It’s been a really difficult two months for me – from adapting to a new environment to realising I’m a different person, from settling admin stuff for my finances (yet to be fully settled) to settling my finances administratively because of a new liability. I thought I would be ready for school, but how wrong I was and three weeks in now I’m fearing for my projects and studies once again. I kept thinking of the little things that once gave me joy, and realised I have done every single bit over the past two months with little to no effect. Perhaps they make work for you, if you’re in desperate need of a little pick-me-up for your own reasons.
1) Food & Drinks
I love coke, for some reason, to the point I can taste the difference between coke and pepsi. Show me a bottle of vanilla coke and I’ll immediately buy it. Recently I was aghast when I couldn’t find any vanilla coke on the shelves in NTU’s Giant, and bought the remaining two bottles left when I found them hidden in the fridge. If I wanted something non-carbonated, Heaven & Earth’s Osmanthus Green Tea would be my choice. It’s really sweet, and I have quite a sweet tooth. I’m that guy who orders a 200% sugar level bubble tea, and declare anything less than a 100% as tasteless.
When things got too much to bear, I used to get myself two pints of BnJ (and finish them within a day). Friends would know pretty well that I love ice cream, and am one person who would order a tub/pint at ice cream parlours simply because – 1) I can finish it before it turns to slush. 2) It’s more cost-efficient. No really, as compared to the price of a cup of 2 scoops, it’s more than 5x the amount of ice cream for 2x the price! Lately, no amount of ice cream could make me feel better, and thankfully still, nor fatter.
I spent so much time last year alone that I picked up smoking when I was alone late night. Maybe the money I’ve spent on cigarettes meant it would be a trade-off for one BnJ pint, but the things I’ve learned while smoking made me realise this is one thing I would not stop myself from doing. There’s little things you could do when alone in the middle of the night in random places outside. The light is too dim to read a book, the environment is too cold or humid to sit and stare blankly without feeling uncomfortable. Smoking keeps me preoccupied, and lets me simply sit at a place and enjoy the solitary moment I’m blessed with. It’s also a symbol for social bonding, I have yet to meet a smoker I can not talk with, and giving a cigarette to someone else is always a nice gesture to show your sign of appreciation. Yet, these days smoking has lost its meaning. I still feel frustrated after smoking and thankfully still understand that increasing my dosage would not help alleviate my mind in any further way.
I used to believe that activities would keep my mind pre-occupied so I wouldn’t think of what’s been troubling me. From playing soccer to clubbing to playing games, these were sources of escapism. They kept me occupied for that moment in time, and I could feel every emotion from joy to frustration. When I began to realise I no longer find games fun, the activities that once helped slowly lost its charm. I began to lose interest in clubbing; while I still do my part as a good wingman most nights, I can’t be bothered with picking up for the past few months and rather enjoy the music. Lately, I’ve lost the motivation I had in soccer, and my fear of injuries returned which severely inhibited my performance on the pitch. I didn’t have the passion I once had, no longer wanting to improve myself and seek to get into the NTU team as much as I did for SMU. I hope I get to find the fire in me again soon, doing things I like to do and improving myself at them.
I used to run to tire myself out physically to the point of exhaustion, just so I can collapse and sleep and not think about things anymore. They used to work, until I get haunted by nightmares that got me waking up in the middle of the night. I began to roam nights and they were a source of inspiration for creativity, for poems, writing, photos and videos. I think the last straw came for me when I found myself roaming aimlessly to little effect and without a trigger for any form of inspiration. It was the past few nights that I found myself numb, indicating my fears of being unable to feel have come into play and I am very much in the process of it.
5) Hanging Out with Friends
One of the reasons why I went NTU is to have a holistic university experience, and a large part of this would be having a hall life. I only hung out with a few friends until late in SMU (I can count the times with fingers), and random hangouts are the main reason why I’m still very much bonded with my small group of secondary school friends. I used to like doing this, making an effort to go down to places for my friends, celebrating birthdays and what not. Regrettably, I began to change the way I see birthdays last year. It’s a shame, because friends I hold close may have the wrong perception if I do not wish them on their birthdays, or even make an effort to do something small for them. Only a few people know how highly I once regarded birthdays, and with mine approaching in a few weeks I find no difference than how I felt last year. Hanging out with friends no longer felt as fun as it once did, and sometimes meaningless.
I kept thinking of all the little things above that has helped me through, even if it’s just for a short while. I know escapism is only a short-term solution, and I guess I have escaped to the point I can’t find any satisfaction anymore as they lose their novelty. I find little to no joy in carrying them out these days,
Something happened that led me to realise and accept that I can no longer afford to allow myself to feel another sense of loss and abandonment from a person. I do not want to go through another crippling and paralysing experience of losing someone I love. I find myself getting quite emotional when hearing stories about loss, or seeing someone experiencing it themselves. I understand that people come and go, though now I’m beginning to wonder why let those who’ll leave into your lives in the first place? You reveal yourself, only for them to be uncomfortable with who you are, try to change you, or even leave. I’ve had enough of having people I regard close leave when I need them the most, I actually feel I shouldn’t even tell anyone about my thoughts anymore. That these problems are mine alone to deal with, and nobody would be willing to get their hands dirty for another person when they could be happy without me in their lives.
I’m getting too comfortable being alone, to the point I rather distance myself from groups just to have my own space. I realised I can’t be bothered at not getting to be a group leader anymore after realising I probably wouldn’t fit in and no longer the same person, when I was so intent to be one in SMU camps. I think being marginalised for sports camp and the cancellation of NBS camp made me quite disillusioned once again. I suppose I have lost and wasted my energy over the year, I no longer feel as inspired as I was and now totally unmotivated. I used to enjoy communicating with people, especially random ones, but I just can’t be bothered now.
I feel loss has made me lose my faith, both in people and in love, and it’s a clear sign and indication that I should return to counselling. I thought going to NTU would give me the new start I had hoped for, but new revelations lately has caused a massive paradigm shift in the way I see things. Loss has turned me lost. I cannot afford to let myself fall this time, nor should I seek to escape. I’ll have to accept that I can’t do this alone as I thought, and I need help. My former counsellor told me that counselling was a space for me to express myself, simply because she felt I already knew what to do and was confident with my plans alone. Sadly, not this time. Yes, I am alone once again, but I’m clueless about my future and it certainly looks bleak at this point. I used to hold pride in my identity, in being different, in believing that someone out there would see value in me when few would. I kept telling myself I’ll find my way through, somehow, but not this time. I do not feel as alive as I should. I want to feel things again.
I do not know what I believe in anymore, not even in the little things that has helped me throughout. And I don’t think finding new little things to help me through would have the same effects it once did.