Monday, April 7

I AM A FAILURE...not!!!

It might be strange to those of you who are not affected by clinical depression to be encountered with thoughts of failure as much as I do. To be honest, almost every waking hour is a constant battle in questioning what I am doing with my life and whether I am living up to what I am supposed to be doing. (Which I must confess that I have no clear idea - for the life of me! what it is supposed to be...I hope to find out soon, thinking that perhaps if an answer dropped from the sky miraculously , that i might somehow regain a new found purpose and vitality in life.
try again

However, as recent introspection and discussions with SC and the privilege of good company has helped me come to a realization that perhaps, it is not so clear and simple as I imagine it to be. And that it is perfectly OKAY that it isn't as clear as I want it to be.

Well, perhaps in this aspect of life, I am a particularly slow learner. What seems obvious and readily accepted by the general population takes me ages to figure out and accept. One of the recurring and ever- burning statements in my head for a good many years has always been "I am a failure".

If you can even come close to having ever had this thought in your head for more than a day, you can understand a little how devastating it is to have it constantly on your mind every waking hour. This statement however, has become a norm to me. Sometimes I wonder if it will ever go away. Some days it shouts at me and paralyses me. Other days it creeps in gently enough to stay lingering as long as it wants to. I have come to accept it sometimes, as a regular gatecrasher, an unwanted visitor which I cannot decline as it comes and goes at its own whims and fancies. But I have also discovered that I while I may not be able to fully control how long the unwelcome visit may last, I have other very useful ways of control over how I treat this regular unwelcome visitor.

I begin to understand that I don't have to make it feel welcome. Or acknowledge it's presence. I can leave it alone. And I have the right to NOT offer it cookies and reinforce its stay and NOT entertain whatever it wants to say to me. And if I DON'T feed it, it gets weaker, and less obvious in my "home" which is my mind.

I had a recently prolonged visit from this "I-AM-A-FAILURE" the past week. Everything I saw around me, kept giving it more and more reason to repeat itself to me. Seeing friends pursue their post graduate education, seeing ex-colleagues continue doing the things I use to be a part of. It makes me feel so useless and such a failure!!! But at the same time, I happened to have a friend on Facebook who is very persistent on the subject of success. In a realistic way. (I will explain next time) And it made me think a lot, about what success is. It is something relative, and open ended, and I find myself looking at many people around me thinking that they are successful. But if it were me instead, I wouldn't necessarily think of it as success.

Which made me come to a conclusion that I cant quite yet put my finger on what success really is to me yet. So now that I know I can't put the definition of success in a box, I moved on to trying to define FAILURE. What is failure? I realized that somehow the definition of FAILURE seems more important to me than the definition of SUCCESS. Because everyday I struggle with being afraid to BE A FAILURE.

It is a very familiar and well visited subject. I can come up with a thesis of why I am a failure. But then I thought to myself. Lets say for a moment that I need to define what FAILURE is. It is really something that is subjective as well. But it suddenly dawned to me that it is easier to know when you are a failure. I realised that I can only be a FAILURE when I decide to just STOP TRYING. And  then I realised that I am NOT A FAILURE. Because no matter how hard it has gotten, I haven't completely stopped trying to be well. I think about giving up oh yes I do! But i HAVEN'T! Thre are days that I try so hard just to continue breathing for another day, days I struggle to do house chores, days that the simplest easiest tasks seem most impossible, days when I feel like I want to give up because everything is too complicated. But I am still here and I am still TRYING! And I haven't failed! How comforting to realize that that unwelcome visitor is a lie!

This is especially significant to me for another reason too. Now that I know that FAILURE (to me at least) means NOT TRYING, it can NEVER be permanent. IF for example I AM A FAILURE TODAY, I can stop being a failure tomorrow or even the next moment. I just need to start TRYING again. I know its not rocket science. Its probably nonsensical to most of you out there. But for those of you who are like me, YOU'LL never be a FAILURE! YOU may FAIL but BEING A FAILURE? Logically impossible!!! Just KEEP TRYING! ;-)

Tuesday, December 10

Chewing like a Cow

Recently, I was told by a doctor that I have a long history of excessive rumination. It was something very new to me. I didn't even know how to spell it. The doctor asked me to Google it, and this is one article that I found to be useful. I found it tremendously helpful and realized immediately how I am caught up in cycles of thinking about illogical things to no end,... which can't be switched "off".

And because I found it helpful, I thought that other people may want to know too. So "rumination is something that cows do. They chew their food over and over again and the process repeats itself since they have 4 stomachs. This is completely fine for a cow. But not for a human being when they are doing this with their thoughts.

Firstly, chewing on one's thoughts (in this case negative ones) will not give you nutrients. Secondly, humans only have one brain...although I can't quite draw the comparison between a brain and a stomach. Thirdly, Cows poop in the end of the process, but rumination in the human mind?...The closest comparison I can think of is constipation. And finally, it uses up energy which could have otherwise been used for better cognitive activities. The list can go on, on how bad ruminating is for humans, but since cows have 4 stomachs, I'll stop at 4 reasons.

On a personal note, my rumination began since childhood. And my current level of rumination goes back all the way to ruminating about things that happened decades ago. It is completely and highly exhausting. But I always thought that I was just analyzing things that happened. And maybe, just maybe if I analysed hard enough, I might find the answers to the many why's I have in the present.

Initially, I had a hard time trying to accept that what I have deemed as a fairly logical coping mechanism to me all these years turns out to be nothing close to logical and analytic. But soon, it made sense that it was holding me back from moving forward in so many ways. It was, as the doctor said, fueling my anxiety and depression. It was food for my insomnia, and definitely cause for my sleep reversals. And it was taking me to places (in my head) that I wanted to avoid in real life. In every way, it was very very illogical. And for the record, revisiting my past can't change what happened no matter how much I wanted it to.

So when I started to learn more about it, it gave me hope. There are ways to cope with rumination. And this article HERE gives some pointers. But I thought that I should share some things that I've been doing to keep me from even starting to ruminate. I am aware that it is going to be a long and challenging journey in order to be free from rumination. But I think I am quite pleased with my strategies for now.

So here's what I have in my ammunition:

FOR times when I am awake in the DAY and alone :

  • I am obsessed with words, so I got myself a thesaurus. It has been a long time past-time of mine when I was growing up. Reading the thesaurus and dictionaries. 
  • I got myself a Word Search Puzzle bumper issue
  • also, a Sudoku bumper pack. I am not very good with numbers particularly, but pattern recognition seems to be the key in Sudoku plus I don't have to count more than 10 or even make any numerical equations. It's definitely challenging enough for me to prevent me from thinking about anything else but the puzzle.
  • A circle of people whom I have identified as logical in nature, and honest even at the risk of offending me, who understand where I come from and will refute my illogical thoughts. I talk to them when I am alone. (I am the type that ruminates silently in my head, with no one to refute me, so talking to people with the above characteristics seems to help me so far. However, I am not sure if it will be worse if you are a verbal "ruminator")
  • Getting out of the house and doing something with friends or my husband!
   FOR times when I am awake in the NIGHT and alone :
  • Prior to my knowledge about ruminating, I had a dear friend and also an Aunt who would tell me to commit Scripture to memory and recite them whenever I had bouts of anxiety attacks. So I did exactly that. My friend specifically said PSALMS 23. And I everytime I find myself awake in the night, starting to think of some unpleasant things, I say it over and over in my head. I especially like verse 3 "He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake."
  • Praying for others. (If I pray about my own worries when I am about to ruminate, ...I think you get the point)
I have so much more to say, about how life has been since my last blog post. But I shall leave you with this for the moment. I hope that what I have written here will help someone out there. 

Thursday, July 4

Adopt a pet!


It's really been awhile since I've written anything. But I have a very important thing to share about today. It is about Adopting Pets. Did you know that every-time someone adopts a pet they not only save a life but will gain a lifelong loyal companion too?

Pet Epicure is organizing a Pet adoption Drive, this Saturday at the Bee. They have at least 30 furry feline friends that are neutered, vaccinated and ready to be brought back to a loving home. Pet Epicure has been operating as a shelter for strays, nursing pets (rabbits, dogs, cats) to health, giving them basic vaccination. To prevent the rising number of strays, they also neuter all pets they put if for adoption. However, pet Epicure will be closing its doors soon, and Saturday will be the last chance for 30 lovely feline friends to find a home.

If you have ever considered owning a pet, NOW is the perfect time. Don't shop, Adopt! Why?
- you save a life
- contrary to popular belief, you get a healthy pet
(this is the case with Pet Epicure, as far as I'm concerned, since they have proven it by taking the extra step of vaccinating and neutering their pets, making sure they are in good health before putting each one of them up for adoption)
 - You won't be supporting puppy-mills, which is a really cruel thing. Read more about it HERE.

Benefits of owning a pet include:
-reducing anxiety
-providing unconditional companionship
-helping children learn responsibility and compassion
-spending time playing and caring for your pet can help produce calming and relaxing effects

More about Pet Epicure here.

Even if you are not sure about owning or adopting a pet, please do pay a visit to the Adoption Drive this Saturday and learn more about pets, strays, and how we can be responsible citizens as far as animal welfare is concerned.

Who knows, you might find an unexpected connection and a beginning to a new journey of companionship with an affectionate loving soul in a pet.

This is a picture of Cotton, our loyal, faithful affectionate mongrel whom we adopted from SPCA 7 years ago. She has been a good guardian and companion to us and my in-laws (she lives with them as there is a bigger compound for her to run around. =)

However, she still remains loyal to my husband, who is her main owner. She 'chose' him at the shelter. And she always knows when my husband is 5 minutes closer to reaching home!

Monday, April 29

The Happy Snail Mail Project


I've been doing a great deal of Swapping lately. If you are new to Swapping, its like a system where you meet like-minded people and exchange certain things with people around the world via snail mail =) I swap using Swap-Bot. They have a better description of what swapping is and how it all works. There are all kinds of swaps, like crocheted flower swaps, sticker swaps, handmade swaps and sometimes you get a bonus from your wishlist like unusual ephemera's from another country.

I've gotten old French book pages, foreign maps in foreign languages, teas from other countries and old fashioned ticket stubs =D I know some two particular people will be laughing at me when and if they read this, but never-mind, you just don't get it =.= so just let me be happy with my Bingo card...

So far, it has been quite a fulfilling experience and helps keep my spirits up. It's always nice to receive something in your mailbox from a stranger living across the world from you. And for me what makes me happiest is when the person likes the things I have sent them. That makes my day!

There was a point in time when I thought that all the anger and hardness inside me had robbed me from my ability to make nice random notes and little cards of encouragement just for no particular reason. I used to do this a lot when I was younger. Before all the bad experiences. No matter how I tried, I could not make anything 'nice' like I used to. Until I joined swap-bot. And I am happy that it somehow played a part in helping me re-gain my faith in human kindness and my ability to be nice and to love and forgive.

Again, I am always amazed at how my husband 'tolerates' with my obsessions. Since I started actively swapping, he had to tolerate a lot of papers around the room, and more and more 'junk' (which is actually not junk because they are ephemera's) and brochures and flyers that can be used to make ATC's (Artist Trading Cards and Mail Art. More about what those are in another post.

So I've been thinking lately. I've been sending so much mail to people I don't know. How about I send some to people whom I know. But I'm gonna need your help for this one! I would like to start "the Happy Snail Mail Project" =) 

It's fairly simple. If you like surprises, and love receiving snail mail, fill up a simple form and I'll be sending you some snail mail =) Yeah, I'm serious. So with my fingers crossed, I hope to be getting some response to get the Happy going! Consider it as a simple random act of kindness thingy.

If you're keen, click the image below, and feel free to share this project with your friends.

Thursday, April 11

Exciting Saturday coming up!

Good morning!

Lately I've been busy assisting Beii with preparations for Supplies Surprise Bazaar 9, happening this 13th of April (this Saturday) at 12-7pm.

I'm pretty excited about this SSB, since its the first one this year. We've been on a short break since our last SSB in November last year.

My job is mainly to promote SSB through our blog The Handmade Movement. So I guess I've been doing a bit more writing over there. Other than that I write short descriptions about vendors and their products. But I must admit that the most challenging part of all is correspondence with potential vendors, confirmed vendors and also customers.

Although it is challenging and mind boggling at times, I find it truly rewarding when I've managed to get the job done well. And I appreciate all the kind words from the vendors that I have corresponded with these few weeks. All of you make my hard work and time worth while! And you were all part of cheering me up on my not-so-good days which was quite frequent this month. Overall, you are all an awesome bunch of people and I can't wait to meet all of you on Saturday =)

If you've been to our previous SSB's you'll know what to expect, except that this time, they will be some surprises and new faces, new supplies and new goodies! I am so excited and I even have to plan on a budget to control my spending...I'm already so so so tempted.

So if you're a craft fanatic like me, or hoard fabrics and pretty little trinkets, love happy stationery and all things handmade, come and visit us this Saturday! And don;t forget to say "Hi!" to me haha =) I'm not particularly sociable, but I guess I can be nice when I'm in good company >.<

Here's a simple poster of the participating vendors this SSB 9.

You can read my blog posts HERE for more details on vendors, and how to get to the venue.