Tomorrow is my birthday and I’m actually feeling pretty anxious. Why you might ask? Well, in less than an hours I’ll be turning 30 which is the BIG one and that terrifies me. I won’t be in my twenties anymore which is hard to believe. Most of my friends are now already 30 and now it is my turn.
As well, birthdays can be such a struggle for me because of my mental illness. When I was a kid, I always looked forward to my birthdays but when I was diagnosed with depression in Year 8, everything pretty much changed. It was the same for any special occasions like Christmas, Easter, Chinese New Year and New Year’s Eve. I have already blogged about this a few years ago which I won’t repeat here but for those who haven’t read it, you can view it by clicking here -> Rollercoaster Birthdays
This time last year with my 29th birthday, I was in hospital again 10 years later after I spent my 19th birthday in hospital. Now this time, I’m back in hospital yet again. Yep, you heard it, I’m back in hospital for a relapse with my depression. I think grief has hit meet again especially when my best mate’s dog, Tiger passed away and also, my childhood church friend passed away more than a year ago.
Turning 30 is a big deal because I feel like I haven’t achieved what I wanted to achieve. Looking at other people who already have a career, finished their studies and getting married, I feel like I’m way behind. Having a difficult life since I was born, it makes it harder. I know, it’s not good to compare to other people, that’s what one of the nurses (who is like a mother figure) said when I was in hospital and my group leader told me that Abraham Lincoln (the 16th president of the United States) also went through struggles in his life but was able to overcome them. I had no idea about that but it makes me feel a lot better to know that I’m not alone.
Another thing that doesn’t make me feel alone is my two brothers (aka best mates). They are in a similar situation like me but we have been able to connect with each other and also support each other which isn’t easy to find. I’m very grateful to call them as my brothers. Speaking of being grateful, my second family (aka my support group) surprised me with an early celebration of my 30th which really cheered me up after going through grief and having a relapse.
How did they surprise me? Well, the kitchen staff in the hospital brought my birthday cake (who made it for me which I didn’t expect) out and I thought it was for somebody else in our group but then I realise it was actually for me. I was speechless and gobsmacked because I totally wasn’t expecting the surprise. Well, I knew they were planning something but I didn’t know they were gonna do an early celebration. My friends said the look of my face was priceless.
The last time I had a birthday surprise was my whole family surprised me with my….I think it was my 21st when we went on a holiday because I just had that life-changing jaw surgery and the recovery was one of the difficult things I went through in my life. Anyway, then my nephew who was a young child ruined the surprised which was hilarious. You can’t blame him for that as he looked so innocent. That was one of the memories I remember for the rest of my life.
Okay, so with the surprise that my day support gave me, I helped my friend decorate the window behind us in the dining room and they gave me a big 30th badge. This then lead to getting other people’s attention in the dining room looking at my second family and I and it was embarassing to tell you the truth. Then when my day support group started singing Happy Birthday, some of the other people started singing as well and even cheering, clapping and smiling at me. I wanted to hide under the table but I have to admit, it really did made my day. Strangers who I didn’t even know, (okay, I knew some of them but anyway) it was unbelievable and I felt like there were genuine people.
Anyway, my day started on a low note but then when my birthday surprised came, my day went uphill and it kinda made me look forward to my 30th (except for being in hospital again). Then again, last year a lot of the patients and staff did remember my birthday which made me feel better. Even the hospital let me get special leave for my birthday dinner who I celebrated with my parents at Hog’s Breath and speaking of Hog’s Breath, they even gave me balloons for my birthday which I wasn’t expecting and I also had a free meal to celebrate my birthday.
Maybe tomorrow will be the same, I don’t know even tho I just got admitted a few days. I do know that the staff knows about my birthday and they granted me special leave again to celebrate with my parents and we’ll be going out for dinner at a Japanese restaurant. Another thing I’m looking forward to is my 30th party celebrating with family and friends. They all have been such amazing support and also understanding when I had to change my 29th party last year (because I was in hospital) to earlier this year.
I know I said at the beginning, birthdays can be a struggle but having support from family and friends especially since I’m in hospital, I feel lucky to still be alive. If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be here today. I’m starting to get emotional writing this post but thank you guys for your support during this tough time! I’m still trying to adjust being back here as I don’t know any of the patients. It seems like that with every admission I notice but there are familiar faces with the staff which makes it a lot easier.
Hopefully tomorrow won’t be a struggle like last year and even next year. Spending your birthday hospital is difficult but like I said, the support from family and friends makes it a lot easier.
Goodbye twenties, it has been one hell of a ride with so many ups and downs. Thirties, here we go! Positively 30!
Be random but stay safe!
Today, I found out through iMessage from my brother (aka best mate) Jono that he lost his beloved best friend Tiger passed away this morning after 15 long years. Hearing the news was heartbreaking because I knew how Jono and his family was close with Tiger and it was their first dog. I, too was very close to Tiger as if he was like my own dog because Jono and I have been best mates for 15 years so we’ve been through together many ups and downs.
I really don’t know what to write at the moment because I’m still in shock and denial. I’ve also been quite emotional today and very teary and you guys know I don’t deal with losses at all…I don’t think anyone does. Though having experience of losing pets myself, I know what’s it like to lose a best friend and it feels like your heart gets shattered into a million pieces. The first time is always the hardest like with my first dog Sweety who passed away in her sleep when I was in Year 11 which you can read more about it by clicking here -> 9 Years On Sweety.
Tiger was one of a kind and a characteristic dog and I still remember the very first time I met him. After watching the 2008 horror movie Quarantine which was about a mysterious virus outbreak in a building full of people where they were quarantined, Jono and I went back to his place and introduced me to Tiger. When he opened the door to let Tiger in, he bit me on my leg (as at that time he wasn’t familiar with me) and I actually thought I got infected with rabies like what happened in the movie. Luckily, I didn’t become a zombie and it was only a minor wound with a little bit of blood
For some people, meeting Tiger for the first can be a bit intimidating as he would growl and bark at them as I remember when some of our gang from school would come over for Jono’s parties but he was no vicious dog, He was just cautious and after a while when you let him come to you, he’s just a cute small fluffy ball who likes to lick you and want you to give him belly rubs.
After our first meeting and hanging out with Jono more, Tiger got more comfortable with me (Phew! What a relief!) and we became best friends, tho it did take a bit of time but we managed to get there! Tiger always gets excited when I came to visit and he would always go to the door and starts barking and wagging his tail. He used to love playing fetch with his colourful squishy toy and love to run around inside the house and outside too. He was also an active dog who loves to go out for walks, I remember Jono and I took him for a walk and he’d get so excited for his short adventure.
In Tiger’s final years, he was getting old and fragile, sadly which is normal for old dogs and it hurts so much to see him in pain as you want to do something to stop the pain. Jono told me Tiger’s condition was getting worse and it made me realised that he wasn’t going to be here much longer and that’s the reality of life. It reminded me of my puppy dog, Tank as he is now 11 years old and gonna turn 12 next January. I can’t bear to think when Tank’s time comes as it’ll be devastating.
Before Tiger passed away this morning or sometime during the night, I was planning to visit him to say goodbye when I was going to catch up with Jono tonight for our usual hangouts and working on my gaming channel RandomDavo but unfortunately, that didn’t happen. To be honest, I was thinking of visiting Tiger last night after Jono WhatsApp me when he was really worried about Tiger and I really really wished I did.
Also, what even made harder today is that today is the sixth anniversary of my second dog’s (Charlotte) death who passed away from cancer in 2013 which you can also read by clicking here -> R.I.P. Charlotte!. Is it a coincidence that both our beloved dogs passed away on the same day but different years? I don’t know if that means anything or maybe I’m reading it too much?
Speaking about Charlotte, can’t believe it’s been 6 years already that we had to make that heartbreaking decision to put her down. Life hasn’t been the same since and although, my grief is much better now compare to then, I still miss her so much. I’ve also been getting nightmares again …well, not really nightmares but dreams about friends and family who I have lost and Sweety and Charlotte are always there. These dreams feel like it was actually real but when I wake up, from those dreams I realised it was just a dream.
Grief is something I have always struggle with and now Tiger’s death is the third loss I’m going through in a year after losing a childhood church friend to breast cancer and a Boys Brigade leader friend to a heart attack which was why the two hospital admissions I had last year was the hardest and also longest.
I also know I haven’t blog for a while which I was going to do but I felt like I was still not ready to talk about what I was going through and I also have been focusing on my recovery so I’d like to apologise for not being active yet again.
Little Tiger buddy, I still can’t believe you are gone after 15 years. I’m so heartbroken that I won’t get to see you whenever I visit your best friend Jono and it’ll be a lot quieter without you now. I wish I could have spent more time with you as you always make me laugh when I play fetch with you and your favourite toy. I also remember you like to sleep and cuddle me when it got very cold when you guys were at your old house. Whenever I tell people our first meeting, it makes us laugh, even more, those were the good old times! Even though you are gone, you dearly will be missed and your memories will be there forever. It’s not goodbye but see you again little Tiger buddy!
Also sending my random love to my bro Jono and his family during this difficult time. You guys have always been there for me when I was struggling, now I want to be there for you. Take care of each other and take as much time to grieve and heal. In time, the pain will ease and it’ll get better!
Thank you to my readers again for your support!
Be random but stay safe! ^_^
Today is a big day as I’ll be having my graduation after finishing my Certificate III in Retail Baking course at TAFE last year in June. I am very excited yet nervous at the same time as I don’t know what to expect tonight, you know the fear of the unknown?
As you guys know from my last post, this was my favourite course out of all the courses I have done at TAFE as cooking is one of my passions in life. It will be strange going back to TAFE again because I haven’t been there since last year. Looking back to where I was in 2016 when I was doing a cooking course for people with disability through a community college and then my last day when I completed my last TAFE course, it’s hard to believe that I have come a long way on this journey.
When I was doing the cooking course at a community college, my teacher said I was far too advanced for the course because I wasn’t at that level with people with intellectual disabilities. It’s a similar story when I went to a high school for people with disabilities as I wasn’t being challenged with the work. The course was very basic like how to prep food and cook it which I already know how to do so my teacher suggested doing a cooking course at TAFE.
I haven’t done TAFE since 2011 and to be honest, I was a bit scared going back. When I was at TAFE in 2011, I did a Certificate IV in Multimedia where I was able to just finish my course which was one of my biggest milestones because during that time, I was going through a difficult time as I was recovering from my major life-changing jaw surgery to fix my Class III Malocclusion (or in other words, an underbite) and wisdom teeth that affected my whole life. You can check here my story here-> Life Changing Experience & Three Years Gone By (Jaw Surgery)
Also during that year, I was admitted into hospital on three occasions as I was struggling with my depression and unfortunately, I had to missed TAFE which meant I had to catch up but because I was way behind with the work, the TAFE counsellor, disability teacher and my teachers suggested I should do part-time instead of full-time which was a bit disappointing at first as I felt like I was a failure as I wanted to finish my course that year.
However, though, it did make sense to finish the next year because I wasn’t coping with my studies at all and I didn’t want to make the same mistake I did with my Web Design course at TAFE that year after I finished high school. As most of you guys know, that year (or 2008) was the hardest year for me because of my last suicide attempt and unfortunately, I had to drop out of my course which was probably the best choice as I had to focus on my recovery and see my support network each week.
After finishing my Multimedia course in 2012, it was one of the best feelings because it was my first major TAFE course that I was able to finish despite the struggles I went through but for some reason, I didn’t even go to my last graduation and I don’t even remember why I didn’t go.
Anyway, so going back to my story, that’s why I was scared to go back to do a new course like am I going to cope with the work? Will it be too hard for me? What happens if I need to go back into hospital like last time and I’ll miss TAFE again? But after talking to my parents and support network, they also agreed it was a good idea to go back to TAFE and they said they will support me in any way they can and that’s when I decided to make the decision to enrol in the retail baking course and it was one of the best decision I ever made in my life.
If I didn’t make that decision to go back to TAFE, I wonder where I would have ended up by now. Even though last year was an incredibly tough year for me, I’m glad I was able to get through it including finishing my baking course despite the struggles I had to go through like the practical exams and the high pressure in the kitchen.
To be honest, if it weren’t for the support I was able to get through at TAFE like with having my own helper (several helpers actually) thanks to the disability headteacher, I don’t think I would have passed my course. Also, even all my class teachers and my awesome classmates who were able to help me when I was falling behind (because of my disability) or was struggling, they were there for me when I needed help and I’m so grateful for them. It’ll be great to see them all again.
There are other people I have to say thanks like I have to say a huge thanks to my parents for always believing in me because they have been with me every step of the journey and they were able to find the course for me.
Another person that has helped a lot was my case worker because she’s done the course before and her experience taught me a lot and despite the lack of confidence I had inside myself, she always believed in me which I’m really grateful for. Another thing I have to be thankful for is my current service provider being able to find a caseworker for me and I’m glad they were able to find the right one for me. Also my whole support network and of course the rest of my family and friends, I’m thankful for their support as well.
Thank you guys for your support as well and sorry this post was a short one as at the moment, I’m sick with a viral infection which totally sucks. The last month I have been very busy and not getting a lot of rest and I think that’s how I got sick and not only it’s been affecting me physically in the last two weeks, but it’s also been affecting me mentally.
My GP told me to rest at home and take it easy so I’ve been doing that a lot which is actually a bit difficult because I love to keep being busy as it helps with my depression but then at the same time, I’ve been able to relax and watch my favourite TV shows on Foxtel. That’s why there hasn’t been any blogging lately. I’m slowly getting better and getting back to my normal routine but I’m still struggling which I’ll blog about next time.
Tonight’s graduation will be a very special day for me and also an emotional one for me. Even though I have struggled with mental illness, it never stopped me from achieving my dreams including passing my retail baking course and achieving my Certificate III. I know there have been times where I wanted to give up so badly but I didn’t and I kept going right until the end of the finish line. If I can do it, you can as well!
Be random but stay safe! ^_^
2018 was one of the hardest years I went through as I had a relapse with my depression and I have to admit, it’s something I never imagined going through and don’t want to ever again. To summarise and explain to you guys, it was a big rollercoaster with many ups and downs.
First thing first, I want to apologise to you guys for not being active here because I went through a dark period where I was struggling towards the end of last year.
This will be a hard post to write for me because the stuff I’m sharing to you guys isn’t easy because it is so personal and I don’t even know where to start off. However though, I want to raise awareness of mental health and I’m sure you guys have questions that want to be answered, what went wrong as I was going so well. I’ll be doing multiple posts mainly I have so much to talk about and it will be too long to do it one post. In this post, I’ll be talking about what lead to my relapse and what really happened.
As most of you guys may know, last year in mid-October, I was admitted to a private psychiatric hospital after suffering a relapse and also reaching my milestone of not being in hospital the longest for two years, two months and six days which I’m proud of. Though, I am disappointed that I had to go back into hospital again as I couldn’t stay strong no longer.
Some people were a bit shocked to hear the news that I was in hospital as I was going so well and looked fine but in reality, there were times I really wasn’t happy. I have been struggling a lot that no one knew about…well except my support network. I pretended to be that I was “happy” like I have always done in my childhood. I’m not sure why I did that…maybe because I was going so well, I didn’t want people to think I was weak if I struggled and I was ashamed to ask for help.
One of the ups and downs was my TAFE course. After 1½ years, I finished my retail baking course at TAFE which was a huge achievement but after talking to my support network, I realised that TAFE took a big toll on me because of the intensity of the course.
Don’t get me wrong, this was the best and my favourite course out of all the courses I’ve done but from my experience, it is very high pressure working in the kitchen with the long hours early in the morning and late in the evenings, preparing and doing the theory and intense practical exams especially for me because I have a disability. Not getting along with one of the teachers didn’t help as well but I won’t go into detail about it.
Though, I have always wondered how I was able to manage all that high pressure even times where I almost gave up like in the practicals exam where I made three cakes in five hours where I barely passed and there was a presentation I had to do about work safety in front of the whole class and that made me very anxious (had a bad experience in the past) but I finally completed my course and earned a Certificate III as well as being a baker’s chef. Also, I guess things just went downhill so fast after finishing TAFE.
Even though my course was hard, it was sad that it was over as I missed seeing my classmates every week (especially my first class), learning a lot from my teachers with their experience and professionalism, learning new recipes to cook in a commercial kitchen. It was quite similar to my Multimedia course I did many years ago after completing the Certificate IV.
Also, just letting you guys I did had ups like completing my TAFE course, making new friends that have been supportive, doing my first cooking demo, meeting old friends and family who I haven’t seen in years, my trip to Hong Kong, Malaysia & Singapore, celebrating the milestone of being 4½ years self-harm free as well as the 10th anniversary of my suicide attempt, making cakes that have been requested from family and friends and seeing their joy in their faces.
Anyway, I decided to take the second half of the year off from studies but there were some days where I was at home which probably wasn’t ideal as I tend to ruminate thoughts and my struggles. One of the things I struggled with was anniversaries like deaths of loved ones and I don’t cope with losses that well but that’s the reality of life like I have learned in one of the therapy groups.
When winter arrived and for the first time ever, I didn’t felt as down like I was in past years even though I was still struggling with depression. Another anniversary was the fifteenth anniversary of my first suicide attempt and the tenth anniversary of my last planned suicide attempt on 22nd July 2018. Because it was a big milestone and significant to me, it was very difficult as it was a traumatic thing to go through as I almost died more than a decade ago. I don’t think I have actually dealt with it properly as I sometimes get flashbacks about it.
Although, at the same time, I was at the highest of the highest point in my life because I have come a long way in 10 years and also haven’t attempted suicide during that time. Sharing my milestone with readers and getting feedback from them as well as people who I have never met was very heartwarming and emotional to hear that my story has helped them and can relate to me. For those who are dealing with their struggles, I just want them to know that they are not alone like I felt when I was a kid.
In mid-August, I went on a holiday for a month and travel to Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore with my dad as a present for finishing my TAFE course from my parents. As you guys know, I love to travel to other countries that I’ve never been to and experience the culture of them. Hong Kong is pretty much my second home and been there many times but it was my first time visiting Malaysia and Singapore.
We spent a lot of time doing shopping and eating in Hong Kong and also visiting family and friends who I haven’t seen which it’s always great to see them. I also did volunteer work with my dad’s primary school friend and other volunteers and we visited people with dementia in a daycare centre. It was very sad to see what they are going through especially the families and gave me another perspective of life. Since it was the Autumn festival, we help them made lanterns and did some exercise they can do. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to communicate with them because of the language barrier (my Cantonese is limited) but thankfully another volunteer was able to help me.
My dad and I travelled to Kula Lumpa in Malaysia and visited the Petronas Twin Towers which was very tall and huge but unfortunately wasn’t able to go inside as it was closed for the day. We also visited my sister and her fiance in Singapore for the first time and it was great to see them. They took us to the Gardens by the Bay and it was incredible as we saw the Cloud Forest Dome which is apparently the world’s tallest indoor waterfall and also saw the Supertree Grove that are like huge tree-like structures. We also visited the Marina Bay Sands to see the statue of the Merlion.
Halfway through my trip, I had a breakdown because I was still dealing with my struggles. I was trying so hard to pretend to people that I was fine but again, I really wasn’t. Also, I started to get nightmares about my past like the bullying I went through in school, seeing loved ones and pets who I lost to death, hallucinations I had a long time ago, me self-harming myself and suicide. I get these nightmares two or three times a night every night and I ‘d wake up having a panic attack with my heart racing at 140 or 150 bpm and gasping for air. This was all new to me as I never experience like this before.
Another thing I didn’t mention before was I started to get dark thoughts about suicide and this was probably due to the nightmares and also again the significance of the tenth anniversary of my last suicide attempt. I know what some people are going to say that it’s not good to dwell on the past because I won’t be able to move on and look forward to the present and the future. The past is in the past and you can’t change.
Anyway, the rest of the trip it was very difficult to enjoy because of the stuff I was going through but I still kept my “happy” face on. When we got back home, it was a relief as being away for a month from home is a long time but I was still struggling.
I saw my support network again and they suggested I should go into hospital which I was very hesitated to going back in as I worked so hard to be out of hospital. I had to spend a lot of time thinking about it but then I realise I couldn’t take it anymore and I needed a break from life and decided to go into hospital.
This brings the end to this post and I hope I was able to answer your questions. In one of my next posts, I’ll talk about my hospital admission and why it was the hardest admission ever out of all the hospital admissions.
Thank you guys again for your support and being there for me. It really means a lot to me and it made me realised that I have amazing family and friends that believe in me even when I didn’t.
Be random but stay safe! ^_^
It’s a new year and 2018 is in the past. Firstly, I want to apologise for not being active on here because I went away on a holiday to Hong Kong, Malaysia & Singapore for a month and I was going through a difficult time as I had a relapse with my depression and had to be admitted into hospital twice (first admission 5½ weeks, second admission 1 week & 1 day) towards the end of last year.
Secondly, to my new readers who liked and follow my page, I also want to apologise to you as well as I know I said I’d have a few posts I was working on and was going to publish them but I never did. I’m not usually like this but as I mentioned before, I was going through one of the most difficult time in my life which I am going to explain in a post I’m currently working on.
I am hoping to be more active this year as I am much better than where I was at the end of last year and blogging is one of my big passions in life. I know the last few posts have helped people and I want to keep continuing on raising awareness of mental health by sharing my experiences which is the aim of this blog as well as other topics in general (I want my blog to be a safe place for everyone).
Hopefully 2019 will be a better year for me and hope to have a fresh start!
Thank you guys again for your support and sorry again I haven’t blog in a while. If you guys can please share my blog to others who’d be interested or that would help them with mental health, it would be much appreciated as I want Kawika In Sight to keep growing.
Stay tuned for my next post which will hopefully be up in the next two weeks
Be random but stay safe! ^_^