Mental Health – A Dark Period

silhouette-photo-of-man-leaning-on-heart-shaped-tree-744667On Saturday evening, I came home from work and found out on social media that an iconic British presenter had killed herself. Although I didn’t know her personally, I’ve been a huge fan of hers for almost a decade. Her funny, down-to-earth, humourous and beautiful personality made me feel like I already knew her the very first time I saw her on TV. Since then, I have watched and follow her programs. I’ve always wanted to meet her in real life and tell her what a uniquely humourous personality she had. Call me a dork, but when I was based in London Soho for work, I would always have a pen and paper in my handbag just in case I bumped into her and wanted her autograph (I am old-fashioned). She was definitely one of a kind. Then I found out about the tragic news. I had to blink my eyes hard several times as I stared at the headlines before understanding what it meant. She was gone. Apparently, she had taken her own life to escape all the causes to her mental health. Then it made me think about my own experience.

Almost a year ago, I had my own experience of a mental breakdown. I never thought it would happen to me. I would often read about others on social media, TV and magazines about their mental health, but never really understood what it was really like. To my understanding then, mental health was about feeling sad and crying. Little did I know what I was in for. It all began during one afternoon when I was taking a short nap. I don’t usually take naps as I constantly work around the clock. But on that particular day, work took its toll on me. I don’t even remember having a dream. When I woke up, I had an uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach. Something was telling me to look back on a project I had done a few years back. Feeling uneasy and confused, I turned on my computer and opened up the files to the project. It wasn’t long until I saw what could have been a huge problem that could have cost me my life. I began to panic. I didn’t know what to do or who to turn to. For the next whole month, I wasn’t myself. I didn’t know who I was. I couldn’t eat or sleep properly. Thinking back, I don’t even know how I had managed to survive without food and water in my system. I felt no hunger or thirst. My mental breakdown had emotionally blocked it all away. My stomach wasn’t even making hunger noises. I spent most of my time crying on and off. If I wasn’t crying, I would just stare into space. The feeling inside me was unbearable. It felt uneasy and out of control. Everything around me felt emotionally dark, like I was in my own hell. I even thought about my parents and prayed for their presence. I needed them. I tried to be strong in the presence of my then eleven year old boy. But he too knew something was wrong. Death even came to mind. But it was the thought of leaving my family behind that stopped me, especially my boy. He is my muffin, my life. I was also afraid to see my doctor or talk to my friends. I was afraid to seek help.

It wasn’t until a ‘professional’ friend’ came to my aid. He had a look into my problem and finally convinced me that there wasn’t a problem. He then went on to tell me that sometimes when we think that there is a problem when there is not, our minds will begin to create one without us even knowing it. After our deep conversation, things slowly began going back to normal. I tried to focus more on my well being. I didn’t work for six months, which would explain my long absence from this blog. I did a lot of working out. I tried to live positively and not think about what happened. I would be lying if I didn’t say there were a few times when I thought about the problem. But I managed to force myself to shake those dangerously toxic thoughts away.

After six months, I feel like things were back to normal. And in order to test that theory, I faced what I thought was the problem during those past months. I looked back to the project…and felt nothing. There was no problem. There was none to begin with. I couldn’t believe how I thought there was one to begin with.

So you see, mental health can affect anyone at any time, sometimes without their knowledge. After my experience with mental health, I saw life a little differently. I no longer question anything in life, because you’ll never know what might happen. I never expected to go through a mental health scare. I am also careful with my thoughts. Deep down, I am afraid to experience what I’d experienced. Therefore, I try to have a clear, positive mind. I’ve even started to chat with two of my best friends, *Coco and *Winnie (who I have mentioned before in another post) more than usual. The three of us may be in different parts of the world, with Coco being in Malaysia, Winnie in Australia, and I myself in London-town, but our friendship have always remained intact.

I hadn’t planned on sharing my experience on mental health until only a few days ago after the death of my idol. Her death has really hit me to the core. By sharing my experience, I hope to let my follow bloggers and those reading my blog know that I am here if you ever need to reach out. We may not know each other in ‘real’ life, but I am here. I always love to hear from you guys. Don’t be shy, don’t be awkward and don’t be a stranger. Sometimes a simple one word ‘hello’ can make a huge difference. We are human beings at the end of the day, so let’s be kind to one another.

Much love and hugs always,

Puiyin W.L.

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2. The Positivity Project – Netflix and (actually) chill, together

It turns out boxsets are good for your love life. Researches at the University of Aberdeen said the couples who frequently watched series or films together felt more committed. 

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(Photo subject to copyright/Photo credit)

My husband and I are huge movie fans, especially those from the Marvel and DC Comics. When we do have time together (alone), rather than go on romantic dates, we would go and watch the latest movie at the cinema. And at home, we love our boxsets, especially The Walking Dead. We don’t have Netflix. Instead, we have SKY cable. My husband likes to watch the up-to-date boxsets rather than the old ones unless I am watching them, and that includes girly series like Desperate Housewives, Devious Maids and Gossip Girl. He says he likes the storyline and doesn’t care about the femininity of it. We both also share the love of 90’s classics Charmed and Buffy The Vampire Slayer.

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(Photo subject to copyright/Photo credit)

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(Photo subject to copyright/Photo credit)

My husband and I might be in our thirties, but we still have our 90’s teenage spirit in us. I guess that is what’s kept our marriage happy and strong. Sure, there were bumpy roads along the way, but at least we can be ourselves with each other, and that means bringing out the teenager in us every now and again. Just last month for my birthday, we ended the night with three bottles of red wine between the two of us (yes, only the two of us). A bottle and a half later, we switched on the 90’s music TV channel and started dancing like we were teenagers. My husband (he will not be reading this post) even shook his booty like Beyonce (yes, he can booty dance for real). I don’t care what anyone else thinks. It was the best birthday present…and not the last for sure. It definitely made me forget about everything else.

1. The Positivity Project – One App to Sort Your S**t Out

Never forget a deadline or your friend’s baby’s birthday with Wunderlist. This pocket PA syncs across all your devices. Free, with premium upgrade, or from £3.99 per month. 

Like many people, my life is hectic, and without a diary planner, I will lose my way and forget things. With today’s technology, there are apps to help us get organised. However, I am old-fashioned. I dislike using apps or anything technological to help me get organised. Instead, I like to write things down with a pen. Writing things down makes me feel more productive. And I don’t just have any diary planner. It has to be one that works for me.

Firstly, it has to be attractive and good-looking 🙂 It has to represent my personality and character. (My actual planner below).

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Secondly, the inside has to be laid out weekly at every page-turn and with plenty of space for me to write.

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Lastly, I keep a calender sheet in my planner (planner has an inside pocket. How convenient). I can ONLY look at the calender one way, as presented below. This way, I can easily (and immediately) see how many days, weeks or Saturdays there are in a month.

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I look at my planner a couple of times a day. Even the littlest thing I would write it down. Even if it’s non-work related, I still write it down.

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Flowers – coffee paper cup designs

The concept behind the coffee paper cup designs started when I was back at university. We had to do a project about a well known street in East London known as Brick Lane. The street is filled with Indian restaurants and shops. Our task was to fill a sketchbook with drawings and take photographs of the street. After that, we had to put together the drawings and photographs and create coffee paper cups designs to represent the ‘flavour’ of Brick Lane. We even got to name the drinks. I loved that project, which is why I sometimes like to design my own coffee paper cup designs.