March 2, 2015 is the date I officially moved down to Orlando, Florida with my family from the Big Apple. New York City has been my home ever since I came to the states with my family 16 years ago. Time flies. It’s funny how we hear that all the time when we were young and would usual laugh at it because we couldn’t wait to grow up. Once I became a “grown-up” I’m starting to feel it. I guess when they say- elders are wiser because they been there, done that. Hmm, they were actually telling the truth, yet we were just too stubborn to listen.
Moving from NYC to Orlando was a complete culture shock. I moved my family down in two weeks time without any pre-warning or planning. In February I came to visit my relatives, in March I moved here. A crazy decision that will forever change our lives. Little did I know that it will going to be an on-going roller coaster that seems to never end. Many people thought I was out of my mind making a total irrational decision, heck, I moved so fast that I didn’t even realize at the moment. I am all for being a “go getter” and the “just do it” motto but now that I think about it, please don’t try to pull what I did. Honestly, I was barely holding myself together and was sinking into a dark hole, deeper and darker than I can imagine.
Social media is a platform where we share our interests, ideas, and memories to our friends close and distant. We share our adventure as we continue our journey. It can also shape our appearance or perspective to the outside world with what we chose to share. I tend to post the good events rather than the bad or sad ones. It became a habit over time. I created this picture perfect lifestyle that I lived. Sadly, not everything is as great as the image I created. I wanted to keep a positive outlook but after a long time you realize you don’t and can’t be happy all the time. In fact, I was almost abnormally happy that I bottled all my emotions inside until I burst.
So this post is not going to be super happy or sad, it’s just my feelings, raw and real.
I was having an extremely difficult time adjusting to my new life in Orlando. I hated the culture, the weather, the slow pace, the inconvenience, just about everything. I couldn’t see past the fact that I left my life back in NYC. I was having such a hard time that I made myself focus everyday on my job and that I cannot regret this major decision of moving down south. I had to make it work, no matter what the case may be. I did not want my sacrifice to go to waste. As expected, my family was the worst, they hated here even more than I did and complained every single day. My mom, dad, and brother, their misery became my worst nightmare. Dark clouds began to circle over me as I fall asleep every night. I was slowly losing myself…I was slipping into darkness…
One of the main reasons why I moved down so fast was because my cousin needed help with her business here. She had to go back to China in a rush and needed me to take care of her work. It was a lot of take on. It wasn’t a conventional job and I had no coworkers. The isolation alone was driving me nuts. From a busy bee, a social butterfly in NYC to working 24/7 at your own hours was a major change. It was difficult to acclimate. Everything seems impossible at times…Life seemed miserable. There was no light at the end of the tunnel.
Why am I sharing all this? Why am I pouring my heart out? Sometimes the best remedy is to express your thoughts buried deep inside. Despite all the negativity around me, I made it through. I didn’t do it alone. I had friends visiting me constantly, keeping me busy, keeping me sane. I felt their love and care, even if it’s from a distant. Of course, they didn’t know I was going through depression.
Yes, I am admitting it. I was in depression. I was angry, sad, hurt, burnt, and everything else negative. I had dark clouds flowing around me, carrying it on my back, but it was also invisible, completely transparent. I would say this is my third time really feeling depressed about myself, my life. Each time I was successful in pulling myself out. It was a long and hard process but I did overcome it and I was determined to fight it again. It’s a feeling you can’t really explain it, everything seemed dull even if it’s bright and sunny outside. When you laugh out loud but are crying inside. A place where you ignore your emotions by burying them deeper and deeper hoping it will eventually go away, but they don’t. It just sneaks up on you. Without being careful, tiny needles of words might provoke it and you feel all these emotions rushing to your face. You blink super fast hoping no one caught you at your weak moments. You force a smile and trick your mind. You go about your day as if nothing happened.
It was tough and I knew I had to fight it. I wanted to give up, many many times. I had to persuade myself that I was good enough, that I was better than a lot of people out there, that I was a strong and independent individual. I couldn’t give up all my hard work for nothing. That would not be fair. I needed to give myself a chance of being successful, being happy, being carefree.
I wasn’t trying to reach the state of being content, I was searching for my purpose.
Slowly but surely my job has always distracted my attention from myself to what needs to be done. You can call me a workaholic, I used work to hide myself from me. It worked, 95% of the times, which are really good odds. At the same time I knew that if I didn’t do something serious about my depression, I might not be able to lift myself up if I really fell. As westernized as I am, I am also very traditional. In my culture, being Chinese American, we do not believe in therapy. I’m sorry but we all thought it was the rich people’s way of dealing with issues. With a great push from my loved ones who I know they believe and care for me deeply, I finally gave in and took a huge leap and decided to attend a few sessions.
Therapy was new and weird for me. I never even talked to counselors at my school before. I always thought of it as how it was on television, you meet with her and cry your heart out. That’s not exactly what went down. Honestly, we just chatted about my life and came up with ways to try to improve my life. She was teaching me on how to take care of myself. Self care is the best medicine anyone can give you. And more importantly only YOU can decide what you want for your body, mind, and soul. She was more of a life coach than a therapist, she encouraged me to prioritize my needs first. The experience reminded me of the announcement during a flight where the flight attendant tells you to put on the oxygen mask on yourself first before helping someone else. If you can’t take care of yourself, how can you take care of others? If you are not in the right state of mind, how can you give advice to those around you? Simply put, you can’t.
At first, going to counseling was ehh, how do I explain it, it’s different, new, completely weird, but I did make up my mind that I wanted to help myself so I tried my best. That’s all I can do right? I wanted to give myself the best chance. I wanted to be cured, I decided I will going to let in help.
This might sound easy now that I’m just recalling the whole experience. In reality I was really hesitant about counseling and the first few sessions I really didn’t feel any difference. It took me a long time. To be honest, it’s all in your head. Your mindset will make all the difference. If you want it to work, you will open yourself and let outside help in, but if you refuse then it won’t work. The mind is a very powerful tool, we must learn to care for it and use it to our advantage.
After about three months with my life coach, I was able to balance my emotions better. I was prioritizing my self care. One of the reasons why I decided to focus more on yoga is due to her recommendation. I have been practicing yoga for many years but only this past year did I really embrace and fully started to practice the art of yoga. I wanted to learn to mediate and concentrate. I wanted to slow down my pace, my mind, my heart. I wanted to intake more oxygen into my body and heart. I wanted to better myself, to become a healthy person as a whole. We cannot have a complete circle if there are areas that needs to be fixed. Everything can be improved, we just have to care for them. Specially pay more attention to areas that are lacking.
Working a full time job now (my cousin and her business partner came back so they took over), with at least 44-50 hours a week, it is extremely challenging to squeeze in time for yoga. I had to make it a part of my lifestyle. I cannot make it to all the classes that I wish I can attend but I am trying my best.
I am sharing this very personal experience with you all because I want you to know that you are not alone. There will be many times that we fall into the darkness and we just can’t lift ourselves out. That everything is going wrong and all the odds are against us, that we will still be okay because we believe in ourselves. We deserve better, we deserve happiness, we deserve to be free. Stress alone can cause so many problems, diseases, and sickness. Two years ago, I had a body full of rash out of nowhere. Cause? Unknown. However, when I did some research, it said stress may have played a big part. I don’t want to stress but I have so many problems, what do I do? Nevertheless, I am slowly learning that it is okay to be vulnerable, to show weakness because it will make you a stronger and better person. Easier said than done for sure and I still have a lot to learn. I hate being weak, but here, in this entry I am showing a side of me that I have never shared. I have never shared bad news or unpleasant experiences on social media before…this is my first time…
My first time letting my guard down…being vulnerable…to the world.
…at least it’s a start.
& you can too…
Lots of love (lol),