I’m blogging again

Ok, I’m back!

I think it might be rude for me to just whiz in and resume blogging as if nothing ever happened. I know people are either concerned or curious as to why I suddenly felt the need to disappear.

It wasn’t anything major, but I guess I should talk about it. I think I’ve always been quite private here, mostly only sharing the happy stuff, the fun stuff, the outside stuff, because my blog is meant to entertain or inspire thought. I never meant for it to be a diary.

But, after so many years of blogging and interacting with readers, I feel a strong sense of connection. And I think maybe it’s okay to reveal more of my inner world because I feel that people care. And I don’t want to reciprocate this care with a dismissive “nah, I’m fine”.

So I’m going to talk about the four major causes of my depression. There are many more littler ones but I shan’t mention them because they’ll sound plain ridiculous to you without detailed explanations and background.

I want to be as brief as possible.

 

First.

My Dhaka trip upset me quite a bit. Every day I was there, I felt useless and even guilty. I felt my role wasn’t all that crucial compared to all the other volunteers. Cos, like, they could have left me out and the mission could have gone on just the same. (Airfare, accommodation and some meals are funded by the mission budget, so they usually just take the minimum number of people required to fulfill objectives.) I just felt like I couldn’t do enough and the guilt and sense of unworthiness really messed me up.

 

Second.

I was having relationship problems. It had seemed for quite some time that it wasn’t going to work out because we could never agree on some very crucial things. We kept working on compromise and tolerance but arguments over the same issues still kept blowing up. And, yet, neither of us really wanted to give up on the relationship because we’re irresistibly drawn to each other. We feel like, in so many ways, we’re made for each other and I don’t think I’ve ever felt that way before. Yet, we just cannot seem to stop ticking each other off. Every time we have a major argument, I would start feeling hopeless because it’s so painful contemplating a life without him. And yet, I would hate his guts so much and wish he’d disappear forever. It’s all a lot of angst.

 

Third.

I started having really severe doubts about my career as a blogger. I mean, I know it’s gone well and all. But, really, I don’t know how long it can go on for. People are going to stop reading blogs one day, aren’t they? Advertisers will find other avenues for their needs, won’t they? It’s not even a proper job in the first place, is it? The most frightening thing is that, there is nothing much else that I can or want to do. I’ve been freelancing for eight years. It’ll be too uncomfortable going back to a day job and nothing else has really made me as happy as blogging. The thought of having to do something else scares me to death.

 

Fourth.

I have a condition called cervical spondylosis which is, simply, wear and tear of the cartilage at the neck. I was diagnosed with it, like, 10 years ago, and it gets worse every year. I guess it’s my fault for never going to physiotherapy but it’s costly and it just never seems crucial enough to justify throwing money away for it. Putting aside the frequent pain and discomfort it causes (I’ve gotten used to that over the years), I’m so afraid it will lead to some irreversible deformity eventually and I’ll look like a freak or have to wear a neck brace for life. And I think I’d rather die before that happens.

 

 

The thing about depression is that, once triggered, suddenly everything in your life seems to be wrong. Even the most trivial thing, like maybe the fact that you have split ends in your hair, becomes a major issue. You think it makes you look ugly. You don’t want to go to your stylist because you think he’s starting to suck. You’re scared to find a new stylist because you don’t know if he will suck as well. Multiply that by a hundred or so other trivials. It ends up being a whole load of fear and unhappiness and it’s literally crippling.

It’s like you’re rolling downhill and a huge boulder is rolling above you and there’s nothing you can do except let gravity take you, wait until you hit the bottom and let the boulder crush you.

After returning from Dhaka, I spent more than a week doing absolutely nothing except try to ignore the pain and fear that were stifling me. I did that by reading and playing iPad games. These activities are fast, efficient relief, but they only last as long as I am engaged in them. The moment my eyes get tired and I shift away to give them a break, the pain and fear come crashing back. So I keep going back to them. Or I sleep.

In times like these, you need a hand to forcibly pluck you away from the hill to stop you rolling.

 

 

This hand came eventually and it first came in the form of Piers, an English friend I got to know through my blog, who made me an outrageous offer.

He said, “Hey, I know you want to escape Singapore to avoid CNY so you wanna come to England because my parents need a house sitter for two weeks?”

It was a very attractive offer, although it came with fear of the unknown and worry about the cost to fly there. But I seriously considered it because I knew it might be the only way to save myself from a crushing death.

It took me almost a week to make the decision, during which time I allowed myself to get excited about the trip. I’ve wanted to visit England since I was a kid growing up on Enid Blyton books but never did because of the distance and cost.

I started spending less time in bed reading/playing iPad games and more time at my computer googling England and London attractions.

 

 

At about the same time, another hand came. This was Kay, the source of half my depression. Maybe more than half. We had ended things on a very unpleasant note several days prior but then he called and said we couldn’t give up just like that. We managed to have one online conversation then one actual meeting without fighting, a miracle.

So I’ve stopped rolling downhill for now. I still have unresolved issues in my life, but I am now on firm ground where I have a fighting chance of tackling them.

Kay and I are slowly picking up the pieces of our relationship and I have made the decision to take up Piers’ offer. I’m going alone. In fact, I’m flying out tonight (to escape CNY festivities, which I can’t quite handle this year).

It turned out in the end that his parents already got a house sitter and he didn’t know about it, so he offered me his apartment, instead, because he’s going away on a ski holiday for a week.

I’ll be in England for three weeks. I don’t want to spend $1,500 flying there and just stay a week, right. Piers said I can continue to have his apartment when he’s back. He’ll just go stay at his parents’ house together with the house sitter (his aunt). He won’t allow me to check into a hotel for the duration. So we agreed to fight that out when I’m there.

Anyway, he’s an awfully good friend, and I’m also happy that Kay is not making a huge fuss over me running off to England alone for so long.

 

So I’m okay for now and can resume normal activities until such a time as something throws me down another steep hill. I know it will happen again but I guess I also know that, always, a rescuing hand eventually appears.

I’m sorry for all the worry I’ve caused my family and the friends who have dropped me nice messages throughout and offered a listening ear.

I’ve never been one to willingly talk about my problems because it’s always just too complicated to explain properly but I’m thankful, nevertheless, for all the offers.

Thank you.

Anyway, I’m back in business. I suppose it’s entirely fitting that I should recover from the doldrums right on the eve of Chinese New Year. I still don’t feel ready to handle festivities, but I think I will start the new year on the right note.

Let the partying begin.

25 thoughts on “I’m blogging again

  1. Avatar

    Monster,

    Glad that you’re fine. Josias misses you! Enjoy yourself in England. You made me want to read Tales of the Faraway Tree again.

  2. Avatar

    1) You provided more publicity for Operation Smile. Without reading your blog, I wouldn’t have known about this thing. I’m sure there’re other people like me. (Ok lah, I didn’t go donate after reading.)

    3) If your dream job isn’t going to last forever, it’s all the more reason to keep on doing it while you still can!

    4) Spondylosis is not as bad as it seems.. (I have a good friend with a similar condition) but please go see a doctor on this, pretty please?

  3. Avatar

    @Sheylara: Never a doubt in my mind that you had it in you to rise up against anything that threatens your well-being:) This trip you’re taking kinda reminds me of when Batman had to go away for a while after Bane broke his back. And yeah, he returned, stronger and wiser. So enjoy yourself, sort whatever you need to and we’ll see you again when you’re good and ready:) Take care!

  4. Avatar

    Enjoy England! These 3 weeks should be more than enough time to explore London, the West End and so on. It’s kinda chilly now tho.

    Extended trips to faraway places seem overrated but its such a good way to get away from things, take a breather and access where you are in life, while having a bit of fun on the side.

    Can’t wait for you to come back to blogging, hopefully recharged. Blogging as a career has never really had the brightest of futures, but you have many readers who still support and believe in you, so don’t give up and believe in us too, k? :)

  5. Avatar

    Good to have you back!
    Take your time & work everything out, I’m sure you can do it!
    Have a pleasant trip in England!

  6. Avatar

    glad to hear that things are picking up.. do take care in england and have fun! take this time to sort your inner monsters.. *hugs*

  7. Avatar

    you’re back :) The neck problem needs a care and some test to prove the severity. Do see a doc :) Take care and have fun in England! Happy CNY!

  8. Avatar

    Glad to see that things are getting better :) Once you’ve passed the toughest season, you’ll be able to pick yourself up quickly. Have fun in England and visit lots of historical castles! :)

  9. Avatar

    life have it’s ups and downs. it’s to nice to know you have family and friends to give you a helping hand when you are down. like a Phoenix raising out of it’s ashes, when we overcome our problems, we can only grow stronger.

    so welcome back! let the game began again.

  10. Avatar

    Dear Sheylara.
    Its good to hear from you again, and the reasons for your absense. Started to worry, actually. :3

    1.) You totally did a difference in Operation Smile. I would NEVER hear about it here in Norway, if it wasnt for you. And even if you didnt to much physical, you brought the whole operation out in the spotlight for the whole world to see. And I bet you made all those lovely kids to smile!

    2.) Love is, and will always be a challenge in life. The most important thing is to listen to your heart, and not your mind. That is the only thing that will make you happy in the end.

    3.) It must be hard to have blogging as a career. So as long as it goes, enjoy it while it lasts! No one know what will happen tomorrow, but if things changes, you will find a way to endure it. There is no things as problems, just challenges. And have some faith in your readers. We love reading your blog, because you are your honest self, and not one of the 23432525 mainstream bloggers who only blog about clothes and makeup. You are a big inspiration to me both as a blogger and person. Keep on being yourself, and we will always stick around.

    4.) Even though treatment costs a small fortune, you have to look at it like an investment in your own life and future.

    So hold on, and be strong Sheylara. I’m thinking of you up here in Norway, and wish you everything good in life. Stay healthy and happy. Have a good stay in England, and return to Singapore stronger than ever <3

    (Come visit Norway while you're abroad! Just 1 1/2 hours flight from England! :D )

  11. Avatar

    Glad you are opening up, QY.

    Sorry to hear about your neck problems. I hope you get it sorted out soon.

    As for relationship issues, I knew there would be a problem. Read someone’s earlier post somewhere… It was predicted back then you and Kay were showing signs that you both are not meant for each other.

    I don’t wish to be a wet blanket, but I’d rather be frank with you (and others) than pretend to say, Oh don’t worry, tomorrow there will be sunshine” (when clearly there will not be).

    I say it here again, I strongly don’t think you and Kay will work out. And that’s based on whatever little I have read you blog here about the 2 of you.

    Just because you manage to meet up with him and not quarrel is not any relief that things are getting better. In a relationship, you got to dig DEEP inside of you and search for truthful answers only you can answer. My gut feeling says your gut feeling is you can’t be with him.

    The truth may hurt now, but better now than later.

    Good luck and happy CNY!

  12. Avatar

    Kraz Teon

    Your recent comment, which you posted on 4 January 2011, reads:

    ———————————————————————————————
    I used to like your blog but in recent times, I find they are getting more and more crappy. Especially since your break up with the goonfather.

    what’s up with all these men hater comments and then say “Actually I don’t really hate men”? Or “…but now I don’t have any examples to give about how idiotic men are”. You have made yourself look foolish, and actually, you are the idiotic one here!

    I’m not saying this to side men. I would have bashed a guy if he had said something similar like you.

    Come on. If you have nothing to write, think! Before you write something BLAH!

    I think what you need is a good sex maybe to chase away the blues in you. Cheers!

    ———————————————————————————————-

    One cannot but draw the following conclusions about you:

    1) you’re a hypocrite of the highest order

    2) you’re an epitome of sour grapes

  13. Avatar

    Wow, i’m sure many readers will appreciate your honesty here…
    Sorry to hear about your relationship problems and neck condition, all the best!

  14. Avatar

    A lengthy entry but i only saw one thing. your medical condition.

    You have a problem with the neck cartilage which you have identified the problem and you should be going to physio-therapy which you have identified your supposed course of action.

    Do it.

    I say take care of this first. EVERYTHING else is secondary. If the neck problem goes out of control, you are going to realise everything else is trivia.

    Sort that out first. Worry about the rest later.

  15. Avatar

    Welcome back!

    Good to hear that you are back! =D

    Although I do not know you in person but you are just like a friend of mine..

    And in case you forget..I went to Korea for 2 weeks, after reading your blog..it was really nice there!

    Wish you all the best in 2011!

    Best Regards,
    KuanYik

  16. Avatar

    @twiinklex: Thank you! I’m having fun in England now! :)

    @Mother: Thanks, mom! lol. See you when I’m back and don’t worry I won’t do anything you wouldn’t do. :P

    @Faith: Hahaha. In fact, I made myself want to read Enid Blyton books again. :P I miss Josias too, and his mommy!

    @Kim: Thanks for your comments. Appreciate them. :)

    @ionStorm: Thanks very much. :) Well, relationships will always have problems right? But yeah, I think this trip is doing me good so far!

    @RN1209: Lol, you make me embarrassed, comparing me with Batman. I only wish I were as awesome as him, lol. But thanks for your friendship all this time!

    @P: :)

    @Clarence: Thanks for your support and belief. Yes, actually knowing I have readers is very important for me to continue what I’m doing, so thanks for being one!

    @JuN: Thanks! Appreciate your commenting and support!

    @starry: Yes, somehow it seems easier to sort inner monsters when I’m far away from home. I would never have believed it but it seems to be working. Thank you for your concern!

    @JY: Yeah, I know how severe my problem is. Have done many X-Rays in the past. Well, maybe it’s more severe now, should be. Oh well. Thanks for the concern though. :)

    @Belly B: Thank you for your kind words. Yes, I’m planning to visit many historical things. Looking forward to them! :)

    @Duelist: Thanks! Always appreciate when you drop comments occasionally here and on Facebook! :)

    @Matthew: Happy Chinese New Year too and thanks! :)

    @tiger4: Heheh, that’s a bit dramatic, comparing my situation with a phoenix rising from its ashes. I don’t think I’ve gone through a really terrible crisis, just depression that I wasn’t able to come out of. But yeah, i do feel better now. Thanks!

    @Tonje: Hi girl, it’s always a pleasure to read your comments. You’re so friendly and sincere it makes me thankful to have you as a friend! :) Thanks for all the encouragement and support even though you haven’t been reading my blog for all that long!

    @Kraz Teon: I’m confused how you feel you can predict the outcome of someone’s relationships just by reading a few posts and not having even met the two people in question. And there’s also the fact that no relationship in the world is without conflict and arguments, right? But oh well, you’re entitled to your opinions, so thanks for your comments!

    @John: Thanks for your well wishes! :)

    @JayWalk: lol ok ok ok fine. I will think about doing something about it. Sigh. lol.

    @Thong: Thanks for that encouraging comment. Makes me feel better, thanks!

    @Faith.Concept: Aww thank you! :) I’m glad to be back!

    @Krusty: Um… ok alright! Thanks for all your concern about my neck :P

    @KuanYik: Wow, your comment is really sweet. I’m touched when people feel that they’re friends with me just reading my blog. And I’m glad you enjoyed Korea! :) All the best to you too in 2011. Cheers!

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