Thursday, September 20, 2018

BY PROVIDENCE

So, a lot has happened since my last post, and I will try to place them in linear chronological order so you might be able to follow my thought process in the past, I dunno what, five days?

The day after it was posted, Luca (who happens to be British), the last guy I dated, said to me in a text: "just to offer a non-Singaporean perspective, a doctor here told me that they very rarely prescribe SSRIs to locals and also seemed to think that medication could be a hindrance to therapy. I think that Singapore is lagging behind in this respect."

Of course I'd already known that, but he was sweet though, and I appreciate it. I know pills aren't a surefire method, but the people here are still very resistant to the idea of medicating for mental health. It's like, if you thought sex was taboo here, I think they shudder at taking pills for mental health.

I think it's even worse in religious communities, where of course, anything you think or feel is usually pinned on you, for not being "close to God", because to them, God is the solution to anything and everything. I just feel like it's a double jeopardy situation, where my mental health is closely linked to my familial bonds, but even when I know I'm doing poorly and want to seek help, I can't find the moral support to treat it, medically.

I don't know if my manager Aileen read my post, but she could see on Instagram that I hadn't had a stable week, so she texted me too.
Aileen: Hi Sarah
Aileen: I hope you're feeling better
Aileen: With whatever you're dealing with
Aileen: I'm here if you need me to listen
Aileen: Even after three months
Aileen: But I just wanted to say thank you. You have a good heart. You're a good person, thank you for supporting our team. Your presence makes me calm and happy.
Aileen: Thank you Sarah. Thank you for being part of the best team I can ever ask for
We have a joke between us because the last time she had a personal story to tell me, we somehow never got to sitting down and talking until three months after I first asked her about it. I love Aileen, she is the best manager you could ask for, she's usually calm and composed and encouraging and so very accepting.

The team has been nothing short of amazing. I don't know if I gravitated towards Lush because it's a campaigning company, and we are one of the very few companies in Singapore that are openly accepting towards hiring the LGBTQIA+ community, etc.

Sometime on Saturday, I was like, this is it, I can't stay in Singapore, this is not the place for me, so I tried to open a Chase savings account so that less money I earn would be contributed to this goddamn stupid dictatorial Singapore economy. I obviously needed a social security number, but I don't have one unless and until I get my working visa, yadda yadda yadda.

I think if I apply for Lush in the US, I might wanna try to do manufacturing. We don't have a manu team in Singapore, 'cos we don't have a Lush factory here. I think it might be fun to make the products, instead of selling them in retail, I dunno. I think retail staff really do God's work, facing people all the time.

Viv then told me about a friend of hers who'd also received similar treatment (or lack thereof) at the Institute of Mental Health, who'd received much better treatment from JCU's psych office, and whose case would be expedited even with a waitlist, based on the same details she'd provided. I emailed JCU psych, and they called back within two days.

I told her my story over the phone, my tendencies for suicidal ideation, that I veer very easily between being okay, and my depressive moods, and the fact that sometimes I'm okay makes it very hard to catch me suddenly drop in moods for no reason. She was very worried, and she says she would also try to expedite my appointment, even though there definitely is a waitlist.

(I infer from the fact that there is a high demand/long waitlist at JCU's psych, that either the psychiatrists/therapists available in Singapore are not providing satisfactory services, too expensive, or there aren't enough psych resources, and also there must be more people who have mental health issues than you'd think there are.)

Between the last post and this one, one of the aunts I'm closer to, also checked in on me and told me I could talk to her if I ever needed or wanted to, as well as my real dad. My dad asked if I was still seeing a therapist, and whether I paid for it myself.

On Monday night, around midnight, my mother texted me that she loved me, so I texted her back that I loved her too. And then, I'm not sure how or why it transpired, I don't know if someone else had clued her in to my dispositions, or she just felt like it, but at 1.14am, she said "please forgive me if i haven't been a good mother" and I started bawling insanely, just by myself in my own room.

It reminded me of some pages I'd read in Educated: A Memoir (because of course I am one of the biggest perusers of books I know of in person).
There was a pause, then more words appeared—words I hadn't known I needed to hear, but once I saw them, I realized I'd been searching my whole life for them.

You were my child. I should have protected you.

I lived a lifetime in the moment I read those lines, a life that was not the one I had actually lived. I became a different person, who remembered a different childhood. I didn't understand the magic of those words then, and I don't understand it now. I know only this: that when my mother told me that she had not been the mother to me that she wished she'd been, she became that mother for the first time.
The thing is, I haven't actually had the time nor chance to see nor talk to my mom since that text, so I don't know what the text meant for the both of us. From the anecdote above, I also know that sometimes words are spoken but nothing changes, so I honestly don't know what it will entail. I want to believe it's a major breakthrough, and I hope it is, I hope perhaps that she and I could even go to some therapy sessions together.