Category Archives: Mental Health

Why I Stay in New York

I’m back! This post took me over a month to have the courage to publish. I struggled to be gentle, tender and loving to myself as I wrote this as I’m baring the current status of my soul to you, lovely readers, so please, be gentle. 

I unintentionally took a break from my #2017Project during the month of April. March had been full as I curated daily content for the Reclaiming #WalangHiya digital platform. When April came, I didn’t do a great job of setting aside intentional writing time. That, and a lot happened.

Winter, Lent and Easter came and went. I gave up alcohol for Lent. I spent time confronting myself through daily reflection. I decided to enter a committed monogamous relationship. I worked every weekend. I went to Atlanta for the first time and for my first work conference. I started job searching, got an offer, accepted another offer, put my two weeks in and worked my last day last week. In the midst of all this, I experienced intense anxiety and a few mental breakdowns. At one point, I started to tell my friends that I was ready to return to the West Coast. Now, I’m starting to wrap my head around the fact that I am staying longer in New York than I initially expected.

While I was discerning over whether to stay in New York or go home, my good friend and beloved editor, Mary paused me to mull over the following: 1) when life gets difficult, I have a habit of saying I’m going to return to the West Coast, and 2) something seems to keep me here in New York. It doesn’t seem or feel like I’m ready to leave simply because I’m saying I want to move back to the West Coast during a period of desolation.

And despite my anxiety, stress and frustration at the time, I knew Mary was right. Continue reading

#WalangHiya: Let’s Write New Stories

 (Inspired by an advice column, naturally.)

I am in incredible pain.
And I think I have been for a while now.
And I am ashamed of it.

I have not yet forgiven myself for the things that have happened to me.
I have not yet been able to accept that those things are not my fault.
I have not yet been able to believe that those things are fated to happen again.
I have not yet been able to see that those things have happened because of how much (or how little) I’m worth.

I used to read a lot of stories growing up to understand reality as much as I did to escape it. Stories kept me company, gave me warmth, filled me up at times when I most needed them to. It allowed me to give those things to myself.

But now instead I tell myself all kinds of stories—stories I’ve read, stories I’ve experienced, stories I’ve made up in my head, stories people have told me—all that tell me that I am not worthy. It’s clearer now why I have more difficulty sitting down to read stories that contradict the ones I’ve made up in my head.

This is not about me living without shame.
This is me learning how to go there. Continue reading

#WalangHiya: Enough

I’ve always been afraid of corners, and being cornered. I’ve never been afraid of small spaces, enclosed places.

I was five years old on my first day of Kindergarten. My mom stood by my side in line with all of the other kids that morning. Every kid had their parents accompanying them that day. It seemed pretty normal.  And then she shook my teacher’s hand and let me go when the bell rang. I felt so excited and scared – I didn’t know what to expect my first day of school.

But that feeling quickly plummeted – as I quickly became every other kid’s emotional punching bag.  Throughout the day, all of the kids kept making fun of me.

Are you Chinese?
Do you speak English?
Why does your name sound like chlorine?
Why does your name sound like fluoride?
Why was your mom alone?
How come your dad wasn’t here?
Your parents are DIVORCED?! Continue reading

Being Mentally Ill with #WalangHiya

In the last decade, I was severely depressed and suicidal for years. I suffered through three mental breakdowns. Each subsequent psychosis was worse than the last. Yet, today, I can openly share this and nearly every delusion I’ve had with no shame. Without hesitation, I’ve repeated my story enough times for it to be normal– because it is.

But I wasn’t always like this.

For years, I hid how depressed and suicidal I was and how much despair I carried in the recesses of my heart. I smiled behind “I’m good” and excessive laughter though I wanted to fail out of college.  felt like I didn’t deserve my scholarship, honors classes, my high GPA, my friends, my job, and loved ones. I spent so many nights, spiraling into my thoughts alone, allowing self-loathing and guilt to debilitate me. I wondered if I’d ever be truly happy. Continue reading