It took me a while to click through my different computer windows and tabs before settling on what to do. These few days it seems that there are so many things on the backburner and on my mind. When I have a moment to breathe, I have to use it wisely.
Of course, most of these are personal endeavours like my blog, writing, studying French, and so on. The bulk of my time has been consumed by work, and it’s surprising to me how quickly the past few days have gone by. It’s already February. 1/12 of 2018 has passed, and I’m sure it won’t be long before we’re celebrating the start of 2019.
I’m at the chalet with my family now, gearing up for my 21st birthday celebration tomorrow. It’s given me lots and lots of anxiety, and mainly for reasons I myself would deem silly. That seems to be a common motif when it comes to my mental state: irrationality.
I think, in the beginning, it was mainly because I wanted it to be my coming out party. I’m turning 21 and I’m finally at a stage in my life where I feel that I’ve truly come to terms with my own identity. And I’m tired of hiding. So I felt ready to announce it to the world, to introduce myself to the universe, and show this not-so-little piece of my heart and soul that I’ve been hiding. But it ended up becoming a family affair, and that has obvious issues. I don’t think I’m ready for my uncle and grandparents to know. As much as we are a strong family, I think that socially we are sort of tied off from them. No social media connections, no frequent meetings and interactions – that sort of thing. So I felt that I would have been able to keep my spheres separated into my immediate relatives and all my friends – who would know that I’m gay – and my more distant relatives – who would remain ignorant.
Over the past few months, I guess it’s been festering and I haven’t dealt with it properly. I was afraid that my mother would stop me from making the party my coming out day too, which is why I didn’t explain why I was hesitant to invite the rest of the family. Now I’ve decided to just hang a rainbow flag among the decorations for my photo-taking setup. But the anxiety is still there. My brother was kind enough to organise and sponsor most of this for me, which I deeply appreciate, but it’s also meant that I have less control over what’s going on. It’s really scary because, when it comes to coming out, it’s my thing. It’s me. I’m supposed to be the one orchestrating it. I feel like that was… taken away from me, in a sense. That’s also a pretty selfish and ungrateful thing to say, since he’s already being so generous and thoughtful. But it really, really was supposed to be me. My day. My coming out. I just can’t help but feel that it isn’t going quite how I want it to.
So, after all that had simmered in my brain for a good and long time, I began to worry about things like whether the party would be good enough, whether everything would come together properly and on time, whether people would turn up, whether I would be a good host and so on and so forth.
On top of all this, the people at work also gave me an eight-hour shift on Sunday, overlapping with the chalet booking from Friday to Monday. I could see the disappointment on my brother’s face when I told my family I’d have to work halfway through the little getaway. I felt pretty shitty and I also dreaded the thought of waking up at 6am to go to Dhoby Ghaut, all the way from Changi. So with that, I launched into another round of anxiety, agonising, and frantically trying to find a solution. All day, I tried to find a replacement so I wouldn’t have to go in to work. But nobody was available. And finally – finally – at midnight, C told me that there were enough hands on deck for Sunday, so I don’t have to go in for work!
I think right now things are going pretty well. At least, they are going well relative to how they were 12 hours ago. I absolutely couldn’t get out of bed and I just watched lots of YouTube videos to muffle the sickening buzz of anxiety at the back of my mind. I discovered Patrick and Austin, and their videos were pretty good and lighthearted fun. They’re gay and they make gay-themed videos which I can relate to, too, so that was nice.
It’s a real dilemma for me when it comes to interacting with my family about anxiety and depression. It is so, so difficult to say those sentence – “I have anxiety”, “I’m depressed”, “I don’t feel good today” – and usually my moods just manifest in terms of coping mechanisms and “symptoms”. I might be under the sheets staring at my phone in the middle of the day, I might be quite and sulky at dinner, or I might just talk really crankily. And I half-expect them to understand that maybe somethings not quite right, but that I don’t want to talk about it. But I also worry that I’m being unreasonable to expect so much of them. I know it’s not easy to live with or deal with a person who is mentally ill. But it isn’t easy for us, either. With them, they either seem to A) not realise that something’s wrong and go on talking about something that’s visibly upsetting me, or B) pick up that something is the matter and probe and probe and probe until I just want to scream. It sounds all too much like childish teenage angst, but honestly, I just wish they knew to recognise when I need space and I need to be with my thoughts.
I love them so much and appreciate when they try to help. I can also understand if they don’t realise when I need help. But I just wish they could give me space.
I really ought to see the therapist soon.