Sunday, August 13, 2017

Depressed Michelle

I haven't had the time to post anything for more than a year because life has been pretty hectic. Being a new mom is no walk in the park; life goes on with no sleep and I still don't understand why would anyone, would want to be a parent (willingly!)? I've been lecturing for almost 5 years (In April 2018) and I've been writing for The Asian Parent Malaysia for 1 year already. 

Instead of blogging, I kinda advice parents on parenting tips, trends, news and everything parenting for the company. Juggling 2 full time jobs, raising a family and being OCD about a clean house really can get you down. Throughout the whole year, I worked weekends, I didn't take leave, I didn't spend even a minute on myself. 80% of the time I was working, writing, and the remaining 20% was divided between my family, cleaning the house, cooking and running errands. Sleep was non-existent and a luxury. 

Looking back, I wondered, "How on Earth I managed to do all that with no sleep or rest?" I thought everything was going well until I received a SMS from my editor with, "Hey Michelle, we need to talk." and next thing I know, all I can read from her SMS was ".... So, this is your last and final month with us." 

I reeled in shock and next thing I know, i cried. I can't remember the last time I cried. I cried and cried. For 1 year I sacrificed everything for my job. I'm on call 24/7, I didn't take leave when I was sick, I didn't have lunch most days because I would rather spend 1 hour writing my articles than going out to eat. AND TO BE UNCEREMONIOUSLY dropped? It was horrible. 

Since that faithful day, I never really recovered. I got really sick, mentally. Most of the time, I feel over whelming and immobilizing sadness. I can't wake up in the morning, I feel suicidal and I feel tired, tired of life. Depression isn't the feeling of constant sadness, it's a fight to be happy, because everytime you think you're past that immobilizing sadness, it hits you harder and stronger.

Most of the time I don't know what I'm doing, where I'm going or what I've done. Part of me is disgusted that I could stoop so low and be so weak. Another part of me? Just wanted to die. 

Everyone thinks that being a lecturer is really fun, all we do is teach, we have flexi hours and we have long semester breaks. I really wish that was true. My normal day is, solving student's problems, marking papers, doing paperwork, settling fights between students, listening to their problems and showing that I care. 

For years, I've absorbed all their negative feelings and honestly, it does take a toll on someone, mentally and physically. I continuously absorb all their anger, sadness and negativity and I just keep taking it in. Why? Because I hate myself for caring. I hate myself for caring so much. 

I decided to take 1 week off work. I spent most of the time just staring into space. Which is freaking the hubby out. I'm constantly crying, which is freaking my mom out. When I tried to talk to my friends, no one understands. You know that feeling when you're moody? Imagine an intense and long term moodiness. 

It's difficult to go out or meet anyone because they think that you're being dramatic or over reacting. Most of them, would rather not talk to you because you're being too "moody" for their liking. They think depression is a switch, that you could just turn off and be "normal". I've never felt suicidal since I was 16 years old, these feelings just embraced me like an old friend. An old friend, I hated. 

It started bringing forth so many emotions I've suppressed all these years. I've counselled my fair share of depressed students these past years despite having no experience, cause most of them just wanted someone to listen to their problems and just listening to them talk, you already show that you care. 

The disappointing part was, no one could help me except myself. 

Will update more once I feel better. 

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Not Your Quintessential Tiger Mom


I would never consider myself a quintessential Tiger mom. I was not raised by one, nor have I experienced what it means to be in contact with a Tiger mom. In fact, my mom is the epitome of understanding. I got 2A's for my SPM, the first thing she asked me when she saw my results were, "Did you put in the effort to study?" I said "Yes" and she was proud... The next thing she told me was, "Well, at least 2A's is better than none"

When I started college, she never once nagged me to study even though i preferred going out and hanging out with friends. Despite not studying I still got a CGPA of 3.87 upon graduation. This went on until I got my Masters in Political Science and as I'm writing this today, I've been a lecturer for 4 years, I'm married and my little boy is 18 months. And I'm your quintessential Tiger mom.

I do not know how I got here, I do not know what came over me, but, I realized that no one becomes a Tiger mom overnight. Its an amalgamation of events that caused them to be so hard on their loved ones just because of LOVE.

Us, Tiger moms are not slave drivers. We have emotions, feelings and frustrations. I started out being hard on my then 1 year old son. He's rambunctious and very spirited. He's also very stubborn; a trait he inherited from the both of us and I was getting concerned on his discipline.

I'm a first time mom and I never really liked kids, I expected a 1 year old to reason and understand like an adult, I expected him to behave appropriately, like an adult, but, in reality, I forgot that he's only 1 year old. Because my expectations weren't met, I started to become hard on him.

I was never excited over the little things he does. I never gave him credit for his little accomplishments because I believed that he could do better; He can behave better, he can reason better and he can do much better! If he took his first steps, I believed that he should have been able to walk earlier or be able to run.

I introduced the cane to him at 1 year old. I literally followed Pavlov's style of learning by associating pain as a corrective method. 

It broke my heart that my 1 year old son "beat" himself on the thigh whenever he did something wrong and I said "Beat, Beat". It broke my heart that he cried silently as I " beat" him lightly. At that time, I just thought that his playfulness is a form of misbehaviour.

I became so stern with disciplining him, and I keep forgetting that he's only 1. As the days go by, I started to be hard on my husband too. Everything he did was never good enough. I kept thinking that he could have done more, he could help out more, he could do things without having me to ask him to.

And when he didn't live up to my expectations, again, I became angrier. Everyday, I'm like a pressure cooker under both of their "incompetencies", just awaiting a time when a single " Are you OK?" From my husband would set of the pressure. I hated this life. I believed that both of them were the cause of my sorrows. The only reason I'm hanging on is because I believe that a dark tunnel can't go on forever.

So, everyday, little by little, I manifested into a Tiger mom. Trying to push everyone to do their best because I'm an over achiever; I can seemingly balance 2 jobs, writing a research paper, writing a proposal for my PhD, and juggling life, all at the same time, oh, and with as little as 3 hours sleep a night, if I'm lucky!

I realised that I became a Tiger mom because I don't vent my anger or frustrations. There's no outlet to let off steam and I became a pusher as a self defence mechanism. I wrote this piece to remind myself to appreciate every little things that my son and my husband does for me. So, here's a list of things I want to remember and things I took for granted.

1) Hubby cook for me ALL THE TIME, ANYTIME. My fav dish is Midnight Chicken.
2) My son wakes me up with kisses and some days, its nice hanging out with him. Some days, its just us doing grocery shopping and having lunch. I liked spending time with him.
3) My hubby buys me anything I want if he can afford it. He has never said "NO" to things that I want.
4) My hubby cleans the house so we can live comfortably.
5) He calls to ask me if I want anything if he's on the way home.
6) He has never complained about getting my used stuff. He buys me a new phone and he will use my old phone.
7) He carries everything.
8) If he has RM10 in his wallet, he will give it to me.
9) He's faithful and someone I can trust.
10) He's holy and God fearing.
11) He's a great dad to our son.
12) He's always there for his son. Every hospital appointment, every thing.
13) My son is a happy child, he rarely cries unless he wants milk.
14) My son is a loving child, he gives the best hugs and kisses.
15) My son is a smart boy, I rarely have to use the cane now.
16) My son is independent, he can play on his own.
17) My son is a lovely boy, he's the cutest and he loves animals.
18) He always apologizes first.
19) Hubby gives me a massage every night.
20) My son's laughter can always make me laugh.

This is for all the things they do that wasn't enough for me. This is for all the love they've given to me that I did not reciprocate. This is all the joy that they've brought me that I didn't appreciate. This is for the family I have that I didn't embrace.