Remember me

And if I die young, here’s what I want you to remember about me.

Remember my smile. I love people’s smiles, a genuine smile is my favourite thing to photograph, capturing a moment of raw happiness. My favourite smiles are of those around me- especially my family. I loved to laugh, I loved sarcastic humour, I loved bad puns. I could be really sassy if I wanted to.

Remember all the things I loved- and I loved a lot of things. I loved art, and dance, and painting and drawing and scrapbooking. I loved disney movies and dancing to oldies and time with the people I love. I loved sunsets and midnight walks and the early morning air. I loved life vicariously, I loved every little thing and I loved to remember those little things. Heck, remember that I hated tomatoes.

Remember there was nothing more I wanted to do than to help others and to spread joy. I wanted to make an impact on people, to help people when they feel alone, to help people when they’ve been through as much pain as I did. I wanted to bring light to those around me. My latest idea was to create motivational cards and stickers to cheer others up. I wanted to leave them at clinics and Hospitals, I wanted to do lots of volunteer work, I wanted to send happy messages to those who felt alone. I was the kind of person to give the neighbour cookies and smile at the auntie cleaning the floor and leave my nurses Christmas cards.

Remember I had dreams, so many dreams. I had realistic dreams of being a doctor to help others, and unrealistic dreams of becoming a Disney princess. I had dreams of changing the way we talk about mental health and dreams of running away and living in a French countryside alone. I had crazy dreams of being an an actor and doctor and activist and traveler and artist all at the same time. I had dreams of climbing mountains. Actual, physical mountains. I had dreams of meeting a tall, dark, handsome stranger in a cafe or a bookstore and falling in love at first sight. I had dreams of changing the world- or changing someone’s world.

Remember how much I loved life. I really did, remember I was never someone who would live half-heartedly. I was never capable of a mundane life, I was never capable of being like everyone else or staying in the same place forever. I loved life and I wanted to do everything, to go everywhere, I loved people and places. I loved travelling and exploring more than anything. I loved adventures and venturing into the unknown. I would have jumped off a plane skydiving or a cliff bungee jumping, just because. Live a little. Laugh a little.

Remember I was sensitive, I felt everything extremely- pain and love and joy. I felt it all, breathed in the soul of the earth around me, embracing everything. I was connected to everyone, everything around me in some way. I would feel someone’s pain as acutely as my own, feel someone’s suffering in every crevice of my bones. Sometimes the weight of all the suffering in the world got to me, and it’s always frustrated me how much suffering there was. Sometimes it was so much I had to block it out. But with pain, there too, was joy.

Remember I was a positive person. It’s hard to see that when I was so sad for so long but it’s true. I was a positive, hopeful, overly-idealistic person. I saw the world around me in rose tinted lenses and saw the best in people and situations. I marched forward with hope and strength. I wasn’t much of an extroverted person, but I was loud and strong in my own way. I was positive, and I was a fighter. I really fought.

Remember that I fought, and that I was brave. Remember I fought really really hard, for really really long. Remember that it took courage to live as long as I did. I was a really really really sad person, I was someone who had been in a disproportionate amount of pain almost her entire life. Remember I tried so hard to keep going, even though I was in so much pain. So much pain. Remember sometimes the pain is just too much to handle, remember mental illnesses are so real and so serious. So please don’t blame me if I ever give up.

Just go, and live the best life you can. Remember I love you, remember I always care. Remember to talk about mental health and break the stigma, remember to spread a little love and kindness to those around you, remember there is always help and you are never alone. Remember life can be so beautiful.

This is what I want to leave behind.


post-therapy thoughts: uncovering trauma 

I had a really really hard therapy session today, talking about my parents and the abusive situations/violence I’ve been in the past (related to my previous post). I kinda talked about what happened briefly, but also how it’s so difficult to admit or acknowledge that is was a ‘big deal’? And I talked about how I realised that this still impacts me now, and I didn’t think it would but it does- which makes it part of what makes it so difficult to get better. She said that in a lot of perfectionistic people, it’s hard to accept that we were actually impacted by these difficult situations. She asked me why it was so hard to accept it, and I also said it was partially because I’ve been suppressing it for so long and acknowledging that it was real would mean letting the pain be real as well, and the pain is just too much. I didn’t expect that it would hurt as much as it did.. I couldn’t, and didn’t let myself feel all of the pain and I stopped myself from crying much during the session today. One important thing she said was that it’s important to not push all the negative feelings and pain and scars away, but accept them as a part of me and work with them. To embrace them, not in the way of saying ‘well that’s how it’s going to be forever’ but embrace them by accepting that they are okay. Funny enough, she mentioned how she noticed how I’ve always presented a more ‘polished’ and ‘untarnished’ side of myself to the world and how I’m to be scared of people’s reactions to me opening up, how scared I am for people to see how scarred I really am- and how hard it is for me to accept imperfection in myself (which includes being hurt by what I’ve been through)- which then led me to bring up ‘The Greatest Showman’ and the lyrics from ‘This Is Me’ which was so relevant. Which, side note- the songs from The Greatest Showman was stuck in my head throughout the entire session.

I also talked about how I’ve never really been interested in dating or relationships and I’m fine with that (though she disagrees, she thinks I’m not that kind of person.. which, is true because I’m a hopeless romantic but damn, I was surprised she knew that). And one of my huge fears was of intimacy and relationships- and violence.

I said this: “I could be with the kindest, most gentle person ever but it’s not going to matter because the fear will always be there. The violence. The yelling. The anger.” I couldn’t even articulate that or think about it without crying.

She said that it’s true that people from abusive backgrounds do tend to end up in abusive relationships more (I did research, unicef says it’s 15 times more likely then average) but that’s because they don’t have the boundaries set in place and they have a higher tolerance of what is deemed acceptable or normal in a relationship but it’s not something that can never be fixed or something that I have to go through. She said it was really important to label my father’s behaviour as abusive, so that it breaks the blueprint for me of what is ‘acceptable’ in a relationship and I don’t go through the same thing. I cried a lot when I told her how hard it was to accept what happened, also because it’s hard to label my dad as something like that but well, she touched on how people can be driven to do certain things and that their actions are inexcusable it doesn’t make them ‘bad people’ and I really appreciated that.

She also said that I definitely didn’t deserve to go through all of this and it is really really hard to deal with, being in a violent home has massive impacts on a child. To hear that from someone on the outside was just.. validating in many ways but it also made me sad that it might be the truth that ‘I came from a violent household’. She said that a first step would be acknowledging that it is a problem even though my natural instinct is to suppress the feelings and problems. That to have been through what I did at such a young age, it takes a lot of resilience and part of it has made me very very good at detaching myself from painful feelings which is what has helped me survive. I also talked about how hard it is for me to feel genuine anger and she mentioned how my anger presents itself in different ways instead, like manifesting themselves in smaller things which was interesting and I think it’s true that perhaps some of that anger is pent up and I take it out on my parents in different ways. All that I am glad for is that my sisters never have to go through what I did, and she said this before but she said it again: “You know, I work with a lot of children who have been impacted by their family, often to varying degrees depending on things like birth order, and so many people are resentful towards their siblings for not having to go through what they did. But you’re not like that at all.”

And the emotions I went through back then, is explanation for a lot of my behaviours now, the helpless and fear that I felt and then my parents pinning me as a problem and blaming me, feeling so awful in my environment and feeling so unloved, not getting attention or any secure attachment. She said this- “Looking at it in the context of your 10 year old self and not your 19 year old self, it was sad that your grandparents didn’t know, and a 10 year old kid had to deal with it all on her own” it made me realise that maybe it was.. a lot, and maybe I could be kinder to myself or come to terms with my younger self. One of the most striking insights I had during the session was when I expressed how difficult it is to accept that maybe my lack of self-worth isn’t because I am inherently broken like I was made to believe, but maybe because of what my parents did. What if I’m not a bad person after all? What if I’m not unworthy? Then what?


For once it occured to me that maybe I am worth more than I believe.


It is a scary thing, to realise that this very core fact that has driven your existence for almost your entire life, could be untrue. But one thing she said was that ‘if you feel like you’re nothing without your disorder- remember that everything that you are, or do, is in spite of your disorder and not because of it’ This post is kinda all-over-the-place but I guess it felt that way during the session as well? It was just.. a lot to talk about and deal with and I was partially just trying to block out my emotions. It really was a lot, too much for one hour of therapy. But she did thank me for being so genuine during therapy, and the effort I put in, and she hoped that as I got more comfortable with sitting with emotions in therapy I would be able to do that outside as well. And she said I was different from my parents, that I am incredibly emotional and insightful and I am not like them- and that was really really nice.


“I’ve spent a lot of time with your parents, Ericia, and they are good people in many ways and I like them, but one thing I’ve realised is that they’re not always emotionally.. sensitive. And you are not like them at all. You are not your parents.”

I don’t remember all of what she said during the session, but I do remember that there were so many points in time where she was genuinely reassuring and validating- she communicated and was clear on the fact that this was something bad that had happened to me (and it’s not my fault?) and it’s something really difficult, and that it can’t be ‘gotten over’ quickly which is okay and she reminded me again that recovery isn’t so black and white. she said I often speak of ‘recovery’ like I’m in a rush or that I have to do it as soon as possible but it’s not like that. she described everything as this ‘whole bundle of issues you’re dealing with’ and it’s a lot, and it’s all interconnected. The fact that I’ve opened up was a good first step, and it’s going to take some time to work through but she also emphasised that it isn’t impossible to get over this? Sort of like when she said how I can try to accept (DBT technique) that two conflicting truths can be true at once, that I can validate myself/what I’ve been through as difficult but my pain does not have to define me. Affirmations like ‘I can be better but I am also doing the best I can’.

I guess I’ll have to regroup later because this session left me a bit of a mess? Like I’m not sure how it even helped or what I can do about it. I feel like now, one of my biggest difficulties is still letting myself feel and acknowledge feelings or things that have happened. Another issue is how much my weight bothers me, and how that makes me not want to recover? But i’ve said this somewhere but it just stupid because i can’t really ‘100% want to recover’ unless I start changing my beliefs about myself, but I can’t start changing my beliefs about myself until I start committing to recovery. But like always, I overthink everything and view recovery as black and white thing but it’s not. No matter how I feel or what I’m ‘doing’ I am in recovery and I am working on my issues and I am in a process of healing and growing. Just.. a reminder to myself, to let go.

what sets the soul on fire

today I felt lost, again- but not in a bad way. I headed to centre 42 in the evening with a senior of mine (John) to watch a preview of a play by a theatre practitioner I really like/look up to, Sharda Harrison. I first met her last Feb when she came as part of our panel on my devises drama showcase.

Surrounded by artists and theatre, we talked, he showed me around and introduced me to some of the people there- I think it’s amazing how he’s put himself out there when it comes to theatre and writing, and has so many connections and friends. At the building, the show, the post-show, surrounded by theatre students and practitioners and people who all know each other.. I felt so out of my element, so painfully new to it all, so lacking. I don’t know much, I haven’t had much experience- not in this field. I wonder what it would be like if I went on to study theatre, to practice theatre?

I suppose I feel lost, because I feel so inadequate and stretched thin. People who are good at what they do, they devote themselves, to their art or study or passion, a single pursuit of what sets the soul on fire. For me, that comes in so many forms and I want to do it all, to study psychology, to practice theatre, to make art, to reach out and be an advocate for mental health. But I can’t do it all. I love theatre and acting and over the time I’ve spent in my course learning about drama, I’ve come to fall in love with and resonate with this art form. I’ve come to love devising and rehearsals and long days and I’ve always loved the stage. I love the culture of theatre. I respect so many people in the industry, and my Teachers, and I want to learn and immerse myself. 

But I know moving on in my life, choosing to study clinical psychology, I might never truly be a part of the theatre industry, never get to learn. I can always find a way to do theatre on the side, but like I said, to be really good at something you have to devote yourself and your time to it. the heartbreaking truth is I cannot do everything I want, only to find what I truly want and become good at that. I suppose a part of it is the inner perfectionist and critic- I know I will never be the best but I just want to not feel so painfully-lacking. It’s hard for me, knowing I’m not as good as others at something I want to be good at. I just want to feel good enough and that’s a lifelong struggle. When I was younger, being in situations like this where I felt so out of my element and inadequate- I would have fled, I would have stopped doing it. It’s easier to disengage yourself than to stay and try and feel the pain of not being good enough. But this time, I’m trying not to let that pain of ‘not good enough’ take over. There are many things I want to do and I will never be as good as I want to be, never be as good as some others, and perhaps I have to accept that. Because if I stop doing something every time I feel inadequate, I’ll never end up doing much.

So yeah, I feel lost. I’ve been feeling lost for a while, not knowing where to go or how to incorporate theatre into my life. I want to become a professional actor, I would go on to do a degree in theatre simply because I love it. But psychology is something I cannot, and don’t want to let go- it means too much to me to give up. A wishful part of me wishes I could do both simultaneously, and I can always do both but in the end I will still have to choose and weighing the practicality, psychology will always still win over. I love theatre but it is hard to make it in the industry, to get opportunities, and most theatre practitioners I know make a living through other things like teaching drama as well, which is something I don’t want to do. It is not easy, and it is not secure and perhaps that is why I will probably end up doing psychology, something safer as something I know I love very much and will be good at.

And that will be okay because I can still do theatre, I just will never be as good as those who do it professionally. Heck, I can do anything else I want- make art and pain and draw and even learn new skills. So what if I’m not good, I will enjoy it, I do what I love because I love it. Like I said, I’m trying to not let fear of inadequacy stop me anymore. I will keep going, put myself out there and learn as much as I can. And I think, what will be will be- who knows what the future holds? All I know is that I need to give myself room to grow, to stop letting my inadequacy get in the way. And I didn’t expect it, but this too, is part of my recovery- working on the negative beliefs. I recall talking about this in therapy, not letting our negative beliefs or feelings or illness get in the way of the life that I want. I am growing. I really am growing and it is both thrilling and terrifying and I think I should embrace it with all I can. I’m glad I’ve been feeling lost because that is how I grow and how I figure out what I want and how I learn to accept who I am. And it made me thankful because this is a ‘normal’, non mental-illness related struggle and I’m always thankful for that. 

maybe this is life

Thinking about how I’m turning 19 so soon, I’m less anxious than I was at 18. You see, i’ve always been so anxious about time about time passing, about lost time and the time I’ve lost being consumed by my disorders. The time I’ve spent focusing on the depression or the eating disorder and neglecting everything around me, everyone I love, the things I want to do- the time I still spend doing that. It’s always bothered me, how I never got to live my teenage years or how I never got to have a normal childhood and growing-up experience. I’m anxious about not-living, not living the life I want, not living life to the fullest especially after all that lost time- but you know what? No matter what I chose to do, I am living.

Maybe this is life, and maybe I am more alive than ever because struggle and pain is such a fundamental part of life.

Living isn’t just happiness and days in the sun and being with people– living is struggling and growing and learning too. After every discharge, after every breakdown, I have chosen to keep going and that is life. And no matter where I am in my journey, I am living. I could be sad or happy or utterly depressed, I could be making the most of my time or wasting it all but I am still living right this moment, and it’s as simple as that.

There isn’t a pause button on life, it keeps going on no matter what we chose to do with it. And the thing is, I don’t need to be anxious about ‘not having lived’ and I don’t need to be anxious about ‘not being able to live’ because none of that is true, I’ve just been so caught up in the idea of ‘life’ and ‘living’ and this picture in my head that really living is having a perfect life and being able to cope with life perfectly. But it isn’t. Part of why I’ve been so terrified of recovery is simply because I am terrified of life, I’m scared of ‘living’ because I’m scared I’ll never match up to my expectations of ‘life’, and in many ways my illness protects me from that and gives me an excuse to opt-out. Because ‘i am not cut out for life’ and ‘i cannot cope with living’– and most of the time I really do feel that way.

But life is fucking imperfect and I need to get on board with that. That no matter how I feel, I am living right now. That struggle doesn’t mean I haven’t ‘really lived’, it just means my life experiences have been different and if anything, it means I’ve had a fuller life because I know more than anything what it feels like to be at the very bottom, to be at the very end of the rope and because of what I’ve been through, I am who I am. And that is life.

That is a beautiful part of life I should embrace, imperfection.

And I don’t have to be scared, or sad, because I have the rest of my life in front of me and it doesn’t have to be terrifying because it is something to be in awe of, it is something to marvel at because life is beautiful and precious. I’m turning 19 and so what if my life is (and has been) a mess, I don’t have to worry about that because it’s in the the past, I’m turning 19 and I don’t have to worry about missing out because I have such a long way to go, I’m turning 19 and at least I can say my teenage years have been the most difficult and defining years and that’s okay. Life is really long, but the moments that make up life is short, and it’s really up to us what we make of the moments and days. And I have such wonderful moments. And I am happy, I am happy that I am alive even though I was so sure I wouldn’t be, and I am scared and sad and excited for life all at the same time. And that’s okay.

I’m living.

Let the rain wash away all the pain of yesterday

10 / 9 / 8 / 7 / 6 / 5 / 4 / 3 / 2 / 1

Happy New Year!

happy new year. the loud explosion of fireworks all around, illuminating the cloudy night sky, the cheers in the background, couples holding hands, friends sharing a toast, kids on their fathers’ shoulders. everyone looks up, mesmerized by the colors in the sky, the flashes of gold and red and green and blue blossoming, dazzling.

i choke back tears. 

i don’t know why, but as the fireworks exploded, so did something inside. i choke back tears. i am not happy. i haven’t really been happy in a long, long time- haven’t wished for a ‘happy new year‘ in years. and as the numbers on the calendar change, nothing else does. i am no different, a new year hardly means anything. i look up at the fireworks, the rain pouring down, the people around me. i stare at the exploding flashes of light, and all i can do is wish, that one day i will have a wonderful new year’s eve surrounded by people i love, excited to ring in the new year. all i can do is wish, that one day in the future, i will be happy, with my friends and a partner and a family of my own. not today, but someday, life will be okay.

the fireworks end, the magic over, the rain still pouring as the crowd makes their way home

i look at this family, in front of me. an hour ago my parents had been arguing, turning the night sour before the clock stroked twelve. i look at them and wonder, perhaps it is time to let go. when i wish for happiness, when i picture what i want my life to be- they are not in the picture. my parents- they don’t bring me happiness… and maybe it’s time to let go of wanting a good relationship with them. of course, i still love them, but there is only so much i can do. it takes two to make something work, and perhaps our relationship never will work. maybe sometimes it’s okay to give up, it’s okay to give myself permission to distance myself from the people that don’t bring a positive influence into my life, it’s okay to do what makes me happiest and it isn’t selfish. maybe it’s time to accept that they have brought upon so much pain in my life, and it’s time to accept that they will never be the kind of parents i’ve always wanted them to be, that our relationship will be lukewarm at best.

we keep walking in the rain, feet aching, everyone scurrying about

i think about the new year, about the past new year’s eves. for a while, the new year was something i dreaded, the thought of having to live was exhausting, and i was consumed by depression. after that, the new year was something i marveled at because it’s amazing that i have somehow fought to survive another year. back then, i truly believed i would never have made it to 2014.. or 2015, or 2016 for that matter. and yet here i am, still alive. i think about what it means to be alive, i think about how sad i still am, how every single year has just been.. bad. i no longer know what it’s like to have a good new year’s, what it means to say happy new year and really mean it. i am exhausted.

i watch the rain fall, and i am drenched but it is somehow comforting, the rain always having had a special meaning for me. the rain always being there, the rain being cleansing, the rain reflecting the cascading waves within my heart.

let the rain wash away,

all the pain of yesterday

i am exhausted, my family has drained me, school and people and expectations have drained me. life has left me here, tired and still kinda broken. but the rain keeps falling, and i keep going. let it take away the pain, and let me keep going. i am starting to accept that life is never going to be perfect, but tonight i hope that someday, i might be happy again. that someday, i will find my place. it is not here, not with my family, not now, but someday perhaps i will find it, and perhaps i will find myself.

i breathe in

the raindrops outside a comforting pitter patter against my windowpane

i breathe out

i don’t know if it will be a good year, if i will finally take a step towards healing or if everything falls apart. but despite the sadness threatening to overwhelm me, i have to make a resolution- not for the sake of a new year, or the sake of change, but for myself. and my resolution is to always keep going, to keep trying, to keep trying to make the most out of what i have, to find the good in the everyday. i am an optimist, a hopeless believer in positivity, because that is what will get me through. there is no point sinking myself back into the pit of self-deprecation and despair, it is okay to be sad but it is not helpful to take that sadness and dwell on it, magnifying it. 

 so i guess it’s 2018, another chapter of the journey. all i can do is keep fighting and hope i end up somewhere beautiful someday. hope is very thing that i have held onto, every single year, and i will keep holding onto hope because where there is hope, there is possibility for something beautiful to happen.

it is still raining, and i retreat into my blankets and bed

let the rain wash away all the pain of yesterday

we will be okay.

If I am not my diagnosis, who am I?

For the longest time, if you asked me who I am,
I would tell you about the mental illnesses that have consumed much of my life

You see, depression isn’t just sadness,
vultures swooping in on a lifeless prey
it takes away everything you know, everything you love
it leaves you empty, hopeless.
You stop living like a normal teenager, growing like a normal teenager-
not when you’re using every last breath to fight for your life.
There is nothing left of you,
but oceans of unbearable pain
an a bone-deep exhaustion

So you take on the identities
panic attacks
attachment issues
because that is all you know
the labels and diagnosis wrapping themselves into cleverly disguised prison bars

Five years on,
I am still figuring out who I am underneath the sadness
Recovery isn’t rainbows and butterflies
It’s bad days and long therapy sessions
It is relapse and sadness and feeling like nothing will change
It is acknowledging that what I’ve been through has changed me forever
Knowing my illness may always be a part of me
but it is no longer who I am

Because now I see, life is so much more
it’s fresh pancakes on a Sunday morning,
my grandfather’s face crinkling when he’s laughing,
the joy of waking up on Christmas mornings,
sound of raindrops against the windowpane,
laughing with my friends,
lazy afternoons doing nothing.
a really good cup of vanilla latte.

And I am so much more,
More than the sorry stares of nurses in the wards,
More than lonely nights and hospital admissions,
More than the constant weight in my chest,
More than the nightmares that never stop,
More than the scars that line my body,
More than the twenty pills I swallowed when I was fourteen,
More than the therapy sessions I have come to love,
More than my diagnosis.

I am a granddaughter, a daughter, a sister, a friend
I am an introvert, a sensitive soul
I read and write and paint and dream
I love long walks and hikes through the mountains
I hate tomatoes and drink too much coffee
I want to travel the world and I love exploring
Mothing makes me happier than helping someone
I care too much and feel too much and love too much.
I hurt too much too, and that’s okay.

If I am not my diagnosis, who am I?
I am a fighter, and I am more than a fighter
more than the sum of my parts,
more than what I’ve survived.
By a miracle or another, I am alive.
I am still alive,
To be alive is a grand thing
and I have the rest of this crazy journey called life
to figure it out.


now the calendar’s just one page

It’s the first of December today and it’s going to be a blink of an eye before 2018 rolls around, and I can’t help but feel like it passes so quickly. Yes, it’s so cliche and I say this every year, but it really does, and it makes me scared. I feel like I *just* relapsed but I actually relapsed in May, which means more than half the year was spent in this relapse, which yielded.. nothing. I’m at the same weight as I was before the relapse, but is that even a surprise anymore? I’ve been considering recovery, and yet, it feels like there are so many things in my way, I don’t know if I can do it. Do I want to fight? I don’t know. What do I want my 2018 to be? More relapse? More trying to lose weight? More obsessions and messed up eating and hiding in toilets purging? More isolating myself? It’s not a choice of course, but at this point it feels like this disorder is a part of me, a part of my lifestyle, and even if I wanted to change, it’s not that easy. Just like with depression, I’ve probably spent most of this year (and the 4 years before) in depression.. not that I know what life without depression is like anyway.

Time is flying by, and it makes me scared and sad. I want to make the most of the time I have now with these people around me, in this school, with my family- before everything changes. I was freaking out about turning 18 and look, now I’m turning 19 in 3 months. That’s insane. I mean, we’re going into our final year and then graduating soon, that’s insane as well. If I had a choice, I would want to do it all over again, I would want to put myself out there more, I would want to get to know my classmates more, spend more time with my friends. I would want to volunteer more, work more, do more. But alas, it feels like my life isn’t dictated by important events like everyone else, it’s dictated by the state of my mental health, dictated by what I was eating or not eating, how much I weigh. When I think about 2017, certain periods of time stand out to me, mostly the times I was really restrictive.. and I’m not sure why. Do I remember those periods better because I was doing better? Because I was more miserable? Or maybe those I just remember it better because it’s easy to recall- nothing mattered in my life but how much I ate and walked and exercised. Even now, it seems bittersweet, even now I miss it. And yet when I look at my instagram, there are the best moments of 2017- our devised drama performance, mine and clarissa’s 18th birthday, travelling to japan and seeing cherry blossoms/snow with mum, our finding fatin performance, the launch of lumiere, our family trip to Gold Coast. So much has happened, these amazing things that I loved, and yet what I remember most is the times when I was losing weight or eating x amount. I’m not surprised, but putting it this way.. it just seems sad.

I can look back and say I’ve come so far, in mental health, in life. I’ve survived. I cope better, I’ve learned, I’ve gotten through every bad day. I can count the number of times I self-harmed with two hands, I haven’t tried to kill myself or ended up in the hospital, I’m okay. And yet, most days I feel like the exact same person I was when I was younger, still chained by the same fears and same thought patterns and negative beliefs. I still feel inadequate in every way, still hurt that I will never be good enough, still hate myself, still isolate myself, still feel out of place, still struggle to rely on anyone emotionally or open up, still trying to lose weight and hoping that would be a magical solution, still triggered by family. I could go on. I feel like I’m not changing, and this hurts like hell to say. That despite every external change in my life, despite good times, despite times where my mental health was in a better place- ultimately I haven’t changed. I suppose this is why I always felt the ‘good times’ were temporary, the supposed ‘recovery’ was false because I never made any effort to actually recover, it was merely circumstantial that I was doing better. I haven’t changed, because I haven’t fought for it. Change isn’t just going to happen, not when we’re talking about years of beliefs and thought processes and mental illness. It hurts to think that I’m mentally and emotionally stuck here (even though I feel so stuck all. the. time.) and what if I’m stuck here for the next 5 years, or even the next year?

So now the calendar’s just one page, and there is nothing I can do about it. I can try to document moments as much as I want, try to record everything and take pictures and write, as I have, in fear that I wouldn’t make the most out of those precious moments. But what is the point of doing all that if I can’t even live in those moments? What’s the point, if all those amazing, heartwarming, filled-with-love moments pale in comparison to the times where I only ate half a bun on the day of my rehearsal or the mornings I woke up shivering (with no air-con) at the pre-u seminar, or the times when I was purging at 4am. I don’t even know what I’m writing this, because I’m not going to write this and then have a sudden realization that I should definitely make a change and recover and live life!! I feel like I should do that- be positive! and definitely recover! and be great at recovery and life!! (note: sarcasm). But you know, like what I learned in therapy, maybe I shouldn’t be so hard on myself. I just thought of this, but what if I’m a perfectionist when it comes to life itself? When in fact, life isn’t going to be perfect and I’m not perfect. What if I have all of these ~grand expectations of what life is supposed to be like, this perfect little image of what I want life to be.. when the reality might never come close? The literal cause of my long-standing relapse/recovery tormenting internal battle wasn’t because I truly wanted recovery but because I felt like I should make the most out of life, I’d already wasted so much time after all. And even when I decided I actually wanted recovery earlier this week, I had all these expectations, and I felt like I was failing at everything, at recovery. I think I feel like life should be perfect, and if it’s not, I’m doing something wrong. And I wonder if that’s stopping me from getting better, because I’m scared I will never reach my expectations I have of myself and of life.

I remember talking about this in therapy, all these ‘I should‘ statements I have about.. everything (myself). I just didn’t realise I did that to life itself as well. ‘I should make the most out of every moment, I should live well, I should give the best I can at everything, I should be happy, I should chase my dreams.’ And those are not necessarily bad things, but maybe they are bad when they turn into self-imposed perfectionist expectations. Because I beat myself up for not ‘achieving’ those expectations and my brain works in such a black-and-white way that if I’m not achieving those expectations, I’m inadequate and might as well be in the depths of hell. You see, I always have all these goals and expectations, of myself and what I want for myself. Every new year, and even every month or week, I set out all these goals.. not necessarily realistic goals. So, what if I let go of that? Underneath all the things I feel like I should want or should do, what do I really want? It’s hit me that underneath all the things the disorder wants, underneath all my expectations, underneath every relentless voice in my head- I don’t know what I want. I haven’t ever made room for, well, me. Even if I chose to try to really recover, it’s not going to be perfect, and I’m going to have to accept that. So what if I chose to let go more? What if I’m try to not be so hard on myself? And I keep referencing therapy, but it feels like what we’ve talked about is just about finally clicking- mindfulness, taking a step back from the beliefs and voices so that there is room for me.

Looking at my new tattoo, the cherry blossoms.. it means to me that life is fleeting and we should make the most of it, but it’s also about mindfulness and living in the present. It’s not about the pursuit of the perfect life or perfect moments, it’s about living and appreciating. So maybe that should be it. Living. Accepting that it’s not going to be perfect because these negative thoughts are still crowding my mind, these fears and even this unbearably intense self-hatred, it’s going to be there. That I still very very much want to relapse, to be sick, because that means something to me, because I need it to cope. But I also want to be happy. Honoring my feelings and thoughts, both the good and bad. It’s never a clear cut recovery/relapse- nothing is going to be easy anyway, so what do I want? I guess I’ll figure it out as I go. I hope 2018 is kind to me, but more than anything, I hope maybe I could be kinder to me in 2018, that I could grow in 2018, really just.. grow. Make the most out of therapy (my last year and a half? yikes) and make the most out of family time and make the most out of DADP, but really just taking it a day at a time. Remembering I’m trying the best I can, remembering there are people around me who care, remembering I don’t have to listen to every thought in my head, remembering there isn’t always a ‘right or wrong’ thing, that it’s great to fight for life and good things and recovery but it’s okay if I’m not. This isn’t a ‘positive recovery post’, but somehow I feel like with this post I have made progress, through honesty and acceptance. It’s.. different. Let’s see how December goes, now.


it’s pouring outside right now, the heaviest downpour I’ve seen in a while. perhaps it’s only apt, a storm to mourn Belle. it seems silly, but I think ever since that night I’ll always believe in the rain and it’s affinity to what’s going on in my life. the sky always seems to cry with me, and perhaps that in itself is comfort, as I let myself get lost in the sound of the raindrops. i’m a water sign after all, pisces, and that is where i’m in my element, where I find my comfort.

nothing but the storms ever seem enough to adequately express how i feel, i remember every time i’ve cried alone, the storm outside mirroring the one inside. i suppose today is another one of those days. it’s a really heavy one tonight, not the peaceful kind of rain, but the kind of storms that don’t seem to stop.

the water is loud and continuous and abrasive, thunder roaring in the background. the sound of raindrops sharp and painful, the outside swirling and flooding everything in sight. not a single soul is out. and perhaps that’s more than enough to explain the state of this heart right now.

Lost Time

Today, it just hit me that it’s almost October, and 2017 is coming to an end soon. I try not to think about it. Time. But the thoughts may or may not have already started swirling inside, brewing a hurricane.
Time. The thought of it always hurts and terrifies me. How do you find lost time? How does one begin to gather up all the pieces and put them together to form a coherent picture? Most of the time it’s like I exist in a different realm altogether, defying the laws of time and space and everyone else. How do you put together a timeline when everything seems to jump from one moment to another, when you seem to live in parallel dimensions between the real world and inside your head? Time seems to slip away more quickly than ever. It doesn’t matter how tightly I try to hold on, or how many moments I try to savour. The grains of sand and time continue trickling down, down, down.
I haven’t quite grasped the concept of time, it’s fluid nature or the way it seems to bend and stretch and disappear as it pleases. I’m not scared of fluidity or uncertainty or death, I’m not scared of the concept of my time ending. In fact, I usually welcome it.. so why does each passing day, week, month bring so much anxiety? As if it’s all passing by much too quickly, and yet all I can do I stand here, watching. I reach out. I’m stuck. Maybe I don’t belong in this world or this timeline. 

I watch the world pass me by. I watch people scurrying by, I watch people studying or talking or laughing. I watch students and couples and baristas and families. I watch life. Time trudges along by, without them even knowing. I look up at the skies or over the wide expanse of water. I watch the tides rise and fall, the forests breathing life into the mountains… and time is boundless and infinite. I watch it all, I watch my chronology unfold through this glass window as I float away from earth. I touch base occasionally. For a moment, I ground myself, and for a moment I am not an observer of time but a participant in it- I live. Then I retreat. 
I reach into the crevices of my brain and try to put together something coherent. But there are too many holes to be filled, too many lost nights and empty stretches of time where nothing seems to have existed, not even myself. All that’s left are memories, short bursts of pain- muscle memory. You see, your heart remembers the pain. Over and over and over again. Taking the place where memories were meant to be, taking the place of normal teenage happiness and pain and angst. All I have are painful moments that tauntingly replay themselves, turning minutes of pain into years of it, exhausting days of numbness and empty that seem to stretch out into infinity, even beautiful moments that seem to pass instantaneously before floating beyond my grasp and taking everything good along with it. I pretend to be like all of them, anyway. Pretend to live on the same fictional timeline as all of them while my heart & mind continues to self destruct or expand or stretch or simply exist in their own universe where time is but a mere figment.

I think, it’s not the moments that stay, not the measure of time or the numbers that denote it- it’s the feelings that truly stay, and it’s the feelings that warp time itself.

How are you meant to be 18 or 19 or 20 , when the preceding years were empty? I don’t feel like my age.. I don’t feel like anything all all. How do you stand upon constructed solid ground, when the foundation is so painfully hollow? In the end, none of it matters, not the past or what I think or how I feel. Time is its own entity and it escapes my grasp once again. All I can do is stay here, stuck in my own universe, watching. It’s not an unfamiliar feeling, watching the world from the outside. It simply hurts. 

Another day, another week has passed me by and I am still nothing.I stay here where it’s safe, in a comfort zone that is slowly destroying me, I want out, I don’t want out. I want to live but I am incapable. I am trapped but I am also trapping myself. Another month, another year has passed me by and I am still nothing. I am existing in this limbo between time and space, the astronaut who’s still floating in outer space and never found their way back. It’s an awfully painful, lonely existence. 

How much longer?
How much more lost time? Will time tell, or will I take matters into my own hands? How would I ever begin to make my way to earth & life, when I never quite belonged in the first place? What if I don’t belong anywhere but this lonely parallel universe? Then what? 

it’s not a fault 

For once, my brain can’t really conjure up the right words. There’s not much to say I guess, just a familiar feeling. I think of every single goodbye I’ve said, all with varying degrees of pain/crying, but the same feeling every time. Just this… emptiness. It’s not even sadness, just a horrible numbness and the feeling that something is missing, knowing that nothing will be the same. It’s funny how I remember feeling the exact same feelings as when I was little and the years that came… I wonder if I’ll ever get used to it. I remember all of them so clearly, actually. Every single one, every single person. Some were temporary goodbyes, some were ‘I’ll see you again someday‘, many that would never return. But then again, I’ve survived all of my goodbyes so far. Even the most painful ones. I’ve survived the crying (so many tears all the time, because I’ve always been an overly-sentimental emotional wreck) and I’ve survived the emptiness and the trying-to-fill-the-emptiness.

I actually really like change.. as long as it doesn’t involve people- but it somehow always does. Sometimes I feel like goodbyes always hit me harder just because of how deeply I love people, and how deeply I get attached even in short periods of time. I feel like I always end up hurting the most… and I can’t imagine anyone would ever be sad about leaving or losing me anyway, I’m not much. Goodbyes always hit me too hard, I don’t think there’s ever been one that didn’t hurt. Sometimes I think that’s part of why I hate opening up or getting attached, why I hate feelings and loving people so much.. because I’m just tired of the pain or even the possibility of it. I often wonder if it will hurt when I’m finally the one doing the leaving instead of always the one being left. (I mean, even in with friendships/relationships, I’m always the one being left instead of leaving. it hurts to be the kind of person that would stick with people and stay/be there no matter what, and then realize not everyone is like that. heck, hardly anyone is like that. but that’s just how it is eh) Would it be freeing, to leave everything behind? I’m starting to realize that sometimes the reason why I want to leave this place so badly is so I can finally be alone and leave all the pain/people behind. Does it work that way?

But all that aside I think, along the way, I’m slowly learning to see things in a different light. People and memories are worth it. I don’t regret loving any of the people/things I’ve ever loved- friends, and teachers, and helpers, and family, and places, and people, even that cute boy who took your heart and shattered it. My therapist is right, that protecting myself from possible pain is also taking away the possibility of good things and all the things that I do want and things I care about. Perhaps it’s just a part of being sensitive, you simply go through higher highs and lower lows. I’m glad I have found people that are worth the pain of going through a goodbye for, I’m glad I have people that are worth the risk of getting hurt for, people worth opening up to. Everything so far has lead to something (the butterfly effect, remember?) and so many times, the most wonderful people pop up in the most unexpected of places at the most unexpected of timings, but solid friendships are formed anyway. I’m blessed indeed. Besides, not all goodbyes are forever. A lot of them have been, but I’m glad this one wasn’t one of them, which makes it a bit easier to cope. I’m still pretty sad, more than I would have cared to admit, but it’s gonna be okay. i’ve come to realize even sadness has a purpose sometimes. happy times ahead. img_5332As I work on processing these feelings and past memories, I realize nothing is really forever. Not people or places or feelings or depression or illnesses.. or life. Revisiting these feelings today, it made me look back and well- I really have been through a lot. I really have lost a lot. I remember all the times I’ve felt my entire soul being ripped apart, and I wondered if I would ever be okay again. Spoiler alert: I’m still alive and kicking!! I’ve gotten so much in return too, even if all that’s left are precious memories and bittersweet moments of looking back and feeling all the ghosts & empty spaces they left behind. I still miss everyone that’s ever left, every good memory and place that has ceased to exist.. sometimes I feel like my heart has just been trampled and left with too many empty holes to fill. But I believe everything happens for a reason. I believe that painful as it may be, change is necessary, that things will always come and go. I also realized how important impermanence is, because it makes it that much more important to treasure every moment and memory. That’s one of my biggest lessons from all the goodbyes. The ending exists just to make what we have now that much more important than it otherwise would. Just like how you can re-read a book but it will never be the same, ya know? I think the same can be said about life, if the end didn’t exist, everything would be pointless wouldn’t it?

I will be okay, after all. It’s been rough lately, but nothing lasts. It’s been rough lately, and I’ve lost sight of the important things for a bit, or maybe I’ve been trying to find it all along. But tonight has reminded me of all the good things, like people. I love people and it’s not a fault, it’s not a fault to feel. I remember my therapist once made this observation ‘I think you actually love people a lot, especially those you care about. Your heart is huge and you love so much, you’re just so scared so you just shut the world away and isolate and ignore your emotions. But you love people, you’re a people person.‘ I was shocked when she said that but she’s pretty spot on.. not many people would be able to say that, not even myself. Hey. People are good, ericia. Don’t shut people off. Don’t shut people off. It’s okay to get hurt, it’s okay to be vulnerable, it’s okay if you’re always gonna be a big softie at heart. It’s okay to not have to pretend to be someone else who’s heart is cold and feelings don’t exist. You’ve always wanted to be that person because if your heart was cold then nothing would hurt it as much. But that takes away the wonderful parts too and honestly you’ll look back and realize you regret nothing in this game of life because everything always leads to something else. I tell my friends all the time, ‘if it hurts, that means at least you were lucky to have something important enough for it to hurt to leave’. I think that’s very, very true and I’m very lucky indeed. Well, here’s to better days, forward.