the Shadow People pt. 2

Tuesday, March 21, 2017. 12:00 Midnight.

I felt uneasy and stressed the whole night. The previous day, I had a disagreement with my dad. Finals were coming up, deadlines were coming up. It was dark outside. I got into my boyfriend’s car as he was driving me home, I was seated shotgun side, shut the door, placed my backpack on my lap and put my seat belt on. The car light went out. I felt something, like a presence and felt the hairs on the back of my neck stand up as if someone was breathing on it, and watching me. (My boyfriend told me after the fact that he noticed me breathing heavily and he was calling my name but I was unresponsive, staring straight ahead). He put his hand on my shoulder and loudly called my name. That is when I noticed his hand on my my shoulder, and turned my head to look at him. His hand felt foreign and to be honest, I didn’t recognize him at first or understand what he was saying. (I was told at this point I began hyperventilating).  Then I saw a shadowy human form lying down on the backseat of the car, it’s head on the driver’s seat side so I, on the shotgun side was able to see their whole upper body when I turned my head to look at my boyfriend. As I looked my boyfriend in the eye, in my peripheral vision, I saw the shadowy figure rise to a sitting position and begin to lean forward, reaching for me. I thought it was going to kill me.

(I was told at this point, that my scream and body language of fear was so genuine that my boyfriend actually believed that there was someone in the car. I fumbled and opened the car door, unlocked the seat belt, and jumped out of the car, throwing my backpack onto the wet pavement, and crouched with my back to the car. I was also apparently shaking, crying, and hyperventilating and looking like I was having trouble breathing as if having a panic attack). I do remember the asthmatic-like tightness in my chest as I tried to breathe while trying to look for a place to run away and hide to, and something to defend myself. My boyfriend came around to hold me to calm me down. Eventually I did.

I still had to get home. It was difficult for him to coax me back into the car (because I would starting crying and panicking once I walked towards the car) and we had to check all around the backseat of the car and the surroundings to make sure the shadow person was gone. Finally I entered the car because he turned on all the lights inside the car. It was unsafe, but he drove me home with all the lights on in the car and walked me to the door. I wasn’t planning to let my mom know, but as soon as I stepped into the house and saw her I broke down in tears and told her everything, with the help of my boyfriend over the phone.

It was a valuable lesson for me, despite the scary hallucination. Because I let everyone know of my fear, and they understood how real this fear was, my boyfriend replaced all the old light bulbs in the house, as well as install better lightening to light up all the dark spaces in the house, so it would reduce the possibility of the shadow people appearing. My mom now leaves a dim light on at night so the house isn’t completely dark, and keeps the night lights handy. She also takes extra precautions in case there is a power outage whenever the weather is bad. Dad installed blindingly bright motion detector lights so that the short walk from the car parking to the door is easier (it was previously usually pitch black). It has made everything drastically easier.

However, since that incident, I’ve had to sleep with the lights on in my room. It has caused a drastic change in my sleep schedule as I can’t sleep when it is dark outside despite my room being lit up. I am scared that when I close my eyes, I will feel something breathing on my face and neck again, and when I open my eyes I fear seeing the shadow people in their now more realistic form, hovering over my bed. I can’t sleep at night without fearing the shadow people popping up in my lit-up room because as far as I’m concerned, when I close my eyes and see the darkness behind my eyelids, it is enough fuel for the shadow people. I’m more vulnerable to panicking when I am in the dark since I’ve gotten a taste of how terrifying it is. My heart rate rises when I’m in the dark and I need to turn the lights on or they will come. I am afraid to see something so frightening and fear for my life-like that again. Now I stay away from anything scary, including: YouTube gaming videos of Resident Evil (which I used to watch), horror comics, being careful of ads (in case they are a trailer for horror movies…. which has happened and I almost peed my pants), many things involving supernatural things… ect. Also now I get scared at sudden movements even more, or break down crying when someone (unintentionally) scares me.

I have talked to my psychiatrist about this issue. I have the option of taking some anxiety medications (due to the panic attacks and anxiety symptoms I get, but I don’t have anxiety), or I also have the option of taking sleeping pills to, y’unno, help me get rid of my beautiful dark circles and help me fall asleep before the ungodly hours of 5AM (I’m typing this right now at 2AM). I chose neither. Why? Because I’m a stubborn asshole that thinks she can handle everything by sheer will alone even though my mental state is a fucking mess…. Also I don’t want to deal with the side effects. The lithium side effects are barely manageable for me. I can’t deal with the anxiety ones or the sleeping pills. The negatives outweigh the benefit of the drugs. I am also tired of taking so many medications all the time. I just want to go back to “normal” even though I will never go back to that state of medicine and mental illness free bliss.

My psychiatrist suggested one last treatment option which I am not ready to start yet. It is forcing myself to be exposed to my fears in frequent short periods that increase in length as I get better, and treating myself after each session. Basically I’m making myself into Pavlov’s dog and conditioning myself to get over my fear. Except I’m both Pavlov and Pavlov’s dog…. so does that make me Schrodinger’s cat?

 

P.S. I’ve put this off for a while because I have shitty habit of delaying anything related to my mental health and in writing and in reality. (I mean really, I delayed asking for help last year with my mental health until I literally needed to go to emergency. Go figure.)

 

April 2, 2017- Updates

Hello, long time no post! My apologies.

It has been over 1 year since January 25/26th. I didn’t want to post on that day because I was afraid of relieving my memories of that day. I tend to struggle more around that period, but come April, I usually feel better like I currently do. But over ONE YEAR has passed since I was in the hospital for suicidal tendencies and depression. Wow. It seems so distant and weird. I am glad though, because without it, I would not be currently in contact with a psychiatrist whom has given me the correct (bipolar) medication. I learned that my friends love and support me. Also it let my parents understand me better, and they have supported me much more than I expected. I don’t want to be sappy but things have gotten so much better; I’ve never imagined things to improve too much. Though little improvements still need to be made.

In the meantime I have been:

  • dealing with a malfunctioning laptop (WordPress was not working on that piece of crap and I got lazy of dealing with the slowness)
  • learning how to schedule my life using an agenda (10/10 recommend)
  • Cleaning out my closet, reorganizing my room (I donated 5 garbage bags of clothes/stuffs)
  • Focusing on school, learning how to force myself to study
  • Repairing my relationship with my mom, which was severely damaged due to me cutting myself off from everything in Fall 2014 – the start of my depression.
    • I try to talk to her everyday now, and send her text messages of cute animals. We talk more now and I feel more willing to discuss mental health stuffs with her
    • Now I need to repair my relationship with my dad, which will be more difficult since he is antisocial (as in he likes to garden and take care of his fish rather than gossip)
  • Spending time with my friends
  • dealing with work, quitting my first job
  • Gaining new life experiences…. I went to my first concert!! (I saw Hayley Kioko).
    • It was loud, so many lights, so much people but amazing to sing along with a bunch of friendly strangers
  • Going out of my comfort zone and making new friends, meeting new people and spending time with them
  • Giving my neglected birds and turtles some love
    • During the time I did not feel well, I spent most of my time sleeping rather than give my birds attention and taming them. My parents had to clean my birds and turtles because I couldn’t do it.
  • Trying to not skip classes unless I need to. I have succeeded.
    • I let myself skip one day per month. That is my relaxation day.
  • Soooo many doctor and psychiatry appointments!!!
  • Experimenting with new ways to de-stress!
    • taking a nice warm (scented and bubbly) bath with candles lit is an amazing way to relax. I feel so refreshed and relaxed afterwards!
  • Learning how to cook different recipes! I think this is evident, from my past posts, but I’ve been doing this at a more regular schedule now, rather than randomly.
    • I cook dinner for my boyfriend and myself, usually 1-2 times a week (I am over there 4 days a week. Tuesdays is our lazy grilled cheese sandwich day, where my bf makes grilled cheese. One of the days we sometimes head out for dinner or eat leftovers…. hence I cook 1-2 days a week, and he cooks the other days)
  • Much more but I can’t think of them right now

 

I’ll try to post more often. It is fun and relaxing to get all my thoughts out…. like keeping an online diary. Also it serves as a reminder to myself how far I’ve come and to encourage myself. Although I couldn’t complete my goal of posting once every day, I did manage to improve my mental well-being thus the need to post everyday to get my thoughts out reduced. With that being said, I am NOT starting to post again due to feeling unwell, but this time I am hoping to continue so I can encourage other people who struggle with mental disorders and demonstrate that things can get better. I am working to express myself more and be more social…. I hope being social online counts!

 

2:49 PM

I forgot my bus pass for the first time. I only realized I left it when I got on the bus. I didn’t have enough spare change either to pay for the bus fare. It was so embarassing holding up the whole bus. The bus driver kinda ignored the fact and started the bus, then continued along the route. I asked if he would like me to leave the bus but got ignored. Perhaps ignorance is bliss to him or he was being passionate aggressive. He was quite rude to my polite questions but I didn’t do anything to stick up for myself because he already let me on and I didn’t want to get kicked off the bus and be late for work. 

A kind stranger on the bus had spare change and bought me a bus ticket after glaring at the driver. I thanked him for helping me. He said it wasn’t worth gambling a bus ticket for a $200 fine, and that I seemed to be a responsible and reliable person having an unlucky day. I get so shocked by random acts of kindess that it makes me a bit emotional. It’s so rare to encounter a stranger whom has no bad intentions towards you and only truly wants to help. 

Most times a stranger talks to me is when I’m being disgustingly catcalled (which I scream back at them profanities. I have zero tolerance for catcalling and am more than happy by taking my anger of partriachy out on them verbally). In reponse, I’ve developed a self defense mechanism for being suspicious of all strangers when they approach me. My heart pounds and adrenaline rushes in and I am ready to instantly scream loudly when approached. That is why when a stranger with no bad intentions talks to me, I am overwhelmed and think I need to repay their kindness by thanking them profusely. The kind person really made my day and kindness really goes a long way. I feel slightly less distrusting of strangers on transit and more willing to do the same for other strangers whom forgot their bus pass. Sadly my bad encounters with strangers have vastly outnumbered the good… 

Faith in Humanity- Restored

Longish post!

Today I had class down on Wreck Beach (UBC). We took Trail 3 down, a 15ish minute wooden staircase, like the Grouse Grind … but 15ish minutes. The beach was the classroom and the ocean waves the chalkboard board: 


We played with cute little crabs while surveying the area for abundance of wildlife for research to make sure populations were healthy, thus meaning the environment was doing well. (The second crab looks angry that I disturbed its sleep with the crossed arms and angry stare).


Going up Trail 3 was exciting. Hiking for class! Yay!! I was one of the first to trek up the stairs. After less than 5 minutes I started to feel breathless and tired. Physically I wanted to feel the burn of a good workout and continued. Also I didn’t want to be left behind by my classmates thus trudged on at a slower pace. Eventually me, who was at the start of the hiking classmate crowd slipped to the back of the line and I needed to break more often and reduce my pace.

I was having some trouble breathing which I brushed off as the increase off need for oxygen in the muscles. Suddenly a classmate whom I’ve never talked to or knew the name of noticed I was lagging behind and asked if I was alright. He encouraged me to take my own pace and time while offering to help carry my backpack (which was extremely reliving due to my brick of a laptop). While on the slow way up, this stranger encouraged me not to push myself and do things at my own pace no matter how long it took while talking about when he was in air cadets they learned to stick together and to help the weaker members out. He firmly believed that it was important to help those who cannot help themselves. He even made a walking cane out a a stick lying around to assist me.

Near the top I really couldn’t breathe and started wheezing for breath. It was hard to talk and breath. It felt like my lungs were constricted. Having had asthma attacks before as a kid, I realized what was going on. It was hard not to cry and panic, because that would make things worse. But it was scary not being able to breathe and drowning on land. The entire time, the classmate was patient and so incredibly helpful. I think without their help, presence, and encouragement I would have collapsed due to lack of air and lost consciousness. I closed my eyes and tried to calm down and breathe. My lungs opened after a minute or so but it felt like forever. Then we continued the way up slowly.

When we were back at UBC campus, I honestly and sincerely thanked the classmate and we parted ways. He said it was really no big deal, but honestly to me it was. I don’t think I would have made it without his kindness and help. I was a pessimist who thought the world is a selfish place, stranger danger, and nice people only want to take advantage of you. Today a stranger approached me and changed my views on humanity. I will see him in class again next week and I wish I could thank him or pay him back, but some things/ events like today as I learned, is not a transaction or a trade. It is just the unselfish kindness of one human being to another. I hope I can be friends with him and learn how to be such a generous and kind person.

In an different note: time to get that sudden asthma checked out 😦

September 9, 2016 

Hello after a long hiatus! I am back, which isn’t a good thing. It has come to my attention that school has started again with all the crap that comes with it. What better way to de-stress than to start posting again? I was doing perfectly fine during the summer when I only had to deal with work….
List of things that have gone wrong once September reared its ugly head:

1. I can’t get into a class (Biol153) I need for getting into the UBC nursing program in September, thus I need to waste another year of my life.

2. I have 8 credits. I need 9 to be considered a full time student. If not, I need to pay back my student loans. (If I can get into Biol 153 I can have 11 credits.)

3. My stomach hurts after every meal and after visiting a doctor, I need to give a medical lab “bacterial specimens”. I’m not elaborating on that one.

4. One Biol class I have successfully squeezed myself in ends at 9pm. My bus home takes 2 hours. I’m getting back home at 11pm the earliest if traffic is good.

5. If I can’t get into Biol 153, I need to pay back the student loans which are in a high interest investment account (an account which gives me more money due to interest and low risk investments but I cannot take back out for a year).

6. How can I find 20k asap? 

7. Most of my problems can be solved if I can get into Biol 153
In an attempt to solve my stress, I gave a two weeks notice in to work on September 4th, saying my last day was September 18th. Quitting work will allow me more time to organize my life and do homework. HOWEVER, work is short on people and I can’t quit until October 20th. This brings me into conflict with the Labor Laws of BC. I’m hoping to not get involved in legal issues and just quit work peacefully and as quickly as possible. 

Watermelon 

Guess who found a turtle randomly on the side of the road?? ME! Dad saw a gigantic turtle about to cross the road and get run over by a car, so he (safely) stopped the car in the middle of the road. I ran out of the car and picked up the heavy-as-fuck-crawling-with-bugs-on-the-shell turtle without hesitation and got back in the car with her resting on my lap. 

I’m naming her Watermelon because we found her in the summer heat, and she is quite round/circular shaped for a red-eared turtle. Did I mention she is HEAVY AS FUCK…  Anyways I’ve got 5 turtles now. Next post will feature all 5 turtles! For now, I’ve got to tend to Watermelon. She likes the taste of turtle pellets over wild turtle food mix. I am positive she was abandoned by her previous owner because of the turtle pellet preference and her friendliness to humans. By her shell, her outer rings are much healthier than the recent ones, which supports my assumption. (Turtle shell ring growth is like those inside a tree; one can track it’s history, health, and growth each year)

In the picture, I’ve placed my hand as a comparison. My hand in a fist is slightly smaller than a naval orange.  I estimate  her shell is 10 inches long from head to tail, 3 inches thick, 6 inches wide. HUGE!!

 
In Chinese culture, turtles are a lucky creature. They symbolize a long life and perseverance. My mom said to find one in cold, freezing Canada in a city where little wildlife exists means I’ve been blessed/ will be blessed and I am extremely, EXTREMELY lucky. I mean, what are the chances of saving a sacred animal on the verge of death?? In addition, it was a hot day today and cold-blooded turtles naturally should seek shade…. we just happened to see Watermelon pop up for her brief walk. I honestly cannot believe my luck either (well mostly my Dad’s amazing eyesight and quick road sense), and I am overjoyed at having a new member of my turtle family!! Talk about being at the right place and right time, and a chance in a billion. I’m going to try my hand at the lottery tomorrow XD 

Riding in a Hospital Stretcher – April 20/16

April 20th, 2016. It was super hot and sunny today. I decided to wear a tank top and change into my work uniform at work. I left the house early without eating breakfast, planning to eat when I got to work. Bad mistake ….

So on the way to work today around 11am, after walking a long a long sunny path and taking the hot stuffy bus, I felt dizzy and my stomach kinda hurt. Right outside the courtyard of the mall where I work, in front of lots of people relaxing in the sun, I felt my knees buckle and everything went black…

When I woke up 15 seconds later, I was lying on the cement ground in the same place where I fell and I saw a bunch of people surrounding me … and I felt my pants were wet. I figured I shit and peed myself while I was unconscious. Fuck, it was so uncomfortable … but not as embarassing as the crowd gathering around me. I have my faith in humanity restored as complete strangers gathered my belongings/ kept everything safe, offered me cold drinks, called the ambulance, and grabbed a security guard from the mall…. and other things that I wasn’t aware of I was very grateful for these people, and I regret not being able to thank them because … y’unno, I was BLACKED OUT.

Anyways, shortly after, the ambulance came and I was lifted onto a stretcher and transported to the hospital emergency. Immediately after I regained consciousness, I called in sick to work. I’ve never called in sick to anything, but yeah …. I explained the situation and they were understanding (flash forward to much later in the day they called me again to make sure I wasn’t too injured or anything). At the hospital, I got put in a wheelchair and blood taken, blood tests, then I was put in a waiting room. This point, I called y emergency contacts and let my friends know. One friend (thank you M.C.) was the first to arrive before my mom. It was much more comforting not being alone in a emergency waiting room.

My mom took the rest of the day off her work (flash forward, her boss later called her to make sure I was okay … so many people care about me that I am happy). She bought me a spare change of clothes. Needless to say, we threw out the spoiled underwear into the garbage that I y’unno … in … and cleaned myself up. I felt MUCH better afterwards. Then I got my heartbeat checked out by some fancy schamncy machine. My mom got me and my friend some food …. at this point it was 3PM and I was starving because I haven’t eaten anything.

The results finally came out after the long ass wait from the doctor, and there was no apparent reason I fainted and I was allowed to leave the hospital (it was around 4PM by then). We suspect it was either not eating breakfast, or heat exhaustion/ heat stroke. I’ve had dizziness due to heat exhaustion before so that may have been the case. What an interesting day … would not do that again. It was terrible. I would have preferred a peaceful day at work instead of worrying the entire world. But I am also glad today happened because now I know that there are so many people that care about me.