The Road not Taken

I want to be a psychiatrist. Your all probably rolling your eyes right now. Oh and yes before you have to ask, I’m asian.

I do not mind at all the criticism and the eye rolls I earn when I tell people of the career I wish to pursue. The pedigree of all jobs, the doctor.

The criticism comes from the high expectation of asian parents. It is assumed that my longing for being a doctor is not instilled in me because of personal values, beliefs etc. but rather that my parents have expectations, and meeting them means becoming a doctor.

I’m not gonna lie, my family has many many expectations. With all my brothers, each with sky high ATAR’s the lowest being a “measly” 99.15%, the stakes are against me. I do also ponder dreams of being a writer, but the financial instability of such a job is unappealing to me because I have learnt to expect a certain standard of living, and a certain standard of achievement.

I find it interesting how much is expected of me based on my family line. I feel crushed by everything I should be, what if what I should be is not what I want to be? I don’t even know anymore what I want to be? What do I want to be? What do I want to be… Do I even have to be something? Can I not craft my own identity, create my own life free from the crippling eyes of judgement? I just want to achieve what I want, not what someone sitting on my shoulder wants. Whispering…

I’m not totally sure anymore. Psychiatry does appeal to me on a deeply personal level but by choosing this path I am scared that the other path will remain untouched as I am swamped with increasing study demands, family demands and financial demands. So much stress. I fear that I will be old and look back on my choice with dark, soul eating regret. Regret at choosing the path that was expected of me, the path that everyone wanted for me.

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The Empty Little Lies…

ImageToday I realised I’ve been living under a delusion. After delving into a blog called Dr. Nerdlove (specifically his how to be a high status man article) I’ve come to the realisation that part of my life has been a lie, a lie that I personally perpetrated. Hopefully by venting (writing) this then maybe I can make the solemn steps to move on.

A lot of this won’t make chronological sense if you haven’t read my articles on my depression, but it’s definitely not required.

I’ve been under the impression that I have no insecurities and I’m super happy about everything about myself, I’m confident, assertive and capable of producing boundaries. After writing that sentence, I realise how arrogant and wrong I sound.

Everybody has insecurities, if they say they don’t there plain lying. Insecurities actually may even be a good thing; they inspire us to change, to better ourselves. Lying to myself that I had no insecurities was a bad idea. It pushed me into a fallacy of self-appeasement, and a bad sort of comfort. The self-appeasement consisted of being a cocky loud-mouth in class and subtlety reaffirming myself through devious means. For example: pretending to not know that people see me as confident and being surprised, or asking “was I confident enough in …” If you think about it I was reaffirming myself right in that sentence, but that’s not important.  The bad comfort was a comfort that was not real, an illusion of sorts that I had crafted for myself, it impeded my growth as a person.

(For those of you who have watched Memento the rest of this paragraph will make sense but if it doesn’t just bear with me please).  I liken how I lied to myself to the main character in Memento. In the end we find out that he tricked himself to make himself feel better. He hid behind the lie of the story he told about his job. He lied to himself so he did not have to face the truth about his wife. It worked for him because his memory was messed up. But for me it didn’t and boy am I glad. If I had to keep reaffirming myself over and over again, day by day, I would go mad. I would become depressed again.

This “reaffirmation” only occurred because I was insecure. The insecurities about my appearance lingered as well as the insecurities about my inherent worth.  I was insecure that I hadn’t actually changed. I was insecure of my insecurities. My past has taught me that insecurities are bad, but now I realise there not, if used positively they can be harnessed for positive change.

There were two things that helped me realise this:

Firstly the article by Dr Nerdlove. He talked about what true “value” was.  Values such as wealth or “Alpha”-ism cannot compare to authenticity. The ability to let go of societal values of male dominance and perceived conceptions of worth, and be comfortable with one’s self. I realised that all I was striving for was to be that Alpha. So thank you Dr. Nerdlove for sharing your belief. Thank you for stopping me from being side-tracked and showing me through your words that true value comes from the comforts of one’s self and therefore authenticity; that true value is not wealth or being an Alpha male but the beautiful traits outlined in this paragraph:

“Someone who helps other people feel good, who is interesting to talk to and who can bring the fun has value and status; people will want to spend time with him. Can you inspire respect in other people, not through your material goods or being famous but through what you have to offer as a person? That’s status.  Can you connect with people on an emotional level and make them feel as though you understand them better than anyone else does? Then you have higher social value than someone who is only able to meet someone on the surface, who is all glitz with no depth or substance.” – Dr Nerdlove

Dr Nerdlove’s article also helped me realise the toxic friend I had been keeping company. Our friendship consisted of his subtle disregard for what I was saying, and a constant belittlement of me. I pushed him to go to the gym a term back and now? When I ask him to go to the gym with me, he says no and belittles me saying he’d be depressed because he’d be doing 30kg’s while his “weak” friend would be doing just 10kg’s. He’d be depressed because everybody would see the company he was keeping. Fuck him I think, but I don’t say anything.

 He constantly and consistently felt the need to show the world, and in essence himself how great he was. This was the blinding paradox that I was living in. In some ways I’m alike my friend who recently I reminded that humility is a beautiful trait. Though I wasn’t as obnoxious in my reaffirmations, I was more the subtle deceptive type. I realise that this may be tall poppy syndrome but I’m still clinging onto the hope that I’m not as bad as him, maybe I am I guess, I just really hope not. I believe that everybody can change, but I guess it’s very interesting to realise how we perceive our actions and how others perceive them can vary to such huge degrees.  He seemed oblivious to what he was doing, I was too. In a way I want to help him change too but he has to be willing, and I don’t think I can take being his friend any longer. I have to respect myself first.

This friend sparked a re-examination of my year so far:  IF I truly valued myself how could I let myself fall into the company of his toxicity? And; IF I truly had no insecurities why did I need to constantly reaffirm and scheme to appease my ego? So there’s one positive thing I can take from this “friendship” he’s helped me through his actions see how my actions may be perceived, and through my opinions of him I’ve been able to realise that I may not be as perfect as I tell myself.

In spite of how painful it is to realise that I’ve been lying to myself again, I feel a huge respite to accept my insecurities fully. Finally I won’t be hiding behind the facade that somehow insecurities are wrong.

Photo credit: A Guy Taking Pictures / Foter / CC BY

My Depression – Part 2


This is a continuation on my previous depression post.

The memories from year 8 to 9 are very faded. It’s difficult to remember things when your days diverge on a singular timetable: Moping in my bed till 12, eating a tiny breakfast and then amusing myself on my phone or on good days read a book. The only true relief I ever got was through my eldest brother and my online friends. I think my brother knew but chose not to bring it to the surface. He was the only real face to face interaction that I had. It truly kept me sane. I don’t want to go on and on about how bad it was, if you’ve never experienced depression before just think about a terrible day in recent memory were you woke up senile and distraught. You don’t know why you felt bad – you just did – now repeat it for days on end, that’s what it felt like.

Sometimes now I wish that this had never happened, but not as much as I did back then. The wishing ached through my existence. I could see the skyline, I yearned for my previous self but I slipped whenever I tried to climb through the walls of my roofless prison. Soon I began to realise that I could not climb alone. I needed help.

My first glimmer of hope came in July, a phone call from my brother. He asked me how I was doing, I lied, but then he asked whether I thought living with him would help me. That’s not exactly how he asked, it’s still blurry but that was the gist of it. I remember feeling hopeful for the first time in a long long time… I know this is probably confusing but my relationship with my parents was terrible at the time. Anger filled every one of us daily, it was toxic. I’d prefer not to go into it at the moment.

And so I moved homes. Things improved for a while but eventually I fell again. It was like strolling through a desert, for a while the sandstorms ceased and I could see the horizon, the happiness. Everything became clear for a brief time, but inevitably the sandstorms came again, just that bit weaker this time but still as unrelenting. I know I use analogies a lot, and most of them are terrible, I know. 😀

My sister in-law was also a great help. We grew very close, much more than anyone expected (especially my parents), myself included. I know my parents love me in their own way, but it’s hard to stay smiling through their ignorance. My sister in-law was never treated with benevolence, and the love you’d expect, but that’s sadly how my parents were, but I’m still grateful that they cared for and about me.

I asked my sister in-law recently what it felt like when I constantly skipped out on school due to my depression. She said it was devastatingly frustrating. I didn’t need to ask her to elaborate I understand that feeling now. My parents went through it to. That never ending roller coaster of hope and disappointment. They wanted to help me so badly, but again I lied and cheated, that was how I operated.

But they were damn patient. We hardly ever expressed our anger at each other. I remember a moment where I told my brother that I couldn’t live with him, I never told him why I said this but it was because I couldn’t stand lying to him every day. I couldn’t stand the love that they had placed on my shoulders only for me to shrug it off. I couldn’t stand knowing all the pain I had caused and was causing, daily, weekly.

But my sister and my brother did not falter.  They told me that they understood what I was going through, and that we’d get through it together. Thank you Guys.

Photo credit: Helga Weber / Foter / CC BY-ND

What email and in extension the Internet does to us

Emailing stands with the tools that can shape our mind through its use. Other examples of tools are: books, watches and the internet. For the people who were around for the advent of the internet, or for those who picked it up later in their lives, the internet is a tool for fast paced learning, and a world of shallow understanding. It is much harder to deeply read information on the internet, we mostly just skim it over and for just a few minutes it stays in our heads then promptly makes its leave. The internet is the distraction tool, I’ve noticed lately that with my increasing use of the internet and even more so the portable mobile phone, I’ve found that constantly checking everything, emails, texts, facebook etc., has destroyed my ability to concentrate. I used to be able to sit down with a good book and fall into a trance, only waking hours after finishing it. Now every 10 minutes my brain says to me “Hey check your phone,” and my concentration is broken, deeply reading anything is an impossibility now. The calmness and love that has come from reading has escaped me, and I really want it back.

And so emailing, a tool for distraction, has put a stall on face to face communication, spawning an era of social awkward kids and teens. It’s not just email, though, mobile phones and other instant communication tools can also be to blame. I can’t fully go and claim that this is true; I have no data to prove it. But I think it does make logical sense though.

We aren’t born with an inherent ability to socialise. I do agree that people are born with a disposition to it but most, if not all social skills are developed.  They say 80% of what we are saying comes from body language, by boxing kids and teens into technology and email we leave them without the adequate social skills to face reality. I highly believe that social awkwardness and shyness are in the rise due to email.  With its ease of access and use and the social isolation that comes from not using it, how can teens afford not to use the tool?

I would like to challenge you today. I challenge you for a week to turn off you your notifications on your phone for a month, or a week, whatever feels comfortable. Set a time to check your emails, your facebook, etc. Turn off notifications for texts as well. I advise you to allow calls though, because they may be important. After I while it should become easier to focus on things, to stop procrastinating.

On My Depression…’d like to discuss a brief part of my flimsy teenage years (so far). This is because of recent events that have brought back my last few years to the surface for me to evaluate and reflect upon (namely swapping schools). I believe proper reflection on past events helps us learn from the multitudes of mistakes that we have and will make in our lives. Almost everyone has probably heard the quote “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas Edison. Though I personally do not live my life based on this quote there are various profound meanings behind his historical words. My personal experience has shown me that mistakes fill up my life, and through personal reflection – in this case writing – I can try and learn from my past failures and grow as a person.

In year 8 and 9 I experienced a wave of depression. It came quick and silently in the night, and lingered with me day by day, like some sick imaginary fiend. It shadowed my every step and clung to me, slowly dragging me down with its ragged breath and silent looks. It whispered into my ear dark dark things: You’re so ugly, it said, why do you keep trying? Slowly bit by bit I succumbed to its intimate words; it wrapped around me and inserted itself into my personality. I was lost for two years.

Over the course of year 8 and 9, I missed every second day, and on the days that I did come to class, I would leave early or arrive very late. My social life was filled with fragments of concerned faces and the common question: Are you okay? On the days I was at school I remember the concern being the highlight of every single conversation, and I very much wish that it wasn’t. It was like a constant reminder of my demon, no longer could I have a coherent conversation without it swimming towards the topic of me, Why wasn’t I going to school? They asked, I had no answer. I thought that I was all alone, that no one could understand my pain. They all wanted to know why; I realise now that it was only because they cared but at the time it felt like a solemn ache or a replaying track, it went on and on in its mono-tonal voice. I pleaded for it to stop, but how could it? How could they understand what I was going through if I never spoke, and when I did it was all lies, strained little “I’m okay’s” that ironically did nothing to ease there creased faces. Lying only drew me in deeper…

I crept into my shell and made my home there. It still has walls of suicidal wallpapers and dark red paint; though not so much as an assurance that I always had someplace to go but rather as a way to remember, this happened, this happened.

I remember feeling like someone with insomnia. Every moment I was not truly awake rather in a trance like state, attempting to numb myself so I would not have to feel the pain. But it did not work. Emotions became saturated on the darker end: Anger, Frustration, and Hatred; it filled my being; it touched the people I love now. I am very sad to admit that I did not love them at the time, but how could I love when it was torture just to live?

We travelled through these grim roads together. Side by side with the people that loved me unconditionally. They felt it, but could not understand. But how could they? The lies that slipped from my tongue, the crying promises that I made to them. “I’ll go to school” I said, and for a few days I did, but I always slipped again.

This roller coaster of hope then defeat left my loved ones drained (especially my parents.) It is a hallmark to the people I love that they kept believing in me, even when I fell more times than I got up.

Thanks for reading so far. I’m near crying right now so I have to stop.

About me (First post!)

(Just a note: this is exactly the same as the content on about.)

So your probably wondering, why am I – like the millions out there – creating a blog? What distinguishes me from everyone else? Why should you read my blog instead of someone else’s?

Well you see, I don’t have an answer to those questions, expect for the first. So, why am I creating a blog? One of my 3 passions is writing. Writing sends me to a lovely place, a romantic cloud land filled with fluffy pillows and an endless supply of foam wrapped words. The world around me dissolves into a fine powder that I can barely make out from my high view amongst the stars. That’s why I want to start a blog, I love writing – whether as an escape or as a tool – and the idea that even maybe one person could read what I right and maybe even take something small or big from it amazes me.

So before I go into a little bio so you can get a little bit of an idea about me let me explain what exactly I’ll be posting: mostly random thoughts that just pop out out of nowhere, or funny little stories about my day, or maybe even a serious snippet of my inexhaustibly insignificant life. It may be insignificant but maybe you – like I have – will learn something new, or maybe just smile and laugh at how stupid my posts are. Whatever you take from whatever I will write is none of my business. I just hope you read with an open mind. I beg of you not to dismiss me before I’ve even gotten started; you might miss out on something great!

Okay now a little about me:

I’m a bisexual guy, 15 going on 16. Birthday’s on the 19th of October, born in the year 1997. I’m quite introverted at times, but when I want to I can express my opinions infront of a small crowd, (anything more then 5 scares the hell out of me.) This will also be a major part of my blog; tackling my shyness and my quickness to judge that people are judging me. I have three passions in life, you already know one but the other two are: talking to people and reading.

I love listening and sharing my ideas with people, its almost exactly like reading and writing in that regard. Just the notion of exploring another authors world chills my soul, and actually reading it?; feels like a blissful escape. I’m sure the readers out there would understand.

So that’s enough about me. I hope you’ve found something that you can learn or connect with. I should hopefully post again soon, until then, bye!