Intro: Zero Waste & Minimalism

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Getting Back Up

Apologies for the negative vibes lately. But that’s a part of life, don’t you think?

I won’t even try to convince you that I’ve got out of that dark hole of depression. But I must say I have. It’s just that negativity in general is always coming and going, and I’d have to deal with that from time to time.

I say that because I can differentiate between depression and just normal negativity or ‘feeling down’. Depression is chronic and mostly confusing. Once I’ve detected the root of the problem, only then I was able to slowly untangle myself from it. However, it does not mean I am forever immune to negative energy, in which case, I’d probably have difficulty being motivated. But the situation would not be so hopeless as to being unable to help myself up.

So I thought I’d list a few effective methods that have helped me to be at my best again.

1. TALK TO SOMEONE

For me, the thing that I’ve found to be most effective in reabsorbing positive energy is to talk it out with someone who cares and who would give me some helpful advice. Finding that person has been quite difficult for me because I’ve had trust issues and doubts. I wouldn’t want to confess everything to someone who would only give half their attention. What’s the point then?

Usually, family members would be there for you. If not, your closest friends. If not, a complete stranger (eg a counsellor or a busker). I find that sometimes a stranger would care to listen to you more than anyone else you know. And even if you don’t want to share anything profound, a random conversation with a stranger can actually lift your spirits up.

But here’s the thing: YOU have to talk. You can take so much time in finding that right person to talk to but at some point, you would just have to pick someone and start talking. Nothing would change if you continue to keep all the negativity accumulating inside you. It needs to be let out.

2. DO THE THINGS YOU LOVE

I did forget what I actually love to do. I neglected doing what I enjoy for some time until I realised that there was something missing in my life. And so I started spending time doing enjoyable activities like dancing, reading and writing. Just for the sake of my well-being.

And oh, I feel so good! There is nothing like getting your adrenaline pumped and the hormones working with your neurons to get that happy feeling. The more I engage myself with those activities, the more I crave for it every day. I definitely won’t turn my back from them ever again.

And what is life without also acknowledging those little joyful hobbies? If fear or hatred can fuel someone to negativity, surely love can fuel someone to positivity. Yin and yang, I suppose. Fight negativity with love.

3. REORGANISE

I find that reorganising my things, clearing up my messy desk and kind of starting afresh help a lot. Most often than not, the environment you’re in does affect your mood. If your room is messy and you feel so angry, look no further than that. Pick up those clothes, make up your bed, wash those dirty dishes.

If you declutter your environment, there is a high chance that you are able to declutter your mind as well.

But all of this is for nothing if you don’t do it. SO JUST DO IT. Take one step at a time. Don’t think about anything. Don’t think that by helping yourself up that you are wasting your time. No. You are helping yourself, and that is never a waste of time.

Impaired, but Healing

I started off with wanting to tell some sort of back story to give you an idea of a setting, but I thought, scrap that. No one cares.

What I want to say though is that I think generally, people have always thought me as a smart, sensible kind of girl. Well, I gave them good evidence to believe so. I have always minded my P’s and Q’s and never wanted to cause trouble. But they didn’t know that keeping up such expectations, trying to be better than I was before, trying to be perfect, took a toll on me mentally.

Because of circumstances, I became reclusive. I moved inwards into my own darkness. I did not seek help because I thought everyone was fine without me. No one needed me, why should I need them. I felt that I would only contaminate their lives with my presence. Besides, I did not know how to ask for help. I did not know I needed help.

I did not now I was in Depression.

Studies have shown that Depression is one of the symptoms of a smaller frontal lobe. Or maybe the cause. In any case, Depression is linked to a smaller frontal lobe. The frontal lobe plays a role in higher mental functions such as motivation, planning, social behaviour and speech production [Wikipedia]. All of those I gradually lacked as years passed and my relationship with Depression grew stronger.

I lost motivation; I could not study well and that reflected in my results albeit not very severely at first. I never had a personal daily schedule, only the timetable set by an academic institution. I just went with the flow, but most of the time I was actually in limbo. And it was pretty obvious I engaged very little in social matters and that certainly did not help in improving my speech.

I curse Depression so much that I often find myself to be frustrated. The sad thing is I cannot be frustrated at anyone but myself. Depression is not tangible. It might as well be something made up in my mind. Nevertheless, it is a ghost. Nothing I do affects it. Everything I do—or it does—affects me.

And so now I feel nothing but remorse. I pity myself and what I have become. Without much of a brain scan, I’m pretty sure that my frontal lobe is not as developed as an average person’s. I’m at uni and I struggle even to stay focused on one task. I struggle to carry out plans that I have written quite clearly. I struggle to articulate opinions critically on paper, never mind with real people. The symptoms are obvious. Should I accept it?

At least, I know I am better than before. Because compared to, say, last year, I have now understood this disease. I can identify my problems and I know how to solve it. But the situation I’m in does not seem to allow me time to do so—to solve my problems. It takes a bloody long time to heal. Or maybe I just don’t have the right resources to help me heal just yet.

If only I was not impaired by Depression. My learning experience at uni could’ve been much more stimulating. Alas, I don’t think I’ve learnt much except trying to control my anxieties that I did not acknowledge at first. Eventually, they succeeded in getting my attention. Consequently, I forgot why I came to uni and it reflected on my performance. I wasn’t that smart, sensible girl everyone thinks anymore.

But if I was not plagued by Depression, I wouldn’t have come to know who I truly am, what I truly need and what I wish to contribute in this Life. I wouldn’t have understood empathy. I wouldn’t have shed the fear of Death and recognised the value of Life. I would’ve continued to be blinded by the lies created by groups of greedy people fuelled by the mainstream media. And I would definitely not have tasted some inner peace.

I pledge to myself that I would not be bound by anything or anyone unwillingly once I am released from this stifling institution, even if it means going through unconventional paths. Even if it means upsetting the social expectation. This is simply because I do not wish to be shackled again. I’ve tasted a tiny bit of freedom, and now I’m hungry for more.

Now that I’ve said that, I can expect that some might think I’m ungrateful, especially knowing how relatively luxuriously I’ve been brought up. True, I have not had certain difficulties that others faced, but why should a mental difficulty be any different? From personal experience, living in a comfortable house and basically being born with a silver spoon in my mouth does not necessarily guarantee a continuously happy life. The silver spoon might drop out. Shit happens.

I might not seem as grateful as you think I should be, but trust me, I am grateful. I understand that life is not perfect. You may have a good relationship with your family but you might be in a financially poor situation. Or you may be living in a 5-storey house but feel as empty as the big house itself because your parents work tirelessly every day to get back all the money they spent on all those things just so that you are comfortable, and that they could drive nice cars to work to get money to pay back the car loans… you get the idea.

All I ask is that you don’t judge me, or anyone else for that matter, before thoroughly knowing and understanding what they’ve been through. And know that everyone has their struggle, not just yourself. So if you are having a conversation with another being, why not ask them how they are feeling? Don’t just go on a long narrative of your exciting midnight excursions. Have some care, for once.

In the meantime, I shall try to get back to reality and not think too much.

Conversation Is Therapy

If it were not for my past deep relationship with loneliness, I don’t think I would’ve appreciated company and conversation as much as I do now.

No one has ever told me that the easiest way to let anger, frustration, disappointment, puzzles, and everything else plaguing my mind is to just talk about it. I suppose I can’t blame anyone because talking has become as natural as walking. And so people assume that it is common sense to do so.

But it seems that in this day and age, having a good conversation with someone is losing its place in our daily lives what with the dictatorship of technology and self-consciousness. Because talking seems to be the norm, no one dares to make it a point or a solution when dealing with any mental or emotional issues. Instead, people would recommend drugs or fresh air.

We don’t need to look far or reach deep into our pockets to cure those kinds of illnesses. We just need to look up from our phones, face our neighbours, open our mouths and pour our hearts out. If you are willing enough to get rid of all the anxieties you are feeling, you would at least be willing to try to let yourself be vulnerable and have a meaningful chat with another human being. Who knows, they might be dealing with similar problems.