Today was a bad day. It was fine.

Today was a bad day. It was fine.

It didn’t start that way. I felt okay this morning, or well, maybe not totally okay. Maybe a little under-the-weather mood wise, like the threat of a fever before a fever: small enough to be brushed off. I’m fine. A little cranky, a little sleepy, but fine.

Dysthymia–the name they call my “baby depression”–is a little like if depression were a flu: when you least expect it (when you have no real reason to expect it, actually), it just…shows up. That fact used to bother me so much, to the point that I spent days picking myself apart in frustration: why couldn’t I just be happy? Why couldn’t I just do the work? Why couldn’t I function the way I was supposed to? 

Nowadays, these sudden bouts of sadness just annoy me, this reminder that I am feeble and human. But while I am young and still idiotic the way young people are (let’s be honest; at this age we’re stupid, but only because we have to be. Because this is the season for learning and honestly we learn best when we make our best mistakes.), I’m old enough to know that being feeble and human won’t change. This is yet another in-between, a sort of emotional second puberty, where I transition from boldly proclaiming invincibility towards acceptance of my inadequacies.

It’s not wrong to not always be enough.

Today was a bad day. But it wasn’t a dark one. I don’t like the weight of that word, darkness, as if clouds don’t lift. Like a cold, this heaviness comes and goes, staying for hours or days or weeks or months but eventually–even if only briefly–leaving. There are times you wake up with the flu. There are times I wake up in the morning and find am wary and defensive, consumed by a need to protect myself from some unnameable thing that will inevitably go wrong.

This is not a “place.” These are simply symptoms. I do not need fixing. I am not broken. My brain is simply telling me it has a flu.

There is no cure for the common cold: it just passes. I drink water. I listen to music. I message a friend–one I know won’t romanticize this, won’t let comfort turn maudlin–and we sigh, accept that sometimes people wake up with bad stomachs and worse colds.

I tell him I don’t want to be kind to myself–I would rather nuke this sadness into submission and why haven’t they made a Berrocca for depressive episodes yet!? He tells me, matter of fact, that I’ll need to accept that I have to be kind to myself, someday. Even if that day is not today.

These things do not necessarily make me feel better, but they make it easier to accept that I do not feel better. That this is what today will look like, for now, and that’s fine.

Sometimes I need the bad days, the way they bring out the worst in me, because I’ve gotten so used to pretending I don’t have issues that I risk letting it get to my head. When I’m having a bad day, the pride and prickliness come to fore, and I am reminded that there are still things wrong with me. That people do have to be patient with me. Eating humble pie doesn’t feel good, but then again I already feel bad, so it’s not like things have changed. Maybe this is what it means, accepting your human frailty: admitting that you’ll still have things to work on, and maybe you’ll never be done working on them.

I can’t work. Today wasn’t as productive as I wanted it to be. The heaviness I feel has me dreading tomorrow, dreading the week after, dreading the endless procession of days the way you do when you face the prospect of having to get up and go even if you don’t feel like it. But that’s life, really: not feeling like going and doing the thing but going and doing the thing anyway because you know you have to. Because it matters. Because knowing it matters means, in a sense, that you want to, and isn’t it nice to know that, in some small way, you aren’t completely a slave to how you feel?

Eventually, I will learn to be really kind to myself. Today is not that day. Today was a bad day.

But it was a start.

~aRT~

DISCLAIMER: This blog reflects my personal experience and is in no way an authoritative account on dealing with mental illness, depression, dysthymia, etc. 

 

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2017: A Year in Review

2016 was a bad year for the world, and a (relatively) good one for me. 2017, on the other hand, was tough for just about everyone: the world, my friends, my sanity, etc. That being said, I’ve decided to try and reflect on the massive seismic shift this year has been. I suppose this survey, all neatly laid out, is a good place to start.  So here I am. You can view my 2009, 2010, and 2016 answers here (2009), here (2010), and here (2016).
~*~

Name of Your Year: “Everything Changes”

1. What did you do this year that you’ve never done before?

  • Composed, played, mixed, and mastered my own song.
  • Got in to the UST Conservatory of Music.
  • Bleached my entire head nearly-white blonde.
  • Learned to sight read and identify notes by ear.
  • Created a quarterly and annual estimated marketing budget.
  • Launched a solo EP.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
– I made a “17 for 2017” bucket list at the beginning of 2017, but only managed to knock nine items off of it. I’m not sure I’ll be making more bucket lists next year…probably just plans.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth this year?
– No one that I can recall.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
– My fifth grandaunt died, but I wasn’t particularly close to her.

5. What countries did you visit this year?
– Japan. I didn’t get a lot of time to travel this year. So many things happened.

6. What would you like to have in the next year that you lacked this year?
– Determination, Inner Strength, Emotional Stability.

7. What date(s) from this year will remain etched upon your memory – and why?
The benefit of having kept a BuJo the entire year means I have the dates.

  • January 7 – finalized L O V E B L I N D with Marvs.
  • February 1-14 – FebFourteen poetry challenge
  • March 4 – EP Recording
  • April 11 – Psych diagnosis (Dysthymia, mild anxiety)
  • April 22 – Last big ST gig: NOTARewind
  • May 12 – Project Voice, live in the PH
  • May 20 – Filmed MV for LOVEBLIND
  • May 25 – Became a PV contributor
  • June 4 – Wonder Woman
  • June 16 – Moral Victory; the last ST gig (though we didn’t know it yet, then)
  • June 23 – Filed my resignation from Virus
  • June 30 – Found out I passed the USTET and officially got into the Conservatory of Music
  • July 31 – Last day at Virus
  • August 12 – First day at UST; got bitten by a cat so I promptly had to start getting rabies shots
  • September 15-17 – That first big payday sale that turned the department around
  • September 23 – EP Launch
  • October 30 – Harry Potter World
  • December 16 – First ever UST finals/UST Batch Christmas Party
  • December 22 – Went blonde

8. What was/were your biggest achievement(s) of the year?

  • Launched EP.
  • Hit sales targets at work.
  • Passed Solfeggio 1.
  • Survived first semester at the UST Conservatory of Music.

9. What was your biggest failure of the year?
– This was the year that I think I was the most selfish and closed-off. I walled myself in a bit, dealing with some losses. I hope that next year, I can learn to go outside of myself more and not be afraid to experience pain in pursuit of my dreams.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration (a public or private personality)?

  • My mum, for putting up with me.
  • My small group, for putting up with me.
  • My friends Kristin and John, for putting up with me.
  • Dean Carayag, for putting up with me.
  • My workmates, old and new, for putting up with me.
  • My USTCM BACHmates, for putting up with me.

I guess everyone who put up with me this year. As I said, it was a very selfish year.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
– The President.
– America
– Myself. :))

Those are the people I can mention. There are a few more, but I’d rather keep those to myself.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about this year?

  • USTCM Auditions
  • Moving job
  • Firsts: A Demo
  • BTS

16. What song(s) will always remind you of this year?

  • 2! 3! By BTS
  • Sea by BTS
  • L O V E B L I N D, because it was my EP’s carrier single.
  • “Golden,” because it started me songwriting again.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

  • happier or sadder – sadder, but stronger.
  • richer or poorer – poorer? I spent too much this year.
  • thinner or fatter – fatter, most likely.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
– Trusting.  God, myself, the process, etc.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
– Doubting that this was the path I was meant to be on. And probably also hanging on to things that were long dead?

20. How did you spend the holidays?
– Bleaching my hair. Cramming Christmas gifts. NOT practicing piano like I should have. Eating. Hanging out with my cousins on both sides of my family.

21. Did you fall in love this year?
– With seven boys. All at the same time. Or, okay, one first and then the six others after. (I’m talking about Bangtan if you haven’t figured that out.)

22. What were your favorite TV programs for the year?
– I didn’t actually watch a lot of TV this year, but I binged VLive like there was no tomorrow.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
– I think every year that passes, I hate fewer and fewer people. That’s probably a good thing.

24. What was the best book you read this year?
– I DID NOT READ A LOT OF BOOKS THIS YEAR…unless you count Dannhauser. :))

25. What was your favorite film of the year?
– Wonder Woman. Hands down.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
– BANGTAN SONYEONDAN, closely followed by WINNER.

27. What did you want and get?
– To get into the UST Conservatory of Music and to get a new job.

28. What did you want and not get?
– A music career/more gigs? I need to learn how to market myself as a musician all over again.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
– I turned twenty-four. It didn’t feel that old yet, but it feels old now. I don’t actually remember what I did; March was pretty busy at Virus, I suspect.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
– Honestly? Nothing. While it was a hard year, I’m content about how it ended and where I ended up going because of it.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept this year?
– Started as a KPop girl idol, ended as a KPop boy idol.

32. What political issue stirred you the most?
– This was the year I was extremely self-centered (I’m sorry), so I didn’t pay as much attention to politics as I did last year, though as a social issue, Weinstein-gate and the exposure of mainstream rape culture was a big deal for me.

33. Whom did you miss this year?
– I both missed and had way too much time with myself.

34. Who were the people you were grateful to have met/gotten to know this year? (Formerly “Who was the best new person(s) you met this year?”)

  • My USTCM BACHmates.
  • My solfeggio professor.
  • My Applied Majors professor.
  • My Ellana Marketing Teammates.
  • I think this is the year I really “got to know” my friend Kristin, so I’m glad for that.

35. What kept you sane?
– God. Family. Friends. KPop.

36. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
– Kim Seokjin, closely followed by Min Yoongi, closely followed by Kim Namjoon, then entirely wrecked by Jung Hoseok.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson(s) you learned for this year.
– Remember what you were made for, and never let go of the fact that you were made for it.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:

I know, I know, my hardship right now
I know, I know, I’ll overcome
I know, I know, open me up
It’s the place I can rely on
Think positive…Even if I’m nervous, even if I’m in a desert
I’m in the beautiful…desert.”

– Sea (J-Hope’s Pre-Chorus), BTS

~aRT

An open letter to any new potential friends.

Dear new friend(s),

I am writing this warning label because I think I should have ages ago. At least, I should have in college; maybe then my entire freshman block and 65% of the entire batch wouldn’t have ended up hating me (no lie).

So here goes.

New friend(s), I am…a strange animal. I mean, I know I’m a cat, but sometimes I also act like the abandoned street puppy that follows you home. I will slobber on you. I will howl at inappropriate hours. I will jump up on you and demand we play fetch. Sometimes, I bite (well, I guess that’s when my cat side shows up.). 

I realize that this exuberance can be too much, and trust me when I say in hindsight I get very embarrassed by it. I try to control myself, I do, but most of the time I can’t help it. I am so happy to see you. I am so happy to know you because, before you, I hadn’t really “belonged” anywhere before. I was a misfit in gradeschool. A desperate and sad little loner in highschool (I remember leaving a class outing in tears because someone told me to go away as I’d just be ‘OP’ in the discussion). And, well, I mentioned above what college was like.

I have longed to belong so much that sometimes my excitement at someone being nice to me can be…too much.

I’m older now. More distant. A little colder. I’ve learned not to trust first impressions, initial appearances of “acceptance.” I have been left behind by too many, that my first instinct has become coldness. I might have been an introvert all my life (though having misguidedly pretended to be extroverted during the first 3/4ths of it), but my antisocial nature has been conditioned: I am scared that people will get upset, frustrated with me, and leave, so I wall myself away from anyone new. But if you manage to break through, do not fear the initial heat and warmth. That has only been held in, held back all this time, and it rushes out like heat from an oven door. Eventually the temperature normalizes, the room returns to homeostasis. 

So will our friendship, if you stick around, eventually find its normal.

Until then, though, please bear with me if I’m excited to see you. If my voice is too loud and I constantly try to catch your attention. If I look a little in love with you, but in the most platonic way. It’s because I am. I’m in love with the feeling of being treated like I’m worth liking. I’m in love with the security of knowing that, to you, I belong.

Finally, thank you so much for taking a chance on me. As I’ve said to every employer I’ve interviewed for: I don’t promise to be easy, but I promise to be worth it.

Your friend and cactus,

A roaming Tsinay.