Keep Up

What’s eating you up? What’s that tremor in your hand? Why are you shivering? Why do you want to cry? What are you feeling and what do you need?

No, it’s. No, it’s not cold. No, I don’t want to. I don’t know what I’m feeling  No, try again. I feel… suffocated.  Why? I don’t know, I don’t know, i don’t know! I need to breathe. 

I need to breathe….

The desolation and ache, needing to release the poison, the fervor rage and sentiment. I want everything to be okay again. That blissful ignorance. I miss the smile I used to have, before everything happened. No, no you don’t… you’ve grown so much since then, don’t feel like you need to go back. oh but it was so blissful then…. I didn’t know anything. I didn’t know what heartache was, I didn’t know what disappointment was. If I was tired it was because school was hot and I was playing soccer before going for choir and coming home late because I wouldn’t stop talking to my friends. If I was sad it was because my favourite food stall didn’t open and I couldn’t get my favourite noodles…

When all else fails, where do you go? When you wake up from a nightmare, kicking and screaming, how do you shake it off? How do you go to sleep knowing that you’ll probably wake up sweating and palpitating?

It’s that heaviness in your chest,

The scream just waiting to be heard.

It’s the exhaustion that you have,

The anguish so deep inside that you can’t express.

What is that? Why do memories haunt her everywhere she goes? Why can’t she have a day without her memories? Why can’t she just forget it?

She’s waiting for superman to lift her up, and take her anywhere. Show her love and flying through the air. Save her now, before it’s too late tonight.

Stumbled and Fell

He took something from me. He took little pieces of me, little pieces over time, so small I didn’t even notice, you know? He wanted me to be something I wasn’t, and I made myself into what he wanted. One day I was me Cristina Yang, and then suddenly I was lying for him, and jeopardizing my career, and agreeing to be married and wearing a ring, and being a bride. Until I was standing there in a wedding dress with no eyebrows, and I wasn’t Cristina Yang anymore. And even then, I would’ve married him. I would have. I lost myself for a long time. And now that I’m finally me again, I can’t. I love you. I love you more than I loved Burke. I love you. And that scares the crap out of me because when you asked me to ignore Teddy’s page, you took a piece of me, and I let you. And that will never happen again. – Cristina Yang, GA.

I cannot breathe, I just cannot. I curl up in the corner of the bench, huddled over my laptop, desperately trying to put my thought into words. I find myself dependent on my medication and that’s not good. I panic when it diminishes in quantity from my backpack. I sit there, staring at the corner of my mind. The corner where you dragged your sledge hammer and destroyed, do you remember that? You cross my mind so often now that I think you still exist in the people I love the most. That scares the shit out of me. You have no idea. Remember how you left me not only broken but shattered and ground into fine powder?

I’m afraid. I’m afraid to try new things now. I’m afraid to be open to new experiences and new people because you made me so afraid. I wonder again and again, how is it you managed to turn a confident, bright girl into a cowering, academically challenged girl? How is it that you managed to snatch away the light behind her eyes, her fiery passion in her heart and her spark of hope in her heart? How is it that you managed to slam her across the wall, to hurt her, and to accuse her of hurting you, and on top of that, managed to make her believe that it was her fault? How is it that you managed to make her believe she was inferior to you? How was it that you managed to make her apologise to you even though it was clearly your fault? How was it that you managed to make a girl with a backbone suddenly fall on the floor, cleaning up your mess and promising to make changes when the one who needed to change was you?

How did you do that? How could you take her naivety and mutilate it into your own little disgusting creature? How did you make her flinch from the touch of others? How did you manage to make her second guess her every move?

But no, there’s a more pressing question that burns my mind right now.

How the fuck did she allow him to do all that to her? How stupid could she get? How idiotic could she be to continue to keep herself be under his spell? 

How did she allow herself to sink that low just to make you happy? How did she hit rock bottom just to be someone you wanted? How could she let herself?! How could she lose herself just like that?! How could she lose all her self confidence only by the few words that you told her?! That she was never and can never be good enough for you! That she could never be better than she was simply because she “never tried!” That her tears were nothing but a futile means to get your “pity”?! Your pity? You think she cried because she wanted your pity? 

You may be a memory for 5 years ago, but it stays fresh in my head, 

It was as if everything just happened yesterday.

Nothing you say now can change what your past actions have brought up.

Panic Attack

ImageIt could’ve been anything, anything at all. Any small thing could’ve triggered it. It could be the man who accidentally bumped into you in the supermarket. It could be the rape or suicide scene in a movie you were watching. It could be the sunset that was so beautiful it literally took your breath away. It could be a thought. A small thought. A small harmless thought.

Then suddenly panic surges through your veins while cortison and adrenalin pumps through your blood and body, making you hyperventilate. You gasp for air, but it’s never enough;; it’s never enough. Your head swims in fear as you think “oh no, not again, not now, not here, not in public.” People stare. They know something’s wrong with this girl. You can feel their eyes boring into the back of your neck as you maneuver your way to a secret spot or a safe hiding place to calm yourself down. 

Once you reach that safety spot, your body makes a cruel joke on you. Just kidding, here, have another bout of it. Fresh panic kicks in and the world spins around in circles. Your heart palpitates like never before. It hammers in your ears, in your head. How do I explain the panic…? Imagine almost slipping in your bathroom. That split second panic when you right yourself up again? Imagine that but 10 minutes long. The seconds felt like hours. and the minutes felt like days. The panic continues to surge. You continue to hyperventilate. 

Not enough air, not enough air.

I’m going to die. I’m going to die. That’s the only thing going through your head. Tears fall freely from your eyes. You want to scream out for help but your mouth is inhaling as much air as possible and don’t be silly, you hid for a reason – you didn’t want anyone to know you’re panicking for no reason at all. 

By the time you calm down and slow yourself down, you’re in nothing but a mess of tears and snot. Regret and shame takes the place that the adrenalin and panic once dominated. You sit in the corner, in your spot, in the darkness of your secret and you rock yourself to calmness. You hug your knees and whisper “everything’s going to be okay”. It’s a mantra that goes through your head. It’s the fantasy that someone will find you in that condition and not look away in disgust and will hold you tight, saying “everything is going to be okay.”

What it if isn’t going to be okay? If others could survive through it, why can’t I? As quickly as the panic turns into depression and shame, it turned and manipulated itself once more. This time, it turned into anger. Why can’t I learn to control it? Why can’t I be normal?! Why is this not getting any better?! And soon you find yourself yearning, longing, aching for the relief of a knife. Of a blade. Anything that can relieve you of the pain you felt inside. Anything that can spill some warm, sticky, bright red blood. 

Anything to numb you out. 

Honesty

My second consultation with a psych and psychiatrist here was interesting. I felt a want, almost a need to tell them that I am recovered and all right. But maybe that’s just me kidding myself right? School’s about to start soon and my nerves are firing again. What if I collapse in class, hyperventilating, having a panic when everyone thinks it’s a seizure? I missed two doses of my medication on accident and I find myself nauseous and light headed. If this is the beginning of my relapse, I’m frankly afraid to think about what’s going to happen when school starts. I worry again. I mean, it’s just like having a cramp. Once you get rid of the cramp, you start to be paranoid in how you walk or how you stretch in case you trigger it again.

What’s the trigger? Stress? Loneliness? I find myself looking out into the ominous night just wondering what the hell did I put myself through in the past few years. 

To be honest and truthful, the only word that can describe me right now is : afraid

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Taken with my 60D when I flew on a hotair balloon with my family. It was 1000ft above the ground and do not estimate me when I say how tempting it was to just casually tip over the basket and free fall down to nothing. It takes confidence and pride, dignity and love to continue life.

It was dark times and I don’t ever want to go there again. I still see blades that can slice into my skin everywhere I go. I still feel a tad bit suicidal every time an opportunity passes. I’m scared because I feel so alone. When depression overwhelms you, you start to believe that you’re the only one in the world who cares for you – which is not true. And the worst part of the day is right before you try to sleep, when there’s nothing to distract you and there’s nothing to make you busy, and all that’s left to entertain you is the thoughts that you’ve managed to push out during the day. The thoughts that haunt you even in your sleep. You only realize how precious things are when you’re about to lose them or when you’ve actually lost them. Don’t wait until it’s too late… 

The brilliant distraction

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My first camera owned is the middle – Canon EOS 440D. the Canon EOS 60D on the left was a gift from my brother. That camera then plunged me into photography. Afterwards, I received a Nikon EM film camera from my uncle. The film camera then inspired me to delve into film photography.

Many people wonder “what the hell is that girl doing, buying camera after camera?!” For others who don’t suffer from themselves, doing things are very easy. For me, learning to care to do something is never an easy feat. Film photography allows me to see the world through a different perspective. When I’m behind the camera, I feel like i can take control. I can be strong.  I have complete control over what I want the picture to come out as – unlike my life in which many aspects i have no control over. Most days I still have no control over the pain I feel within. 

I bake and paint and read, but none of these give me the satisfaction and peace that photography allows. It wasn’t until a friend mentioned did I actually realise that all these activities I do are solitary activities. I recently have my eyes set on a 75y-o Zeiss Ikon camera. My mother could do nothing but chide me about me always buying film cameras. 

For me, film cameras have different personalities. Depending on my own mood, each camera can show different emotions. Not many can appreciate the subtleties of analogue photography. My “bestfriend” from highschool even shunned me because she thought I was “taking over” film photography and making it “my thing” instead of hers. I decided I was higher than that and just ignored her – who was she to judge me in what I do? 

Photography isn’t just trying to find a brilliant picture, it’s a way to put things into perspective. When things are in the lens, it’s all so much easier to understand. 

  • Explore your surroundings
    Image

    These two lovely film cameras were both bought off eBay. The one of the right is now currently my favourite Canon AE-1 Program. And the one on the left is the Canonet 28series. Though the Canonet has a very limited range of functions, I find that it forces me to be more creative in my pictures, seeing things from different angles with light sources from unprecedented sides.

  • Note the lighting
  • Set the camera
  • Look through the view finder
  • Focus properly
  • Take a breath
  • Press on the shutter gently

I often go on small little walks around my complex just to give myself something new to look at other than my boring room. That’s why I love photography, because it isn’t just art, it’s an outlook. It’s my safe haven. It’s my distraction from my destructive self.

 

 

What’s your safe haven?

Back up, baby back up.

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This was taken aboard a Singapore Airlines flight. Does being up in the sky make you want to jump down to momentarily feel free and to end all the pain when you reach the ground?

I was traveling yesterday and my mood was pretty alright. Until I rested my head on the back of my hand and noticed something odd. A small white line on the outside of my elbow. I traced it slowly, letting the thought sink in. Have you ever seen a scar in which you had forgotten you had?

——————————————————————————————————————

I had promised my counselor that I’d try and stop cutting. To my ultimate surprise, I went clean for at least two weeks. During lunch time, I would be in a teacher’s class because they wanted to “monitor” me after the school staff found out that I had been cutting in school. When the teacher left for the bathroom, I had the strangest most strong urge to feel pain. A panic attack edged on my mind as I started scrambling through the room for a blade of sorts – why would an english teacher have blades?! And then it caught my eye. Without so much as a second thought, I grabbed my ruler and snatched up the pencil sharpener…. I loosened the screw and took out the tiny blade – no one would notice it right? Gingerly and with much precaution, I pressed in the blade deeper than I’d ever pushed before. Before I knew it, there was a 3″ laceration on my elbow. 

It was only then that I realised what the hell I did. I stepped right into the pushing edge of my panic attack and started hyperventilating. Panic surged through my body as it fell to the floor with tears streaming down my cheeks – what the hell have i done? I believe i blacked out right afterwards because next thing I know, I was in the nurses’s office…

Slowly Drowning

There are days (and may I say MOST days) when things never go on properly. You know what I’m talking about right?

Things weren’t going to plan… I ate so much and felt so guilty that I went into the bathroom and tried to force everything up. I had exerted so much pressure on my head that my tears were flowing and my head was throbbing. Nothing I did cheered me up. Everything was going downhill since I first opened my eyes to that blasted sun rays. This was the sunset that i faced last evening. It was beautiful, but all I could feel was dread and fear. The sunset triggered something in me and suddenly my chest heaved uncontrollably as I fell to the floor. Pressure gripped my chest and I thought I was dying, I thought my head and chest was going to explode… A million thoughts raced through my head only to be incomprehensible. What the hell? The world spun around before faces popped up in front of me – security guards and my mother. Nothing else registered and soon it was a black out.

How can you feel safe if something this beautiful could make you feel like jumping into an abyss?

How can you feel safe if something this beautiful could make you feel like jumping into an abyss?

It’s painful, physically and mentally knowing that anything could be a trigger or anything could happen at any time, anywhere. I’m scared.

Having a paper bag is extremely handy when it comes to facing panic attacks. Many people underestimate what a panic attack is, and thought that I just had it because I wanted attention. bull. shit. Having a panic attack might as well mean that one believes that she is really on the brink of death. It drains you completely out of energy and keeps you on your toes, because after ten bloody minutes of it, you feel like anything can trigger another panic wave. Tidal waves upon waves of anguish and panic and fear rushing through your body.

I dare you to make fun of it.