I first had it when I was 10. And then because the Big people in white coats only gave me medication and we didn’t solve the problem, it came back to haunt me when I was 18. By then, it had grown into something unbearable. I hopped from doctor to doctor because nothing seemed to be working. Then I met Leonardo, my old counsellor, and things got much, much worse before they got any better. He had to cut me up so he could see what the problem was, and it took a long time before I was stitched up right.
The past week has been most challenging- the nights, worse. The decision to seek professional help and see a doctor completely unnerved me. What will they tell me? That I still have it? Then what happens? Or that I don’t- then what do I have, and what is it that is taking me away? Will this need medication and if they do give it, will I take it? The days got harder, the nights became more and more difficult. I would be studying, and then a wave of fear and tears would come. I have been so scared.
I realise. The hardest thing isn’t just the process of getting help, but coping with the stigma and questions. Why had this happened? What happened to all that money and time spent with Leonardo? Is this something I have to live with for the rest of my life? Have I not been close enough to God? Do I not love God enough? Have I not been doing everything I could to take care of myself? Have I not been strong, positive, disciplined enough to do the right things?
Why. Why, God, why.
People have been very loving and very kind. They have been telling me over the past few days- that this is an illness and has got nothing to do with how strong my faith is. Got nothing to do with it, because this came from the past and God wants me to go through this process so He can build me up strong and new again. That even the person with the strongest faith isn’t exempt from this human affliction but because of our faith, God will come through for us. They have been telling me- that they’ve been praying for me every night, and that then can take me to the doctor if I need company and if Im scared. They’ve been telling me- that they’re there for me, that I can have a hug any time I need one and I needn’t feel guilty for having to go through this, that people are wired differently, and I’ve no reason to feel condemned for having to go through this. They’ve been telling me, that it is an illness, a chemical imbalance- that’s all it is. Nothing to be ashamed of. Just like any other illness.
When I needed help when I was 18, the Big People from the Big Brick House told me I was too complicated- that I was wasting my time and their money. That if I had good-enough friends this wouldn’t have happened. This time, people have been telling me- that I’m doing the Right thing, that it’s an illness, this time not related to my friends or my strength/faith/discipline etc, because I’ve done all that I can by myself. An illness needs a doctor, a professional, to treat completely, that’s all.
This time, things have been easier. I have absolutely no inclination to hurl dangerous objects or entertain morbid thoughts, unlike the time back then. Because in some way, I can see God’s hand in this all. Rainbow couldn’t get published because God knew I wasn’t recovered. Rainbow couldn’t get published so I could realise that though I’ve learnt so much, there’s still so much to learn, and I haven’t arrived at the happy ending Rainbow ends with. Rainbow couldn’t get published so it could tip me over to face reality, to see the amount of work I have left to do with professional help- that while I’ve come a long way, I still have a long, long way to go.
I still get scared. So scared that sometimes I’m so afraid that if I start crying, I won’t be able to stop. Being around people, being at church have made things easier. This is the first time I’ve realised- how much I cherish laughing. I laugh when I’m with people, I’m the same old fun-loving person when I’m with people not because I’m trying to hide, not because I’m pretending everything is okay, but you know, it’s easier on me too. If I don’t laugh when I’m around people, or at church, when will I ever?
Times like these, you learn to cherish laughter.
I’m just so afraid to start crying, you know? I live on daily doses of love and laughter.
I just want to thank each and every one of you who have offered your support, love and prayer to me in the past week. Every text message, email and note has strengthened me. Things have not been easy. And I’m still trying to figure all of this out.
Af told me to walk each day by faith. A step at a time, trusting that God allowed this to happen all for a purpose I haven’t yet been able to see fully. I have been trying my best, a moment at a time. They told me the earliest date I would get an appointment would be in March. But you know, when I called to make the appointment, they told me someone had just cancelled and that I could have one this very Friday, just hours after my exam paper would end, during my break so I wouldn’t miss my morning or afternoon classes. It was as if God knew I couldn’t wait that long, and that He knew I would like to finish tackling my exam paper first. He’s watching my back and my every step.
It’s funny. The verse Rainbow is based upon is the verse this space is based on, that is,
Right now, I can’t quite see what’s ahead. I’m so scared, so scared because I’m walking into the unknown all over again, into what Im unsure of. But I’ll have to have faith. I must.
Thank you all for all the little things you’ve been doing for me which really are Big things to me. For listening, for reading, for understanding, praying, loving and writing to me. And for making me laugh too.
Thank you all for walking this journey with me. God has a purpose for this, I’m certain. And when He does reveal it, we’ll all be laughing.
Laughing. Of this, I’m sure.