Some things will never change, and that’s okay

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.

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If people would stop asking…

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.

Why it won’t work out

I hate the way they talk to dad. The way they yell at him like he did something terribly wrong when it was an accident. The way they treat that as more important than his well-being. Dropping and breaking a cup and they ask WHY it happened rather than if he was okay. Then they berate him about being more careful and the way he cleans it up, how he lacks common sense and how “anyone” should know how to do that basic stuff. If everyone knew how to avoid accidents and do things perfectly, we wouldn’t be human. Why do they have to be so harsh. Why don’t they give him any respect as the head of household. Sure, there may be things he’s still learning and things that he doesn’t do that well, but that doesn’t mean you can yell at him condescendingly and verbally abuse him. Then go into the whole “just like your family” spiel. I know there was a lot of hurt and bullying but it shouldn’t be brought onto those who are innocent or the next generation. Heck I feel like I was bullied by my brother because he treats me the same way he treats my dad and everything but I still try my best to be the best sister for him. Because like any relationship, you have to work hard at it. Just because you’re related by blood and stuck with each other for life doesn’t mean that you don’t put any effort. Relationships are two way streets. You give and take, trust, and support each other. My dad doesn’t deserve to be treated that way. My mom talks about how she wanted to take us away because of his family but now I feel like I need to take him away from this family. I guess there’s just this connection with my dad since I was young (I always cry when he cries) and it hurts me seeing him put up with the obvious hurt he feels. I don’t care how nice he is or how strong he is, he shouldn’t be treated that way. I really want to protect him and stand up for him but I’m not strong enough and that hurts me too. To be able to care for and protect someone means that you have to be strong enough. One day I will better myself so that I can protect him from everyone.

On another thought, he himself has been frustrating me. Rather than just looking towards a brighter future, you need to work hard to get that brighter future and the health to live to that day. It’s almost like denial of his declining health. In harsh words, it’s like a slow process of suicide. I know because I did that. When you don’t take care of yourself, you’re just speeding up the dying process. Isn’t that the same as suicide? And when you try to fix it (if you even try), its too late. A simple example would be my cavities. I had 8 cavities because I didn’t brush my teeth for a year. It was way at the bottom of my list of things to deal with when you don’t want to live anymore. It was something that could be fixed but I still ended up going through a lot of pain. But there are things that can’t be fixed. With all those little things happening to him, he really needs to take care of his health. I can’t baby him anymore even though I don’t want to treat him the same way the others do. Because this is important. I “came out” to them about my health, problems and challenges because I wanted to change my life. He needs to be honest with us and himself about his health. Changes need to be made. Changes CAN be made. And changes won’t come just from believing. I’m trying real hard to live and I need him to do that too. I just hope that I can get him to understand that. I know that all my life I’ve been told that “people can’t change” but they can. Because I have.

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).

Come at me all at once why don’t you

When life is amazing, everything works out and happiness is overflowing. It peaks at the perfect timing and everything is beautiful. Likewise, when life sucks, it sucks to the suckiest it can ever get and all the worst things you can imagine happens. You’re already in a 6 foot deep grave and there’s a mountain of dirt just pouring over you like they’re trying to build the next Mount Everest. If you weren’t dead already, you’ll definitely be dead now.

With all that’s happened these past few days, I already felt my old friend of depression creeping up on me. The negative thoughts and actions buffeting on my weak stronghold of perseverance. It is all the more difficult to get up and go to classes. But a promise to myself is still a promise. And I’ll be needing to fulfill that promise even more now. I thought I had passed all my courses but it turns out I was mistaken. One of my marks was actually below 60% (the mark posted above 60% was just the running average of all marks that the computer automatically adds) which I found out when I got an email regarding the supplemental exam. If I haven’t already been feeling like a failure before, do I ever feel like a failure now. With another one of my dreams being to make my parents proud, it’ll be another dream crushed if I fail pharmacy. They say that they usually make the supplemental exam easier and they want us to pass, but it’s still very scary. I really need to up my game this term after I pass that supplemental exam. I can do this! Even when every fiber of my body wants to give up, I can’t give up. I’ve given all my life for this. I need to show them that I can do things, that I can work hard and become a person that they’re proud of.

Life, if there’s any more things you want to throw at me, go ahead. My will is stronger than ever and I will not give up. I’m betting my life on this.