Believe.

Sooo impulse won and I got the tattoo. On 2/16/2016 at 2:16 pm, I sat in the chair and it all began. Being one who was born on a date that was the square of the month number, I of course had an obsession with dates. It was too far for my birthday to come along so why not a close day that somewhat was special (it was either that day or the 29th since it was leap year) Anyways, after sitting in the chair, in 10 minutes, it was over. It took even longer to prep the tattoo from the design I drew (first pic) to the editing and printing of the design onto a carbon copy kind of paper to putting the template on my wrist (second pic). It didn’t hurt like I expected it to be. It just felt like strong tingly vibrations as she just drew the design once slowly. My hand felt like it was still vibrating afterwards but it wasn’t painful. (third pic) It’s been healing quite nicely, flaking and a bit itchy. We’ll see how it turns out.

As coincidental as it could be, the day before was another day to remember. It was one of those scares where I was just numb from the shock and unable to control my emotions (partially why the tattoo was not painful in my opinion). My dad was exercising and overexerted himself and when he got off the stationary bike, he walked over to the sink and collapsed. He slipped in and out of unconsciousness and my brother had to hold him up. Unlike last time where he had chest pain where I was able to drive him to the emergency and stay controlled, I had another experience with someone fainting and I think it just set it off. Last time was when I was at work and someone had fainted and almost died. I think that was why it hit me so hard. Seeing him limp and unconsciousness, not responding to us, unable to do anything about it. Thankfully he came about and was alright after all. But it was traumatizing and I really hope that he would take better care of himself and be more careful knowing his condition. Now he can’t even do moderate exercise and it pains me to think that the next time he might have a heart attack or just not wake up from unconsciousness the next time. To think of losing him brings on the bucketfuls of tears because I’m not ready yet. If these scare attacks are supposed to prepare me to accept that he may have something serious someday that may take him away from me, I don’t want it. As immature as it sounds. I honestly don’t think I can handle it, even as much as I can believe or try to believe. I guess that’s why having the tattoo done the day after made it even more important of a reminder, to believe. To believe in myself, to believe in brighter days, to believe that in the end, it’ll be okay.


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No longer my “little” brother

Of course, we have our ups and MANY downs, but recently I’ve come to appreciate how mature he is and realize how much he cares for me. He got in trouble with my mom for not studying, which I totally understand how frustrating it is, and so I was trying to comfort him. It was then that he told me how he got behind in his studies because of that long talk we had when I told them everything. He had to do his pharmacy application last minute which was due the day after and he said that he would’ve chosen to spend that time and energy with me when given the choice again. It was ok for him to miss the application deadline because I was more important. He spent the day after our talk trying to think of solutions for me even with multiple midterms coming up. He just wanted me to get better. In my eyes he may still be the little brother who I need to protect, but now he wants to protect me. It felt like “that” defining moment in our relationship, where now we are equals and will be there for each other through thick and thin. Turning legal really does make you an adult eh? But all in all, I’m so proud of him. And touched. He’s always been so humble, calling me smart and all, but he’s the one with the better grades. He deserves more. And now, I don’t even have to worry about him being able to care for others in the future. He’s all grown up. This is the relationship I’ve always dreamed of between siblings but was too scared to hope to have. There’s just been too many traumatizing experiences seeing the previous generations’ siblings bullying each other even in adulthood. So thank you, for proving it wrong. That siblings can love and care for each other so deeply, valuing it above all else. I love you my “not-so-little” little brother!

Back then when…

So while all this crazy stuff was going on, I decided it was the perfect timing to get around to making a laptop case for my new laptop. From scratch. And without a sewing machine at home. I did take textiles in high school, but everything we learned there was with a sewing machine and patterns with all the tools we needed provided to us on a silver platter. So what was I thinking? I don’t even know. Anyways, so I went to Dressew, got all the materials (and some studs and embroidery thread for decorating) and found a tutorial online (stitchedbycrystal.com/2012/01/tutorial-zippered-laptop-case.html). And VOILA. Here is my beautiful baby, 100% handsewn. I was very impressed with myself to say the least, that I could hand sew something like this, sewing straight lines and all without a pattern or anything.

It’s not perfect by any means, but I’m more than satisfied. The process wasn’t easy and many times I would think that it’s just going to end not nothing like what I imagined in my head. But it did. Like how we may not be perfect, we can still become someone that we can be proud of. It’s okay to have out-of-place stitches. It’s okay to have little bumps here and there. It’s okay to be tad small. But the biggest lesson I learned was how fortunate we are to live in this time and place. 2016, the year where technology just keeps on booming. It seems like such a feat to hand sew this for me but back then, sewing machines didn’t even exist! Imagine a world without computers, without TV, without cars. It blows my mind how people would do everything by hand. Technology is amazing no doubt, but it makes me wonder how much we lack because of it. The skills and abilities that our ancestors had, their hard work and diligence. Wow. If I lived in their world, I wouldn’t be able to survive. Or maybe the wish to survive would be even greater. I’ll never be able to find that out, or I hope not to. But I just feel so appreciative, of the advancements we have in this world. We think life is hard, but that’s without having to do everything by hand and living to survive. We live to enjoy and often forget that.

Literally just trying to survive

These two weeks have been crazy, in their own different way. Two weeks ago, I was hit with the worst of my migraines/headaches (it’s all messed up and constantly there so I can’t even differentiate between them anymore). The pain stayed at 9-10/10 for the whole week. Normally it goes up and down and peaks only once or twice a day, normally only up to 8/10 and would go back to a 3-4/10 baseline background headache with medications or just time and sleep. Nothing brought it down. I couldn’t sleep. I would wake up because of the pain. I couldn’t study. I couldn’t do anything. And my supplemental exam was that week. The timing is ALWAYS perfect when life is messed up. Then Thursday that week, I had a mental breakdown after doing bad in a lab session. It was just way too much to handle and I had suicidal thoughts. Funny how on that day of all days, my dad kept asking if I was okay. Of course, I’m still alive and did not go through with my thoughts. One of the reasons being that I did not want to ruin the reputation of the doctor who prescribed me the sleeping pills. Like who thinks of that? The goody-two-shoes. Or more like I just wanted to find excuses to live. Because I knew they were stupid thoughts.

So Friday (the next day), I stayed in bed all day, beating myself up over even thinking of suicide again and going crazy with the headache pain. Finally that Friday night, I was able to talk to my family about it. They already knew about the headaches and some parts of my depression, but I think that was the first time we talked in detail about it. I told them I wanted to drop out of pharmacy. I didn’t think it was worth it. To be in so much pain, to have depression/anxiety, to be under so much stress just for a degree and a job that I don’t even know if I’ll be happy doing. It especially wasn’t worth it considering that one day I’m so scared that I’ll actually go through with the suicidal thoughts and plans because I just can’t reason with myself anymore or something. I guess I’ve just wanted to hear it from them. That it was okay to give up because I’ve already tried my best. That my health was more important. That my happiness was more important. And that night was the first time that I heard that from them. After 3 hours of crying and talking, I think they could finally understand me. To understand the extent of my pain, that I really was trying my best to fix my life, and how badly I tried to not disappoint them. It also helped me to understand them (especially my brother). That he wanted to care for me the same way that I cared for him, but he didn’t know how to do it. He was also able to help give extra-optimistic perceptions on my situation (e.g. I passed 8/9 courses last term so this term I can pass 8/8 courses). I WILL beat those negative thoughts.

So after our long talk, they still tried to persuade me to just give it my all and not withdraw unless I fail out of it basically. I was torn. Between wanting to be a good daughter and giving myself that rest I knew I needed. Of course, being me, I’m still hanging in there. But now, I have a super strong support system and it’s not a lonely uphill battle but an all out war. My brother has also volunteered himself to be my personal trainer for a regular exercise regimen (which is horrible for someone like me who doesn’t exercise at all except for walking). So hopefully that’ll help. And they’ve been forcing me to eat more healthy (aka eating vegetables that I normally pick out of my food). My intestinal tract hates it as much as I do, but being healthy as a whole is important. Also, the day after, I was able to bring the headache down back to baseline pain level (yay!) with a new medication (fun fact: metoclopramide which is normally used for gastric motility/GERD is used in migraine emergencies with IV administration). So although it was taken orally as a tablet, it worked as a temporary solution. And now my migraines/headache is back to the regular peak and trough (double yay!).

And this week, school has been crazy. I had to contact professors for classes missed, catch up on materials I had neglected due to studying for the supplemental, and prepare for 2 midterms. I have no idea how, but I was able to sort it all out. My mom was commenting on how strong the mind can be because she asked how school was and I said it was okay now when just a few days ago it seemed like the end of the world. I just hope that if another situation like that hits again, I’ll only get back up even stronger. It doesn’t matter if I fall down a hundred times, because it’s only important that you get back up after each fall. Because what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Literally. Whatever you’re faced with that you don’t think you can ever overcome, you CAN overcome. Sometimes we don’t know how, but it’s one of life’s amazing mysteries. And you can only find out if you stay alive. So I’m going to give it all I have and stay alive.

(Oh and for those who care to know, since I haven’t posted since finding out about having the supplemental exam, it was hard writing it with a huge migraine/headache, but I think I should pass. The marks haven’t come out yet. I shall update the good news (knock on wood) when it is out).