Love is Letting Go..

First let me disclaim that I do not intend to “hide behind” my illness/symptoms or give myself excuses for my flaws. But I guess I can also give myself the kindness that no human on earth is perfect. And one of my most GLARING flaws is with the social realm.

I fear groups and gatherings… I think a lot of people who have been “diagnosed” can probably relate… At first Chinese New Year and Christmas were Really challenging. I can’t remember the number of years I didn’t go for those gatherings. But then, totally unexpectedly, my extended family has become more accepting. Perhaps they too experience similar, predisposed – biological and nurtured – challenges.

I am SO grateful the first thing they ask is no longer “When is your turn, AH? ” or “WAH you put on/ lost so much weight!” Losing weight can become horribly scary when you are a yo-yo and have gone up and down >15 kg, 4 times in 30 years.

I guess when your locus of control (your self-esteem and need for validation) is based on the outside —-> and you are a Self-Obsessed Control freak (Yes, Hi.)… You are in for what is Essentially Social Suicide.

If self-control is not exercised, and pride is not addressed–  One either hides from the world.. Drowning in despair/delusion, or lives in a Constant flux between intense fear and a feeling of an intense injustice.

I am now, Grateful for my mom’s family. I realized we were not so different. And they are nice, without treating me as “different”. My intense fear of going to grandma’s house has eased gradually. Many of them individually also have been and are a source of strength, and support over the years. Though I resented some of it, very wrongly at first.

But since it is Mother’s day, I want to focus on my Mom today. So here’s it is:

From the middle of last year to the start of this year, I really resented my mother. Although acting out of love and anxiety for me, I felt my freedom, autonomy and dignity were taken away.

Let me give you an example. She comes into my room at will, while the door is closed and I am dressing up. I am in the midst of it and she says: “This bra is too tight! Your breasts are spilling out! Wear the black one, LAH…” ok.. sorry TMI BUTrrrreally ARGJHGHGHLKJSDFHsdahf ;kjsdhlkaw]!@#$%#  I am 30 and she wants to help me choose my underwear. Srsly???..zzzZZZZZZZZZzzzz

Also, although I have already messaged her that I am coming back after dinner. She starts messaging me at 4 to ask again if I am having dinner, then starts to call me from 8:30pm to ask what time I am coming home. Stella said it rightly, “I hear the irritation in your voice. Remember…”

But my mom. Mom, has been through it. Mom, was the one who came to the hospital every single day during the two weeks I was first hospitalized at the Institute of Mental Health for psychosis symptoms. Mom lost so much weight. She took the bus every day, the one and a half hour journey. I was in a daze those days. But I could remember her neck growing bonier and bonier. Her face looking more and more tired.

Am I so blind that I did not realize that she is the strongest person in this family? Mom knows! She knew it all. She was the one who has been feeding on depression, bipolar, gratitude, optimism, she got did the DBT workbook with be when I was thought to be BPD. Then she went through WRAP with Caregivers Alliance, and made me go for it now.

The most bittersweet memory I have, truly, is a muted one. It was the only depression that I count as a True, Noonday Demon. Not leaving the home, every morning she brought me food and read me the Armour of God.

Surely, I cannot still blame her for loving my brother more when we were children? She had said: “You had your father, I thought it was alright.”

Perhaps, going through the wilderness – this 15 years of wandering… Has helped to make Mother’s Day Happen.

Food for Thought: “Eating the Earth”

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Today, as I did my usual reading of the Straits Times, (Singapore’s main newspaper); This article classified under the “HOME” section caught my eye. Labeled “ScienceFaces”, it features veteran Marine Photographer, Brian Skerry.

Think of nature photography and National Geographic’s breathtaking photographs come to mind. They portray nature in its beautiful, “untouched” state. Yet in reality, we have taken much of the life out of wild life, the purity out of natural sanctuary, and the effects are becoming more and more obvious.

Take a simple example the smog in Beijing. Due to the El Nino phenomenon, wind and rain were lower than usual, and so emissions produced by coal-fired urban heating systems could not be easily dispersed, causing a devastating winter smog that set red alerts off in several cities.

The air quality levels of harmful PM2.5 particles last December in Beijing and surrounding cities in the Hebei province was above 250 micrograms per cubic metre, according to the US Embassy, (which issues independent readings). This was ten times the World Health Organisation’s recommended maximum exposure of 25.

One “solution”, has been 3 storey high Anti-Smog Domes set up in some schools to filter out the harmful PM2.5 particles and keep polluted air out by maintaining a higher air pressure inside. Others are taking trips and heading south or west to “bi mai” or avoid smog. In fact, ‘bi mai’ was the top search term on travel websites during the winter smog period.

Yet, these really, are no solutions at all, as they fail to address the root cause of the problem, which is pollution, (caused by human industrialization and consumption: “Eating the Earth” and all its resources with abandon). These so-called solutions that the Chinese are taking are tantamount to taking medication merely to treat symptoms or to avoid facing the gravity of one’s illness, while hoping one does not die from the long lasting effects of the chronic disease.

I never have been an Environmentalist. Growing up it seemed too “hippie” or “Yuppie” to be Green / Yoga / “New Age One with the Earth-ies”.  But I worry for my actual children, my literal grandchildren. I am not saying “Oh, our grandchildren will bear the conseque…”. Seriously. If this is today. What will tomorrow be?

It is seriously, FUCKING SCARY.

I was just thinking, the other day, that..Honestly, I don’t think we should drive anymore. I mean, at least in Singapore. The MRT is proliferating across the island, so much so that each train station is already, really walking distance to the next, and to anywhere you want to go. Why do you want to pay for parking (especially in town) and ERP and petrol? And if you are the only person in your car, isn’t that quite a waste?

I don’t know, my dad has the opposite thinking. He told me, “I worked my ass off my whole life, I deserve a little comfort now that I’m 65. What other little enjoyments in life do I have but my car?”

When I went to New Zealand, after my O Levels, (that’s like almost, like, half my life ago, now..) I was amazed how my uncle and his wife recycled everything, even their food waste to make compost. and that was half my life ago. What about Singaporeans now. There is so much wastage in the name of consumerism. Plastic bags, Paper bags, Mass-Producing so many useless things and wasting so much resources to Convince people to buy them, only for consumers to use them/or not(!) for a few months and then get bored/unfashionable and be discarded.

How do we break this cycle? How do we get off this slippery slope we have created? Man seems to destroy everything that is put into his hands. Was this God’s intention? Doesn’t He know everything? Did he not know we would destroy not only the earth but ourselves?

I honestly can’t think of any viable solution, World Leaders have tried in so many Summits to come to find solutions.. But I was just reminded of these verses, which I leave you with:

Genesis 45:5-8

And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are yet five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. So it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt.

Genesis 50:20

But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.

Acts 2:23

this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.

Romans 8:28

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

 

Why the title: swimmingtherip?

What is a rip: “A rip current, commonly referred to simply as a rip, or by the misnomer “rip tide”, is a water current that can be found near beaches. It is strong, localized and is strongest near the surface of the water, and it moves directly away from the shore, cutting through the lines of breaking waves.

The location of rip currents can be unpredictable: while some tend to recur always in the same place, others can appear and disappear suddenly at various locations near the beach.” From Wikipedia

I was looking for an analogy of how it is like to live with the sudden, unpredictable, immense highs of mood of mania..and then: the swift, crashing lows..
The aftermath of being swept away ashore like driftwood.
OR, if one fails to survive:Drowning, drowning, drown. suffocating, swallowed up by the violence of the waves.. swallowing the rushing emotions like water being pushed down every orifice.

The cycles of mania are relentless like the waves. You know it is just a matter of time till they come again. Although I like to lie to myself during a peaceul lull, when all seems well, that maybe I am normal too?
If only I could be like that.

I had recently wanted to believe there was a natural recovery process, after getting a little better. But I realised that the symptoms do not fully go away even with full compliance to medication. The waves always return. It is my coping that must improve to prevent myself from drowning.

I can only learn to reduce the impact of the paranoid thoughts on my mood, and manage my highs.

Having a strong internal Locus of control is so important. I realised I am responsible to control and cope with the impulsivity i feel to do crazy shit during those high moments. I cannot blame my illness for making me like this.

As Joshua 1:9 says:

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So, I chose the title for this little blog, “swimmingtherip”, cos I want to encourage myself to “just keep swimming” like Nemo’ s dad’s slightly demented fish friend Dory.. haha she is cute. But she is silly. Well so am I..
Anyway, hopefully, maybe, Godwilling, I’ll get through this journey somehow?