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Sunday, October 23, 2016

my thoughts that confluence around my current #avalonreads #dailyreads

In response to Trauma Stewardship, Lipsky and Burk, and The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression, Andrew Solomon.

I want to change the world, because ever since I have had awareness of reality, I have found this world to be tangibly sad; so different from the worlds in my storybooks when I first learned to read. Whether it was because I have depression that began in childhood, altering my worldview, or because the world truly is a sad place, that has no bearing on my ambition to do good in this world in a big way. My perspective may be skewed; the lenses of my proverbial glasses definitively not rose-tinted - tea-coloured, more like. It makes for keenly-felt suffering, either my own but more pronounced than its actual proportion, or that of others, human or animal, as though it was borne by me as well. This is very painful, sometimes even more so than is usually felt during extremely depressed states; this weltschmerz may be triggered simply by current affairs. But it also empowers me; after I have reckoned with this pain I have the the unction to act upon injustice in aid of preventing this suffering, or on healing efforts after the fact.

I ask myself today, who am I apart from being God's child, apart from my parents or a string of significant others? In humility my answer used to merely be, "nothing," as it is sung, "I am a flower quickly fading, here today and gone tomorrow." But, if I need to be tethered to reality in aid of my own suffering, I need to know more facets to the truth of who am I, not in arrogant exalting of the self, but a refusal to deny looking at the mirror. Without observing my own reflection, acknowledging it, studying it, depression causes me to wholly believe I see nothing but a wraith in the mirror. I have learned to love everyone but myself, but I have failed to love my neighbour as myself, because my neighbour is God's creation and not a hollow-eyed wraith, long-dead and snuffed out. I have only known myself always as a part of another, like a moon orbiting Earth, when in fact I am greater than a star without a need to be attached to another. I must learn, that I am no longer a daughter in lack of parents' affection.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

today's #avalonreads

There are some days I don't have enough spoons to do a whole blog post on my daily reading; I will share a quote or picture on social media instead. 

I'm at the chapter of health in Today Matters, by John Maxwell, where he exhorts the reader to make a decision towards healthy habits, and be disciplined in keeping them. His example of how exercise yields no weight loss in one day, but after a period of time, if done regularly, results appear - made me think about my obsession with reading.

I'm beginning to think that reading is helping me heal. The effects are small at first - just like exercise - you won't see any results overnight; you have to keep at it regularly. I still can't articulate how exactly reading is helping me, but I probably will, soon enough.

Reading aside, I do exercise daily. Less cardio nowadays but 18 exercises for specific muscle building as physiotherapy for my injuries, every day. Sometimes I can't even complete half of them all, but then I try to get back on track within the next day or two. No, I don't enjoy it.

John Maxwell does imply - very minimally - that the chapter on health includes mental health. I guess that my daily journalling, doing visualisation and mindfulness exercises, and weekly psychotherapy sessions count as taking care of my mental health.

I am still on Trauma Stewardship by Lipsky and Burk - I highly recommend it for anyone working or volunteering in helping professions which expose you to the trauma endured by our planet, by animals, or by fellow humans.

Today's chapter is on building compassion and community, the third of five recommendations to rebuild ourselves after exposure to trauma in our work. The first way to do so is in creating a microculture. 

I feel this message of community repeating itself through what I read every day in books and online. But the truth is, right now I'm isolated. I'm not able to build a support network at the moment because I've taken a leave of absence from leading our organisations, which means isolating myself from the volunteers. Friends from the past have either moved on or are far too busy with family and work to reconnect.

People who - do - want to connect, I don't feel the same way towards them most of the time. Lack of chemistry? Perhaps I'm not ready to love a friend because I have no love to give right now. And, I've definitely tried to connect with the people I want to relate with, unfortunately they are usually very busy people. I think I will just stick to writing to an anonymous audience online for now, specifically here, Twitter and Instagram (no Facebook because I loathe that platform). Is that a microculture in itself?

Next, from The Noonday Demon, Andrew Solomon:

Fact: I am uninsurable because I am on medication for psychiatric condition; only those who have been off medication for say, three years, can be considered for insurance. 

But as you can see from what Solomon has written, and a fact I know for myself, I am likely to be permanently on medication. Excluding the childhood experiences, the breakdown I've been on for the past decade is not the first; I had one around age 20 give or take (depression warped my sense of time then). 

If not for my other half supplying me funds I would be without aid. Before I had him I tried asking for financial aid and was rejected. I've said this before and I will say it again: this country's government needs to do way more for mental illness patients. 

I leave you with this, from Pinball 1973 by Haruki Murakami.

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Monday, October 17, 2016

#avalonreads daily summary 17 October 2016 | Priorities and Reflection

From Trauma Stewardship, Lipsky and Burk
Serendipitously the part where I am working on in this book is about focus and the part I was working on in Today Matters (below) was also about focus - that prioritising helps us focus on what is important.

TIL: Where we want to put our focus, in itself illustrates that we do have a choice in what we want to focus on, what work, and our lives apart from our work.

From Today Matters, John Maxwell
Reflection is something I've been doing a lot of, prompted by the questions raised in this book, and in Trauma Stewardship. I find these questions very apt as journalling prompts. In itself this book has little value without the reflection you need to do to follow what you read.


From The Noonday Demon, Andrew Solomon
Solomon quotes Emily Dickinson (my favourite poet!) And it could not be more accurate in describing how depression makes us feel. How does mental illness feel like to you?        

From Pinball, 1973 by Haruki Murakami
In the same vein, today's QOTD: "The world awaiting him out there was just too big, too powerful; there seemed to be no place he could burrow into it." But also: "When I was in college, no one in my apartment building had a phone. Hell, I doubt any of us had an eraser."

Fiction brings to us characters we can emphatise with, describes life for us in keenly accurate ways, but also with jest sometimes.        

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Obsessions: Reading and Books

When I saw this, I felt proud of myself for prioritising reading in my daily list of recovery activities: "Can Reading Make You Happier?" The answer was quite encouraging overall.

"Since the discovery of... neurons that fire in our brains both when we perform an action ourselves and when we see an action performed by someone else... A 2011 study published in the Annual Review of Psychology, based on analysis of fMRI brain scans... when people read about an experience, they display stimulation within the same neurological regions as when they go through that experience themselves. We draw on the same brain networks when we’re reading stories and when we’re trying to guess at another person’s feelings.

"Other studies published in 2006 and 2009 showed something similar—that people who read a lot of fiction tend to be better at empathizing with others... And, in 2013, an influential study published in Science found that reading literary fiction (rather than popular fiction or literary nonfiction) improved participants’ results on tests that measured social perception and empathy, which are crucial to “theory of mind”: the ability to guess with accuracy what another human being might be thinking or feeling, a skill humans only start to develop around the age of four."

So it seems that reading books, specifically literary fiction, helps us in our social intelligence. Good information, though I was digging for mental health benefits instead of empathy towards others.

But wait, there's more!

"Reading has been shown to put our brains into a pleasurable trance-like state, similar to meditation, and it brings the same health benefits of deep relaxation and inner calm. Regular readers sleep better, have lower stress levels, higher self-esteem, and lower rates of depression than non-readers."

Ah there we go. Although I sometimes stay up too late reading and it eats into my mandatory no-stimuli pre-sleep routine (for fibromyalgia symptom-prevention).

This information did nothing to alleviate my recent book-hunger. I keep on stumbling upon books that I have to have, to read. And I already have a book backlog (thankfully small for now) waiting for me.

But I earn no income from reading, or from the writing that results from the reading. Even if books help me recover, recovery doesn't pay for books either.

For now I make lists of books I would like to read, and window shop online, carrying a basket of books slowly growing, but not quite making it to the cashier yet.

The feeling of staring at the cart and yet unable to checkout really makes my heart yearn for them all the way from here in Singapore. (They are at Amazon.)

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a daily summary of what I've read in books today #avalonreads #dailyreads

If you've read my last post you must have learned I'm now on a mission to read more books daily. I decided to post a daily summary of QOTD/TIL snippets from each book I've read daily. I hope you might enjoy it as something different from the regular book review articles online. Here is today's effort:

From Trauma Stewardship, Lipsky and Burk
I am reading this as professional development non-fiction, even though the topic is focused on personal well-being. The book presents 16 signs that exposure to trauma - in our work of helping others, animals or the planet - has negatively impacted our emotional, physical and social well-being. It then presents five ways to realign ourselves to heal these 16 effects. I didn't work on this book much today at the time of writing, so here is a cartoon pulled from the various ones that pepper the pages with some humour.

From Today Matters, John Maxwell
The crux of this book is that if we make 12 important decisions early, and discipline ourselves to manage them daily, we will have success every day. 

TIL: The first 1 out of 12 decisions is attitude; apply positive attitudes to tasks and towards people. But I was bothered by how antagonistic Maxwell described negative attitudes: I felt that my negative moods brought about by mental illness were disgusting. It may not have been his intent but that was what I felt.
From The Noonday Demon, Andrew Solomon          
This book is full of innovative ways depression can be described. It is not just a mirror of myself, it is like a "beautify" filter option on our selfie camera app. Hence why I chose this book to embark on reading the creative non-fiction genre daily - it encapsulates what creative non-fiction should be, that is, the facts presented in beautiful language which opens up more insights than an academic-toned essay would.

From Hear The Wind Sing, Haruki Murakami
Murakami endures being one of my firm favourite for over a decade now, and this is one of his early stories, published as two stories, the second being its sequel. I have read almost everything else (except 1Q84, regrettably. I still want to get back to finishing it). 

"So where are we headed?"
"The zoo."
"Sounds good to me," I said.                            

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Thursday, October 13, 2016

latest thoughts on reading

After I spent a large chunk of my time in hospital catching up on my reading, I brought the habit home and expanded it even further. I have decided that reading is going to be part of my recovery "programme" at home. Every day, besides exercises and regular daily activities, I aim to check off writing and reading in a discipline manner. Recently I've also decided to read four books at a time.

Literary fiction of course remains a firm stronghold. I try to read prizewinning books, or those by my favourite authors. I also look up book reviews on Guardian Books which is my current go-to source for book recommendations. 

I am also reading books related to my work, and that currently is about how it burnt me out. I name this category of books professional development non-fiction. I have always devoured books in this category as well, previously on fundraising and nonprofit marketing and suchlike. However I am more disciplined about it now, not only because I try to read further along in the book each day, but also by making systematic learning notes - handwritten. It really helps me internalise what I read and recalling the key concepts without referring to them, comes in a flash. And if they don't, the notes are easy to refer to.

To add to the above, I also now add personal development non-fiction. It can also be referred to as self-help books, but then it sounds flaky doesn't it. I also make notes the same way for this category.

Up and coming is the creative non-fiction genre. This is something I just decided upon. I think it sort of catches the good books that should be read, that don't fall into the above two categories.

I've also been reading at least a verse a day from the Bible - via mobile app. I make quick short notes in a note taking app on my phone.

We can't quite go without reading articles online, but the focus should be on books in my opinion. In this discipline I simply make sure I read something online every day. The articles could be via my Medium timelines, my Twitter timeline, or Twitter Lists such as topics on news or management. I sometimes expand this to include e-magazines via Zinio.

Perhaps through this disciplined manner of reading I might become more self-awareness, improve my writing skills, move further along on the no-end-in-sight recovery journey. But mostly I enjoy it, and they say reading (books) make intelligent/successful smart people, so ok then.

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Monday, September 26, 2016

Since I've been home

Reading is one of the few little things I've managed since I came home. I am slow to using it as a source for reading material: in the past month or so I have been spending a lot of time on Medium. It is to me, Tumblr for adults, Instagram but with words. Crowdsourced content-writing will of course, be littered with grammatical errors in many articles at the very least, but I get used to it if I like the ideas being conveyed.

It has been hard to get a structured routine going now that I'm home, and I still am not able to do every daily activity I need to do. It is tiring even for me to go to the bathroom, especially when I got a fibro pain flare when I first returned home. Recovery is much more of a full-time job than I first thought.

I managed to start journalling again, prompted by the delivery of my new notebooks and bottle of black ink. You might notice that, like online reading, it can also be done while lying in bed! It is something I've always justified - anything done supine is fine. But it is even truer now, because for me to get up and ambulate around the house is a hassle, and needs to be done with safety awareness in mind. So a lot of what I need are by my bedside. 

I've needed a lot of sleep since I came home. The longest stretch was 22 hours of sleep where we only woke up to eat and use the bathroom. Hospitalisation for a long-term seems to be very tiring. I am still tired, albeit less so after that 22 hour-long sleep (yes, it helped).

Up till today, I still can't complete a single day's list of exercises. I keep trying, and failing, and just keep trying again the next day. Almost all of my daily exercises are doable in bed, save for a few which need me to sit up or stand. Yet I still haven't achieved it all. It doesn't make me any less, and I guess that is what I have to remember.

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Thursday, September 15, 2016

Thoughts about finally going home

I am finally going home on Saturday. Home from hospital. Home, after almost 5 months. Home, able to walk with a one-handed walking aid, when 5 months ago I was in so much pain that I was supine and bed-bound for weeks.

Over the next few days, I will be stressed. Because I've been in a controlled environment for so long, even home will be a mentally and physically dangerous place to be. I told Asshole Dr from CGH (that controls my psychiatric meds) this very fact, but of course he not only didn't alter my medication with this in mind, he also decided that after seeing me for grand total of 5 times over 5 months, the psychiatrists who treated me for years before he did, were all wrong: I have Borderline Personality Disorder and not an organic form of depression. (Which is not true. May I also add that during each of these consults he had with me, he did not listen to me with a shred of empathy, preferring instead to pontificate eloquently on his theories.) I am being released into the real world with far less reuptake-inhibitors I need to simply not-feel-sad. Not even asking to be happy, I just want to be stable. But that's not on Asshole Dr's agenda.

Over the next few days, I will need to think about every logistic detail for my return home, including the right sized quadstick I can safely walk with. The nice one I wanted to buy costs too much to ship; my second option has a narrow base, but I trained to walk with a broad base, and haven't learned the narrow base yet (though I will eventually, through outpatient rehab). The furniture at home may need some shifting; at the very least, as much floor space as possible needs to be clutter-free, things I need to use have to be within reach. I also need to think about every minute detail of walking from doorstep to lift-lobby, where hopefully I can get an Uber driver to wait for me downstairs to help me to a parked car taking me to outpatient appointments. And then, the way back home, which is the aforementioned in reverse.

Over the next few days, I will need to start packing the stuff I have here in hospital, to get J to bring home in batches; otherwise there will simply be just too much to bring home on Saturday. I also need to buy diapers, disposable drawsheets to protect my bed from diaper leaks, exercise aids such as ankle weights and a hand gripper thingie. J needs to bring me clothes from home on Saturday. I know he won't want to, but he might also need to take leave - again - to trial-run with me a trip to the doctor's, and downstairs to the nearby shops.

Over the next few days, even after I make a hospital-discharge checklist, I will keep on thinking about "recovery" and how it translates into actual daily activities. Besides outpatient appointments, exercise, reading, journalling - is there any more time to do anything else? Or will I be taking on recovery as a full-time job now, and forget about my desire to work my heart out trying to make a difference in this world?

When I reach home and finally see my kids again (banned from visiting me while I was warded because they are pets) am I going to to withstand the barrage of emotions that come around? That I was willing to abandon them because I thought I was a burden to their father?

I am so, so sorry.

I could go on with this but I've reached the threshold where tears obfuscate my vision and my nose is getting clogged. I'm more than ready now than before, but going home is still gonna be a rollercoaster ride for me.


Saturday, September 10, 2016

I need help in my recovery.

During the past week, I discovered this truth in clarity.

It was not just one factor alone that led me to that day. My medical bills were as a result of my illnesses, my illnesses render me too incapacitated to work for money to pay this bills. My illnesses brought me to a very low point in energy and strength, physically and mentally, which resulted in heavier medical costs. But being in such a low point, I found myself unable to even ask anyone for financial help.

I cannot stop leaching money because my illnesses are chronic; I cannot be cured fully, ever. I will always cost money. Only the solution of my non-existence was viable for me in that state.

As a result, because I survived, I ended up spending almost half a year, in two different hospitals: Changi General Hospital, and St. Andrew's Community Hospital. In CGH alone, my estimated bill was over $40,000 for two surgeries and a 10 week stay. 

If you would like to help me with a crowdfunding campaign, please email me at avalon.apart@gmail.com to reach out. I want to focus on my physical and mental health and recovery, but eventually I need help with the amount of money my health and recovery costs. Yet, I am still at the state where I don't yet have the strength and energy to administrate a fundraiser. What is to a normal person merely the click of a few buttons, is to me a logistical monster I cannot handle.

Consider if you can help me set up, promote and frequently update a crowdfunding campaign. If you think this is something you would like to help me with, please reach out.


Friday, September 02, 2016

Psychodynamic therapy

Today I officially started psychodynamic therapy as an outpatient. (I am still in hospital, but at a community hospital which is an intermediate healthcare facility designed for rehabilitation, primarily via physiotherapy. It is next door to and linked to the government hospital that I stayed at for 10 weeks in an orthopaedic ward.) This is at my previous hospital's psych clinic. When I am finally home in about two weeks' time I will continue as an outpatient at this clinic.

Just to let you know about the logistics accompanying this therapy: if I want to see this doctor for psychodynamic therapy at a subsidised rate, I need to also see the main psychiatrist-on-call I was assigned to on the day I was admitted after my suicide attempt. This psychiatrist is only for the psychopharmacological part of my treatment. But this psychiatrist happens to be an asshole. (More on that later.) It has to be an hour-long session every week on the same time and day, for a year. The doctor administering this therapy is really nice and pleasant, a deviation from the norm that is the government hospital doctor.

One element about this form of therapy is that it is fluid, without many directives from the doctor. Since it is the predecessor of psychoanalysis (featuring a couch and 'tell me about your mother'), it pretty much means I am supposed to talk in the stream of consciousness, and the doctor prompts from there when necessary. I started with a current trending topic in my life: medical care.

I shared about the TCUs i.e. follow up appointments I had recently. I can't recall the specifics because it has been a very fatiguing day. As I spun on and on, with prompts like, "It sounds like you have had a very bad experience with this hospital's doctors," I ended up summarising myself that competency and empathy were important traits in doctors I paid to help me. You really have to be interested in making me feel better. It seems foolish to have to state this but besides a couple of exceptions, government doctors don't benchmark their performance against how well the patient becomes after their care.

I gave a few examples of failed doctors and one of those was the psychiatrist I have to see for my psych meds. Things he does not do: address concerns regarding symptoms, explain rationales behind his prescribed treatments, adopt a genuine listener's posture and body language. One prime example is when I asked him to reinstate one of the medications I have been taking for years until I came under his care: Lexapro. I not only wanted to feel less depressive mood-wise, I also needed Lexapro to help me with anxiety. I am now only on Cymbalta but at a fraction of my previous dose. It doesn't matter if I feel fine with this regimen, or have equal or better ways to help (no, I don't want to rely on benzodiazepines, right?) Or even, at the very least, give me an explanation why doing without will make me better. His answer to why he was not going to reinstate one of my primary meds was, "Who here has a better track record of making decisions, you or me?" All while maintaining an arrogant posture of perhaps, a dictator. No shit!

Is it really too much to expect some bedside manners? Apparently so. As the therapy session continued, I once again verbally discovered that I need to feel validated, and that's why I feel so let down by medical doctors who don't listen to me. This asshole psychiatrist is not the only one of course.

My doctor then asked me if I had similar experiences feeling invalidated when I was young, because as we continued discussing this topic, he saw me getting teary-eyed. I didn't know why exactly either, so we had to wait till I thought up a reason. I eventually linked it to how I was written off as lazy when I was a child, when I couldn't wake up easily, springing out of bed full of energy as I assume children mostly do. I couldn't fall asleep easily at night, so I never could wake up early, feeling refreshed. It was insomnia. I also had low energy all the time, perhaps fatigue? But nobody knew. I was just a lazy child who often overslept for school and failed to complete homework on time. Maybe there was more to this, but by this point my hour with him was up.

Before I started psychodynamic therapy, I needed to sit down with this doctor thrice as he asked me about myself, my history, my childhood. Not everyone is suitable for this type of therapy. I wasn't told what markers was I being assessed against, but I will take a guess. I had emotionally traumatic experiences as a child that deeply affected me to this day. It is the same reason why the alternative diagnosis I have besides depression and anxiety, is chronic PTSD. I am not sure if my high sense of self-awareness also comes into play, or that I am willing and able to share vulnerable experiences I've had.

Well, I will keep going for this therapy and hopefully write more about it here. This doctor has the right mix of what I look for in a doctor-patient relationship. He listens well, never interrupting me mid-speech, not even for a phonecall. He engages me with eye-contact throughout the entire hour, and his body language shows he is totally focused on the session we are having; he doesn't even read or write any notes. He uses the right words where appropriate, like, "Sorry to hear that..." or "Correct me if I am wrong but it seems that..." He also explains clearly the rationale or structure of the treatment he is administering, to the level of my self-awareness. Not all healthcare professionals do that! Some just want you to adhere to a treatment plan because they say it is good for you. Hardly scientific, nor helpful.

Another thing I will keep on doing is journalling. It is different from writing online through tweets and blog posts, because it likewise needs to be open and unencumbered. Self-censoring for online posts means not all of your subconscious thoughts are being explored. I have thought however, how I can still share a glimpse of that which i journal. We shall see.

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Tuesday, August 30, 2016


Is it too late for me to have a spiritual revelation?

My thoughts are dwelling on something I recently heard. I can't recall it word for word so I shall paraphrase. "If you strip away all that is superficial you will find at your core that this, this thing is what you wanted to do all along."

Will I find LKP at that core of me, in the present vector: right now, right here? I am unsure now. It has become plain that working on LKP reached tipping point for me. Recovery and self-care are, and should be henceforth, my focuses now. It will then leave little time for anything else.

But I still see it: the roaring fire that is our cat rescue work. It is part of me. When I peel away layers of me to expose my core, this fire is visible there. Yet the fire also reminds me of how drained I am inside from doing cat work. The flames keep licking, illuminating the darkness, but the fuel - it ain't me anymore.

I won't dwell on this any longer now that I have put the thoughts into written word.

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Friday, August 26, 2016


There are so many things I would say to you, if I could speak to you plainly.

I miss home. The home I have with you. You make my life less empty, just by being in it, and I am glad I got as close as I did with you. I don't know how I can express that to you in future, when I am finally home. My physical state is different now.

Thank you for trying so hard to be kinder to me. I know you are making a lot of effort to do so. Doing intangible things, like taking charge of my doctors' appointments, dealing with the hospital bills we can't afford, and - forgiving me, encouraging me in my recovery as you put the past behind us. Your face lifts me up or gets me down: if you are upset, I am upset too, but seeing you smile lifts my spirits.

I am sorry for putting you on that highway road next to me as I lay collapsed. I could imagine your worries, your anger towards me, your frustration at talking to the uniforms, all while you had to think clearly above the trauma.

I don't know we will go from here, because I will need much more caregiving from you now than before. All I know is: I will make my recovery my full-time job now. Self-care. I am not sure how much that will alleviate your lifetime burden, but I will keep going for it.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

I am still here

I survived.

Am severely injured, but alive, with a decent chance at full recovery, given how gravely I have harmed myself - that is a miracle I reckon.

Two and a half months since: I am still in hospital, as we concur I should return when I have achieved as much mobility and independence again as possible, even though I miss home terribly. I have at least another month to go.

It still hurts to think of that day, but the nightmares are over, the sudden onsets of its memories are now near nil.

I have gained new skills on how to cope with my mood and anxiety. I have gone through the severe, incomprehensible levels of pain of being injured and operated on, and emerged on the other side somehow. I still have pain, I still choke up when I recall what led me to this hospital bed, and what lies ahead. But I told myself repeatedly through this recovery process: one day at a time. With this mindset I have gotten through every day since 22 April.

I didn't even think I would be able to find the words to blog again, but here I am.

Will I ever be able to dance to trance music again? Go to beautiful places with people I love? There are so many limitations I have right now with my injuries.

Though I have come a long way, it is still a long way to go. To go into detail, right now my mobility is limited to a wheelchair. Because I have fractures at, among other places, my pelvic area and lower back, I don't have the full ability to control going to the toilet yet; I - have - regained a lot, managing to go off a urinary catheter, and urinary problems are far less now. Embarrassingly, I pee when I cough, orgasm or exert core muscles during physiotherapy, but I can otherwise control it now. It used to need a lot of exertion for me to urinate but now it is much, much easier. I wear a diaper thankfully! I need to because I still can't fully control my bowels yet (and to catch the pee leakages) - in the early days I couldn't even feel if the diaper was soiled, that was how numb my pelvic region was, and I am glad that is behind me. Now, at least some of the time I can feel it when I need to poop. All this is due to nerve damage from the fractures. It also causes my left foot to be numb and less flexible than my right. At first, even moving my nerve-damaged left leg was impossible without someone's help lifting it. Now, I am still not allowed to stand with it, because it has to not bear weight for three months in order to ensure the pelvic area heals properly. I have experienced horrendous nerve pain in my leg and foot too, as the healing of nerves means oversensitivity to touch and exertion, due to the way nerves communicate with the brain. Also, until two weeks later, I need to wear a brace when I sit upright in a chair, to help align my spine as the various fractures heal. This means I haven't been able to take a shower unless they cart me in a trolley bath and bathe me lying down. I also have fractures in my right arm, and have not regained complete use of it yet, exertion and load-bearing actions still need to hold off.

The psychiatrists here have helped me start sessions with a clinical psychologist, who is a gift. I may also do psychodynamics - a form of treatment that connects our present behaviour to childhood experiences, trauma. Apart from an insufferably arrogant and rude psychiatrist in charge of my case (many government hospital doctors are rude, but this one is the worst), the treatment I am receiving for depression and anxiety is sufficient right now.

My injury pain and fibromyalgia could be much better managed but I have reached a cynical, apathetic acceptance of the archaic and inadequate government healthcare system. I have given up the notion that I can receive the full help I need and have accepted that government hospitals are never going to help me completely in so many respects, including medication. I am trapped here in pain, receiving less than a hundred percent help, but I tell myself, "Forget it," because I have asked and they just won't give it.

I promise to update more now that I have caught most of my online audience (yes, all three of you) up to speed. Until then.

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Friday, April 22, 2016

Thank you, and goodbye

"By the time you read this..." is a cliched way to start a suicide letter, but the marvels of scheduled posts make this beginning apt.

You would be no stranger to the fact that all along, J has been paying for my depression and fibromyalgia treatment bills. He told me recently, that he cannot take it anymore. I knew I had to crowdfund to save my marriage and continue getting help for my chronic illnesses.

I have fought my depression for almost a decade now, and every day it is an uphill battle. I realised today, when I had pain set in simply by being out doing cat work for less than 4 hours yesterday, that I probably don't have the strength to raise funds for myself the way I intended to when J said he couldn't take the financial burden of my medical bills anymore.

I don't blame him for thinking I haven't been fighting hard enough over the years. It hasn't been easy for him to provide the basic care I need.

Of course I have been fighting hard, daily, year on year. But really, when is enough, enough? Today I am fighting pain that I want to kill, and firmly decided as well I no longer want to be a burden to J.

I know many of you who are also fighting your own battles have seen me as a survivor. I am sorry that today, I end my survival. I am sure you can continue to go on without me.

Please take care of everything that is important to me.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

When volunteers disappoint

This is a sensitive topic. It is about people, hence.

Within my loyal, dedicated, motivated and committed volunteer family, I have some black sheep. Usually it is because their work in real life gets in the way.

When you often use your work as an excuse to fail at your volunteer commitments, to become a mediocre instead of excellent volunteer, you slight the rest of the family who - also - have work in real life. You are saying this to them: "Yeah my work is really important. Not like yours."

The volunteer family believes in excellence, not mediocrity. They don't just volunteer to pass time; they aim to change the climate of cat welfare in Singapore through whatever skills they can master. They are often humble, believing there is more they can learn, more they can change for the better.

Not everyone who loves cats are as noble as my volunteer family. Unfortunately I have some who are in the family that don't have this nobility. It doesn't anger me. It slights me a little. But it utterly disappoints me.

I have no qualms sending what our organisation calls Volunteer Valuation emails to people that need to buck up after failing time and again at various areas. I have no qualms asking these people to leave if they fail to change. I seldom have to do it, but sometimes it is necessary. Leeches need to be removed before they inject too much anti-coagulant into our system.

But I also believe people can be mentored towards becoming better at serving at LKP, becoming more fervent about our mission, taking ownership of the work that we do for cats, and building character values along the way. I always try this method first, sometimes to my own detriment. But I do this because I believe in people, and I love my volunteers as much as I do the cats. Just because cats cannot disappoint me, doesn't mean I don't love my human volunteers.

Which is why disappointment is the biggest emotion when volunteers fail at their tasks, not anger. Because when you love someone, expect their commitment and they fail, you get disappointed, not angry.


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Yet, yes I still love you

I am used to emotional abuse:
A change from that is refreshing!
But alas that I know -
It cannot remain so
Yet I will always forgive you
For being cold.

I am used to it:
Needing to hide my tears
My pain invalidated
Seeing your disapproval
Not getting help when I need it.
Yet, yes I still love you.


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

no rest for my medical leave

I wanted my medical leave to be free from stress but it doesn't seem to be happening. I still get inundated by requests to do things, and I still have to attend to matters when situations go awry.

Today is one of the worse days. Phonecalls, texts, vendor screw-up, negative comments. A sense that people let me down, and I don't even set very high standards.

And part of me doesn't even care anymore. Say what you will. Think what you want. I am on a break  for fuck's sake. Leave me alone!

I just wanna sleep and never wake up. I already feel of zero worth and like a burden every single day. To not wake up anymore would just be an added bonus: of not having to go through all this stress anymore.

I just had a xan*x and a beer and I feel no relief from this stress at all. I have no other ideas how to get out of this spiral of stress and feeling trapped by it.

I just want to give up.


Sunday, March 13, 2016


Words seem to want an outflow tonight, so here I am. What words exactly, I do not know. I actually feel like I might learn more from reading instead. But truthfully, I am too stressed, fatigued and anhedonic to do either of them.

Will just keep trying. If not write a post, at least maybe a tweet.


Thursday, March 03, 2016

It hurts to tell you about it.

The floodgates broke after I wrote the last entry here, explaining my absence from real life. It made me sadder, to recollect and organise my feelings, to make them coherent for the one or two that would read them.

Now the pain still hasn't gone away. Not only am I having chest pains from sadness, tears that won't stop flowing, I also realise there are very few people who do care at all about the invisible suffering I have to bear.

Life goes on for the world as if to mock me. This makes the pain even more pronounced. It hurts so much, I have run out of words to describe it.


Dark descent

On Friday last week I visited my psychiatrist, and I was symptomatically buoyant. It had been a hard week at work, and somehow, I exuded normalcy, instead of a low, dysfunctional mood. My doctor wanted to take the risk trying to reduce one of my antidepressants, Lexapro; I am currently on three different antidepressants among other medications. He wanted to reduce the cost of my medications and the risk of serotonin syndrome because I only recently went from two to three antidepressants. He told me to try half the dose on alternate nights. I tried it, eager to reduce the cost of my burgeoning medical fees, and the side effects of my medications.

It didn't work. I crashed into a horrible darkness, and after four days of being on this reduced dosage only did I realise it was not to be the new dose I could sustain.

At first, I just thought I was tired. After the week I had, it seemed like a foregone conclusion - who wouldn't be tired after the kind of week I had working late nights even past midnight, seeing the death of three cats one after another, bursting inboxes of work waiting for me to work on but never having the time? I was tired, I thought. But it was more that that. It was a descent into a painful depressive state.

This descent, mirrored early days of my depression, so long ago I barely remember. All I wanted to do was stay in bed. At first I distracted myself watching documentaries, but on Tuesday, the spell of those documentaries broke. And so did I. Days of accumulated tears welled up and I broke down, feeling a sadness that made my chest hurt as it something forceful was crushing it slowly but surely. It hurt so much.

That night, Tuesday, I went back on my original dose of Lexapro, a dose I have been on for years, 20mg. It hasn't yet reversed the effects of those four days. I find my self sleeping constantly, unwilling to be contacted by anybody because talking, working, is simply too difficult. I stare into space for a long time, before catching myself doing so. The few things I force myself to do every day - feed my youngest pets, showering, taking my medication - take up all of my energy, I have none left after that to do much else.

I think of the work I have abandoned by going AWOL, in a sense, and I realise in stark horror, that I do not care. Anymore, or right now, I am not sure. But I have no ability to care about it now. My love for all work that is charity seems to have been extinguished by wet fingers on burning candle wick or something harshly similar. I don't know when this love will return.

I am still sad. I still cry. I still sleep all day and all night, struggling to do simple things like preparing food for Scotty and Splotch, or to shower. I still stare into space. It has only been two days I have been back on my original 20mg dose of Lexapro; I do not know when I will become functional again.

Till then please accept that I am nowhere near the state of mind to be coherently spoken with in any form. I have switched off my phone for days. I do not want to speak to anyone.


Monday, February 08, 2016

Suicide watch @ Mt E

Today will be day 4 of my hospital stay. I am no longer soaking tissues with tears and the painful sadness that is depression, augmented, is back at the recesses of my library of feelings, stowed away for now. 

Like I told my doctor I don't feel 'happy' on this new med, Stablon, just - not sad. To me it is good enough. He says, "But I want you to be happy!"

I don't think it is possible. My brain is just not capable of producing the happiness feeling. I have come to terms with this probable fact.

It doesn't matter.


Sunday, January 31, 2016

sleeping is bliss; trying to sleep, a chore

Told my psychiartist that I wanted off olanzapine. It made me obese. Not even through making me hungry; the weight gain just occurred and morphed me into marshmallow man. But now, I keep waking in the middle of the night again.

It isn't even waking me into a sleepy stupor that I can use to coax my body back to bed. I am sleepily -awake-.

I am at the level of consciousness where I could do some productive work. But I'm mentally exhausting, so tired inside and out.

So, so tired.


Tuesday, January 26, 2016


Recently read that journalling helps with leadership development - promotes introspection. So here I am, awoken in the night, failing at resuming sleep, trying to introspect.

I have many failings. But I am too tired to work on them because I spend all my effort managing my life around managing my fibromyalgia. When my fatigue is overwhelming, I need a few days' worth of rest for a day of work. The economics of my life.

I can't help but fall short every time.

I am really tired of being on the run, chasing productivity and self-improvement. Yet I keep trying, and tire myself even more. I am simply never good enough for the standards necessary.

I won't be giving up, despite feeling this weary. I just feel I owe it to everyone to be a better leader and manager. I -will- always fall short of the standards; maybe effort alone counts too?

- there, I've just journalled.


Friday, December 25, 2015

26 December.

25 December is the date most of the modern world delebrates my Saviour's birth, but 26 December, the day after, holds triple personal meaning for me. It was when my first cat Slinky died, which broke my heart to a million pieces. It was the day my cat rescue group got legally incorporated 2 years ago. Now, it is also my wedding anniversary, and we are actually going on holiday on that day this year. Which I secretly hope will become a yearly tradition.

I have never been able to step away from my cat work long enough, till the later half of this year, when the leaders were chosen, stepped up and were built up to work without me. Be it because I needed the rest, or because I have been incapacitated by illness.

I don't actually earn an income so I quote-unquote bought J Calvin Klein boxers and generic black socks that will be easy to find matches for in the laundry because they all look the same. I also got a new silver and ruby ring made that is more suitable for daily wear, and the silversmith who made it did it for me for free, as a donation. She is known as Mei's Creations on Facebook.

We are going to Cameron Highlands tomorrow which is the kind of weather I like being in; I am usually sweating right after I take a shower in the daytime, in Singapore weather.

I hope every Boxing Day will be a holiday for me. Slinky would want that. As long as we put out enough clean litter and kibble and water for the days we will be away. My youngest, Splotch, will be going on a sleepover with her biological brother during the time we will be away, since she is still small.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

2016 and writing

I wish I could write well enough to have a Patreon account. Or maybe the missing element is time and not talent. But who, anyway, would commission me to write a poem for them. Nobody pays for poems.

But I am resolute: I will write more. Fight anhedonia, indulge in hobbies. Writing, and reading. Am now reading Margaret Atwood's The Heart Goes Last. Can't be good at writing without reading, can't be a full lover of words without doing both.

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Sunday, December 06, 2015


I just woke up. I probably slept two hours. My nose is runny and sneezy and i have "flu' like symptoms" plus I just shat myself. Yeah I am not even able to fight off a simple bug.

Emotionally I am a train wreck. No, more like a plane crash and nobody can find the black box. I feel like I might breakdown any minute unless there is pharmaceutical intervention. Sometimes though, I can barely get up. go to the pills, consume them.

Is this an emergency yet? May I ask for permission that you help me in an emergency? Wait, may I have permission that you treat me like an emergency?

Sometimes the harsh 'no' is a stab wound to my broken heart.


Saturday, November 21, 2015

dimalam pakai bicycle pergi kerja? (tak boleh tidur)

I woke up at 1am. Started again on improving the notebook experience on the new tablet phone J got me for my 36th birthday.

(I also did my daily Gratitude Journalling).

Wrote the Big 5s of Saturday -and- Sunday and suddenly, an urge to go into cattery to work, where my laptop is now. I came here to write so I can mull over such a rash decision.

Nak pergi kerja, tak pergi kerja?


I could feed the cats that missed one medication and because of me.

I might even be pain free enough to cycle there. Haven't cycled in a while, am getting fatter and I need to clock cardio for fibro management.

I'm in the tail end of a pain flare though, .'twas 5-7/10. I am not sure the flare has broken after my night meds and supposed sleep.

Maybe I'm just having a mild manic behavioural state.


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

guilt of the workaholic

Awake, when it is way past bedtime.

Because I knocked out in the day and slept from post-breakfast to 7pm. Had to work so I downed a small mug of coffee.

So I'm on my tablet doing things instead of sleeping.

I think it is guilt. I wasn't very productive, so, I feel I haven't had my workaholism hit for today.

But then now I feel guilty about not sleeping.


Saturday, November 14, 2015

renewing my love for books

This is my birthday month so my parents are giving me money.

I decided to use it to renew my love for reading and bought books.

Friday, November 13, 2015

A Wishlist Item I Really Would Benefit from

MedCenter (70265) 31 Day Pill Organizer with Reminder System


to write and read myself to sleep

I can't sleep. It is past midnight, I have taken my meds, and an antihistamine for flu' too, because I am nursing one. Still, I remain up. Like my day is not done yet.

Hoping to write myself to sleep.

I regained interest in reading even more now, but non-fiction, for professional development. I feel like doing that now to tire out myself maybe, then sleep. It will be tiring reading because I will take notes and stuff too.

Hoping to read myself to sleep.

Maybe, with some ginger tea too.


Monday, November 09, 2015

/cast Grounding Totem

/cast Grounding Totem

Having an anxiety streak now and feel like l will dissociate if I don't find the grounding totem l need to firmly grasp onto.


Saturday, November 07, 2015

EIaine, remember these things from the weekend

I am writing this for myself, because in the coming few days, in fact, from tomorrow I might forget it all.

Tomorrow I will be back home from this 2-night stay at a hotel in town. All of what I am protected from just like when I am in a hospital, I will be exposed to. Triggers, when I am now still feeling more vulnerable than usual, hidden in plain sight. I am a bit afraid. This is cheaper than staying at the psych ward but I still can't stay here forever, right?

So here is where I remind myself things, what will be different when I emerge from this retreat.

I will have daytime cattery help. For two reasons: new intern soon, and volunteers volunteering to do more than their usual night shifts over the next few days, as they already have started to do for me. Because my psychiatrist said that my work-sleep-work-sleep routine was a sign of burnout. So now, I can start to unburn, and then burn again but slowly.

I have rested. I am not properly rested actually, because I spent most of today doing work on my tablet in bed, while J was studying at the lower level of our hotel loft. Then I tell myself that it means I will have a better night's sleep. (We will find out soon enough.) Also, I will not be jumping straight into burnout mode again - see paragraph above.

I had worried that I haven't unstoppered my horrible anhedonia, where all I enjoy is work and sleep, then I realised that right here, I have regained one of my hobbies already: writing, on my blog.


Friday, November 06, 2015

Checking ourselves into Studio M Hotel this weekend for interesting reasons

I suggested to J if he would like to book a hotel for stayover so he could study for his upcoming exams. For myself, it would be like, as my doctor said about the strong drowsy meds he gave me, "enforced rest." Enforced rest, outpatient style. I will spend most of the time sleeping and J will be studying.

We are going to Studio M Hotel. I am bringing my laptop for J to use, because I can work with my tablet for most things, and he will definitely have breaks. Yes, I do intend to do work during my enforced rest aided by medication.

Even if I had been warded, I would have done exactly the same thing.

I guess, it is enforced rest from dealing with the rescue cats day in day out with barely a halt. The volunteers are covering my medication rounds for them in this period so I can time out.

The best part is, when I come back, I will have a new intern too, so that daily medication of the cats will no longer wield such a heavy burden on me every day.

I wonder, if my PTSD flashbacks will disappear after this interesting staycation. If so, knowing what caused them will be easier.

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alone in the middle of the night

My psychiatrist suggested that to combat the triggers of traumatic feelings like neglect and abandonment, I should purposefully cherish the alone time and do things that are enjoyable alone.

I don't believe it will help when I am deep in a meltdown. But I didn't get a PTSD breakdown when I awoke at past one o' clock so here I am, awake too early and aside from some browsing, I have been doing work. The quietness of the night at this time is optimal for strategic level planning, emailing, scheduling social media posts.

But I got a headache from trying to read small words on screen; with or without glasses on. So I will stop a while.

It is quiet, humid. I do enjoy this alone time. But also, there are no triggers. So, obviously I am not melting down. Maybe the extra meds I am currently on have helped.

I might continue the night working or reading, or take more meds and go back to sleep. Whichever it is, I know for sure that - being alone - in itself is not the trigger.


Thursday, November 05, 2015

coffee and mood and consciousness.

I think I am only conscious of my mood when I am fully awake. It is morning now, I am on my fourth coffee and feeling my moods waking up. I suppose this is somewhat like the opposite of taking a sedative when having a mental breakdown.

I am not sure what moods I will feel as I awaken with this jug of coffee. Will write them down as I sip along.

I usually wake up feeling neutral, say, a 3 out of 10. 4 out of 10 is a good mood score: I can function normally, go about being productive, and I guess if I can hit a 5 it is a good workday. 5 out of 10 isn't a normal score though, I still hover at 3 or 4.

At present on my fourth coffee I am at a 3, and I just want it to not go down further, given that the last few days it was almost a nil score. When it comes to severe clinical depression you can't "choose" to be happy. But you can choose other things. Choosing to believe your loved ones do not feel you are a burden. Choosing to be grateful for shelter. Choosing to ask for help. But no, when the mood dips, you can't choose to elevate that dip by sheer will. Our brains are far more complicated than that.

I am awakening more now, no longer so sleepy that I can only slump and grunt. Never liked the sunrise but I appreciate daylight, it helps us go about our lives after a night's rest. A new start, even if we can't undo the consequences of yesterday's choices - but now everyone can try again.

Those are conscious, mindful thoughts. Looking inwards, now I have awakened more, the truth is I am still sad. Yes, I know I am sad every day, but I don't think this sadness is the usual functional level I operate with daily. It is the kind where I might cry at the psychiatrist's office again. I still hope it will be better than yesterday, and yesterday was already better than the day before. Hoping for an upwards trajectory.

More coffee is poured. The sky gets brighter. I wait before I write my next few words.

It is becoming apparent that this low mood of today requires extra medication. So that I can be calm, think rationally, continue to take care of myself, make it to the doctor's today.

What the extra meds I took for this low mood might do to me: make me sleep again, thus undoing the awakening of myself with the five coffee servings of the morning. Or it might just eliminate the possibility of a full-on depressive anxiety crash. As I now become as awake as the morning is, I know that a crash today is not unlikely. I -am- indeed really feeling down right now. About nothing, about everything; no specificity.

I will have to now adjust my expectations of what I can achieve today. For someone who always likes to outdo herself, this is not fun at all. Today will have to be one of those days where showering twice a day, making it out to the doctor's and back, plus taking medications, are the only things I should expect myself to achieve. Anything more is a stretch goal, "If you can't manage to do those, it is okay."

You know what is laughable to me? That I have to be reduced to this sometimes, still, after so many years of living with depression. And I am supposed to celebrate those achievements too: "I showered! Yay!" I am a fucking founder of a nonprofit, for 7 years almost, and I still have to be reduced to this disabled patient mentality. This feels to me like I have to rest on my laurels and that is completely not in my personality to.

Last few sips of coffee. Tears are threatening to arrive. Am beginning to desperately need encouragement from somewhere. Being awake is akin to torture when you have no ability to feel the effects of positive neurochemicals. I have been fighting this torture every day now, for as long as I can remember.

The coffee mug is empty now. I feel alone. I've spent too much time in my life alone in fighting this disease. I know outpatient treatment involves a lot of self care, but I am just too weary these days to be my own caregiver. Self care, self-therapy, yeah sure, but I am feeling depleted. I know God gives rest for the weary like me, but even if my spirit will never be crushed, good Samaritans and angels in disguise I still need. Not that there are none in my life; so many give monetarily for my medical expenses. I am bewildered at the fact that these friends want to give me so much, so tangibly. In awe and full of gratitude for gifts I do not deserve. But - am I crude for saying this - friends who care are truly few and getting fewer, especially those that once did, but stopped, and those I offered friendship in concern, but did not reciprocate.

I don't think I have cared about this before. I have always been more of a homely person whose favourite activities aren't social. I guess I care now, because of how tired I am of "self care" and because I am disappointed that not everyone reciprocates care and concern. So I unfollowed on Twitter those who either never cared, or stopped caring. I don't feel angry that people don't reciprocate in kind when I tweet concern. I just want to stop being passed over because I need the opposite of that right now. I want to be treated like a real human being behind @avalon just like how treat people I follow as real human beings too.

The coffee is long gone, consumed. Mood is awakened as is my consciousness. It is time to get this day going.

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Monday, November 02, 2015

Depression is a lonely disease.

It started with a mood dip. The usual thing that happens to people who have depression.

I tried to fight it, but failed.

It remained pretty harmless, until a news tweet triggered a severe bout of welschmerz.

- painful, unbearable sadness.

Nothing could stop the tears. Not even medication, not even expressing my thoughts through tweets. I reached out to J, he said, this pain will go away eventually. It still hasn't.

It became worse. The more I externalised how I felt, the lonelier I became. I reached out to a friend, and although, like most people who are -not- mentally ill, he didn't know what exactly to say, I felt comforted. But it was not enough. I still felt lonely, and as that feeling dwelled no matter how I tried to expel it, it turned into a sense of abandonment.

Again, a PTSD flashback feeling.

It made me hyperventilate, hide in a corner of the bed in covers; the tears continued. I felt unsafe. Nowhere is safe anymore.

Depression is a lonely disease. Friends will leave. Some people are hard for us to open up to, so the distance grows. New friends rarely appear, stay. Even in a socially connected world, a psych nurse is more likely to notice your tears than your 200 friends or your 1,400 followers.

I am so broken, can I even be fixed, so I can move on and fulfill my calling? If I die today, I will never know. Yet I am so alone in this pain I cannot rid, death would be a release. And I would rid the world of a burden, economically, socially.


Saturday, October 31, 2015

[POEM] do me

coerce me, to love life
in spite of shit-hail -
never can be shovelled
clean for a walkway.

inspire me, to love words,
again - I have lost it.
no life-blood to devour
the art of words.

fuck me, to make me high
that I may misplace all -
pain, feelings like death.
even if for a moment.

cut me, open my veins
that I may bleed and see -
I am Human, fallible
To ail is Human, indeed.

comfort me, I am alone
confidantes - infrequent
or unsuitable, or need
nothing that I can barter.


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Darkness Before Dawn

Back to scribbling with a pen, or in this case, stylus.


Thursday, August 27, 2015

I crave, with my everything


Saturday, August 22, 2015

A Mistake In Love

Warm may be your heart, at times,
But now it be ice-cold
To me; in words.
You broke me time and again
Cut through to the vein
I bleed tears -
And descend.

Into a cavalier heaven
Of orgasmic pleasure
That goes deep in me
Is never - Ice-cold
Will not - Break me
And I bleed - only -

To tolerate a lack
Of the selfsame thing
You offered in loads before,
To tolerate - til when?
When, a dream in common,
Fulfilled? Alas -
You ratified, saying no more.

So - no plan in sight
To know how, where, when
While I face your coldness
As I bleed in broken pain
Will peace return? - Or
Maybe it was never ours,
Because - a mistake in love.


Sunday, August 16, 2015


I recently gained some insight into how sex is a mental thing for women, and for men it is a core function, a basic need the body craves.

I feel more like a man sometimes, in this regard. Maybe it is because of my age; women in their 30s are just extremely horny. Partners of the same age, if they are men, can't keep up, because their prime was in their teens. So with this disparity, won't there be frustration?

And because while I feel that core, manly basic need, it is still mental in some way because sometimes I crave intimacy, not sex alone. I want a long makeout session maybe, if intercourse cannot last that long - the average duration across men is actually sadly short, between 10 to 20 minutes as I vaguely recall.

Either scenario will leave me wanting, sooner than later, too soon for one single partner to recover and provide. If he is not in the mood to be kissed or sucked, it becomes a trigger for an argument, or at best, it is putting unfair demands on him. I don't want him to be annoyed or pressurised.

Tonight I feel this frustration palpably. And I am not ashamed to say so, because just as we need food to eat, we also need sex. I am hungry, and that is perfectly natural a state of want to be in.

One day I will solve this issue to some extent, be it in a theoretically correct manner or in an unorthodox fashion.


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

You are a secret

I write because you enter me when I am between sleep and consciousness. Yet I cannot acknowledge your arrival, for you do not know the secret.


Monday, May 25, 2015


Did I trade down? I wanted a man with the same vision as I had. I settled for somewhat-same. My life is about doing charity. If yours isn't, don't marry me.


Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Fibromyalgia - how it almost destroyed everything in my life

Things got to a point where I had to do something about my constant lethargy, and the frequent aches and pains I got after long work days. It started to affect my sleep, my productivity, and my mood crashed with every energy low.

It got so bad one particular night, the aches and pains, that I couldn't sleep. I went to the A&E and got painkillers for a pain score of 6/10, Thereafter, my productivity came back. But after awhile, the painkillers didn't make my pain go away, merely lessening it. The pain level was getting worse.

So I went to the neuro, and it turns out I now have fibromyalgia. I started on a chronic pain management antidepressant, which solves the neuro-chemical aspect of my body's pain receptors. It helped a bit, but did not make the pains go away. I was then put on another chronic pain medication. Things got only minimally better. It seemed I was right smack in the middle of a fibromyalgia flare

During this time, I tried to rest as much as possible, wanting to reverse the damage that I had done by overworking myself. My work suffered as a result. My volunteers had to do everything in my stead, and for those that needed my input, I was slow, delayed things, or never did them.

Finally, yesterday, I got referred to see a pain management specialist. I got an IV painkiller jab, and things became so much better today. But not before scaring everyone in my committee that I was so sick I might be warded and everyone had to do my work on my behalf, which was a near impossible feat.

I have worked myself in to a job which depends on me too much, even with maximum level of delegation possible at any one time.

Because of this disease, I am now even more of a burden to J. He has been there for me from the start since we got together, and even for the most patient of men, I had worn him out to bits with the addition of another chronic condition than depression and anxiety. The timing I came down with a fibromyalgia flare up was all wrong too; J's mom had just lost a battle to cancer.

To ease his compassion fatigue, I have to learn to manage my sicknesses on my own, without involving him. I have to try and act normal. I have to lessen his work burden in our cat rescue group too. Which means my own work burden grows bigger, but it is either that or my marriage gets further affected. All I want is for him to be happy, I view his unhappiness as my fault.

It is a critical time in my work because we have just moved to a bigger, more expensive place. I have to up the ante, and do more - take care of more cats, recruit and manage more volunteers, raise more funds. Now is not the time I should fall gravely ill, but I did. Up until yesterday, I had very little physical strength to go on, but I hope the effects of yesterday's jab made a difference. J has booked for me an appointment with a government hospital pain specialist too, so I know if things get worse again, I can turn to that. And I have to really manage the level of my physical exertion. I have to be less workaholic, rest even more.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Great Is Thy Faithfulness

It has been more than a week now, this all-draining fatigue that renders me slack and discouraged for it. It is so -tiring- to be tired all the time.

I suppose I should be grateful that I will soon be seeing an NUH specialist to check out what is wrong with me, what metabolic disease I have. Am not sure if it is an endocrinologist I will be seeing. We will find out.

For now, I just keep sleeping.

I feel a lot of guilt for work I am not doing. But I am just not up to it all, all the time. With fatigue running for more than a week at a go, this makes me full of anxiety that shit goes undone and even if done, sloppily so.

My hanger-on is that God is faithful. This hymn has been playing in my mind and I am not even a very 'hymn' type of person. But the promise of faithfulness is so important to hold on to when one's world is very dreary. I will keep on holding on.

Things will get better.

Respite will arrive.

I will rise again like the phoenix.

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Saturday, November 29, 2014

this week

I am on a leave of absence, a nice way of putting it. 'It' being I have a nervous breakdown and need to recover from it. In this time I am tasking self to try and recover, and J has tasked me to cancel as much work as possible.

For the past week I slept all morning, all afternoon, waking in between but doing very little else besides sleep. Wednesday night I went about my feeding and medicating duties for the cats and caught a panic attack. Thursday I refused to leave my room. Friday I went to see the doctor.

The doctor wonders if I have a metabolic disease that causes me to crash after I overwork (which was last week). He took some blood, advised me to take as much motivation-boosting fatigue-busting Wellbutrin as possible. Friday I managed to sleep a bit less. Today I managed to do more and stayed awake in the afternoon (which is now).

But, despite my lessened workload I can't stop thinking about work. Not doing it doesn't mean not thinking it. Trying my best to relax with music and essential oils. So far, ain't working much. Yesterday I tried to read, I couldn't focus. So here I write.

I do feel overwhelmed by the amount of work still, which means I am not back to capacity. Normally I would be able to handle every task no matter what. Now I just feel like, why isn't there someone to substitute me? Why is it all down to me? 

For now, I guess I have to be resolute and keep to the leave of absence. Do as little as I can. And not think of grand ideas. Don't be an entrepreneur, just for a while. Can I do it? Help me.


Friday, August 29, 2014


Reigning madness, like-
Falling abyssmally
Off the edge of the map
Perceived such as:
Eternal despair.

It thrusted a shard,
Into my being
Displacing where life does
flow like blood-
through an artery.

I will bleed life out,
keeled over-
Because of pain thus intense.
Stab me for real,
It won't differ. 

Blood through my nose,
I go into shock,
and will no longer respond,
as I curl into a
foetal state. 

Then, no more intense pain-
for I give in to it. 
Take me, break me, eradicate-
Whole, swiftly. for-
My life- it hurts-



Saturday, June 21, 2014

I feel like a failure.

I cried in the morning and again about to, soon. For too simple a reason: a fever that won't subside. It makes me feel like an invalid when I am physically unwell. I feel like I cannot meet the standards I set for myself (I am not competitive with anyone else). I feel like a failure because I get depressed when I have a long bout of the flu'. I feel like I try my best and I always end up just being average. What did I do wrong? Recently I got to know someone who speaks in a condescending manner, not sure if just to me or to everyone else. But it was noticeable by J, who is very people-oriented and forgiving, so it isn't just me who feels this way. Like gangrene, the words and tone of this person, and as with gangrene, it ought to be amputated. Regardless, although it will save the body, you lose a toe or a foot. And getting diabetes that caused the gangrene was your own fault for not eating well in the first place, it is not the toe's fault for being necrotic in nature. Evil is evil, you either cut it off or bar entry in the first place. Encounters with such people, plus the fever and flu' symptoms, add them all up, blend and get a mug of sadness. Bottoms up.

Friday, May 30, 2014


I don't know once again why I am here. It is morning and I have had my caffeine doses. I still feel somnolent, even though there are always things to do. Perhaps it is due to interrrupted sleep again, 4 am this time. There is always something.


Tuesday, May 27, 2014


Sometimes I don't know where else to put my words except here.

I thought I was just having the flu' (I am) but somehow I also feel disconnected, demotivated, alone. More of all those feelings, like a shroud of darkness that wants to accompany me for a while.

Yet however I feel alone, I only want to be alone.


Sunday, May 04, 2014

anxiety, you shall not return

Feeling chockful of anxiety and I haven't felt this way since my last rushed visit to the A&E. This is not a good sign. Medications are not helping very much. I am worried about tomorrow's work, well, today, since it is approaching sunrise. I don't know if my people are ready, they don't seem to know how to screen adopters, they will need my help for pre-event prep and I hate events.


Wednesday, April 02, 2014

my journey with a new chronic illness. fibromyalgia

Have been quiet here lately because something not too good unravelled.

I have been diagnosed as having fibromyalgia. It is a chronic pain condition that is accompanied by other symptoms. The accompanying symptoms I get are dizziness, blurry vision, talking to people in half-sentences, a blank brain of sorts that disallows me to do things efficiently. I also have the sudden hot flushes, and lousy sleep.

The catalyst that led me to see my GP  was when my legs hurt so much suddenly - I could barely walk - and all the painkillers I had, even the strong ones, were not working. My pain score was at about 8/10. I felt like someone took a baseball bat and swung it hard against my legs.

The GP did a physical check up, turns out my knees have no injury or inflammation whatsoever. After the physical check up, and since he knows I have depression (fibro and depression are all linked to the brain), he knew that what was causing my daily excruciating pain was fibromyalgia. We sorted out a medication regimen that would help for now, one including increasing a dose of one of my psych meds, which he told me to communicate to my psychiatrist. He also said that my psychiatrist would be able to manage my condition. He is on leave right now but I have been updating him on my fibro journey via email and he also called today. At first he said I need to see a neurologist but I don't want to, I cannot afford it. My doc said okay, I reckon he means that he will help me with this new illness.

Everything has been so far so good - take my meds, and wear my specs throughout the day even though I actually only need it for reading, otherwise I can't see properly.There are some side effects and symptoms I must eradicate. I have to have a  clear mind, be able to communicate, remembering things well again, and being mobile (not splayed on the floor crying in pain). For this to happen, I might get dizzy, for which I have medication for it, or drowsy, but I need to be mobile with a sound mind for me to carry out the management work required for our cat rescue work.

I still haven't really come to terms with this diagnosis of -another- chronic illness though. Even with the fibro symptoms being managed it is difficult to bear without tears. But soon, I will be more positive more often, and am more than sure I will get through this.Been making sure my mood is stable.

I will share more updates on Twitter (@avalon) and on my Facebook page. Also, am sorry if this blog post is haphazardly done, I still have blurry vision and am very drowsy from meds and terrible sleep last night.

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

sometimes delegation is more work for me, so how?

So the word came down again from my psychiatrist very firmly that I need to stop overworking. Because there is no other way to prevent serious panic attacks requiring emergency visits to the clinic or hospital.

I don't intend to scale down LKP in any way. The only way to make things work out for both my health and my organisation, is to improve my management and leadership even more.

Delegation. That's right. I have been doing so, but to be honest, not everyone in the group of volunteers nearing 30 people are ready to be delegated to without more work on my end. Which defeats the purpose of me having to delegate to improve my health and decrease my workload. Some people just need more coaching, more time to do things delegated, more supervision, more correction. How then does more delegation become a way to reduce my workload? It will increase it.

I suppose training is an answer. Yes, I am thinking aloud here, writing in the stream of consciousness. If I can conduct more training in groups, I will be able to do more delegation with less worry that every person is inept for being delegated that specific task.

I will think more, as I go along this whole re-working my management style and protocols. But in the meantime, there is one answer already.


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Using my medical fund for outpatient expenses for the time being

I mentioned my medical account DBS eSaving Plus 003-6-105219 was saved for A&E and hospitalisation emergencies.

Unfortunately, because I have been suddenly so ill of late, I am going to turn to those funds for my normal outpatient payments. Financially it has been bad (the credit card declined at clinic type). We are drowning in debt and I am spending way more than budgeted for my medical fees every month.

If you would like to help me out, you know my account number, and my tel is 90880675.


Friday, March 14, 2014

am I getting worse, or better? I don't think it is the latter.

Things might be turning worse instead of better.

My mental health. I have been getting panic attacks like how people grab food at buffets. I don't know how to describe it, it is just... very bad.

I have seen my doctor about it and he switched me from xan*x to val*um but I just got a panic attack and took both. I cannot remember if he said I should stop the xan*x or not.

I fear the worst. I am doing mad things like crouching on the bed, telling my thoughts to go away, and when I am lucid I work well and fine, but when I am not, I just become a psychotic person.


Saturday, March 08, 2014

a bad anxiety attack, crying in to cat's fur despite medication. that's how bad.

Feeling a complete mess but not like the usual kind people feel when say, cramming for an exam, or having a deadline. Just, far worse, physiologically. I have taken all the anti-anxiety meds I can take and more. And am still crying into Sayang's fur. They say exercise helps. I haven't been able to, because of the flu', exercising gave me vertigo and nausea. Today I did a little and it didn't make me feel like puking, but it made me very depressed. Whoever said exercise helps depression and anxiety never saw the anomaly that is my brain. It all started last night, when I thought about today and what we have to do work-wise, and though I am excited I am also feeling all the physical symptoms of anxiety. A complete dichotomy from what I think, feel, and and what I bodily experience. Will just keep medicating until symptoms subside, and working on ways to make the challenges for today, easier. Even then, as the "boss", the burden is never light. The government shall stand upon His shoulders, but we need to still stand, innit? Not crouched on the floor crying or just feeling terrible with no respite, still. A broken reed He will not despise, but I feel like a dried out shattered reed beyond much help. And I feel so alone. Join me on my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Chiam-Elaine/1454607614753888?ref=hl&bookmark_t=page

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Unquiet stillness

Lying in a mess
That cannot be cleaned,
Really, for -
Some travails reside
Only variably, in
Pain and suffering.

I am still, I am,
Knowing He fights
On my behalf - amen
But this stillness
Is veiling what flounders
Inside, sonically.


Wednesday, February 05, 2014

New social media places to find me

Decided that my personal life and my 'public' profile or branding if you would like to call it as such needs to start splitting up.

So I created a Facebook page. I don't like adding random people as friends on my Facebook account and want to keep it to real friends and my volunteers only. Public page to make it seem like I am not some unfriendly bitch.

And a Vimeo account, as a vlog to accompany the Facebook page.

Follow me on those links. :)


Medical account update after hospitalisation over CNY

Also + $50 from J credited to another account
Had to transfer funds from medical account to this account as the former has no NETS
Medical Fund Balance as of date is: -$516.08 
(as I only transferred $600 of my angpow money to my medical use, and I still owe V $500 for the hospital deposit)

NB: If you note any discrepancies please inform me so I can check and correct them.
If you would like to give towards my Medical account which is for A&E and hospital fees only, my account is  DBS eSavings Plus Account 003-6-105219

To all who gave, I am so grateful, I will keep working hard at getting better, not only for myself, but for all of you.

Aite, back to work now. 

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Saturday, February 01, 2014

Crowdfunding For My Salary Q12014


Thursday, January 30, 2014

SOS: I have been warded, and need your help. Please RT/share

[Update over time for any changes]

For the past few days I have been stressed over preparing for the new year break. It means a whole slew of logistics and CNY has always been a trigger for my depression. My doctor tried his best to help me outpatient these past few days: calls, extra visits, extra medication. Yesterday, those measures didn't work anymoreif you beliebe in me.  and I have been admitted. This is the third time I have been warded over the CNY holidays because outpatient works at other times except this time. My first suicide attempt was over the Chinese new year in 2008.

Yes, it might come as a shock to many of you that I am -really- this sick. When I'm without such external pressure, I am well medicated and cope well and look fine, apart from having a whole slew of psychosomatic ailments. But, I am not. My depression is actually classified as moderate-severe, with severe meaning hospitalisation. I stayed out of the ward in 2013, and managed to get life and work going in, taking it slow every now and then of course. This is how I can get by, and got to where I am and moving forwards, I will be even better.

Unfortunately, this obstacle. The LKP volunteers are supportive and covering for me. I am grateful for that. My parents have understood this has happened and said it is okay if I can only see them after new year.

But it is a financial scary obstacle being hospitalised.

As of now, my dedicated medical account used for A&E and hospitalisation is not enough to cover this current hospital stay.

So, I will neither be able to pay the deposit fully, nor the full payment when I leave, which will be about $600 more than what is reflected because of the doctor's fees.This brings the total to $4,880.  Edit: the $2,000 has been paid, so the outstanding is an estimate of $2,880 or more.

My dad and mom are giving me a $500 angpow which will go to this bill. Andy (Jian) may be able to help a bit on his credit card but we are not sure how far that is possible considering when i am outpatient again that card is used for my medical fees.

As such, I really need your gifts to help me tide through this hospital stay. You won't get anything in return from it. I could say you will know I will then be back to working harder at our cat rescue business. It could be said you are filling the lack of medical insurance on psychiatric ailments when I was first diagnosed In 2007. You could think you are making up for the broken communication between private specialists and government hospitals. You could say you are covering the healthcare deficits us with no safety net suffer from.

But those things won't mean much if you simply believe in my recovery. 

How you can help:

Please help me by depositing a sum of any amount to my medical bank account   DBS Savings Plus 003-6-105219 And text me at 90880675 so I can tally it and report back here. 

Thank you so much. This matter is giving me a lot of anxiety which was one of the main reason why i got warded in the first place. I am now on a temporarily higher and new medications and there are people to watch me and my doctor is on call. I know this will make me feel better and get up and go again soon So, please spread the word if you believe in me and want to help me out of a tight and incredibly stressful situation. 

Latest update as of 9:45pm 30 Jan

There has also been a cash gift of $200. The $900 debit was to go towards my deposit that was due today.

Latest update as of 5:30am 31 Jan

Latest update as of 12:20pm 31 Jan

The bill is cheaper than if I were in ICU for an attempted suicide...

[Image removed under doctor's advisement] A kind friend V helped me out with the $2,000 deposit, and I still owe V $1,100 after repaying what I could from my previous medical account balance. Thereafter the bill was $515.83 which my current raised amount this round of crowdfunding has just nicely allowed me to pay in cash instead of credit card, which we sincerely worried whether the credit limit was enough at first. I thank you all who have given and this has really brought me a relief of stress. Now I just need to repay V $1,100 which I hope I can with more funds from you coming in (thank you so much) and my parents' CNY angpow. So please do still consider helping me out so that I can repay V for what is my medical fee. Thank you for being with me through this scary episode of health and resultant financial stress. I promise I will work hard as I always do, if not more, as my gift back to this world.

Will post a full DR/CR tally when all the funds raised are in as some have been pledged but not yet deposited, or are coming from other banks.