Good morning, friends. I hope that you have had a good week, or at the very least you survived a bad week and hopefully your weekend has been treating you well!
This past week has been very rough for me, both emotionally and mentally. Holidays are always a super rough time. Since I come from an Islamic background, my family all participated in Eid celebrations last Friday. Eid is the biggest and most festive of all the Islamic holidays. It’s supposed to be a time of loving, sharing, and appreciating the presence of those who are special to you; at least that’s how it was for me when I was growing up. But this year the holidays made me very depressed, which then spilled out into the rest of my week.
** Disclaimer: I am not a psychologist or psychiatrist. I am simply one person who is reaching out and sharing their experiences and techniques that has helped them be able to move forward in life. Do not take anything that I say as medical advice as I am not a medical professional, and information provided here on BiblioNyan should not be construed as such. Thank you. **
I was looking forward to spending it with my parents, but my mom decided to spend it with my aunt who recently lost her mother a couple of months ago. I wasn’t upset that my mom made the choice to do this. I remember what holidays and birthdays were like for her many years ago when my maternal grandmother passed away. I thought it was very considerate of her to offer her time and support like this. What made me upset was that my mom never bothered to tell me her plans. Normally my parents go out of town to get away for Eid; relax, rewind, and sort of recoup. I asked her about this annual trip and only then did she tell me about my aunt. I know for a 100% fact that I never would have found out otherwise. My mom likes to tell me about happenings way after they happen and then gets mad at me for not being present when these things…well, happen.
This may seem really petty and immature, probably even childish on my part, but when you deal with passive aggressive behaviours and attitudes day in and day out, even the most seemingly minute details can get to you. It’s worse with my mother because she always expects me to tell her everything and gets personally offended when I don’t do it (mostly I forget to), yet she doesn’t abide by the same respect. It’s can be quite heart-breaking.
What made everything so much worse is that she honestly thought I didn’t care that I was going to be alone for Eid. She never asked me what I was doing, or anything. I made a casual joke about spending it at the library, and she just nodded then changed the subject. My dad knew I was lonely, though. He can always read me like a book. I could tell he was feeling bad, more so because he started giving me tons of food. Food is a sign of comfort for my father, so in his way, that’s what he was trying to do: comfort me. I appreciated it immensely. I ended up coming home with bags of Maggi Curry Ramen, biscuits, and snacks of all sorts.
On the day of Eid, I woke up and spent a good hour or so just crying because I had felt so terribly alone. I honestly cannot remember the last time that loneliness had seeped so far into my heart and mind. I packed up my library books for returning and as I slipped one sock on to my left leg, with the right one just hanging on my computer chair’s arm, I sat down and began to sob, all of it hitting me like a tidal wave at once. I was so afraid of crying out too loudly that I buried my face into a towel, so I could scream my pain and sadness into it. I didn’t want to startle the neighbours or anything. It would probably be bad, you know, sounding like my cats are murdering me or something, which I wouldn’t put past Kheb.
Loneliness is something that can make me feel so wholeheartedly miserable, and once it infects my brain, it likes to stick around for extended periods of time. As such it has been my bedfellow for the past week, making it extremely challenging for me to focus on much of anything, whether it was reading, watching anime or other types of cinema, and blogging. Hell, it even affects my ability to eat and sleep—I’ll eat way too much food, feeling like my hunger isn’t going away, or I won’t eat anything for days (severe cases); with sleep, I am plagued by horrendous bouts of insomnia.
One evening while I was lying in bed—tossing, turning trying my hardest to get my mind to shut up—I tried to distract myself by brainstorming blog post ideas. Then I remembered Rose’s recent post on things that make her smile, which triggered another memory for me, where I recalled something that my brother, and Sir Betrothed as well, have said to me before.
“Sometimes when you’re feeling your absolute worst, it’s vital to take a step back, take a very deep and slow breath, and remember all of the little things in your life that makes you happy or feel content. It won’t make the rest of the stuff you’re dealing with disappear, but it makes you realise that you have comfort where you need it to make it to the next day.”
I slid out of bed, startling all of the cats around me out of their slumber as I did this and grabbed some paper and a pen. I sat down, thought to myself, “I smile when…” and began to write down whatever came to mind first. When I was done, I looked at my list and couldn’t help but laugh. A lot of the things that I had written down were definitely small and seemingly irrelevant. Yet, just thinking about all of the stuff I came up with began to make me feel so much better and that crippling sense of loneliness finally started to fade away.
Here are the ten things that make me smile:
- Cats Sharing My Pillow and/or Blankets While I Nap/Read: Whenever I’m laying down, if I can feel the rumble of them purring through my pillow, or the warmth and comfort of their floofy bodies lying beside me (especially if they’re under the blankies with me), it immediately calms me and helps me feel a great sense of relaxation, and I know that I’ll be smiling the whole time.
- Spending a Lazy Day with Sir Betrothed: Usually when we do this, we will spend the day reading or playing video games, or even watching wrestling. We will be sprawled around the bed, couch, or library floor in our own funky and awkwardly comfortable positions, just enjoying one another’s presence. We don’t have to be snuggling, or even watching/playing the same thing. This wonderful sense of intimacy is such a comfort to me!
- Listening to the Initial D OST: It is impossible not to feel energetic and badass while listening to “Running in the 90s” or “No One Sleeps in Tokyo.” The cheesy-as-hell Eurobeat always make me smile and feel like I can conquer just about anything that flutters into my face.
- GTO: Great Teacher Onizuka: Out of everything on this list, this anime series if probably the only thing that I turn to whenever I’m feeling my shittiest. Onizuka’s wisdom, crude humour, and childish excitement inspire me in some form or another. Within five minutes of an episode, I’ll be smiling and laughing, with most of my negative feelings either forgotten or subdued enough not to incapacitate me.
- Nestle` Milo: I have been drinking this thing since I was a wee brat. It’s not super sweet, which I love, and it tastes SO good when made with vanilla soy milk (woot, lactose intolerance). It makes me so nostalgic for a time when things were super simple and easy. It’s best when it’s hot so as to be the most soothing, and it’s legit an instant cure for allergy attacks. No joke!
- Knee-High Novelty Socks: If they have goofy and fun prints on them, such as dinosaurs on roller skates or in astronaut suits, cats with umbrellas and bowties (any kind of cat print actually, let’s be real), classic comic sound effects, etc., I must have them! I’ve amassed quite a collection and I never complete my wake-up routine without putting them on. Looking down at the sheer silliness of the fabric wrapped around my legs makes me laugh so randomly, more so when I least expect them to. It’s lovely.
- The Smell of Incense in the Morning: I usually use rose, lavender, or sandalwood incense that I find at the local Punjabi store, and it’s SO peaceful. It reminds me of the Hondo when I visit my Buddhist temple on Sundays, and…I’m not really sure how to describe it. I suppose the best way would be is that it makes me feel that all of the problems in my life are rather inconsequential when I think about how much worse off I could be. I begin to feel grateful and appreciative of what I do have versus whatever I’m battling, and it calms me.
- My Pink Terry-Cloth Hello Kitty Robe: It’s the most comfortable and cuddliest piece of clothing that I own, more so than my fuzziest sockies, and it’s also in the most perfect shade of hot, vibrant pink ever. The only downside about is that all of my cats love it too, so I rarely get an opportunity to use it anymore. *sobs* My favourite time to wear it is fresh outta the dryer. It smells like spring sunshine and feels so snuggly good.
- NCIS: This goddamn show… I have no idea what it is about this show, but I can put it in anytime and feel great by the time I finish an episode. If I had to take a gander at why, I think it may be the camaraderie or the essence of family that all of the characters have going on. It’s the one thing in my life that I miss so desperately. You’d think that seeing it would make me long for it even more, and sometimes that does happen, but more often than not I can feel that interconnected togetherness through the episodes and it always manages to make me smile.
- Sir Betrothed: Their presence in my life is a blessing that I cherish every single day. I can walk up to them, hug them super tightly without uttering a single word, and then go back to whatever I was doing with a smile. Waking up every day knowing that I share my life with this person and going to bed with the same knowledge and comfort, always makes me smile. It’s also an excellent reminder to me that I’m not nearly as alone as I tend to feel, and that I do have a beautiful and kind family with them and the kitty clan.
Loneliness is one of my daily struggles, similarly to anxiety, but not nearly as intense. It is much worse during holidays, birthdays, and whatnot, and in the past (a couple of years ago) it would knock me out of commission for months, not days or a couple weeks, but months at a time. My mental health would be so humiliatingly horrible. This past week was the first time in a long while that it immobilised me emotionally and mentally to such an extent. I think it’s one of those feelings that I don’t think about actively until it has its hands around my throat, suffocating my peace of mind right out of me. Those experiences are the ones that I fear more than others, nonetheless, I finally found a coping method that helps me through these very dark and dismal days.
If you are like me and have problems with fighting loneliness, or other negative feelings of the such, try making a list of things that make you smile and feel comforted. They don’t have to be super remarkable by any means (doesn’t mean they can’t be super remarkable either). It can be your favourite pencil or pair of shoes, a favourite dish or beverage. Maybe you have one memory that was the best day of your life. There are endless possibilities. Try closing your eyes, taking a deep breath, and thinking of them, more so if you are unable to do/see/touch/experience those things right away. The difference may only be slight, and it may only last for a moment or two. But you know what? That is an excellent place to start coping. Everything always begins with one step, no matter what shape or size that step is.
Try it out and see if it helps! If you feel something positive and good, even a teeny, tiny bit, run with it!
I would like to make a special shout-out to Rose @ Wretched & Divine. Her post on stuff that makes her happy, ultimately inspired me to write this post today! She’s a fabulous person and y’all should check out her blog. ♥