me. I doubt my ability to change who I am. But I swear I’m trying.

What drove me to tears on Thursday was a consult with a patient who spent over 20 years looking after his parents, quitting his job as a pharmacy technician and giving up his dreams of going to medical school. His story moved me. Made me think about what really matters in life. It made me think that I really wanted to be home, spending time with my mom and letting her know how much I appreciate what she did for me. But home feels so far away.

I feel so lost. I need to find a way to channel these emotions into an effort to work harder, to motivate myself through these doubts. I feel worthless, when I should feel privileged. Depressed, when I should be stimulated. It’s funny how you feel more scared looking down from the top than on your way up the mountain.

I haven’t given up. I will find my way. Even though these feelings are hard, it feels better to have acknowledged my weakness instead of running away. I will be okay.

it all feels like ashes

these days have been feeling like disaster

with every moment that passes

I feel something shattering

I thought I was so sure of

who I loved

what I loved

and where on the horizon my dreams laid

but nothing feels like it’s in the right place

a transition from certainty to the unknown

is truly perplexing.

 

there is an inescapable gray

bleeding into my heart

but I can’t stop its rushing current

all I can do is lie here frozen

screaming for the colours

to come back.

walls of gray

broken down by my inadequacy

I don’t know how to face it anymore

they say nothing

but I feel it by exclusion

I no longer pretend to feel welcome

beyond those doors

though I struggle to accept

this hollow state of mind.

 

I keep on pushing through

just a few more months

one week at a time

but it’s really all too much

even my best efforts

to numb these currents down

are fruitless

I lie shattered

broken and weathered

unable to pick myself up

unable to hold on

to that sliver of hope

and so I find myself engulfed

entranced in inhibition

privy to these crushing thoughts.

 

I cannot see the horizon

beyond these walls of gray.

broken pieces on the ground

it’s been a long, long time

but I feel your return

a shadow rising from my past

a dreadful defiler

 

you’ve poisoned my heart

into feeling worthless and empty

but I know that is wrong

I know that every life is priceless

and that this feeling too will pass

 

but the numbness feels inescapable

and I’m anxious every moment

triggered by my own inability

I’m lost and left behind

 

every attempt to break free

from this isle of desolation

seems futile from the start

and thoughts that never got to me

are echoing in my ears

 

my confidence has shattered

broken pieces on the ground

and I fear for the worst

I fear that they’ll never again be found

 

I feel stupid

weak

incapable of doing well

in the things I’ve always loved

and slowly

I’m suffocating

in thinking that

I’m just not good enough

 

I’m trying my best

to build myself back up

but damn is it hard

to look at the shining face of happiness

when it seems like something I don’t deserve

 

it’s going to be okay

like the hundreds of times before

it’s going to be okay

I’ll make it through this once more.