So i’m about to turn 23 in a couple of hours and I wanted to write about my feels and reflect on my years of being 22.
Battling with chronic depression, anxiety, PTSD, suicidality, (and still currently battling with), I always truly believed that I wasn’t going to make it…
Make it in terms of getting to the age of 23.
Being highly involved in social justice and queer-ethnic-activist spaces, i felt as if i had these new set of lens to look at the world… and all that I could see was bitterness, darkness, hopelessness, selfishness, and cruelty all around me.. my fight for equity and survival felt like just a micro drop in such a large bucket. like I was a hamster running on a stand-still wheel.. wearing myself out yet i didn’t move anywhere but here.
For me, I kept seeing this “it gets better” campaign. BULLSHIT. Maybe if i was white? male? more privileged? How was it? I’m queer, female bodied, Asian, differently abled…mentally unstable.. sexual assualt survivor. I’ve been on academic probation three times, my grades in college were shit. without grades, i have no upward mobility.. (even though a Bachelors can’t even get me a decent paying job unless its in the tech or science world)
So I started to go numb. I didn’t want to feel anything anymore so i consumed a lot of drugs. Once I was sober again…. once i started to feel ANYTHING i quickly fixed that with a puff or a swallow. at a point, I coundn’t even taste anything anymore.. to the point where i literally lost 15 pounds. and for someone with high metabolism, 15 pounds is A LOT.
As a result, i fell into deeper depression and eventually attempted to take away my life twice in one month. After the police, my family, and therapist got involved. I finally began to seek professional help and even took on medication. although it helped me improve on my mental state,i felt like it still wasnt enough.
When I finally moved back to the bay to be closer to my identical twin sister, things started to turn around. Before moving back to the bay area, I made a film about my depression and what I was battling with as a 2nd generation Vietnamese-American while being a full-time student.I know it wasn’t the greatest film, but i do take pride of the traction that i received from people who did watch it.
For those who were touched by it, who resonate it, who learned something new out of it, that was honestly one of the best feelings in the world. Having people watch/listen to my story and be moved by it… AH what a feeling.
I remember when I did a mental health workshop at UC Berkeley’s 2013 Queer Asian Conference, an individual came up to me and started to cry… they told me that they were battling with similar issues and was so greatful to see a push for visibility and dialogue of these “invisible issues” that werent often spoken about within queer people of color spaces. UGH the feels.
Honestly talking to other people who battled with the same issues that I did…hosting educational workshops, doing film screenings at film festivals…. and speaking at university lectures, that has helped me heal better than any therapy/medication has done (for me).
Now I feel a lot healthier. I feel as if I have a new perspective to the world…. and that I don’t fall into this deep black hole that I’ve always been stuck at.
I still think the world is shit.. cruel.. evil… WHITE AS FUCK… but i feel a lot stronger than I did before. I know not everyone has access to what I’ve been exposed to in the process of healing, but I do hope if you’re battling with similar issues or going through something extremely tough…I just hope you wont give up.
Community for me is such a necessity for survival. and being surrounded by amazing people who strive for similar things has helped me heal and look forward to the following years to come.
I’m fucking nervous what the world will look like in 5-10 years, because it is getting worse…. but i know there are so many people out there in this movement for change..equity….. whatever you want to call it… As cheesy as it sounds.. all i know is that I want to be a part of that change.. whether little or small.
Even though 22 is young as fuck.. I’m excited what I can and will accomplish at 23. Thank you Nancy (my clone) for being my rock.
Cheers to 23.