PART I – My Struggle with Depression and Alcohol Abuse.

You say that I’m paranoid

But I’m pretty sure the world is out to get me

It’s not like I make the choice

To let my mind stay so fucking messy

Heavy, Linkin Park. 2017

(Disclaimer : Some parts will trigger emotions/memories which may not be easy on the light hearted. Please read with caution and know that everyone’s journey is different. Thank you.)

My world was grey for a second a few days ago. I heard of two suicides in a span of one-two days, Chester Bennington’s and Oka Mahendra Putra’s. The moment I knew of these suicides, particularly Chester’s, it hits right to home. That feeling, that pierce in my heart. I didn’t even know them, so why did it have to affect me so much? It was hard to be happy that day. The only few words I could say after were, “Kasian ya… (What a pity).”

Both of them were said to be depressed, Chester because of his battle with drug and alcohol abuse and child abuse. Oka… I’m not too sure for a fact, so I will not be commenting.

First of all, what is depression exactly? According to Dictionary.com, depression is “a mental condition characterized by feelings of severe despondency and dejection, typically also with feelings of inadequacy and guilt, often accompanied by lack of energy and disturbance of appetite and sleep.” But can we really categorize depression as just that? No. Depression lingers into our lives, it catches us at the right time and before we know it, we are down in the rabbit hole. Just like Chester and Oka, some people may never get out safely. But thankfully I did.

Flash back 2 years ago, I could easily be where they are today. Easily.

What really happened to me? To be completely honest, I can’t remember when it started but I’d like to think that it all started in 2013. I know everyone has their own different journeys and the thing about depression is you can never find two exact same stories. Mine… It was a hard battle with my mind, my soul, my faith and my views on life. I know growing up that I was never whole to begin with, I knew I was missing a big piece in my heart. It is said that our heart’s a puzzle. Man… My heart is a jig-saw puzzle and I was missing most of the pieces.

As shallow as this may sound, I think it all added up throughout the years of abuse from my childhood, my insecurities, the lack of confidence I’ve had my whole life and most importantly, my lack of dependency with a religion/faith that I can lean on through hard times. But it was the most apparent (I guess because of all the built up) when the only person I depended on left me to go back to Indonesia when I was studying in Seattle. I felt the most betrayed and he was an ex boyfriend of mine. Right then and there, I had lost even more of my heart. It sounds stupid now as I am typing this but I have to admit that he was (is) a very big part of my college years in Seattle and I really depended everything on him because he was there for me when I had my family problems, friend problems, life, and school problems. He was always there. I really lost myself then. Why? I only figured out now that I was putting all my trust and faith on the wrong person (when I really should have depended on the Almighty creator of life which in my case is the Lord Jesus Christ, but that’s a whole other topic for another day); because when he left, I tried so hard to cover up the hurt and did everything to replace those missing pieces which I only then learnt that I shouldn’t have.

Denial. I was in denial. I indulged in superficial fun and temporary happiness in alcohol and impulsive purchases leading up to hundreds and hundreds of dollars. I didn’t care. As long as it made me happy (though only temporary), I’m down for it. I didn’t know it was going to make me even more empty (and my bank account empty too). I felt empty.

He saw me going downhill, he knew what I was going through. At a time like that, I needed a good support system, someone would tell me “Hey, it will be okay but you need to change your views in life”, but nope. I did not have friends who understood what I was going through, I wasn’t close enough to my family to tell them what was going on, no one could see what’s inside my head because all I thought was “What the hell am I doing on Earth? What really is my purpose?”

I was living a monotonous routine every day. School – home – alcohol – shop – home – my school tasks – sleep. If I didn’t have anything to do, I would sleep in the whole day. I did not want to face the world. I would stay at home, having a bottle of wine and pass out. Because I was too comfortable at home, I guess what helped me sometimes was the tasks I was given in classes where I have to reach out to people, find news around the area that are newsworthy which then I need to go check out and interview people… Basically, interaction with strangers and going outside to breathe the fresh air.

Another thing that I think helped slightly was journaling my thoughts. Because of my alcohol-filled days, everything was a blur. However, you do know that what’s black and white will never fade. If I picked one of my journals in the past and opened it, you’ll get a sense of how I was. Scribbled notes, tears stains (I’m serious), a lot of “I don’t want to live like this” up to “What is happening to me?” all jotted down in messy penmanship. Every time I head down memory lane and open up one of these books, I feel like a dark cloud surrounded me. I was in a dark place. Life was getting more and more unmanageable but the weird thing was… I did not even have other responsibilities other than school.

But still, just journaling did not help and my dependency on alcohol grew more and more and more and more. Why alcohol? Whenever I drank, I feel a little bit more happy. Just for a temporary moment, my problems are at the back of my head. I didn’t care about them for that very moment. “I don’t care!” I could scream at the top of my lungs and thought that I have aced in life. Despite all this, I forgot that it is all temporary. It is all temporary. Because when there’s a cause, there’s an effect. The effect was the day after. I’d wake up feeling like everything is a blur, “what had I said yesterday? What did I buy? What plans did I make when I was drunk? What empty promises did I make this time?” Questions like these I’d ask myself. I wasn’t ready for the aftermath.

I was always paranoid, always so sensitive. I was agitated. I was so hateful. I was surrounding myself with the wrong crowd. I was always paranoid of what was going on back home with him. I was so not myself. Plus, I feel like whatever I was doing at that time was wrong because I would have him all pissed off at me, him always saying that we’re broken up but he’ll still give me false hope (I didn’t know that being with him and keeping in touch with him has added to my insanity and made me feel even more worthless and how mentally and emotionally abusing it was at that time). My parents always pointing out at my mistakes, etc etc. Everything was going against my current.

I would reach out to people – to friends, to him. But they’ll all shrug it off, probably thinking I’m having one of my episodes. I would get mini ‘heart attacks’ which I then learnt was anxiety. Because of these ‘heart attacks’, I would wake up in the middle of the night (almost every night) and feel my heart beat incredibly fast like as if someone was chasing me. I could barely sleep for 2 years, I believe. I lost so much weight at one point because all I wanted to do was drink alcohol, I was tired all the time, I was just… not myself.

Until one day, I reached my tipping point and I broke down. That was not the most serious one yet. It was perhaps I couldn’t really take all the negativity that was going on in my life and the energy that I have been absorbing. I never really understood why I was like that and how I became like that. Because I felt like something was wrong and because of my limited resources at that time, I never got diagnosed.

So how did I know I was depressed? I didn’t. I didn’t know until a few years after.

 

To be continued….

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