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.
Labels: me, state
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.
Labels: state, status
Saturday, November 29, 2014
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-
Off the edge of the map
Perceived such as:
It thrusted a shard,
Into my being
Displacing where life does
flow like blood-
through an artery.
I will bleed life out,
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
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.
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.
Labels: me, state
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
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
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|
Medical Fund Balance as of date is: -$516.08
|Had to transfer funds from medical account to this account as the former has no NETS|
(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
Labels: state, status
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.
Monday, January 27, 2014
Elaine is on Elaine's suicide watch
I am now on suicide watch, with option of being admitted to hospital not far away if things don't improve soon. I feel weird because I have dissociated: I am trying to manage my physical self's health condition, as if my physical self were a patient separate from me.
Medicatikn protocol for such an emergency has been activated. Now it is rest and monitor.
What would make me feel better apart from dying to kill this gnawing internal pain? Other things that wouldn't work either, like a long pull of a cold beer, the company of a cute young boy, and so on.
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
weary and stressed but 'unjustifiably' so
I find myself in this slump every so often, one which makes me feel weary about the work that I love. Even the truest and most committed loves have their down and out moments. But even if it is normal, it is weary to, once again, feel too fatigued to care about the cause you serve.
In writing this, I realise it is anhedonia that I also feel. I don't feel up to doing anything I am supposed to enjoy doing. If work is one of my hobbies, I have no interest in any of my hobbies.
What am I supposed to do about it? Time's a'wasting. I need to get going soon. Rest, exercise, eat healthily, and? Having a protocol for restoring myself sounds weary to me too. But I definitely see symptoms of compassion fatigue and stress in me, the recurrence of flu' aside. I guess I shall just have to keep 'trying' and know it will work out.
Meanwhile, everything looks like a yellow-tinged grey to me of late.
Friday, January 17, 2014
We the mentally ill are among you
Unless we are in danger to ourselves, you can't lock all of us mentally ill up in wards. We are among you. 1 in 4 of you is one of us. Trying to lead a normal life to your expectations. For many this will be possible, because medication and therapy are now advanced and proven. But rest assured we the 1 in 4 who try so much harder to be normal are going to fall short sometimes, often. Just as you don't begrudge one with a broken limb for falling over more often than someone with intact legs, cut us slack.
It won't be easy to. Because many of us seem okay to you. You try to give layman advice that most of the time it is just the thought that counts. (Breathe more! Do more exercise!)
Then how? Cover me, carry me, understand my condition, realise I will need more sick leave just like someone who has another chronic but manageable illness, like kidney failure, diabetes, asthma. What do you get in return for having the back of a mentally unwell colleague? Nothing. Because we all need to carry the social burden of the less privileged, it is the right thing to do.
But some of us, will give society back more in return. I cannot promise you at the net worth of what I do for this world will be greater than what you give me. I will try till I die, and till then, please accept that I won't always be 'well' and 'on' 7 days a week.
(I really admire the healthy who can do so much more than I can. It makes me feel ashamed. I also want to work 12 hours a day 7 days a week and not fall short. I want so much to be a functioning workaholic not just an aspiring one. But every day I am humbled by my illness, and some days I cannot overcome its symptoms. It is agonising. If you find it hard to accept the oft-sick in your workplace, trust me, most of us find it harder to be normal enough for you to accept us.)
We are among you, some merely silently. Plesse cover us when we need it.
Saturday, January 11, 2014
I contemplate quotes on bettering ourselves
When faced with a myriad of strengths and weaknesses that I intuit in the people I work with, I get contemplative. Because people matter to me. It is probably for selfish reasons that they do, because I like to better people, because I see their success as my success. And in some cold way, because I see people as projects to work on. I just want people to grow. Thus I get up to penning quotes that might help whoever reads them.
Don't maintain the status quo just because the impossible hasn't been done yet.
Don't ever think you have arrived, there is always a higher high.
Skill is nothing without character, so always aim to be above reproach.
Be both intrapersonal and interpersonal. Knowing your strengths and passion is of utmost importance, as is learning from and serving others.
Don't care too much, you'll burn out. Don't care too little, you'll become jaded. Recognise the signs of both compassion fatigue and apathy, and realign yourself repeatedly.
Have friends in high places? Seek to be one of them high-placed people instead.
Never flaunt a good deed unless it is for a greater cause.
Thursday, December 19, 2013
Medical emergency crowdfunding balance
Dear everyone who shared, gave, and supported me when I was ill enough to warrant an emergency visit to the hospital
To those who gave, your generosity inspires me and I am really moved, because I did not anticipate such a huge response. I don't think I am deserving, and I am not trying to be artificially humble in saying so.
I did not have to be warded after all, something I wouldn't have known until I actually went to the hospital. So there is a balance of funds, which I will move to an emergency medical account. I have set up a new bank account, DBS Savings Plus 003-6-105219 and this is where I will place the balance of $971.69 shown below. This fund will not be touched unless I go to hospital again, which is to say it acts as my Medisave in proxy, since there are 0 funds in my Medisave.
Here is the total, I have abbreviated the givers' names in case you wish to be anonymous, and one is actually anonymous because I cannot find the SMS of this giver and it might have been a tweet mention which I do not have the record of anymore.
Once again, thank you. You have inspired me to keep getting better.
Labels: me, state, status
Monday, December 16, 2013
SOS: I need help going to a&e today
Dear everyone that I care about:
I am suffering from what my doctor calls an acute anxiety attack that has been going on since Thursday till now. Medication protocol prescribed has not worked except to sedate me for a while. So far the best treatment I got that was an effective stop gap measure was a jab I got on Friday.
My symptoms include: restlessness, inability to stop working, moving fast and talking fast uncontrollably, poor appetite, high heart rate of 90-100+ per minute at rest, anhedonia, thoughts in my head (you know you talk to yourself in your head?) are very LOUD or various streams flowing at different frequencies at the same time, also loud. Like an overflow of creativity. I feel irritated. I find it impossible to rest and relax. It makes me stressed out to feel this way and sometimes I will break and cry.
After consulting with my doctor over the past few days, he suggested the next critical step to take would be A&E. He says apart from observation, tests need to be done to determine why am I having this sudden onset of acute anxiety. (I have never experienced acute anxiety attacks before, only panic attacks.)
A bit of background about hospital care I will need. My doctors are based in Novena Medical Centre. They are attached to Mount A and Mount E. Mount A does not have a psych ward though. In order for me to see a doctor at the A&E that already knows my case in and out, I have to go to the hospitals they are attached to, if I go to a government hospital, I have to relay my entire 6 years's worth of case history to them and what I have been experiencing for them to have a rough idea what is going on. This will derail my treatment and the emergency case that I am will not be treated as such. (I once waited a full hour for a jab when had very severe panic attack, at, of all places, IMH A&E.) A CGH doctor once made me cry because of their interview process, then scolded me for it. It is unfortunate that when at a government hospital, the doctors there will not listen to the patient's primary care physician simply because he is not a government doctor. He will not even be allowed to co-consult with the government doctor. At the hospital my doctors consult at, none of these things will happen and I can get actually better, faster.
I am trying to hold off going to the A&E, taking the medical protocol that doctor has been advising me to. It helps a bit, but I am fast running out of meds anyway, something needs to be done soon. But I have to hold off A&E as long as I can because I cannot afford it.
I am thinking, I will go to the A&E at Mount E if I can raise some funds first. I do not know how much it will cost eventually and whether I need to stay in, (I hope not, but nonetheless will prepare the catty stuff the rest of the volunteers can do in my absence.) I probably only have about $200+ in my back, and Andy has less than 1k for both of us for another 3 weeks. I have 0 medisave left. I really -really- need your help to get treatment. Maybe a buffer of a few hundred more will suffice for me to make the trip down to Mount E asap.
Can you help me get treated today? I have cat work that needs to be done, and I really want to go back to being more functional without these acute anxiety symptoms that actually caused me to pass out yesterday. I feel seriously terrible, and I will continue to be unless my doctor can think up something less costly (so far no, A&E is his strongest recommendation.)
If you can help me, today, this morning,
Transfer a sum of any amount to my account
Then text me 90880675 or tweet me @avalon to tell me, so I can tally, and when a safe buffer of a few hundred (say $400-500) is reached, I will immediately rush to the A&E. After I am there, I will continue asking for help, firstly from my parents (who haven't responded yet, and are in Malaysia.)
If I cannot achieve a buffer, I will deal with it from home alone.
(No, my medical insurance didn't cover psychiatric illnesses, so I terminated it, in case you were wondering.)
Current heart rate at rest: 112.
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Shit happens, we are overcomers despite, but damn...
Adversity presents opportunity that otherwise might not be revealed.
I know that.
But I fucking hate how down and out I feel when in situations that can be considered adverse. Like right now. I am physically sick, and keep having episodes of anxiety and extreme low moods to the point of being incapacitated. No cash or credit to see the doctor before scheduled appointment, time running out on plans that need to be executed to completion. Sure, we are overcomers of shit happening in our lives, but I sure wish this shit pool doesn't feel like one that pulls me in to drown me.
Friday, December 06, 2013
annoying fatigue that annoys me and everyone else.
Every time I think about writing, I think about writing on how tired I am feeling. It is like a cheap refrain that goes on in my head, that I feel, cyclically, through to my bones.
Fatigue and perpetually feeling physically ill - the most annoying symptom of clinical depression for me, at this time.
There is so much work to do! Can you feel my annoyance through this screen, how much I want to do things, accomplish much, build, but am infirmed and cannot be all that?
Tired refrain is that annoyance, like that old man who is egged on by his physiotherapist to get up, grab the rails and walk, but cannot, falls, and goes into a fit of rage about wanting to give it all up.
I am not giving up though.
Because, Fine! Let it be so that I am weaker than most in my strength, but I shall do what I can anyway, and perhaps finally leave this frustration aside.
Fuck this exhaustion.
(In more ways than one.)
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
One day at a time
I seem to have become more introspective of late, but that is to be expected when there are any major changes happening. In this case, preparing the rescue group for registration, preparing for 2014.
Yes, it seems to be all about my work. But that is what fulfills, validates, makes me.
I do feel worn and almost beat. Which is why we have planned a staycation next month. Prioritise rest, because that is what we do: put things down on a to-do list so that it gets done. I also have to plan a visit to see my mom and dad soon. Levees are bursting with a flood of priorities.
But it is okay, for I go one step at a time, one day at a time.
Every so often I am reminded starkly that I am not well. These reminders make me feel weak, discouraged, and sometimes I wish I could die, but because I cannot, it frustrates me.
So never mind then. Perhaps that sounds resigned, but I knew from long ago that if I waited to get well before I did anything of import, I would never accomplish anything. I just need to work through the sickness.
And sometimes it is all I can do. Just keep going. Despite.
Monday, November 25, 2013
Sunday, November 24, 2013
Courage and conflict
If we all waited till we felt ready to do something requiring bravery and the unknown, we would never accomplish anything.
But this kind of courage, the belief that everything can be made possible, at such a time before a big leap is required, shoots arrows of conflict with innate self doubt and insecurity.
There is such a huge fight within me now. I know courage will win out. But that does not mean the conflict does not exist.
A lot of forgiveness within myself is required too, when I make a mistake, which with the unknown will be inevitable. My worry is others won't feel the same way. I feel that I am expected to be near perfect.
That expectation, perhaps approximated that I should be 98% on target, is amplified by myself, that I think people expect 99%. In a world where the big boys and girls play, that 1% is a huge deviation.
People expect more. That is how we can grow. More fruit than this, less failed crops than this. Increase the flame, build up the pressure in the pot, make a better stew.
With all these vectors of betterment that I need to ride and control, how do I not crash every now and then? And when I do, who will catch me?
Friday, November 22, 2013
frustration and management of a corpus of vectors.
Am feeling a lot of frustration at my disturbed sleep over the past couple of days and the flu', again. It is annoying to have fatigue and illness cause me to lose steam, when so much needs to be done.
As for what needs doing exactly, to simply term it, managing a cat rescue group. The managing aspect is getting to be more critical at this time, seeing that we are about to get registered. A lot of unknown factors, things left undone, finances there but unorganised, new people. Like a matrix of variable vectors.
Courage to lead in the dark, that I do have. I fear not that we will be led into a lair, but that before we accomplish our mission we might self-destruct. Leadership always carries that fear.
When people are bound together in corpus, it is a union like marriage. It grants power, and power can destroy or build, a double edged sword. Like riding a horse, the one at the helm needs to respect the animal, yet rein it, so that both horse and rider are as one, moving along together to their destination.
What if, the horse disrespects the rider?
What if, the rider is not skilled enough to lead the horse?
All the what ifs. I don't doubt I am a good leader. I worry others won't acknowledge that. I know I can win people over, but it might be work that is a stretch too challenging!
I am not COO material, operations is not my main strength. I can design excellent workflow, but am terrible at executing it. I am not CFO material, I know the finances inside and out, but I can only direct the CFO in line with the vision.
Like an artistic director who knows nothing about the technical aspects, or does know, but is terrible at it herself. I have never been artist material, I am curator instead.
I can only do my best, and keep making that best even better over time. If God does not build this house, the labourers labour in vain. Much of the leading I do is but following where God has designed me towards. He might think too highly of me, how am I ready for this? I lead by unction, the pursuit of peace, through the consult of my partner who is my wise counsel. God shall be the thread that will keep these vectors in union without implosion.
And that means, reliquishing control. Like a height activity in an obstacle course, one must let go to grab the bar or rope, or step off a ledge, knowing that the design of the obstacle is such that you absolutely will not fall, that someone is below belaying you.
I am scared, but it is a good kind of fear. As for fatigue and illness? I guess that means I have both frustration and fear to contend with for now. Annoying as hell, this fatigue and illness combo that surfaces too often.
Right now, due to waking up automatically at 4am, I am already tired out. I hope the flu' is gone today, but it mightn't, and I will have that weighted on me. I hate being humbled by the fact I am a weak human being. I hate how it makes me a crabby person to those I actually appreciate. I can only keep going, recalibrate to ensure an adequate amount of rest, and sincerely hope that those who follow an unworthy me will not despise me for being weak.
Sunday, November 17, 2013
Flush with frustration internally, bubbling over in bouts of irritability. Have no inkling why this is happening. To top it off I am also losing my steam and motivation.
Maybe I am just a boiling pot running over because the flame is on too high.
Whatever it is, I need to sort it out as soon as I can find out how. For the sake of everybody, and the cause. Following the deeply arced whims of my emotions has always been my weakness. I have been told I only am helpful when am not in a bad mood. I have been told I am fierce. But the flux of my emotions should not affect others in those ways.
Granted, I - have - improved. Compared to the rash nature of my younger self. Compared to when I wasn't on medication too perhaps, which meant then that my mood was lower than neutral almost always.
Actually, I thought writing this would have helped me figure it out by this paragraph. But I am still clueless as to why I am not bubbly and loving and all that.
End of my tether? I doubt that. The game isn't over till we've won.
I need to see this with a management point of view. When staff are unmotivated or discontent, what the problem and thus solution is. In this case the staff being me. I would prescribe a time out, and ways to make my job less tedious. Perhaps when I feel less worn out, I will. I cannot afford not to, right?
Perhaps. Perhaps. Perhaps.
God, you led me to this. And now as I keep on going I feel broken and in need of repair. But I am not sure where. This is a roller coaster ride now, with no time to stop and fix myself unless it stops for me and thus for everyone. So, you do the fixing, okay?
Monday, November 04, 2013
distractions and a silent ego
They tell fashion models to make love to the camera. I suppose one who ought to write, must do the same to their laptops and such.
I look at my hands splayed across the keyboard. They look aged. Must be from washing, and the sun perhaps. This calls for some lotion on these hands before I continue.
I guess that was just a convenient excuse; anything to distract from putting words on canvas in proper expression, abstract or otherwise. I have been distracted by everything. I go for the trivial and inane, and language is truncated to tweet-glish, Singlish, anything that is succinct for making an irrelevant point. Work and rest distract me from reading. When we don't read, we cannot create better things.
Maybe I have lost my ego. We write because of our ego, but I don't feel anything more than a pawn in the part of claiming my inheritance, my destiny. It seems paradoxical, to see myself as a small part in - my - destiny. Like a cog in a wheel that is still me. I am not sure where or how I should place myself to be more egotistical. Without wishing to propagate our own ego, we cease to propagate ideas and thoughts through words.
And so, I fell silent. Distracted and small, I just stopped making abstract expressions through words. I merely make sounds, "tweets" and curses under my breath. I trudge like one of a tired pack that needs to move but also has to conserve energy, so verbal intercourse ceases. It has become just about putting one leg in front of the other, watching the terrain, planning the route and rest stops.
Because the best of what I write often stems from pain, I reckon silence might be a good thing too. It means the absence of unbearable pain, the type that cannot be assuaged, that writing cannot heal but we try anyway because it hurts so badly.
Most of what occupies my mind now instead: the economics and science of managing a startup non-profit cat rescue group. I think of little else. I am inspired to this, and therefore it fills my mind. It is probably boring to most people, working on pathways to destiny. Dream-talk excites bystanders, but the journey excites only the traveller and his companions.
Thus I have nothing to inspire you to with this post. Except, that even if you feel like nothing you are experiencing is worth writing about, you are wrong. Look: I just wrote paragraphs on having nothing worth writing about. Look at your hands on the keyboard, and start there.
Thursday, October 24, 2013
Fatigue and destiny
I am so tired. I have been here before, this level of tiredness, but it always is effective in making me feel a tad weak. I am sleeping badly, awake for too many hours because I wake up in the wee hours pre-dawn once or twice per night. Nothing helps: not naps, not exercise (ha, that's a joke, tire yourself out so as to not feel tired), not coffee, not protein. I am going on sheer willpower, which is like one processor running a dual-core. Okay that may not be a perfect analogy since I have no idea the heck about computer hardware. But you get me. I am running on the back-up generator, and it is costly and needs to rest intermittently. And it looks like the power might not come back on, ever.
I suppose this is what, "When I am weak then I am strong," means. The weaker you are, the more energy you need to churn out in order to function. But for a while now, this weakness has been the status quo. Would like to have a normal, not depleted, level of energy every now and then. It would be wonderfully relaxing.
Yes, being busy with work I love makes me feel good, of some worth. Nothing can replace that inner conviction, that drives activities of purpose. Using wisdom, talents, passion, knowledge, for the fulfilment of destiny, that sort of unction cannot be replaced by anything visible in this world.
But as always, the spirit when willing and even able, encounters the weakness of flesh, in this case, my physical condition itself. Depression has never really left me, and it is still present, manifested in symptoms like this chronic fatigue. Looking back, even in childhood where I would scamper about energetically, I don't recall not being repeatedly tired out. I was and still am constantly on autopilot simply fuelled by mental strength or numbness to the fatigue.
So, what really is the solution? Nothing. Rest is always followed by further toil.
God has just promised me that he will strengthen my weakness. That I do not need to be afraid I cannot keep up with my calling. If he says it, I believe it, so be it. And this belief is where an even deeper level of inner strength resides, in my core, my spirit. I will go on.
Still, some 16 hours of uninterrupted sleep would be nice. But that will need logistics, delegation and planning. Guess we will just have to see how it goes.
Thursday, October 17, 2013
one day at a time
I don't have a good excuse for why I haven't been writing here. Reasons, yes: I have been busy, I have been micro-blogging in tweets instead, I simply haven't anything new to ponder over. Apart from trivial things, I have nothing substantial to put in paragraphical sequence.
Maybe, I have been less melancholic, and thus less creative. We all know poets have a high rates of depression and suicide, and if I am less so, I am less creative with my words.
So, what do I feel? It feels like maintenance mode for me most days. I am pulling through flu' bugs and gastric problems, I am getting by on a daily basis and not thinking too far beyond each day. I set goals for work, fitness and diet, and try my best to achieve them. Every bedtime I reset the clock and go through it all again at dawn. The aim is to survive and be as fruitful as possible despite my limitations. It is all very boring.
I haven't been sleeping well. I wake up in the middle of the night, or very early in the morning. When the flu' bugs hit, I become very weak and lethargic, double whammy, since I am not completely rid of the somnolence that depression causes to begin with.
As of right now, I have been up since 4am, I have exercised and had a somewhat healthy breakfast. I am about to start my work for the cats for the day. Do I look forward to bedtime tonight already? Yes. Between all that, I have my psychiatrist appointment. I will be going cycling today, via commute to and from the doctor's. If there could be no repercussions I would rather be in bed the entire day. I feel nothing much, my mood is the usual 3 out of 10, 10 being very happy and 0 being suicidally depressed.
The paragraphs above sum up the days since I last wrote here. That is all, nothing much to it. I believe writing should go beyond informing, and should inspire.
What does this report inspire, then? That, like in Alcoholics Anonymous, we who are infirmed inside should take it One Day At A Time. Like cardiavascular exercise, it strengthens our muscles, in this case our brain, to form good habits, that will make it easier to do each day we repeat it. We might never feel happy doing any of this, but it makes us that bit stronger. Despite being handicapped, we can be strong again. Just as someone who uses a wheelchair would have stronger arm and finger muscles than one who, all things remaining equal, walks for mobility, we as the mentally weakened can strengthen ourselves just by repeat each day with a good habit. Just pick one. Sleep hygiene improvement, exercise, feeding the pets, writing. It doesn't matter. And if we fail that day, it doesn't matter too. There will be tomorrow. Most likely, anyway, we aren't that lucky to die and be rid of this all so easily innit.
Yes, another final reason why I haven't been writing, is perhaps the interest for it hasn't been on fire. Anhedonia, the simple explanation. But, writing is not my only interest, and I can turn to other things that seem easier to ignite interest in further, for now. We cannot change our core so easily, so if I love writing, it is not likely to just go away, chemical imbalance in the brain or not.
I will see you tomorrow if you are on Twitter, and then, we can go through the cycle again. One good habit a day, a day at a time. It doesn't matter if it makes us happy, if you are like me, nothing will make you happy. But it will make you a tad stronger even if you feel nothing.
Wednesday, July 10, 2013
I believe in Jesus as my saviour. I am not ashamed to say I am a charismatic Christian, and have been since 1995. I will never give my faith in God up. I believe no one is without sin except Jesus. I believe no one has the right to cast stones at another, or judgement of any kind. I believe in miracles. I am baptised by water and of the Holy Spirit. I know I am not perfect, but that God already loves me anyway. I believe in the bible. I believe in human rights. I believe the bible says that the door to our hearts opens or closes by our own will. I believe God respects everyone's right to choose. I believe the law of the land should reflect this. I believe that criminalising anything that does no harm to another is in itself casting stones no one has a right to. I do not believe in 'gay rights' but I believe in human rights, and they are the same thing.
Tuesday, July 02, 2013
One Day, I Will Say, "I Am The Executive Director Of A Non-Profit Organisation
I have reached a point where I cannot grow our cat rescue group further without incorporation and staffing, so, that is what we are working towards right now. All of it may not happen sooner than 2014, but it started before today.
Charity work is my career choice, but it is indeed a career, a profession, a job. It is not out of pure altruism that I remain in the path of the non-profit organisation; it is because this is my dream industry, for life.
Help me nudge my dream forward even more in the years soon to come, by clicking this today: http://igg.me/at/elainechiam/x/3820832
And when you click it and it brings you to a new webpage, I hope it will make you either act on it, or talk a lot about it.
Labels: share, state
Friday, June 21, 2013
Pablo from Hougang at Love Kuching Project
Monday, June 10, 2013
Sophisticated Online Bullying
I am not quite sure what to make of today's social media culture. Bullying has taken a new form, and the proponents of it don't even realise the impact of their actions. One would be able to research a whole thesis' worth on today's internet subculture; different from the 90s and noughties because of how sophisticated human behaviour has evolved.
The lower caste bullies take the form of 'haters' that have no logical sense to their destructive comments. Referring to the kind that lurk on STOMP and Yahoo, that basically find reasons to spew hateful words rather than speaking up because something is truly and logically wrong. Lower caste bullies do not understand what is truly wrong and what isn't because logic eludes them. Self-policing might eventually solve this problem. For those that refuse to change their hate-for-hate's-sake stance, they will likely just gather in an echo chamber of similar folks and then be cut off like an ox-bow lake. Well, one can hope.
No, I am not actually feeling resigned about lower-caste bullies today. I am concerned about the sensible and intelligent ones. Those that propagate truth. Yes, there are such bullies.
These bullies are so sophisticated in that they find one pearl of wrongness in a tweet, Facebook post or YouTube video - you name it, they are everywhere - and correct the person it originates from. The correction might be justified but the impact is not.
In real life, if someone were to say an equally wrong statement, the correction from the people who hear it is simply not as harsh. It could even be easily ignored as just a human quirk, or will be seen in the light of its context and the originator's entire personality and character. This is not to discount that said comment really could be insensitive or obtuse. We are just kinder when faced with a real person, body language and all. We generally fight mild injustices in the form of flawed statements with more kindness for our fellow human being.
Kindness almost eludes us when we are on online platforms. Unable to see or feel the other person entirely, it frees us up to be more critical because we cannot feel the other person without any imagination on our part.
In business and other discussions this is good because the socially-sensitive will be able to speak up with fewer repercussions. Online platforms where anyone can freely have a say is the internet version of, "May I speak to you in private please?"
But when it is a simple whine-and-opine post, does it really need so much scrutiny and correction? Perhaps it does because compared to a comment said aloud at a dinner table, online stuff goes much further. But in doing this kind of police work, aren't we forgoing the type of kindness we would display if this really was said at a dinner table? Because it is so much harder to intuit a person's feelings, character and personality online, we pretty much subconsciously discount all of it about a person and he becomes an avatar.
Yes, because we do have an innate emotional intelligence quotient, we intuit subtexts of what people are saying in real life. The EQ parameter online is simply lowly weighted - fact.
And this amounts to sophisticated online bullying that breaks my heart. Not just because I feel for those being bullied, but also for the bullies, that they have become so keenly aware of all the tiny injustices online that would otherwise be insignificant. Suddenly, everything is something wrong that needs to be corrected, online police work becomes so busy they never have any rest as bullies now.
How do we change this culture of sophisticated online bullying? Perhaps we need to put the emotional intelligence back into our social media apps. It means feeling harder, trying to find clues about subtexts otherwise plainly intuited in real life, and seeing real people around our dinner table, instead of displayed avatars.
Sunday, June 09, 2013
Humanity My Respite
A quaint evening -
I see it murky
Eyes veiled by gauze
Of glass against me;
I hardly feel it
No matter! For -
Love. For you,
Others crave coffee
I crave to comfort,
Bear your pain.
You ain't heavy.
Tuesday, June 04, 2013
I aspirated on my own life and died. Trying to take it in to survive for that is the order of society and the need of those around me. But I perhaps have no ability to consume it without choking and perpetually being on the verge of death. So I gave in and breathed.
The posture that one should maintain when trying to encourage others that you will get better, is like putting up a Christmas tree in your flat and decorating it. Not only are decorations of no functional meaning, the tree is plastic, and worst of all, Christmas ain't even about the damn tree. It is all a farce.
People will have their own opinions as to whether I should or should not die. None of these matter when I am not able to feel these opinions anymore. I never did care. I try to care about those for the shouldn't camp. But right now, I don't really. I just want to minimise the pain of the memory of my death for these people and hence will die in the least gruesome way that I can. A show of consideration.
On my way home this evening I told myself I will write more poems. Songs rather than snorts of my thoughts and feelings. Poetry is just a better way to present words. I now have not a single word of poetry that wishes to swish through me; hence, this is no poem.
Let's try other things than all that has been penned here. I've taken my medication, consumed flaxseed oil and soy protein and two bites of chocolate. I'm banking on the two fluanxol tablets I took to make me elevate from this brink. To resuscitate me from aspiration pneumonia. It may work yet, if so, I'll be back, and maybe by then a song will arise.
Monday, May 27, 2013
to all the men who inspire me with your art
You inspired me with your poetry through words and images; inspiration spurred so deep in, I almost fell in love with you right there. As I am the flower fading, you believe yourself to be but a wave on the ocean, transient and minute in the vastness of eternity. Yet to me you spoke with what seemed like vastness of eternity itself. Time almost halted when I listened to you.
I doubt I was meant to be the sole audience of your thoughts.
I wonder if you think of her, as I think of him, maybe too much like a refrain of Love Me If You Dare. But I wouldn't trust you otherwise, had you not been heartbroken before, lonely in a crowd, missing the wondrous moments you had with her. If I fell in love with you, I want to be a better version of that memory, but I can only be better, if you had that memory to begin with.
If you ever were to help kiss my tears away, I know mine won't be the first taste of salt on your lips. I only hope that my tears will not remind you of your own. But if they already do, selfishly I want for you to make art of it, because when you are so passionate, even if as a broken man, you are a wonderful artist. All of you - your words, your images, depending on which you you identify with - inspire me even more when you create out of brokenness. Come to me thereafter if you can, I will then kiss those tears away in return for your art.
I see what you create - every piece an immortal work of art. I want to have a stolen moment with you, to kiss you deeply, to feel you and taste you and make you vulnerable. Perhaps your art makes me want to consume you. Again, I know that none of you create your art for me, only, but this is what rises out of me when you create. I want to make you senseless, lose all restraint, and be for a moment a heap of nothing but flesh, moisture and deep breaths.
After which, you will go into the sunset, as they all do, because a man as great an inspiration as you are, will always leave me, to continually be inspired - and I will let you.
Saturday, May 04, 2013
So many means we have today of communicating words. Most words we spew often generate response and then we need to reply to those responses. Aren't you tired of replying already? And so I revert to writing on a blank canvas that is 'Compose' on a blogging platform.
Truth be told I was forced into a mobile silence today because my phone is not really working. It shut down and then refused to start back up. Which is good since I am still sick with the gastric flu' and ought to rest. Will deal with the repercussions of mobile silence later.
Without needing to constantly reply to things on the Notifications panel I guess we need to go back to basics and speak without prompt. Yes also without being stoked by news and whines and opines we see on Timelines. This is harder than you would think.
But we already are so critical of reactive versus proactive moves by anyone. So why not try and not be stoked into response for a while too yea? Try it. Be introspective, deeper than usual. Strip away humour and all things trivial that are the cover-ups of what lies deeper.
It is as if your boss (or yourself if you are the boss) gave you a day off without any emails, messages, phonecalls, meetings. What would you then do about it?
This hypothetical question which I saw on a nonprofit management tweet, made me immediately reply: spend time with the beneficiaries you manage the nonprofit and raise funds for. Nothing beats going back to basics and getting feet deep in the mud again to revive a sense of cause and passion.
I would venture further then to ask, what would you do for yourself if you had a real day off without neediing to reply to any form of communication?
Wouldn't revival also be a good motive for such a day?
Sit with yourself. Contemplate all the agony and emptiness. Feel the pain but know it will pass. Listen to the urban silence. Then realise you can choose to not answer to anyone but yourself for a change. Big relief. Now all is right with your perspective again. You are not a cog in a wheel. You are not just a replaceable part in a bureaucratic machine. You are not a daisy in a chain of flowers even.
You are so unique words fail to describe.
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Sometimes I forget
I egg myself on to do work: my cat rescue work, freelance work and its related tasks. Then I keep stumbling, and get frustrated. It then hits me that I am not wholly well and I forgot that fact. Perhaps like when your legs fall asleep but you don't realise it but still get up to walk like one usually does, then you fall. At this point I recognise that I stumble because I am handicapped, then get frustrated that I am not normal.
(Oh, rest, you say? It is one of those anhedonic days. I have no mood to do anything leisurely like watch TV shows or even eat.)
Which is why this post is shitty, and for now, I will just not bother about it.
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Every day is a defeat
Every day is a defeat, I wake up to its reality, for it is committed as the daily sunrise. Thereafter it is all about trying to overcome the defeat's by-products. Be it sickness of body, exhaustion, unable to make self un-sad, or lack of motivation. Nothing changes this, not even the fact that I am an overcomer who can get over this. I can, of course, perhaps not every day, but the net defeat overcome. But this already means that the premise of every day being a defeat from the get go, is truth
Sunday, April 14, 2013
How to make a proper vegetarian soup stock
I am not a vegetarian but I have been trying my best to cut down my meat consumption. I decided to because of health and environmental reasons. Meat is fattier and no, it is not the good kind of fat. If you have already been eating less meat, eating animal fat now will likely give you digestive upset, so it is best to eventually cut it down to nil if you want to reduce consumption of unhealthy fat. Also, it costs the environment a lot to produce meat for our consumption, and I like vegetarian sources of protein anyway. For cooking, I don't need to worry about food contamination from not handling meat properly. So many rules for cooking meat safely, such as not cutting vegetables on the board that was used for cutting meat, making damn sure it is cooked fully. Plus it isn't difficult now to eat less meat because we have so many other protein and calcium choices.
So of late I did a search on making vegetarian soup. Soup is a healthy food choice because it is full of protein without having to eat so much as it is filling. Plus, I really love soup.
Alas the vegetarian soup solutions I found via Google were dismal. Firstly, It always seems to involve miso. I like miso soup, and have just ordered some miso too so I can cook with it. However I am Chinese, so I can't do without my Chinese soups too. Then the internet prescribes hot and sour soups and similar as my Chinese option. Must I? I don't always feel the need for it, and I am Teochew, our soup is clear, not starchy. And J doesn't dig spicy soup anyway. The third option was using coconut milk. I don't see how this is a good idea, perhaps an angmoh
notion of Asian soup. The last option I found seems to produce a weak soup that resembles the kind you make with vegetable waste. So, I had to go do some soup inventing.
No I don't know cookery, and I don't follow recipes well. I cook by feeling, and the way I judge my cooking in terms of taste is whether it has all the notes, like in music where you need a variety and bass and treble. So, this is my disclaimer if you don't find my soup invention at all professional to read and follow.
There were a few vegetable soup preparation rules which I read online and followed. 1) Start with cold water. 2) Cut the vegetables in smaller pieces so that there is more surface area from which the flavours can escape. 3) Mushrooms are important, they are the secret ingredient to making flavourful vegetarian soup.
To me, Chinese soup must be herbal to be good. Chinese herbs add flavour of a different kind than vegetables which tend to be light and sweet. So this was one new rule I created for vegetarian Chinese soup stock. Herbs I chose include star anise, dioscorea
, red dates and qi zi
. You can also try others of course, such as apricot kernels. I do not know the health properties of these herbs. But you should know that star anise is a good addition to vegetarian soup stock. This is because unlike the other herbs, it is not that sweet. Vegetarian soup stock as I discovered tends to be sweeter than meat based soup. So star anise is a good herb to balance that flavour out.
The vegetables that are good for making vegetarian soup stock include cabbage, tomatoes, carrots. Tomatoes obviously make the soup more tangy, whereas cabbage and carrot make the soup sweet. Cut them into small pieces to make the soup more flavourful. I also like using pear or apple, the kind from China. It makes the soup cooling, has a unique flavour (also sweet) and it is delicious to eat when cooked. Other vegetables you can use are more the sort that you cook with, last, before your meal itself, so that it doesn't disappear into leafy bits with no edible girth.
Mushrooms, without a doubt, must be shitake. I buy fresh ones normally, because I also use them in salads and pasta dishes. You can use dried ones. Add mushrooms generously!
You also need the basic Chinese soup ingredients like ginger and garlic. Onion if you eat it too (I don't because it gives me gastric pain). I use whole garlic cloves smashed beforehand, with the skins on.
For seasonings, I added dark soya sauce, pepper, and a dash of salt. The salt is truly optional, but I like my soup less sweet and more savoury, so it had to be. I also added in a Japanese mix of red pepper, roasted sesame seeds, orange peel, chilli flakes, seaweed and ginger. You can buy this pepper mix from a Japanese supermarket like Sakuraya or the Japanese food aisle in Cold Storage. It is the kind you find at the seasonings tray in Jap restaurants next to the soy sauce and wasabi or ginger. This could possibly be one of the best secret ingredients when it comes to soup seasoning.
I reckon you can make your soup more savoury and spicy without using these seasonings, by adding preserved vegetables to it. Choices like sichuan vegetable, preserved mustard (kiam chye
), tang chye
, sour plum. I didn't want to go the preserved vegetable route so I didn't try, but you can if you want to! I guess the rule applies too for kimchi.
Put all the tiny pieces of chopped vegetable, garlic and ginger, herbs, mushrooms into a pot. Fill it with water. Boil over low heat for as long as you can. The tomatoes take a while to make the soup tangy, so if your soup isn't sourish yet, it isn't done. When I filled my pot with the ingredients and water it was full to the brim. The soup stock was about 60% of the pot eventually. As it boils the depth of the stock's flavour starts out light and sweet, then moves on to the richness of fish stock, then chicken, and finally the full rounded depth of your regular pork stock Chinese soup cooked by our parents.
So now the soup stock is done! I hope you like it. What to eat it with?
You can make a no-carb soup meal by cooking the stock with tofu, enoki mushrooms, other green veges like spinach and sio pek chye
, tomatoes and a little water. You can make a noodle soup too. If you want no-wheat noodles, try buckwheat noodles without wheat. Impossible to find in supermarkets though, so I get them from iHerb
. You can also opt for gluten-free quinoa macaroni
which will make your soup meal like the macaroni soup of our childhood. If you do want to try buying from iHerb, use my discount code AVA985 and get USD5-10 off your first purchase. If you are not avoiding carbs or are avoiding processed foods then you can eat your soup with rice of course. Add ingredients and the soup stock with some water and boil a nice hearty soup to eat with your rice (think yong tau fu
soup you get from the food court).
I totally feel good about this vegetarian soup stock idea. It is as awesome as pork based soups, but it is healthier and lowers my carbon footprint.
Labels: pleasures, share
Friday, March 08, 2013
[trigger alert] what a panic attack feels like
You start to not breathe anymore. Well, you still are, surely, but it is like you are merely able to make air enter your throat area and then, it goes not further, does not saturate your lungs. And if you forget to tell yourself to breathe, you realise you are holding your breath. Breathe, damn it!
Then that throat closes up. It is a combination of a swollen throat you get when you are sick, and that choking feeling you get when you cry. It feels like a lump right there blocking your breathing. Talking, aloud, quite difficult now.
Dizziness. Not like that that you get when on a boat on water, but like your brain is floating in water but your body isn't. You feel light headed. Gazing at whatever is in front of you helps, but it means you don't quite register what is around you anymore.
You are still not breathing in the correct way.
Brain continues bobbing on water.
Fingers feel cold and tingly, you tremble.
Chest hurts like hell. Right in the middle. It feels like it is closing in on your heart, right? It is a heart attack, and immediately your entire nervous system tells you for certain that you are going to die, you are going to die. All the muscles around your heart tightens and tightens, it makes your shoulders and neck ache, maybe even your upper arms.
Let's cry, involuntarily.
Legs go weak, cannot... walk...
You cannot move. Or stand. Or get away. Mobility is no longer an option.
So: not breathing, chest constricted, throat closing up, heart in pain, and everything has shut down.
It will be over eventually. You might pass out, and find yourself later curled in a foetal position. Or you might be conscious throughout, if you can call it that. It will end, of course, but until then, this is as close to the shadow of death as it can get.
this darn wet rock
Every day feels impossible.
I was taught to set a goal, stretch it a bit further. I believed in excellence, which is also biblical. My motto was that shit happens every day, that's why we are overcomers, which meant we ought to revel in solving problems.
Nowadays of course my days are much mellower. Instead of the kind of impossible that is revelry in endless possibilities, it is the impossible that is what it says on the can: impossible.
Everything is just so hard to do, the difficulty is surreal. Like trying to climb a wall of rock covered in moisture and moss - in a dream, so you keep falling, of course. If I try to do something I should do beyond making dinner (for human or cat) or taking a shower in my daily activities, I feel that almost-drop one does when clinging on to that wet rock with fingertips. With that, you now understand why I would rather stay at the bottom of that cliff face, isolated and alone and far away from attempts at climbing.
(Well, I did enjoy abseiling more than rock-climbing as a younger girl. Dropping down is exhilirating and climbing up is excruciating. Getting to the top is more like relief than a sense of accomplishment, so rock climbing isn't really that fun for a high. To me anyway.)
Two options, the way I see it: look at the cliff and feel destitute that I cannot scale it. Or look away and just enjoy being at the bottom of the cliff.
Or maybe, there is another way out of this little valley or underground cave or whichever, that doesn't require climbing wet rock. It will however take years to get around it, just to get around it. More temperate terrain, but it takes far longer.
In the meantime, tears form for the pain of being trapped below, and numbness from that pain through placing said predicament in my blind spot. Neither is the better option but for an abnormal like me, I don't have very much else to choose.
Wednesday, March 06, 2013
the truth of the matter
Wish I could tell people the truth when I fail, that is that I didn't oblige because I wasn't able to find the strength to. No matter how piddly the task, if I can't, I can't. I lie about why; usually I say I was busy or unwell, alibis that can hardly be proved otherwise. Or else I just disappear. "Take off," is what they usually say on TV shows. How else should I explain that I was too handicapped to do something?
I am a woeful existence. I know that yes there are people worse than I am and so I should not beat myself up. I also know I should not complain and do something about it. Knowing something however does not equal energy required to do any of those aternative actions.
And if I cut myself slack, I only feel worse eventually.
- I honestly want to give up.
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
#nowwatching The Sessions
In one session, Cheryl asks Mark to think about himself as a six-year-old boy. "Do you blame him for getting polio?"
I think of myself as a child, and all I feel is, I am sorry you were in such sadness. Sadness that numbed, you barely even recognised was there all the time, because it was such a perpetual emotion.
It is like breathing, you don't realise you are until you aren't, or until you try to control it. Everything was shrouded in grey. like the earth was already at its end like it is now, every air space polluted periodically. There was no one to blame, no causal relationship to define it; it just was. Why did you grow up in sadness, Elaine? Now that you know what it was, you realise you missed it completely.
Was it worth it, to have serotonin balanced finally. to feel those two instances in your later life what happiness feels like? Now that you know, you know what you didn't. It was such a primal feeling, happiness. You knew it the instance you tried to define what you felt, because our brains are wired to recognise the emotion. But it never returned and it can never replace all those years of loss. The childhood without happiness.
I need to come to terms that I will never naturally feel happiness, and that it is okay not to. "You are trying to be mainstream when you are not mainstream," says the good doc. Happiness is mainstream, and I am not, and I should not strive to achieve it anymore. I need a new framework. Perhaps the old one, which is not to try and feel happiness. but to not feel sad. That in itself will already be a lifelong mission. The new framework should be to try and live out my life's goals while carrying this eternal companion of sadness. Even the most ferocious dogs can be great friends.
Numbing, ignoring, soothing: things one can do to sadness for alleviation of it. Embracing it even, for it is the muse of the artist. It is the bedrock of the compassionate arts, and I am a compassionate artist in the making even if I have not much further to live.
And perhaps one day, I could make another person's childhood experience the happiness I never did in youth, to make up for all those years without in mine. From chaos came creation, so from sorrow and pain, shall come forth joy.
Sadness, I acknowledge you as my friend, at last. Perhaps I have regarded you with too much disdain, or ignored you until you poured words onto canvas through my pen. I recognise that you are my source of compassion in so many ways, and that you will propel me to change this world I live in. If enjoyment brings motivation to the mainstream, bring me the same in this offstream world of mine. Without you, I would have no pain, but without pain, I would not see the same in another.
PS. Watch the movie.
Labels: share, state
Sunday, February 10, 2013
for Romanticism, humanity
Crank me up
but hear nothing.
as a cassette tape were
to be in a digital world
Do I sound like silence?
Insofar as the universe is.
on silver, black and white
out of transience.
But that is all.
We explain, solve
and today, more, opine
but forget to
her blood through your veins
her heart in your ribcage.
(Regression is far worse
In becoming feminist
we became masculine.
Make art, but more Romantic
Display the grotesque
Intersect on countenance
Animate pain bloodily
So that we feel again
Beyond photos, news
Her pain must be felt.
Crank the people up
Hear the injustice
And see the world
As it is.
Alleviate her pain
so that you feel it too.
For there is no happiness
But the absence of sorrow.
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
a postmodernist take on today's right to say whatever we want
In present times we all think we are smart enough to present our views. In fact we demand it, oft-heard in freedom of speech spiels. Journalism is now for the masses and no one dares to refute that anymore. So whatever we say on be it on penny platforms like social media or in serious journalism - they must be right, and have a right to be aired.
In essence we are destroying the egos of others whose views differ from our own. 'I stand corrected' is a hard phrase to utter. Egos -will- be bruised, whether or not the owners of these egos act out acceptably after the injury, or not.
Knowledge is no longer privy to the few who are academics or professionals in their fields. Like the Protestant movement that declares the Bible should be freely available for everyone, like how Marx believed that the aristocracy will always lose its land-owning powers to the people.
But really though, are we taking it a tad too far? Anyone now can pontificate over the internet, and so we do. But in bruising egos, there must also be a tipping point where it becomes the destruction of respect for one another. What else is respect for others after all, but about being delicate with a person's humanity, reputation, values? Which are, if you think about it, attached to our egos.
Sure, when our position is attacked, others may not mean disrespect, as often stressed by opening phrases of, "I mean no disrespect when I say this." But that is only because we choose not to take it as disrespect, and thus not an attack on character. Merely opinions, therefore merely logic, devoid of all that is emotional and intangible otherwise. Knowledge above all: a very modernist concept.
I am of course, postmodern.
But sociological misfittings aside, I think we really ought to, in plain terms, stop hurting one another with our pretty sudden free pass to say whatever we want over the world wide web. We should choose to influence, not insult; if we really want our ideologies (which believe to be true, to each his own) to make a difference in this world. Inspire change and stop bashing in people who hold on to what hasn't changed. And between that, spread cheer, humour, laughter. The social media platforms of today for our individual selves should be platforms mirroring the French salons, not battlefields or the Cold War.
Think about it. Either you disagree and feel a tad (or greatly) incensed by what I have said, because people need to divorce their feelings from logic. Or I am right, and you take this with a pinch of salt and apply bits of it to your pepperings over the internet. Or what I have said is utterly boring or irrelevant and has been a waste of your time. Either way, I know this has made some contact with you. This is the power of today's freedom of speech. Don't abuse yours, then.
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Sunday, December 30, 2012
out of place but not out of count; Twitter and its beautiful people
It baffles me how I am so much less worldly-wise than them yet I feel like I fit in. I am not on par; they are smarter than I am. I do not 'get' witty remarks because I am not that witty. But they just aren't arrogant enough to make me feel small and thus out of count.
In other social circles I am the smart one. I know what others don't. I can pitch in on intelligent topics of conversation. I am all-convincing. Impressive to the point of charmingly attractive.
Not anymore, now that I have met my matches - plural - in real life. (Yes, it IS real life). It is as if I was given membership of an exclusive club, one whose members I feel are my match and above. But I did not have to get sworn in or go through an initiation to be a member of this club. It is exclusive and yet so inclusive!
All I did was follow the right people on Twitter, and somehow they followed me back. Echo chamber of the highest value and without a whiff of arrogance within, as is usual in circles of theorists that are too full of themselves.
Yes, apart from being devillishly clever these people are also folks of character. There are very tolerable levels of passive-aggressiveness, one-upmanship, and general condescension. There is no exclusiveness to the point no one new can penetrate the circle.
What did I do to be welcome, even associated with people of such nobility? Very little; I am just myself, authentic. Thankful then, my real self is acceptable.
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So it is time for wistfulness. I wish you would be wistful with me. But it just isn't to be. Because you make it so. I want to contemplate the world with you, about you. But I go alone. And you too. Should it really be this way?
What can I do to be contrary, otherwise? I did what I thought was adequate but it isn't; I suspect even if I did enough I would still be stopped short. Because you would just refuse to pick up the baton at the time it is your lap.
And you would claim it isn't your race. I know, because of all that you left unanswered. Silence is a negative reply, I see.
Will the apparition of you fade away from my subconscious? I hope not, because while it remains, you are torturous.
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Tuesday, December 25, 2012
Blessed Christmas, I love you
I love you.
But you know that. I need you, but you know that. I am emotionally weaker than you, but you know that. I make mistakes, but you know that. I break treasured things, but you know that. I am too much for everyone and anyone, but you know that. I am less than normal, but you know that. I am impulsive, but you know that, and I will change.
At the end of it all, I still choose to love.
No better time than this to tell you who read me that I treasure you.
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Sunday, December 23, 2012
absofuckinglutely gorgeous amazing
you are absolutely gorgeous and our eyes locked and I held your face in my hands and you put your mouth on mine and the next moment we knew that this was it there was no stopping now and the clothes just came off I was relishing removing every bit of your clothing to feel your warm skin every touch was electric and you said are you sure and I said I was sure and you decided to fuck all else and I decided long ago I want to fuck you and it was fucking glorious and you put your hand over my mouth just so I couldn't scream that out loud and we filled latex sheaths and wet the groundsheets and there were claw marks on your back and we were drenched with ourselves and you are just absolutely amazing.
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Wednesday, December 12, 2012
I enjoyed that short moment we shared, if moment was the right word to describe this. What made you finally willing to be vulnerable to allow me to penetrate this space of yours? Regardless, I love you for it. Be mine always.
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If I were to stop repressing every thought and emotion I don't like, chaos would ensue. People will get hurt, tears will flow, hearts will break. And so I retain my most steely front for all of you until I am taken over, reason and all.
Should it be that repression is really a way of life, taken in moderation? I don't do moderation; I am an all or nothing girl.
And, while repression is taking place, what of for the other emotions and needs? Emotions that can be articulated are silenced. But those that have no form to be silenced in go on, grow on. Hunger and lust for example ─ cannot truly be articulated beyond being satisfied.
It therefore follows that repression leads to the pursuit of base desires. If they be met, what would happen?
I know not yet.
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Monday, December 10, 2012
To June of iwantsuicide.blogspot.sg
June, I read your comments.
It doesn't seem like it, at all, but there really is another way out of suffering that is not death. If you have no reason that you can stay alive for, do it because I am also still alive, also working through this disease. You are right, I do understand.
It is not your fault that you take time off work because you are not well. You did not ask to be sick. It is not out of weakness that you take leave to rest when yoh are unwell - it is the responsible, adult thing to do.
You are not alone.
You are not alone.
You are not alone.
Am waiting for you to call, text or email me back. Promise me you will.
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Friday, December 07, 2012
one step at a time, straddling grief
When in doubt of what next to do, write. And so, here I turn.
It feels like I am rebuilding a derelict castle, but with granite bricks covered in moss and mud, misshapen. Each time I lay part of a wall, a storm will come through, and it will be knocked down. But I continue.
Will I ever feel real progress towards getting functional, normal, again? The adage, "One step at a time," is apt, because sometimes even taking that one step is so fucking difficult. As if it were one step while in quick sand, black gold, or underwater.
Tonight, I rest, because I feel too off-kilter, in grief, that I cannot make that one more step forward. I admit defeat. Tomorrow I will try again.
On good days - maybe tomorrow will be one - I manage to walk, albeit in clumsy near-falls kind of way. Like trudging along river banks of silt and wet. That is good enough for me.
I take my grief to bed now, and hope it leaves and does not stay the night.
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Two days ago, E gave birth. Baby E is absolutely gorgeous. I love him already and will see him next week.
In so many ways we have stopped communicating. For me, even more so, because it is just that much harder to pick up a phone, reply a message. The last time I checked on E she wasn't even pregnant. I lovwe so, yet completely missed her pregnancy. I feel awful about that.
I have come to prefer monologues over dialogues. This way, I have no questions to answer. I need not lie about anything just to make someone else feel better. I do not need to tire myself to draining point pretending to be cheery and all right.
Every day I struggle with trying to be better. This could mean making a successful trip out to be with friends. On bad days, it could mean I actually could stood and walked enough to take two showers in a day. I feel like a complete invalid of course. I envy people who can do normal things that I wish I were doing: working, housework, indulging in hobbies. For me all those things are obstacles I have to scale. One day I will get there. Right now, I will do what is set before me.
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Monday, November 26, 2012
a sixteen year old dream, and counting.
I still dream of being with the poorest of the poor and making their lives that bit better. Is this dream ever going to materialise? It has been with me for almost half my life now. Everything I do gears towards fulfilling that calling. When I dig myself out of this pit that is my black dog, I will be there. On the streets, in the shelter homes, in the slum clinics. One day.
I am still waiting. My life is slowly dripping away. Years have been somewhat lost, yet critical in this journey of living the dream. For now, I merely walk one step at a time, one day at a time. For I am an invalid. Yes, for now indeed.
Will do best in meantime, that is all I can. To push depression into remission. No matter how long it fucking takes. A decade maybe. Let's go, then.
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Tuesday, November 20, 2012
a letter to ─
Sometimes I feel like you and I might have a go if the timing were different. Then I realise I don't completely understand your thoughts towards me, that maybe the motive is friendship. I am keen on that really, it would be a blessing to have you by my side as a friend. Of course even as friends, there will always be an inkling of attraction that I have for you. Will you mind that.
I don't know what exactly it is that you do, that makes me feel your love, that makes me want to walk your journey with you.
You are an awesome human being, a wonderful man, a rarity. I do admire you. It is an honour to have your acquaintance.
I do hope you will reply this letter, but if you don't, it is all right. Not every fantasy should cross over to this reality. Meanwhile ─ am thinking of you with a smile in my eyes. Lovely friends have this effect on me, and you, are lovely; almost a treasure.
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