Updated: Jan 20

This entry regards the fascinating experience of my first visit to a psychiatrist. If you feel triggered or attacked please share your views with me. I hope not to offend or humiliate anyone. The purpose of my writing, in this case, is to inform, share, and encourage hopefully through a more light, humorous tone. I’d like to also note that mental health is important and it’s a real issue, especially when you’re in a strange country with a language barrier and an enormous amount of anxiety.  


So, yes, I started seeing a psychiatrist recently. Long overdue, indeed, but interesting nonetheless. He suggested I start a blog because apparently I’m not very verbal. Which is the first time anybody has ever insulted me like that. Ha! If you know me you’re deeply aware of the fact that I never stop talking. But I've quite enjoyed writing again, and it was excellent advice.


So, let’s start with the actual location of the building. It’s was in a 7/11. And I’m not even joking. Well, kind of. You have to walk through the 7/11 to get there. But it was just an hilarious first impression, which I desperately needed at the time, because I was extremely nervous and sure that in about a few minutes they would tell me that I was completely insane and was under no circumstances mentally stable enough to leave and that I’d have to spent my whole life in a 7/11.


Thinking about it now I guess there are worse places to spend your eternal mental breakdown. At least I’d be surrounded by boiled eggs and sticky sweet potatoes with an odor of one hundred newborn calfs stuck in a closet. (Well, thats what a 7/11 in Taiwan smells like to me, you might differ).


Walking up the stairs, I was obviously giving off the impression of a mentally insane adult that’s having a midlife crisis because people kept pointing to where I needed to go, without any queries or even knowing the purpose for my visit to the 7/11 Psychiatric Hospital. (Side note: I’m 25 people, this is the apparent age of experiencing a mid life crisis in these polluted, politically unstable, short, busy days).


Now, what happened behind the locked (or at least partially closed) door of the psychiatrist’s office, I’m not at liberty to discuss. Basically because not much happened. I sat quietly staring at the little room with a little bed, a container of tissues and a doctor just constantly typing whatever he observed.


With me not talking and him asking strange, half-English questions, we settled on an agreement that I was able to leave with a few pills in hand. (By that I obviously mean little sachets of carefully selected medication labeled “with breakfast,” “with lunch,” “with dinner,” and “at bed time.)”


For those of you who are not aware of the medical systems in Taiwan, I'd like to proudly point out that it is quite exquisite, inexpensive and advanced. Nothing like what I’ve ever experienced in South Africa.


Anyway, I walked out with a brand new bathroom cabinet fully stocked, having to return every week in order to get my prescription re-filled. In all seriousness, these little packets of “drink me nows” have brought tremendous change to my everyday life and I’m so grateful for the courage that led me to the 7/11 in the first place. If ever you’re restless, uncomfortable, or scared, remember that there was even a first time that you had to brush your own teeth, and that now you (hopefully) do it three times a day without even having to open your eyes, or being fully awake. Ha! (No judgement here, who has time these days to brush 3 times a day anyway?)  


So, if you’ve got a feeling in your gut, that screams at you to go “see someone” as they might say, please do. I hope my experience can be seen as a roadmap, or just a humorous babble about how mentally distressed I am. Either way, I hope you’ve learned something.



Updated: Jan 20


Polaroids, glitter and trees.

You said that we should store the Christmas tree in a box under the bed, so that we could use it again next year. We picked out the finest ornaments and hung them on the tree together. We put an enormous star on the peak of the tree. You seemed so excited by the thought of a future, the craving of hope and yearning for happiness, but we both knew that it was going to be the first and only Christmas that we’ll ever spend together.


We were too excited to wait for actual Christmas day, so we decided to have a hurried, premature “Christmas,” exchanging gifts while “All I want for Christmas is You” was humming in the background. And all I wanted for Christmas was you. Your green eyes, your freckled nose, your touch, your prose directed at our growth. I was so deeply devoted, my vision distorted, grasping onto the hope, familiarity and spirituality attached to that tangly, thin tree. But Christmas trees are lacerated by the stem, and before Christmas even began, the tree was lifeless and inanimate.


The Christmas tree stayed up until late June, I now infer that it was because we were both greedy for the sentiment not to fade. The glitter from the carefully selected ornaments were scattered everywhere. On the floor, on our desires, in the crinkle beneath your left eye, only visible when you smile.


A few times we almost knocked the tree over, you propelling straight into it and me stumbling to catch it like a fatal disease. Sometimes you would push it over on purpose, just to watch a rain of glimmer descending on us. The perfectionist in me would pick up all the little pieces of fine glitter one by one, I’d be tired and irritated, but you’d be full of glint and shimmer, so luminescent, gorgeous, unburdened. You asked me “Why don’t you look happy,” thinking the shimmering would make me rejoiced, thinking that I could forget why the tree always kept tumbling over.


After a lot of pain, the tree would stand again, right next to the doorway, sometimes making it difficult to exit the door, to escape. The last time the tree came tumbling down, I started sobbing uncontrollably. You uttered with shock “why are you crying- there’s nothing to cry about.” I cried because Christmas was long over, the tree was to heavy and I couldn’t pick it up, and you didn’t even attempt to try. But you were right. There was nothing to cry about. The Christmas tree was dead when we procured it. It was bound to dry out or rot eventually.


I haven’t seen the Christmas tree since that day, but I’ve noticed that you’ve become an ornament, a toy underneath a Christmas tree, all wrapped up in glamorous wrapping paper. I sometimes take a glance at the names on the card tucked underneath the giant red bow. My name isn’t on the card. But, instead of being disappointed, I feel as content as one could in the same particular situation. I might not have the gift of spangle or flicker, but I have a forest of green trees sturdy rooted in the ground. I might not have a Christmas party or an exchanging of gifts, but your glitter is disappearing, fading slowly, and I don’t intend on wasting anymore time on my knees trying to clean you up. I can't hear the Christmas melodies anymore, but a different, lighter tune is starting to chime. A rhythm that I cannot stop dancing to. I might not have you this Christmas, but I have a lot more. I have trees connecting with the sky, I have sunbeams and light rays raining down on my skin. I have luminescent wings. They are strong, and wild, and filled with brightly gleaming rainbow colours. I have me, and I no longer need your glitter or the memories of the Christmas tree.

Updated: Jan 20


Rainbow Trail

Have you ever felt actually, completely, free?


That’s the thing about standing on a mountain top, looking at a skyline, staring at the sunset, gazing at the moon, or any kind of view- you’re under the impression that you feel absolutely and astonishingly free. But do you actually feel free? What does being, or feeling free even mean? "I have always thirsted for knowledge, I have always been full of questions."- Herman Hesse, Siddhartha


I went on my first hash-run recently. For those of you who don’t know, no, there’s no actual “hash” involved. But beer, snacks and loads of water are indeed included, that, and a hiking trail with quite a few surprises.


So, let me first explain what exactly a hash is: hashing involves a hare who lays a trail of flour, chalk, sawdust or paper which is followed by a pack of harriers (runners, or in my case, walkers). Once the pack has reached the finish point and are suitably rested it is usual to form a circle. In this circle, hashers are punished for misdemeanours on the run by being given a “down-down” which involves drinking or “downing” a beer in one.


So, the hash began, the hares set off, and we set off shortly afterwards. We followed the trail up into the mountains and explored beautiful trails and sights. There was one point in the hash where almost everyone had to slide down on their bums because it was too steep of a drop. Rocks were flying down on other hashers’ heads. It was a laugh. I tried to balance on a log. Turns out the log was old, and dead, so it broke upon touch and a rain of ants came stumbling down on my head. Yeah, it was funny. One of the hashers’ parents came to town to visit, so he brought them along. I still laugh to the memory of hearing him apologise “I’m so sorry mum.” “I’m so sorry.” Ha! The trail also led into a temple of hell. It was unexpectedly scary. We were led through an abandoned school which was astonishing. We met a lot of cute, underfed, gorgeous street-dogs along the way, and of course whilst all of this, I was sweating profusely from the humidity and complaining about it like a teenager. Ha!


Anyway, back to the beautiful scenery.. Somewhere along the trail we were pretty high up on the mountain with a beautiful landscape laid out in front of us. It was too gorgeous to describe in words- as most sceneries are. So, after taking a picture, or a couple to get the “perfect” shot that I’ll filter and edit later anyway, I just stared out in front of me and realised in that moment, even though drenched in sweat, I felt completely comfortable, silent, and awake. I felt, what I, and some others might describe as free. I felt broken off from the world. I didn’t think about work. I didn’t feel pain. I didn’t feel mentally ill. I felt content. I felt at ease. I felt free.


It didn’t last for long because first of all, do we really feel as free as we think we do when staring out onto a great view in nature? Aren’t we actually just programmed or tricked into thinking that we do? It’s the norm right? Your mom is convinced, your followers are convinced, your celebrity crush is convinced, even your pet is convinced that being in nature makes you perceive freedom. Even Herman Hesse wrote about it: "Seeking means to have a goal, but finding means to be free, to be receptive, to have no goal." Well, then why do be build million dollar companies, destroy nature and, if I even have to mention the straw thing. And, I’m pretty sure a slave feels the same way, right before turning around and going back to doing whatever is demanded of them (but this is a discussion for another blog entry).


So for me, I didn’t feel free, I felt like it was a great view, a perfect scenery, followed by extreme anxiety that I needed to get back on the track because I didn’t want to be the last one to get to the ending point. Especially because it was my first endeavour, and who wants to be the last one to finish anyway?


We finally reached the end, had to down a lot at “down-downs,” because it was my birthday in the same month, for being newbies, for wearing my feelings on my shirt (my shirt read “it’s ok to have a bad day”) and for being in Changhua for 3 years and only now joining the hash. Needless to say I forgot about feeling free and beautiful sceneries, I forgot about being content, I forgot about slaves and celebrity crushes, I just got drunk and continued living my life, as I did before.


I guess I’m trying to figure out if one can actually be free, even though attempting to reach the feeling. If you had the perfect occupation, the perfect family situation, if you, or your race, culture, religion, sexual preference, or any other defining factors in your life are not marginalised or discriminated upon, would you ever feel, or be free?


I was speaking to a friend about the topic and she asked me what I thought being free actually was. She asked me “is it the deep breath you take before you hit the top, or is it the view at the top.” To which we both had different answers, which proves that freedom means something different to each and every one of us. But my question is; what if every single aspect or object that you perceive as holding you back from being free, just suddenly evaporates into the air, would you actually feel free? Or are we just programmed to chase after something that we’ll never achieve?


To answer the question I asked at the start of this ‘novel,’ No! I don’t feel free at all, and I don’t think I ever will. I could never feel free while any other person, animal, or alien (for that matter) isn’t presented with the option to be free from anything and everything that causes it to perceive its life to be unfree (but I feel like this is also a subject for another day).


I guess what I want you, the reader, to take away from this, is; have you actually ever felt free? or have you ever questioned feeling free? and, if you have, please share your experience with me. I’m eager to be informed. I’m persuaded that there is no such thing as freedom. I’m open to lose a debate because "opinions mean nothing; they may be beautiful or ugly, clever or foolish, anyone can embrace or reject them," but "I have always thirsted for knowledge, I have always been full of questions."


That’s all for now,

xx

M

LET'S TAKE IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL

© 2019 by Michelle