Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Thing

I found some nice articles in the Borneo Post.

One is this one about depression.

Such a destructive beast clinical depression is. Yet so subtle that most people who have never gone through it will not understand. Not only that, some people will insist that the depressed person is just "acting out" and should stop it and "snap out of it".

If only it were that simple eh? Granted, some people use it like a weapon to get their way. But for most sufferers, it is the manifestation of Hell itself. Their own private Hell, the worst kind. It's like a cancer, except it doesn't kill you directly. It only turns you into an undead version of yourself, not really dead but not quite alive either. You're just... there, covered in your own darkness, mentally and sometimes physically trapped and paralysed.

I didn't read this stuff. I say these things from my own unfortunate experiences. Thankfully that's all in the past now. I was able to get help when I needed it.

I remember that time when I first thought about getting help. It was hard. But why is it hard? You get sick you go to the see the doctor and get yourself checked out right? Easy peasy right?

Here is one way that depression is so persistently dangerous.

Remember that movie The Thing? Where the alien organism will go to any lengths to protect itself? It was like that.

At the time, I agonized over my decision. On one hand, I knew I was in trouble and I had to go and do something. On the other hand, I felt this horrible guilt like it was all my fault that I was feeling the way I did. That somehow, I had to keep feeling that way as punishment for all the mistakes that I've done. I also felt bad because if I went to get help that was an admission of defeat, that I was too weak to deal with it like any other self-respecting male person. Yet more reason for me to feel worthless and shameful.

I had a whole host of other similar, guilt ridden thoughts. In the end, the MA at the factory was the one who asked me to see our inhouse doctor who in turn shoved a letter in my hand and ordered me to see a specialist, costs be damned.

Looking back, those doubts and guilt wasn't coming from me. It sounded like me and it felt like I was thinking those things but it kind of wasn't me at all. It was "The Thing". It was almost like "the organism" was trying to "protect itself". Almost as if "it" knew that if I went to get help, it would be destroyed and it was trying to save itself like a parasite clinging to its host.

Yes, yes that's a bizarre analogy I know. But for lack of something better, it's entire accurate and it reflects what happened exactly.

Now? I can't describe how good "normal" feels. Normal isn't boring at all. And the silence in my head, with no more things telling me how unworthy and how weak I am, is worth a million bucks. My only regret was that I didn't do this sooner.

So there it is. If you, dear reader, are feeling perpetually sad or worthless or angry or harried or stressed, if you cut yourself and tried to blank out the rest of the world, if you feel like no one cares.

Go get help. It's not normal for people to feel helpless or angry or sad or worthless or guilty or any other kind of negative emotion ALL the time.

If you hear yourself saying that you don't need help, that you are strong enough and that you are a fool for thinking about getting help, beware. It might not be you that's thinking that. It might be your "Thing"

Depression is dangerous. Please take it seriously. Worse comes to worse, if you can't afford a specialist, go to the Policlinic and get referred to the hospital. It's better than nothing.

Here endeth the public service announcement.

The other article, I read in today's paper. A really good one about the national day argument. Is it 44? Is it 50? It also mentions some differences between "us" (East Malaysians) and "them"(Orang Melaya, Peninsular Malaysians).

Please read the article. It's good and written in a sober, reasonable way. It echoes my thoughts exactly. If I were more eloquent, I would love to sound like that.

I do have some stories to tell regarding the article.

But this post is getting long, so those stories will be for another post on another day.

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