All just the same

It’s strange how you can feel someone else’s pain.

Not fully, whole and exactly, but it can shoot through your skin and into your heart as your arms are on them.

And you feel them trembling underneath, raw emotions flooding and overflowing.

You feel your heart tug closer to theirs, begging to provide some kind of relief, that perhaps some of their pain could go to you instead. That you could lift up a little of their sorrows with your own tears.

Silent sobs. I remembered my own in another time.

And I realised then that we’re all just the same.

Broken.

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Castaway

Time for another cryptic message

A plea to be understood

Yet more chances for misinterpretation

Swaying left right and centre

I see your deepest darkest desires

The foul, heart wrenching thing

Clawing and tugging away from consciousness down and deeper into a seemingly bottomless abyss

You promiscuous thing, teasing has its limits

What kind of trouble will you stir up now?

But if you’re caught you’d be on full display

Run away, castaway!

As far as you can go

I’m chasing you down the rabbit hole

But please don’t get caught

This season’s friends

Today was a really really fun day.

But the best thing about it was the conversations God opened up during dessert to talk about him and clear up misunderstandings. Think we talked for a good hour about Christianity and Christians.

We talked about what we believed in, what does it mean to believe in God, repentance and sin, doing good works to be saved vs doing good because we are saved and a bunch of other things I can’t quite list off the top of my head now.

Wei chin and Joanne agreed quite explicitly with Jon and my explanations, which was really assuring. Agreeing as in agreeing that what we said made sense, but agreeing and believing are different.

I’ve always thought of Christianity as the most logically sound religion, as in things make sense. There’s always some reason and purpose to everything that God is and does. Which makes sense since reason comes from God.

I wish they could be my everyday friends for a longer time. Even though we’re laughing a lot of the times, somehow I don’t feel tired from it, it’s so comfortable to share things, and we’re eager to learn together. I really felt like we were the group of people in the Francis Chan sermon skits travelling through life together. (In this case 10 weeks)

As I grow older it seems like seasonal friends change quicker and quicker.

I’ll Only have 10 weeks with them, it will come to an end, and we’ll all eventually go our separate ways. I can only look back and remember what a great time it was with them.

I wonder what is it about them that makes me feel so accepted, included and refreshed? I’ll think about it some other time.

Children

In the past month I’ve encountered some pretty terrifying children.

By terrifying I mean quite evil at times, and I understand how we’re all born sinners. I used to find it quite hard to swallow that children aren’t innocent, but my goodness, some of them can be so evil at the core I really get it now.

Children can be extremely selfish, egocentric, and violent to the point of spouting “I want to kill you” half the time. Today I was watching a child play with legos, and he told me he wants to bash up the figure’s head, and then proceeded to bash him up, hitting it’s head hard on the table repeatedly. And then he asked me to close my eyes, and open them again. He placed a sword at the neck of the head which was dislocated from its body. And he laughed.

Well I don’t know anything about play therapy, but I think this probably isn’t normal behaviour for a child at 6 years old. There might be some violence in the child’s history since his father was in prison at the time, but I don’t wanna make any assumptions.

When people say they love kids, I don’t think they mean children like him. I wondered what kind of teenager he’d grow up to be. What kind of adult he’d turn out to be.

I’m catching a glimpse inside someone else’s raw psyche, unfiltered thoughts and intentions. That’s what a child is. The core of someone without any shell.

I wonder if I was as evil as a child. I know I was pretty hot tempered. I don’t remember ever caring for anyone other than myself. I’m not sure if children are even capable of that. I think it’s only up to a certain age 3-4..?? That they can understand that other people have feelings different from them.

I wonder just how much is a child’s character and morals a product of his/her environment, and how much of that evil is really just in them.

Tie dye tai not dead yet

It didn’t go away in the morning, and it felt like that feeling when you’re thinking really hard about something – but I wasn’t really thinking about anything much at all.

I still felt dead and emotionless. When I reached the centre, I couldn’t make eye contact with any of them too. Or smile. Or start any conversation.

Sis rho prayed for the event, and I started tearing up. I went to sit down and then mucus started flowing out again. So I went to the toilet and sat down on the lid and cried for a good hour.

But the strange thing is I could still think quite clearly. I felt jittery and like my whole body was vibrating. I went to google all these symptoms, and the closest thing I could find was something called

I realised this isn’t really the first time I’ve been in a constant state of feeling like I’m on the verge of breaking into tears. It’s happened quite a few times already this year, not really for any particular reason strong enough that I would usually cry about. But it lasts for 3 days MAX and I’d go back to normal.

Not that I wanna self diagnose or anything, but what I’m experiencing could just be a mild form of this.

It did feel like my brain was going a bit haywire. My forehead felt extremely tense and like as if I had a lot of thoughts going on at once although I couldn’t really make out what I was thinking. It hurt like someone was wringing my brain dry. I’m thinking this could be what it feels if your neurons are constantly firing more actively than they should.

I really felt like I wouldn’t be able to stop crying. Especially after an hour passed and feeling like nothing changed.

Sis rho came in and I burst into even more tears. I told her I want to do this event but I really can’t. She asked me if I felt guilty for not being there. I nodded my head while clenching my eyes and nose shut. She told me not to feel that way and if I need to I should go home and rest.

She said I can take my time, so I stayed in the toilet for a while more. I didn’t want to be an irresponsible asshole and just leave everything behind. I thought the least I could do would be to teach someone how to do the tie dye stuff first before going. So I typed out a message in the group explaining what was happening to me. I breathed in and out deeply, and mustered whatever strength I had left to go out.

As I was teaching jaekan how to tie dye, I started to feel a bit calmer, and I thought maybe I should just stay and help him with the technical parts while he does the talking and befriending. I asked him if he could do that.

But when the newcomers came, I immediately felt regret. I couldn’t approach them, I went to the kitchen and hid behind a pillar. Bro lucas asked me if I was okay. I didn’t really give a reply, and he asked me if I need anything. I said, “maybe antidepressants”

Haha. Great that I still have some shred of humour in me.

The newcomers came in but everyone else was still finishing up their cup noodles, so they were standing quite awkwardly waiting around. I saw them and just felt like I couldn’t take them having to wait around feeling awkward, and I walked over to them and forced a smile out, it actually hurt smiling. My eyes felt squashed behind my facial muscles.

But somehow, I managed to talk to them, smile a bit more, and it felt pretty normal, although my voice came out pretty dead sounding. I just hoped they think that’s how I normally sound like.

And like that I got through the 4 hours, being able to interact quite normally. But inside my head felt like it was still being constantly wrung tightly, and my eyes felt really strained. It felt like something really heavy was just covering me completely.

I even managed to crack some jokes although they were extremely dry (my usual self anyways).

I’d really say this is God’s doing. The only reason why I could continue was because God gave me a heart for wanting the newcomers to have fun and feel welcomed. That was the only thing pulling me through. The minute they left I felt my smiles fading and my energy swooping down again.

And Sam said he was praying for me a lot for today. He got pretty worried.

Well I was pretty worried too. Normally I’d go back to normal soon. But what if today isn’t normal? What if I kept feeling this way for another week? Another month? What if it never stopped? That scared me quite a lot. Then I’d be really insane.

As with all things that go bad with me, things slowly came back to an equilibrium, and I’m here ending off the day feeling quite normal already but just really tired and exhausted.

I’d like to think of this narrative as a testimony of how I pulled through and didn’t give up wth God’s help. It’ll be a narrative I’ll probably have to rely on and draw on for perspective in the future.

I was really so close to just giving up completely, but I’m glad I didn’t, and somewhat trusted that God will do something.

I can’t imagine what things would have escalated to if I really decided to go home instead. I’d probably be wallowing in my own failure and feeling even more shitty.

I just hope I feel better tomorrow.

Narrative of some kind of attack

The minute I stepped into church, I felt anxious and jittery, a little light headed.

I went into the hall, and there were so many people. I sat down next to the only familiar face I could find, rivka, who was new to our cell.

I rested my head on my knees and closed my eyes. She asked me if I was okay, and I told her I was tired.

I couldn’t laugh at any of the jokes. I couldn’t smile. I just felt so dead.

I left the hall for a while during the testimony sharing. I’m not sure what it was exactly that I couldn’t bear. The people? The tension? The uncanny focus on just my breathing? It felt like social anxiety.

I only smiled when ps Joey talked about how his daughter prayed for a teacher and her hand actually got healed.

Then we had to discuss some pointers after service, rivka went to the toilet and it was just me and sis rho, who was sitting next to her. Sis rho asked me if I wanted to sit next to raymynn, who was sitting alone. I went.

I sat down, and I said,” my friends in uni hate Christians because of the street E stuff.”

Raymynn said something which told me she wasn’t in the mood to discuss. Well I wasn’t either. She said she had to leave the hall for a while because she couldn’t take it. I told her me too.

“I kept feeling like I was going to cry.” I said. And then I started crying.

And it got worse. I didn’t want to open my eyes. It felt like people would be staring, I felt so ashamed. I kept my eyes closed all the way, with mucus flowing down my nose. Someone gave me a pack of tissue, it was probably sis Rhoda. I threw it on the floor. But then I picked it up again when I realised just how much mucus was coming out.

I waited for the time when everyone was invited to stand up, and I got up and rushed to the toilet. But there were people there. At this point I was heaving. I tried the cry room behind, but there were two ladies in there talking. I tried the level 3 room but it was locked. I swore in my head. Why couldn’t I find a single place that I can be alone without anyone?

I went to the agape hall and found a chair behind the printer. It felt like I couldn’t really breathe. And I kept crying and crying.

What the hell was wrong with me?

Was the only thought that kept going through my head.

How am I supposed to continue on like nothing’s wrong during the cluster dinner later?

I felt bad for leaving raymynn alone, without any way for her to contact me. I remembered the last time this happened and people were worried about me. so I quickly got up to the hall to grab my bag. I kept my eyes down to the floor, it was so bright and it was so noisy to the point of my head hurting. I hated it. The echoey laughter. Voices of people everywhere and all around. It felt like too much to handle. And I wondered how I even could bear with such a suffocating noise normally.

I went to the corner behind some chairs and sat down. I tried to stay there but I couldn’t, so many people were passing by, I just wanted to be invisible. I went to emergency staircase and sat down.

Finally I was alone.

I searched up “social anxiety only in church” on google.

Not that I wanted to self diagnose but I just wanted to see if I could find a narrative by someone going through something similar.

I wasn’t sure what this was.

A spiritual attack? A biological mental condition? A psychological thought pattern? Or was it just me?

A common theme I found in the accounts online was fear. There was a fear of being judged, perceived negatively, of not appearing a certain standard.

I just find it odd, I’ve cried many times in church in front of everyone already but somehow this feels different.

At this point I was still crying non stop, mucus still flowing. I texted raymynn and told her I’ll need a while before I can calm down enough.

I texted Sam, and he prayed for me. But I couldn’t even bring myself to pray to God. I just felt something blocking me.

After some time I calmed down enough for nothing to be flowing out of my eyes and nose. I went down to the cafe area, and when I saw all those people, I felt it again. The jittery feeling, my breathing becoming faster, feeling lightheaded again.

I went to the carpark and sat down at the table. Raymynn came over and told me to take my time.

I decided to head out again, still feeling lightheaded, I tried to smile, I tried to make eye contact with people. But I really couldn’t. I felt like I was just going to burst into tears again. I felt so pathetic. I told raymynn I’d just ruin the mood if I went, and told her I didn’t think I could do it and I’m sorry.

She said it’s okay, and I should go home and rest for tomorrow.

I cycled back home.

And past this field of grass and the sky was beautiful and the wind was so fresh. I felt so much better.

I wasn’t really thinking about much.

I had half the mind to give up on going to agora tomorrow.

But then Sam texted me. He told what the pastor at the revival service of the church his army friend invited him to was talking about.

I thought that it was kinda like narrative therapy. I had to separate the problem from the person.

Part of me was just afraid of making excuses. “It’s not me it’s the devil!”

But nothing’s been working, and thinking that way made me really want to go for the event tomorrow. And to not give up.

Think I need to think really hard about what I’m afraid of. Because there’s definitely something that’s causing me to feel so anxious only in church.

Anyways the sunset today was really beautiful. I tried talking to God through the sunset. Somehow I could then. God felt a bit closer and more real. And I thought maybe I should talk to sunsets more often.

Convection

I can’t really describe how I’m feeling now.

It’s a mixture of frustration, anger, bitterness and deadness.

I can’t even bring myself to smile.

Seems like I’m a little bit closer to hell. It’s like hell is a place without any goodness.

God, I’m just so tired. There are so many emotions in me wrapping around my mind in some sort of entanglement.

I saw the ugliness of my anger.

My forehead feels tense. I feel like there are a lot of thoughts I don’t want to think about but know are there. In the murky water occasionally they rise up to the surface, I catch a glimpse of them but too quick to remember them well, and they sink back down to the bottom again. Like some kind of convection current.

Things I’d really rather not exist in the water.

Like leeches and parasites.

Slowly draining away the life in me

Fucked up

It’s just a word.

Seemingly not so random letters strung together side by side.

Yet people get offended by it. Christians aren’t supposed to say it. It’s bad to even think it.

It felt weird typing it. It looked a little strange. But it also feels a little liberating.

What if there’s no other word to describe how you feel?

No other word seems to have the same intensity of emotions behind it.

“I feel messed up”

“I feel screwed up”

“I feel fucked up”

The more I type it the less it seems offensive. It’s such a strange looking word. It kinda looks like duck and it sounds pretty goofy.

It’s all in my head. Connotations and meanings. Perceptions and interpretations.

It’s a word charged with heaviness. When you use it you know you’re really feeling what you’re feeling in great intensity.

But it’s still all in your head.

I wonder if people I know will be repulsed if they see me use this word. Would they be disappointed? Would their image of me be completely different?

It’s all hidden. We all have some pretty fucked up thoughts somewhere in our heads whether or not you’re a person who swears and a person who doesn’t.

The only times I’ve been offended by this word is when it came out of someone I never expected should say such a word.

I was offended because I gave power to it.

It’s quite a meaningless word when it comes from friends who use it all the time.

And I never feel anything from their fucks.

It really does feel weird typing it.

Somehow talking about this makes me feel a little better.

First session

Tomorrow, I will conduct my first case session with recorded video and audio.

I’m pretty freaked out but excited at the same time. It’s the first time I’ve ever applied any intervention technique/perspective (narrative therapy) in a real life case.

I’m excited because I get to try something new. I’m freaked out because I’m trying something new.

One thing I’ve learnt is to not see yourself as a healer, but a catalyst for change. Therapy isn’t all just human, it could be spiritual too. And I should also pray for my clients, rather than think that human-made intervention is the only thing they need.

Now I can’t stop trying to anticipate what I would say and what the client would say tomorrow, I’m playing everything out in my head like a film, thinking of all sorts of scenarios and what could happen and how I’d react.

“What if something you didn’t anticipate happens?” My supervisor asked me today as I was reviewing my session plan with her.

After some thinking, I said, ” think I just have to always maintain a genuinely curious stance. If I couldn’t anticipate it, I will definitely have lots of questions to ask about it.”

What’s scary about social work is that you can never know what to expect, a lot of things require you to make a decision of what to say and what to do right on the spot. And social workers have to multi task pretty crazily too. It’s amazing how much can go on in a human brain at once.

You’d have to

– pay attention to the client’s verbal and non verbal cues.

– formulate hypotheses on what could be the issue.

– draw out unnoticed strengths in the client that might have been shared

– be aware of own body posture and language

– be reflective in your own emotions, feelings, biases and thoughts and how they could be affecting you

– make mental notes of details that client is sharing so that they can be recorded down later

– reflect client’s feelings and identify their emotions

– be constantly aware of objectives and intentions in everything you say and do

ALL AT ONCE.

Okay writing these down is just making me more nervous for tomorrow.

Somehow it feels like I’m taking an exam.

In a way this is kinda like a test, to see how I’ve grown and to test out what I’ve learned in practicality.

That’s another thing I like about social work. You’re always learning on the job, you can never learn enough.

Expectant caterpillar

“If a caterpillar tried to break its way out of its cocoon before its time is due, it’ll die.”

This was what auntie Tracy told me, and she said this was the state I am in.

Think I’ve always felt like there could be so much more. Was it just that I didn’t match up? Was it because I’m failing to do something or be someone? Is it because I feel like God isn’t speaking to me or using me as much as I’d like Him to?

God’s timing is always perfect.

And expectancy, no matter how desperate, should also include the boundaries of time.

I’m expectant and waiting, feeling like there could be so much more, that I should be so much more, and I still am waiting.

That after a time of moulding and changing, breaking down into goo and reforming again, the caterpillar will one day fly out and everyone will marvel at how completely transformed such a creature could be, and say that it must be God’s work.