Wednesday, July 15, 2015

SAD

It’s one of those days when I woke up and thought, “Wow. I’ve been going nowhere but down deeper and deeper into the heart of the emo vortex. WTF happened.” I knew I wasn’t the most optimistic of any human alive, but constantly getting myself into feeling like a piece of shit isn’t the best thing to do with my short life.

There’s always a risk of depression when you get yourself coup up at home most of your days. It’s not what I want to do on a daily basis, of course, but somehow it ended up to be what I do every day; because it’s so easy to not talk to anybody and not do anything that requires a huge amount of effort.
I’m the chairperson of an upcoming conference for young chemists. Not only that, I’ve also founded a start-up that specializes on customized+handpainted caps with a friend. Twice a week I’ll teach English to students in Form1, 3 and 6. I do volunteer work in temples on Sundays and just got myself enrolled into a company involving skincare to not only help my skin get better, but also potentially earn some side-income.

It’s kind of ironic when I look at what I’m doing at this stage of my life, to how I actually am. I like research work, but two years into doing experiments in the lab makes me wonder for what do I actually do this for. It’s one thing doing something different than what most of your peers do, it’s another when you think about why and how does what you do affects your health and your career, and if I’m feeling altruistic, the community as well. People easily feel empathetic to those who are working office hours, or working in the manufacturing, business and finance sector; most people gone through that phase/these fields of work. It’s harder to explain the obstacles you face in the lab and convince people that what you do may affect them in a very big way someday; because not everybody understands how the scientific process works and what stages a discovery goes through that eventually be announced to the public. I cannot deny that I’m actually avoiding school and the topic of research and postgrad life in general; not because I don’t like it anymore, but I’m increasingly afraid it accepting that my decision to get an MSc in science is, honestly, a mistake. It’s an even bigger mistake for me to settle for research-mode study rather than a mixed-mode or a coursework-mode study. I’m not dissing research people or the type of study itself, I just fail to see how it can benefit me with this piece of certificate, other than getting a sllliiigggghhtly better salary as a fresh-grad MSc, but also working the same 9-5 slot of the day. Why am I wasting an additional 3 years of my life got a meagre couple of hundreds extra on my paycheck every month? Beats me.

Art has been a big part of my life, not in the academics sense, but more on my lifestyle. I love the imperfections of life itself; I love the differences that stimulate uniqueness. I also love how behind every major piece of anything at all, are simple starting points; a simple stroke of the brush, a line on a piece of paper, a groove that fits to other parts of an object just nicely. Unique, I like that word. But being unique doesn’t sell. Effective marketing sells. Advertisement sells. Socializing and networking sells. You can’t just advertise a page on social networks and expect customers to come flooding into your inbox; you have to go out, meet people, and talk to them about your product in order to actually raise interest on the things that you’re selling. Having good products are useless if you can’t convince others that the need to buy the goods for themselves. To me, that is my biggest hurdle to pass through.

The more I stayed home, the more I isolate myself from people, the more socially anxious I’ve become. Just the other day I lied to my student that my phone credit expired, just because I was afraid to call up another student who supposedly signed up for my class but failed to turn up that night. I could remember how embarrassed I was right after telling that white lie, but also the terror I felt should I just be honest and called the boy myself. Meeting people is becoming more of a challenge and a fear that is getting harder for me to control. Even talking on the phone is terrifying to me, so I tend to not answer calls whenever possible; I’ll wait a while after the phone stops ringing, then sends a message to the caller apologizing for missing their call and asks them to let me know what they need via message/ whatsapp because I’m busy (when sometimes I’m not), because it’s easier this way. Some days, I just wish I can move out to a place of my own and just hide and never have to talk to anyone and go anywhere. I look at society as a big scary monster that can massacre and tear me into pieces and eats me up as I die from fear and embarrassment. There are probably not many embarrassing memories other people have of myself, but even making a purchase from a fast food restaurant can potentially make me feel embarrassed and make me want to dig a hole and bury myself in it. I don’t know what it is, but there’s always a feeling of awkwardness that I have no matter Where I go or what I do, like I’m not doing things right like everybody else. I feel nervous when I’m outside in general, more so if the place is crowded. I don’t even know how am I going control myself when I have to make a speech in the conference next month. If I can have it my way, I’d move up to the mountain today and disappear from the society. I suppose this is a sign of Social Anxiety Disorder.

Nevertheless, I don’t want to just go up to anybody and admit that there’s something bigger that I fear that is bigger than ghosts and spiders; I don’t like myself being weak. Plus, what would they tell you? “You just got to go out more”, “It’s all in your head”, “Don’t worry so much, just relax”? It’s like telling a crazy person that they’re not crazy, and telling the nutcase to ‘stop thinking that you’re crazy and you will be normal again’. It’s ridiculous. Bonkers. So rather than confessing, or continuing to hide under my blanket of lies that I tell people, I had to try to beat the disorder myself. Go to the best psychiatrist and still he/she also will tell you to try to put some effort into socializing more, after issuing some drugs I guess…

So I’m working on socializing with people. I took up the English tutoring part-time when I stopped getting income from being a research assistant (stupid grant shortage issues), and I thanked my good karma for that; at least I’m not completely cut off from everybody and at least I have some side income for pocket money, and now it helps me to get back some of the confidence I’ve lost while my research failed me. Having some experience from tutoring now, I’m also considering giving private tutoring focusing on speaking and writing; I’ll see how it goes. Kids don’t judge you as much as adults. Children are generally kinder compared to full-grown human. I’ve got to surround myself with adults too, so like I’ve said in the beginning of this post, I’m taking classes on skincare; socialize while learning to take better care of my skin and how to help others do that too. Meanwhile, I’ll also continue to volunteer in temples, just because I like volunteering and at least I get to talk to people a bit while working.
Hopefully I’ll be able to be less afraid of talking to other people soon.