My mind is a mess, my headaches are worse than usual, so let’s try to get these itching thoughts out of what happened this winter. During my first trip to Asia, first trip alone, and first trip with just me and my dad. Just like the typhoon that was approaching Central Philippines when I was about to depart, the days just passed like a storm, leaving a mess in its path, but gone as fast as it came. As I was alone for all these insane experiences except for the few days that my dad was with me, it’s left me an empty shell of memories that no one can empathize with. Not all of it was a mess, the first 3 weeks where I was in the Philippines was amazing, like I had stepped into another world. It was not only the first trip alone, but also the first time I had made a big decision on my own and acted upon it without my parents’ approval, against their wishes actually. But I knew that I would have to do that someday, and I just knew that I needed something like this, to find what I can do with my career outside of work. It was also a much-needed daddy-daughter alone time. As well, it was going to be my first and last time travelling for a while as I was determined to focus on work for the next few years/decade. Therefore, the 4 weeks that turned into 6 weeks were nonetheless literally the “time of my life”. As for the adjective to describe it…nothing really fits. Maybe it’ll make more sense as I write in detail what exactly happened those weeks, and what I experienced. And hopefully, blogging will get my thoughts sorted out, like it always does.
So even though I’ve gone through crazy life changes these past weeks, there’s some things that I realized will never change, and I’ve come to realize that that’s okay. My beliefs won’t change, and that keeps me from changing my actions. To me, family is still the most important thing that I’m willing to sacrifice anything and everything for. Instead of throwing it aside to avoid being hurt, I’m still going headfirst into it and giving it my all. I’m still willing to voluntarily be my brother’s food-delivery-man. Just because I love him no matter what. No matter how he may look down on me or perceive me, that won’t change how I myself perceives him. I’m willing to spend as much of my spare time with my parents because they’re forever my parents. There will never be a day when I can finish repaying their love for bringing me up and giving me all their love. And it’s okay if it’s too hard for them to change. I guess I’ve reached the place where I’m learning to settle for their personal bests and my personal bests. They’re trying their best and that’s all I need. No one is perfect. Heck, I’m far from perfect myself. But the journey in trying is all that matters. Seeing them try to hold their tongue and see me as an adult, that’s enough. Seeing them give me the space to breathe that I longed for, that’s enough. Seeing them actually listen to my ideas and not shooting down my every thought, that’s enough.
Family has always been so, so, so important for me. Perhaps I brought it upon myself more hurt than I should have because of trying too hard to make my dream “family” come true. But I don’t want to settle for less than that. Instead, I’m learning to see how our broken pieces make a beautiful and whole picture. And I’m going to work my butt off like always to build this complicated puzzle. Like my lock screen reminds me all the time: Keep going. The most difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations. And my background says, “Yes, it’s going to be hard, but hard is not impossible”. This not only applies to work and life, but relationships as well. Being in a family is essentially a lifelong group project (which I hated in university). We’re so different, but as long as we put the effort in, we can use our strengths to complete their weaknesses, and make a dream team. We might not get our choice of group partners, and definitely not family, but its our choice for our effort and input. So my choice is always going to be to give that 110% effort and as long as they’re putting their 100% effort, that’s okay. I’m content.
Every time I have to talk and explain to people (especially the SAME people) what my headaches are like, it not only is annoying, but it hurts too. Just because they don’t know what it’s like, they easily forget what I say about it. Because they can’t “understand” me? Because they don’t care enough to listen when I tell them? Because I don’t show my pain on the outside?
I have a freaking headache that never went away since August 2013. The neurologist has diagnosed it as New Daily Persistent Headache. I don’t even want to tell people about it, in case it changes their perception of me. But then I have to make excuses when it acts up. In school, I use Access and Diversity to communicate with profs so that I don’t have to elaborate and everything. They might not even “believe” my condition. So what does it feel like? I wish I could just copy and paste this on my forehead or something. My headaches are normally at a 2-3/10 for pain every second of the day like a tension-type headache. Then, there are times when the pain gets worse and it becomes like a migraine in nature with pain that goes up to 10/10 and I even get lightheaded from it. I don’t get nauseous or vomit, but I would be unable to think, unable to do anything, unable to sleep even. And with school and work, I try so hard to get through the pain and endure it so that people won’t look at me like a patient. I want to finish school and become a pharmacist like any normal person can. I don’t want to be looked down upon because I suffer from chronic pain. But at the same time, I wish I could be understood when the pain gets too much for me. Because I can’t help it. There have been so many times when I just want to bash my head against the wall and rip my head open. Medications don’t work, or they have side effects that are even worse than the pain itself, not letting me function. So I endure it. I just hope that one day, no matter how long in the future. One day, I can have freedom from the pain. To have no headache, I don’t even remember what that is like anymore. It’s like someone’s put a steel lock on my head that the key cannot be found for.
Talking to my mentor, she thinks that surviving the headache and migraines and being able to live like I do is because I’m strong. I’m not. Ever since I was in elementary school and got headaches after playing outside in the sun, I would call my mom to take me home. It happened often. And now, I would skip class and go home. I would cancel appointments and commitments. I wouldn’t want to go out with friends nor care about them. It’s like a jail for me. It makes me give in and sucks all the energy in me. It stops me from so many things: studying, spending time with people I care about, enjoying things, just living a normal life.
My parents always asks me about my headache. It’s like…what do you want me to say? The whole spiel over and over again? Yes. I have a headache. I will never NOT have a headache. It hurts, leave me alone. But because I don’t want them to worry, I don’t keep complaining about it. It doesn’t mean that it’s not there. Like a shadow, it’s always there. I try so so so hard to live a normal life. I went out with my family this weekend and spent more time out of my room with them. My head gave me unbearable migraines, but I held it out. Even when they took a long time at the loud restaurant when I had already finished eating and was just waiting for them. Even when they wanted to go places after places after places. Because I wanted to be able to show them that I love my family. That I don’t isolate myself from them because of them. But because the pain locks me in and I just can’t do anything else. I collapsed after the outings, but I think it was worth it. To just spend time with them is precious. So I hope that they can one day understand me. That they can understand my effort and suffering. Because I don’t think I can hold it out for too long. It’s much too draining. I’m tired. My mind, my body, is tired of this headache. But I’ll keep trying, because some little part of me holds on to the belief that it’ll get better, and that I CAN live through this, no matter what this “normal life” for me becomes.
So recently it’s been really hard on me regarding my thoughts about my family. It’s been causing me to spiral back into that dreadful spiral of depression, crying myself to sleep and sleeping all the time to avoid reality. I went to my family doctor knowing that it wasn’t something I could keep doing and was hoping that he’d have a solution through medications or something, since counselling made things fine for a while but it’d just go back. And living with my family meant I had a reminder pretty much all the time. I was already always in my room all the time away from them, but they were there…beyond the door. It’s a deadly repetitive cycle, depression. It just sucks you in when everything else is going well. Like school is chill with 4 courses ONLY (had 9 courses in 1 term before) and it’s the end of the road nearing graduation, I have a job and all. I guess I’m just prone to making problems for myself, like life just ALWAYS has to be hard…But anyways.
So I’ve been told multiple times by multiple people that I needed to get away from my family. Whether for a short vacation or to move out or whatever. To have a different environment where I won’t be trapped with their opinions and to find who I am. Me as a person. Not as a daughter who has to be obedient and a sister who has to care for her brother and parents. But as a single being. It took me weeks to decide. Because freedom seemed so tempting, it seemed like the perfect solution. My parents had to let go someday, and I am legally an adult so I’m not technically doing anything wrong. It might just be short term and might change things. It seemed doable.
But as I thought more about it, thinking about my dad’s not-too-great health and the worrisome overprotective parents they have always been, I feel like me leaving them would hurt them beyond what time could heal. I don’t know how much longer I get to spend with my parents as they’re already in their mid-50s. And knowing firsthand the regret with my grandmother’s death. I don’t think I can ever live with the regret of making the decision to move out if and when they pass. So I’m just going to stick it out. Hey, life only gives us what we can get over. Since we’re strong enough. So I just gotta believe that. And believe that we can make it through together, as a family. Holding each other, supporting each other. That one day, they’ll feel me trying and reciprocate.
So here’s a goodbye. As of February 28, 2017 12:34AM. A goodbye to the one person population in my world. A goodbye to “me”. A goodbye to my dreams. Or actually, temporarily put on hold. I’ll just live for them like I always have. And I’ll work harder to be part of the family and reach out that hand. Since they gave up so much for me and my brother, I think what I’m going through is soooo little to nothing compared to that. They stayed together despite both their family issues and when it got hard, they just tried harder. So likewise, I want to make it worthwhile for them. To show them that their harsh lives were for this. To be able to look at me and feel content. To feel proud. I’m ready to work harder than ever to make their dreams come true. Their dreams will become mine. And one day, maybe I’ll be able to make my own dreams come true and live for myself.
So recently the issue of my parents favouring my brother over me has been bothering me more and more. My mentor asked me why it bothered me now even though it’s been consistent over the years? Maybe it’s because I can’t reason their favouritism any more. We’re both adults and on equal playing ground. He no longer has his cyst and surgeries and issues with being bullied. He’s even above me in the sense that I’m going to graduate with a bachelor in pharmacy whereas he graduates as a doctor of pharmacy since the program upgraded. He gets the top 15% of marks and recommendations for scholarships while I’m struggling to pass my courses. And with my struggles with mental and physical illnesses, I guess I assumed that the treatment would change due to this. And it hurts. It hurts all the more that the effort I put into making his life easier isn’t reciprocated. And the excuses that come up are so unreasonable that it hurts even more to hear them come up with such lame excuses. To the point that it’s because I’m a girl and he’s a boy, thus letting him have more freedom. Like *insert swear word* it’s 2017, equality. We’re BOTH your children. How do you expect me to try my best and be happy with who I am if I don’t get any respect at home? My recommendations were never heard, until now that HE’S in the program too and can justify my recommendations. Should I even NEED his justifications? And NOW that we’re on equal playing ground, they start seeing that the things I complain about are true. Like REALLY. Did my words just fall on deaf ears all these years? All my struggles to just come to an end like this? And never once would I hear that I was right. Because all I’ve crashed into were the walls of “you are wrong” and they would never let their egos break that wall. They say that we should unite and go through all our struggles together as a family. But the struggles I go through are because of them. So how am i supposed to tell them about my stresses and fears?
As I take another dose of lorazepam due to stress, I feel numbed. Sure, I can continue living this way and just numb myself each time. Sure, I can put up a wall so that their hurting words SHOULDN’T hurt. Sure, I can FORGET and FORGIVE. And sure, I can still love them when my heart is so broken I don’t even know if I can feel love anymore. But reality is that every day is a fight. A fight within myself to try harder to love my family. Because I believe SO STRONGLY in family. That the bond is beyond the bloodline. That there is love within each hurting word, within each rejection, within each disappointment. They DO love me in the end, right? They love me in their ways but never tried to love me the way that I wanted them to love me. Is that love? While I support their every fight and decision, they only join the fight against me. They still love me right? While I go out of my way to do things for them, they don’t want to go out of their ways to do a favour for me or remember my schedule like they do for him. But they still love me right? They defend his mistakes and don’t say sorry for berating me on the same mistakes in the past. But because it’s in the past and they were learning with me as their first child so it’s okay right? It will be okay right?