Posted in Mental Health, Studying, Taiwan

These days in Taipei

IMG_0896-Photo: The sunset on Tamsui River at the North of Taipei

I do not update often these days; which is not due to any difficulty in accessing the Internet, thankfully. I just got a little too caught up in the life here and that’s it.

School stuff has been kind to me. My class consists of 7 students: 1 American, 2 Canadians, 2 Japaneses, 1 Filipino and 1 Alien Meo :)))))))). My teacher is Taiwanese and a lovely woman. I have quite a good time with them every weekday morning. Above all, I love learning Mandarin and that’s what that matters the most.

I kinda fell in love with the library in my university. Honestly I was not really interested at first. I’m a devoted minimalist and it’s always my priority to go digital with my reading. Yet it turned out that I was charmed. I’m now basically spending the whole afternoon part of my days there, even on Saturday.

I shared my house with 8 more people and my room with a Taiwanese roommate. Things are better than what it may sound and there are nothing much to complain about.

A day of mine is spent in this sequence: Get up at 6 -> study some French -> leave the house at 7:45 -> grab a quick breakfast at a Taiwanese restaurant nearby -> walk to my school where classes start at 8:20 -> get a lunch at the canteen or not -> go to the library’s study room and finish my homework there -> move to the English Literature section in that very same library and read some books of Oscar Wilde -> get back home at around 16:00 to take a shower and some idle time -> change to my night outfit and get out to discover the city -> get back and sleep at 23:00

If there is any problem with my current life, it is that I’ve been receiving too many requests/ invitations for hanging out. And I’m never an extrovert. On the utmost contrary, I’m an introvert from the very core of my being and therefore need a lot of time for myself. The maximum number of the hanging-out type of appointments that I can enjoy a week is 2. Each should not last more than 4 hours. I had far more than that in the last 14 days that I’ve been in Taipei and now I’m suffering an emotional downfall as a consequence.  It is a nice feeling to know that there are people wanting me to be with them, but I just need to be alone often. Very often.

I would love to share my tips on living in Taipei. But it should be saved for a delightful day. Now I probably need sometimes hiding myself from the world, both physically and mentally.

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Posted in Mental Health

How To Stop Postponing What You Should Do

All of us have gone through this situation one time or another in our lives: there is something we should do, and there is nothing to stop us from doing it but… still, we just don’t do it. We keep on postponing it again and again.

This is called the Akrasia effect. It can be interpreted simply like this: Our brain is tempted by immediate satisfaction (being lazy and not doing anything) than long-term benefits (finishing the task and achieving some result).

The thing is we keep on postponing even when the task is not difficult. Sometimes, it can even be very enjoyable. We postpone not because we don’t want to do it, but because we don’t want to start doing it. The most difficult thing for us is not to actually do the job, but to escaping from the lazy mode.

Yesterday I had a long talk with my friend on this, mostly on how to stop this effect’s influence on his life ’cause it has been causing him too much distress.

The piece of advice that I gave him is to minimize the task that he needs to do. If he has to clean his house, just thinking of it would be too much for him and he will never start. So, scale down the task to, for example, cleaning his room instead. Still, he doesn’t want to start this new task? No problem, scale it down more: cleaning his desk. Still too much? How about just cleaning one corner of the desk? Still? Okay, just put a pen on the desk back to its proper place!

The point is: Minimizing the task will cheat the lazy self inside of us. Just picking up a pen and putting it back into the pen case – doing that feels like doing nothing, doesn’t it? Your lazy inner self will not stop you from doing that. Yet once you finish this very small task, you have crossed the border of “postponing” and “starting doing things”. You will have to very tendency to clean the corner of your desk, then the whole desk, then your room and the whole house after that. As long as you cross the border, there is nothing to hold you back. And, voilà!

I recommend this tip to my friend because it worked for me. There are many times that I find myself finishing 2 hours of household work with the beginning of just lifting up something from the floor or similar small moves.

So, if you are under the heavy influence of the Akrasia effect, give it a try! Good luck!

Posted in Mental Health, TED Talks

Top Talks For Depressed Souls

In my war against depression, I managed to gain control after ten years or so. Yet its remnants remain inside of me, hitting me hard sometimes. Like yesterday, there was nothing going wrong in my life but I suddenly felt like I almost broke down on my feet.

Depression is not being sad when there is something wrong, it’s being sad when there’s nothing wrong., Kevin Breel said something along that line in his TED Talk. That’s so damn true.

It’s hard to say what to do when you’re depressed. Because, like any other depressed person, I know that damn thing: when you are depressed, you do not want to do anything, even just lift a finger.

Mostly, I will spend those times lying on the floor, or a little better – on my bed, doing nothing but feeling bad. Feeling terrible. Feeling like no matter what I do, my life is totally messed up beyond recovery etc… Damn those days of depression.

Anyway, I must think of a way to get better. I recall all the cases of depression that I know and how they end, either terribly or happily. Soon enough, I begin to treat my depression just as another case. Analyze it, try to understand it… or not. Yet that way surely makes me feel better in some ways. Knowing that I’m not battling alone (like what my depression makes me think), knowing that it is quite usual to be this way and there are people getting healed out there… – those pieces of knowledge help me to last through my hardest days.

There are talks that really help me out, therefore I think of sharing them, hoping they can help someone else. So here they are:

Depression, the secret that we share – Andrew Solomon

Confession of a depressed comic – Kevin Breel

 

 

Posted in Mental Health

Emotional First Aid Tip

We know that when we are physically wounded, there are many kinds of first aid available. Yet have you ever thought of doing first aid when you are emotionally hurt? Emotional pain hurts no less, if not more, than physically pain. So it is essential for anyone of us to have several emotional first aid tips in our mind.

I’m not talking about navigating your thoughts to a positive direction or such things. Those kinds of talks tire me out. We all know that we must think positively to overcome our pain and stress and hurt and sadness etc… Yet it is for the long term, it is not the immediate first aid that we all need. In the very moment that we get hurt, get rejected, get shocked… we need something right away to recover from the current pain that is screaming in our head and our heart. It is just like when you are bleeding, you need to stop the blood right away.

So here is my own emotional first aid tip which really saves me in bad moments:

1. Put a finger right in front of your eyes, move it from the left to the right and back continuously.

2. Keep your head still while your eyes follow the move of your finger.

Just that, and you will feel better. I tested it on myself. It works.  It is all I need to calm down in hard times.

Btw if you wonder about the scientific ground of this trick, it is based on a therapy called EMDR (you can read further about the therapy here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eye_movement_desensitization_and_reprocessing).

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Posted in Mental Health

Do Not Blame Yourself For Being Depressed

It was in the middle of the night and I was lying on my bed when I remembered a talk with a friend several weeks ago. Around half a year before that talk, I told my friend that I thought he had a mental disorder and I then explained to him about it. He was impressed and went on to look for information about that disorder. When we saw each other again – that was the talk several weeks ago – he told me he still got sad as he has always been in his life. Yet he felt much better than he had done in the past because he knew why he felt sad and he knew it was not his fault to feel this way. He knew that the reason behind this bad feeling was his mental disorder.

Before all of this happened, my friend had spent all his life blaming himself for being sad too frequently, for possessing bad thoughts too often etc… He had thought it was all his fault to have such dark thoughts and feelings. He blamed himself for being abnormal and hated himself for that abnormality. If only he had learned about mental disorders earlier, he wouldn’t have had to suffer for so long.

This story makes me wonder how many people out there are spending time hating themselves for the fact that they feel bad. How many people out there are thinking that it is their fault to be depressed while others aren’t? If those people know about the science behind their depression, would they feel better?

I remember battling against depression during years and years of my life. It was a slugfest. It really was. Those ten years of fighting took me a lot of tears and blood. The good news is I won the battle completely.

And one important reason why I could win back my life is that I have always been aware of what is going on. I did a lot of research on mental health, on depression, on sadness and on everything that could be related to my situation of mind. In the worst moments of my life, I recalled the knowledge line by line, telling myself it is normal to feel this way, it is a kind of mental disorder, I am not alone in suffering this hopeless feeling and I can win one day because others have done.

I have always thought that knowing how one is depressed is important in curing the depression itself because it works in my case. And when it also works in my friend’s case, I think of sharing the idea to more people.

So here it is: If you are depressed or if you are different from the majority around you, it is not your fault. Do some research about depression and mental disorders, you will know what is going on with you. And you will feel better.

In the next posts, I will talk about some mental disorders, not by citing the definition from a psychology book but by describing it with my own experiences with them.

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