XFINITE asked a person to share the dark periods of their life.
It all began in 2007 when I went out with my parents to get some Saj Ko Ang [grilled beef]. One moment I was eating and the next my tongue was paralyzed. Believe me, I tried so hard to get my tongue back inside my mouth, but I couldn’t even breathe. My whole body froze; I was a wood log and I thought I died. Yeah, that’s my worst memory.
I’ve been with them for over 13 years now. I’ve been diagnosed with epilepsy, bipolar, depression, anxiety, paranoia, and schizophrenia. Some of them went away and I believe it has everything to do with my family’s great support besides the medical factors. My sickness put 3 years of hiatus on my education. I had to sacrifice my childhood and lie on my bed, waiting for recovery. I couldn’t meet anyone. I couldn’t leave the house except for my regular check-ups.
My sleeping pattern was abnormal; I couldn’t sleep at night and always got up in the afternoon. I was so afraid I wasn’t capable of pursuing an education. My sickness forced me to make difficult choices, but at least I got to go back to school. I might not be the smartest one, but I work really hard because I am grateful every day to be able to continue to do this. I still think about that every time someone asks why I care so much about getting straight As.
Kids at school called me names, assumed I was gay, or avoided me. I never so much as fit in. I was an outcast who occasionally had breakdowns and panic attacks. What if I had no friends? Why couldn’t I talk like normal people? “Don’t talk to him,” they said. So at lunch, I sat in a separate seat and continued my work while I ate. I hid my sickness the way LGBT people stayed in their closets. We were still picked on, anyway.
I used to wonder. Why did it have to be me? Why did I suffer all of this? I was stuck in the same place. I was alone and I sometimes wished I wasn’t alive. They take advantage of me and it’s just so hard to say “no”. They put me in a storm, only approaching me when they need help. They always wanted something. They always left after they got it.
I don’t wish I was born any differently now though. If so, I wouldn’t have met such amazing people that came later. If so, I wouldn’t be able to see the world in their perfects, to not shine lights on flaws, to try to understand. Flaws are actually beautiful if you think about it. It’s not a matter of you storming on them, but it’s how you embrace them and not try to change. It’s how, at the end of the day, you’re kind enough to let them be. You’re strong enough to accept it’s a part of you.
I want you people to know that mentally disabled people can achieve great things in life and I want to be their example. I want them to reach out and ask for help. I never knew you could ask for help back then, but I know now that it’s okay to be vulnerable. I want to break the stereotypes. It is just an illness; it can be cured. It is NOT an evil spirit. It cannot break your soul.
I don’t know what I would be if I never had my sickness, but I know that I would still be working hard. I also want you to know that studying too hard doesn’t make you crazy. You just need a coping mechanism; you just need to understand when to stop. You must not wait for the limit to arrive but rest before you’re tired.
If mentally disabled people approach you, please actively listen. Instead of focusing on sympathy, try to think as if you were in my situation. Don’t go around telling people about it. Don’t put a label on me. Support them. It is actually way easier to do than being mean.
The best thing anyone has ever done to me? Just give me a hug. Not in this coronavirus pandemic, of course. I might not have a very soothing voice and I might not be the best of friends, but I don’t want to give up. I don’t want to think about suicides. I want to beat this sickness, to stay positive even with such conditions. I want to adopt children if I’m not able to have them, and I want to be happy just like you.
I want people to remember that there is always a light. That light does not disappear as long as you can breathe and your heart can beat. I want you to keep finding more beautiful reasons to live despite it all. I also want everyone to be my friends. What do you even pick sides for?