I’m sure all of you have gone through some form of inner turmoil at some stage in your life. Some of you may have had it since forever. However, I’m calling out to writers: don’t these moments of unrest usually stimulate your creativity and motivate your writing? Don’t they help you dig deep to express yourself?
I’ve been going through a rough mental patch for a while in which I struggle to focus and concentrate, and therefore, I can bring nothing to paper. Suddenly, these moments of unrest have become bigger burdens that won’t disappear within written words mainly because there are no words. Not that the burden has ever gone away. But as a form of self-medication, writing has always helped me to unload my head for a while.
I’m not sure if I’m showing symptoms or a pre-stage of Alzheimer’s. I speak English all the time, I write in my journal every day, and I read a lot. But somehow my vocabulary and grammar are escaping me, which indicates a language problem. I’m very disoriented and get lost easily. Also, I have severe mood swings which must be hormonal.
Having said that, my level of confidence has gone down, too, because I feel like I’m not achieving anything, neither am I good with people. Lately, the more I have to be around them, the more I feel like I’m suffocating. The pressure arises from their demand for me to speak. Of course, they don’t necessarily demand it. It’s all in my head – the constant pressure that I need to be sociable when people are around. I’m never at ease. Generally, people aren’t comfortable with sheer silence, except me. It’s not easy to win me over for a conversation. I lack interest in many, many things. Call it apathy; it’s only me who knows that I’m not an apathetic person. I have different interests. A lot of people either don’t see it, or they are not interested in the same things.
On the outside, they are all confident and happy, whereas the sad side remains hidden. Happiness is best when shared, but what about sadness? Will people walk away from you if you share a sad story? I’d rather walk away from anyone before they notice it. The truth is that I can’t hide anything. I can’t lie, either.
People merely knew Pagliacci’s stage performances, not to mention Robin Williams’s. I could list a bunch of talented comedians. They are good secret keepers – the biggest secret being who they are inside. The most selfless thing you can do is hide from the ones you love by making them laugh, making them happy. That way, a huge part of you must be happy, too. No? How do you do it otherwise?
I may have become more antisocial than before, but I do try not to be like that, so I join people at parties only to discover in the end that I need more recovery time than anyone. I wish it were as simple as a hangover, but it isn’t. I don’t drink anywhere near enough to trigger a hangover the next day.
And yet, I still go to a noisy bar, where I fail to catch what people tell me. Instead of responding to them, I let out a laugh. It always seems to work. Though, with every fake laugh, you earn a wrinkle.
I even took some Pepcid AC to control the Asian flush; it reduces the flush by 30%. If my friend Tom hadn’t told me about it, I probably would have drunk fewer shots. Also, Pepcid AC helps avoid discomfort in my esophagus. But Tom said that alcohol was still bad for my little Asian body.
I do this for perhaps a beer and a shot or two, nothing more. My body still despises alcohol. I’m doing it to make friends with people I either don’t like or with whom I have problems bonding. They are all busy blending in. I’m not.
Still at the bar, I was watching how those drunken douchebags utter their tactless pickup lines to girls. My only observatory power is soberness, which makes me the ultimate outsider. That’s why I walk out the door.
Why can’t I relate to them? How can I even try if I can’t think clearly? With this lack of focus, I’m totally lost. The lack of clarity in my mind’s landscape resembles a Dickensian fog. I’m so disoriented and nauseated that I feel like I’m fainting.
People refer to the word hermit as something bad. I value solitary pastimes, always have. It’s something I need all the time, not just once in a while. I don’t remember the last time I felt so disconnected from myself. Stress has impoverished my ability to express myself. How can I make it stop?
I want my focus back. I have a feeling that something bad will happen if I don’t learn to focus again. You can’t say that I’m not trying to be good to myself. With all this stress, I can’t think straight. I don’t have space where I can search for peace of mind. We’re in such a big world, and yet we seem to struggle to find a quiet and safe space for our minds.
I’ve attempted meditation several times. Starting with five minutes, my record being twenty minutes. I haven’t managed 20 minutes again for years.
I was spraying rescue drops into my mouth when I finally realized that something needed to be done. I started pulling myself together and got serious about getting better.
I am not well.
I began looking for intense meditation courses similar to retreats that would last longer than a day. I then remembered that a friend practices Vipassana meditation, and I started looking into it.
Suddenly living in Calgary made me feel claustrophobic because I was looking at Vipassana courses in Asia, and I don’t know when I’ll be in Asia. I need help right now.
Luckily a friend made me aware of a Vipassana school three hours outside Calgary – in Youngstown. I took it as a sign and tried to enroll right away for late June. The course is run by donations only. I’m trying to raise funds to contribute towards the effort of a group of people who rely solely on others’ generosity.
I already picture myself in a meditation room. My eyes are closed. First, I listen to my breath and then pretend that my body is light as a feather. I will try to empty my head for hours, which might not happen until a lot later. The goal is to let go of all impurity. You aim to focus and become less selfish.
I currently have no income and no permit to work. I’m saving my money to travel to Australia this year. My boyfriend is looking after me, too, for which I’m grateful. However, I would like to remain independent. But being independent is different from asking my friends for help. I don’t often ask for help if I can handle it on my own. I don’t like being indebted to anyone. Many people know that. I always return the favour, but what if I can’t? Like I could never pay my parents back for what they did for me. This is the worst feeling of all.
Now for once, I will stop worrying about it and say: Please help fund the student that will take my place once I’ve accomplished my 10 days of meditation. May he or she feel as bright as the sun and as clear as the air because I know I will.