These pictures were taken end of August in Hyde Park of Southside Chicago by my friend, Chris.
[Friday, September 11, 2015; 8:00 pm]
Several years ago, I had someone tell me “You’re worth it.” To which I responded, “No one’s ever told me that before.” That someone was my therapist. And at the time, I didn’t understand to the full extent what she meant. It wasn’t until fairly recently that I fully grasped what she was trying to say. Looking back, these words saved me in a way.
A couple of years ago, I suffered from an eating disorder and depression that almost prevented me from finishing my last semester at college. I went to therapy (again) and was also put on SSRIs. SSRIs are Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors and for those who don’t know, serotonin is basically the chemical in your body that tells you to be happy. Sometimes people are sad because of a tragic event that happened in their lives and sometimes people are just sad because they have a chemical imbalance.
I recently opened up to an old friend about how I was feeling and she said, “I had no idea! All your posts made it seem like you are so happy and enjoying life.” And that’s the problem. That you put out there what you want others to see. It’s all a facade.
Growing up in a traditional Asian household, we were not allowed to show emotion. I remember many nights of crying, self-mutilation, and contemplating suicide. But I of course walked out of my room, wiped my tears, and put on a smile to join dinner with my family. Everyone in that household was none the wiser. To this day, I’m sure my parents and brothers are still completely oblivious to what I went through. And because I grew up in that environment, it’s how I learned to carry my life– to not let people see me suffer.
We’ve all suffered and been through some hardships at one point in our lives. But because of the stigma around mental disorders, people are too scared to open up about what’s really going on. I read somewhere that “explaining a mental disorder to someone who doesn’t have one is like explaining colors to a blind person.” It doesn’t help when you’re trying to explain your pain to another individual who just tells you to “get over it” or that “it’s not that serious.”
The point of all of this is that it’s ok to be sad and that it’s ok to talk about it because there are others out there going through some kind of turmoil. And not one person’s problems are more significant than another.
I’m not on medication anymore and I also stopped going to therapy once I moved to Chicago. But today, I took the first step to set up an appointment to see a therapist again.
For those who are going through any sort of battle, keep fighting. Because you too, are worth it.
P.S. Thank you to those who read this, like really read this. Thank you for letting me share my story. And for those who didn’t know, now you do. And for those very few who did and have stuck by me all these years, thank you.
//EDIT: PART TWO:
I posted this about 24 hours ago and I did not expect any of this. Though, I’m not really sure what I was expecting. But I genuinely appreciate everyone who took time out to read this and am overwhelmed by all of the support and positive feedback. I had people who I just met and people I haven’t spoken to since high school (2007, mind you) reach out to me to thank me and share their own stories. People were saying that I was an inspiration, but no, you are all an inspiration to me.
Truth is, we’re all a little fucked up (sorry for the profanity). And that’s ok. It’s ok to not be ok. Just know that you don’t have to struggle in silence. I read an article a few months back about a girl who committed suicide, but portrayed the perfect life on social media. Star athlete, popular, pretty, etc. And when she took her own life, everyone was shocked to find out that there was anything wrong with her. And when I read that, I thought “how unfair.” How unfair that she was suffering and that no one knew about it or knew how to help her.
Someone who hasn’t had to experience depression and trying to imagine what it feels like is like someone who suffers from depression trying to imagine life without it. It just doesn’t seem real. Why does the struggle to be happy have to be… well, a struggle? And I don’t even think the problem is being happy, it’s staying happy.
Our thoughts, feelings, and perceptions are all valid and important. Don’t let anyone take that away from you. Again, I cannot thank everyone enough for their support. I love you all ❤