Seeking Help: One of the Bravest Things I’ve Done

I remember that one morning, I woke up uneasy. I sat on my bed and bad, suicidal thoughts clouded my mind. My heart felt heavy and my head was messing with me. I remember being emotional and irrational. The thought of jumping off a bridge or driving my car through a cliff kept on replaying in my head, over and over again. I was a mess. I was crying, I was in pain. I remember deciding not to to get out of the my room on that day because I was scared of actually harming myself. The sight of the scissors made my skin crawl as I imagined it piercing through my skin. I winced at the thought but it did give me comfort. Thoughts of hurting myself always gives me comfort as well as uneasiness.

I couldn’t take it anymore. The emotions were taking over and I knew that I had to help myself before I lose myself. I searched the suicide hotline and called them. It rang and I had the strongest urge to cut the call off but I knew that I had to push through. A lady answered, she said she was a registered nurse and she could help me for the time being. I was crying but she was calm. She talked me through and helped me find the nearest help center. She asked me if I feel safe from myself, I said “Yes” even though I wasn’t too sure myself. She directed me to the center and a few hours later, I was calm enough to drive and started my baby steps towards a better mental health.

I remember sitting on that chair with the lady across me. She was asking me questions, questions a counselor from two years ago have asked me too. In my head, I thought she would be the same as that counselor, with fake empathy and note-taking BS. I hated that counselor. I only had one session with her and never came back because I felt too embarrassed pouring out myself to a stranger which obviously showed me fake empathy. But this new lady is different. One of the first things she told me was, “You are very brave in coming here“. Brave is one word that I would describe myself when it comes to tackling many life challenges but I never thought that asking for help is considered a brave move. But this lady just called me brave because I finally sought help to better my mental health.

I was eventually placed as urgent in the list for day therapy sessions. I got a single-session therapy with this male therapist (probably a psychologist?) who told me that I didn’t have depression, but I already know that. What I didn’t know was that I had Childhood Trauma. No one has beaten me to a pulp nor sexually harassed me. But the way I was brought up definitely affected how my brain works. It affected my personality, my emotions and how I breath. I didn’t know that I breath differently from a normal person. Apparently, regular people breath mainly using their stomach. I, on the other had, breath mainly using my chest. When this therapist asked me try and breath using my stomach, I had a hard time doing it and I still have trouble doing it right now. He said that my way of breathing shows that I’m always on the end, that my brain is rarely relaxed which explains why my anxiety is always at the background. Also, he showed me a diagram relating to childhood trauma. It wasn’t just anxiety or depression, it’s a combination of different things but never the whole thing. I didn’t have depression just because I still have appetite with food and pleasure. However, I still showed the other signs and symptoms for it. In short, he said that I have GAD, a bit of depression, a bit of OCD and a bit of some more other things that I wish I remember because I was an idiot and didn’t just took a photo of it.

I have finally started my therapy sessions. These are free so it definitely helps me a lot. I’m looking forward in finding more about myself and actually experience emotions that I have probably deprived myself in a long time. I’m also considering taking some medicines so I’m just gonna have to wait until I meet with my family doctor.

Seeking help for your mental health is not a bad idea. It’s gotta be one of the best things you can do for yourself. You get to stop asking “What is wrong with me?” to start asking “How can I help myself?”. It can be scary at first, but it can definitely help you in the long run.

 

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On Traveling for the First Time Alone

This past January, I finally decided to make an appointment to renew my passport. Since I get to have a week off from school because of Reading Week, I planned to make my trip on that week. It was supposed to be just a two-day-one-night trip but since this is the first time that I get to travel alone, I might as well make the most out of it. In the end, I went away from three days and two nights.

Because this is a solo trip, I also get to book my own flights and hotel. I used my Air Miles and More Rewards points to help me save money. It took me hours to choose which flights to go and hotel to stay at. I wanted to arrive in Vancouver as early as I can and leave as late as I can just so I have lots of time to explore the city. The hotel that I wanted has to not need lots of Air Miles and should be in or near Canada Place. Finally, I settled with an early morning flight (5:20 am) so I get to arrive in Vancouver at around 9 am and a later returning flight at 5:30 pm. The hotel that I got was in downtown Granville and was just steps away from the shopping and food places as well as just minutes away from Canada Place.

On the days leading through my flight, I would check and double check my flight and hotel just to make sure that I have it all prepared. I would read tips on travelling alone as well as packing tips. The night before my flight, I was still packing up stuff on to my carry-on. I was torn between carrying my whole wardrobe or just bring a change of four outfits plus sleep wear. In the end, I just picked whatever I liked to bring and since I was going to a big city anyway, I can just always buy whatever I would need.

On the day of my flight, I almost missed the checking in at 4:50 am because I reached the airport at around 4:55 am. Thank goodness for online check-in. Phew. Anyways, I booked a Plus Seat for that flight and it was ah-mazing. Actually, all of my flights were awesome. In 3.5 out of 4 flights that I had, I was seated next to no one. The 0.5 was my flight from Vancouver to Kelowna where I was seated next to this girl then Kelowna to Calgary where I was seated next to no one.

This was the best part of my flight to Calgary. ❤

A post shared by Shaira (@_amerl) on

Since this is a trip to a big city, I decided to eat at places that I wouldn’t get at GP. So it took me over 30 minutes to find places that I would love to try. There were tons of pizza and sushi places and I could always get that here. In the end, I got to eat in Nando’s (a Portuguese-style restaurant), Guu Garden (Japanese restaurant), Congee Noodle Delight (Chinese restaurant) and Cafe Crepe (crepe place). I made sure to order foods that I couldn’t get here for me to atleast get a unique food experience.

The highlight of this trip would be my dinner at the Top of Vancouver Revolving Restaurant. This was an experience that I loved and would love to do again. It might have been hella expensive but it was worth the price. I wish I could have stayed longer in that restaurant (I was there over an hour) because the view was just to pretty to pass.

My trip involved a lot of walking. I walked to Chinatown, World of Science and all around the Granville area. I was able to sit by a window and just observe people go by their daily lives. I was able to, in a really short while, experience what it’s like to live in this big city. This trip has enabled me to realize how I much I actually love travelling to new places. I’ve always known that I would love to travel at some point, but now that I’ve finally done it alone, I would love to do it again. This trip has helped become less anxious as I was finally able to get a rest from many stressors in this place and have a getaway to another place.

This trip has helped me relax, even for just a bit. This is what I needed and would need again. Here’s to me going to another new place alone again.*cheers*

What It’s Like Living with Anxiety

I’ve lived with anxiety for years now and I didn’t even know about it. I though that it’s normal for a person to feel scared for no reason once in a while. I thought that it was just part of survival, to be on the edge all the time. However, in 2014, I went to the doctor because I had trouble breathing and had really bad headache. He assessed me, asked if I was stress and ask me some questions about my health. He looked at me and said, “You appear to have mild anxiety. I would suggest that you talk to the counselor that we have”. I went to that counselor and talked to her. I remember crying and pouring out my heart to her and it made me feel better. However, I felt pity on myself after that session because I pretty much became vulnerable to stranger who doesn’t care about me nor truly empathize with what I was going through. That was my first and last time with a counselor.

Over the years, I read more about anxiety and that’s when I realized that it’s more than just being nervous. It’s something that I have to live with everyday and just attacks me at random moments. It’s more than just being nervous or stressed out for an exam. It’s about sitting in class then suddenly feeling nervous for no unknown reason. It’s about trying hard not to breakdown in public because I just heard a loud noise. It’s about not crying at work because I had to deal with a lot of mean customers than normal. It’s about having an anxiety attack while driving to work because I was not sure if I turned off the stove just because I didn’t triple check everything before I left. It’s about having to tell work that I’m gonna late because my car wouldn’t start instead of I was having an anxiety attack because most people doesn’t understand how bad an anxiety attack is. It’s about getting shitty grades because the stress gets to me and my anxiety levels is so up there that I can’t focus on anything and the only way to evade the scary feeling is to sleep.

There are a lot of things that I want to do: skyjumping, cliff diving, skiing. However, just thinking about these already send my heart racing. I have to take a lot of baby steps in order for me to stay calm and avoid getting those dreaded attacks. I have to keep on telling myself that I am okay and there’s no reason to cry. I had to learn how to keep living normally while the feeling of dread is always there. I have to strategically plan everything that will stress me out or elevate my anxiety levels just to avoid getting anxiety attacks (mostly doesn’t work but it’s worth the shot). I still have my McDonald’s Crew Trainer workbook with me, something that I finished doing two weeks ago. I’ve been putting off submitting it because I was scared that on the day I would get verified, I would breakdown. This is one of the many things that I have to hold back in order to keep myself together.

The thing about anxiety is that it’s not something that comes up one day and scared me shitless. It was something that I have always experienced ever since I was younger. I looked back to the many times that I have felt nervous for no reason and those times that I just cried because of the build up stress and emotions. At that time, I thought I was just being silly and a cry baby.

Day by day, I’m moving forward. My stress levels right now are up there, so is my anxiety level. The littlest, stupidest shit can set me off. I almost had a breakdown at work today, but I held it in until I went home. The thing that almost set me off was a customer shouting at his son, not me. But guess what? I’m functioning. I think I’m doing a great job in pretending to live normally.

Just Kidding Films is my Inspiration

I love browsing through Youtube and just watch random videos made by different people. One time, I was specifically looking for Asian Youtubers and ended up watching lots of videos by the Fung Brothers, Niga Higa and some Wong Fu skits. I kept on seeing videos from Just Kidding News on my recommendation list. Because the name Just Kidding News didn’t appeal to me, I didn’t care for their videos much. At some point, I got more curious about JKNews because I kept on seeing it so I decided to just open one of their videos. I wish that I can still remember that video because that is that one video that made me fall in love with the whole Just Kidding Crew.
I’ve been watching JKNews videos for a year now. I watch it every morning while I’m having breakfast and sometimes at lunch when I have no one to eat with. I love how each of the crew member gives their opinion and are very fun to watch. Although sometimes I don’t agree with what they are saying, it’s still nice to hear some opinion from other people. I love their antics and the funny edits that the editors though. I love how they kick and punch and create holes on the wall of their old office. I love the chemistry that the crew has with each other and with the guest.


Because of JKNews, I started to watch a lot more of their videos from their other channels. Just Kidding Party is my second favourite channel from all of Just Kidding’s channel. I love how they go crazy with the punishments that they do and they’re not scared to do whatever dirty or scary things that they pick in whatever games. My favourite game that they do is Mafia. I watch the one without their characters being revealed because I feel like I’m part of the townspeople. I love it when Julia becomes mafia because she got better with her lying skills and I admire Byron for being so good at this game (as well as in One Night Werewolf).
I’ve also watched a lot of their vlogs. I watch videos from Tiff & Case, Bart and Geo (The Beaws rock!) and Joe Jo (Jechika, you amazeballs of an editor). I know that Julia has a vlog channel but she doesn’t exactly update much so I haven’t really visited her channel for a while. Because of these vlogs, I feel like a friend but not a friend to the JK crew. I can tell you some details about their lives like what they did in Japan or when Geo and Bart lost Briggy (spelling?) and their journey with Meatloaf or Tiffany and Casey’s vacation in Mexico. I can tell you part of their journey from the old office to the new office and the other members of the JK Family from behind the camera.

jkfilms_3
Bart and Joe

However, more than anything else, the reason why I’m a big fan of Just Kidding Films, especially of Bart and Joe, is the fact that they are successful. They are successful because they worked hard. They are successful because they did not give up. They are successful because they pushed themselves for more experience. They are successful because they did not stop with just one company and are still venturing on some other business (like Go for Broke with David So). They are successful because they did what they love and wanted to do.
In a few years from now, I want to be as successful as Bart and Joe, as successful as their company Just Kidding Films. I am no filmmaker no do I have the drive to be one. I want to be as successful as them in a way that I want to see myself succeed in my chosen path. I want to prove to everyone else that even though the odds could have been against me, I can still push through and be successful. That at some point in my life, people’s gonna know me because of the achievements that I have because I worked hard and did what I love.
It amazes me how big Just Kidding Films become. Joe and Bart started taking videos from one digital camera (am I right?) and now they have all these high technology camera and a new set and office. Everytime I lose sight of my goal or get disheartened or someone tells me that what I’m doing won’t amount to much (I’m studying to become a Geneticist), I just watch some Just Kidding videos to remind myself that Bart and Joe didn’t start from the top. But they managed to rise to the top from the bottom and I think that that is one of the greatest inspiration that I will ever have.

 

On New Year’s Resolutions and Why I Didn’t Make One

The title says it all. I used to have New Year’s Resolution. These are the things that makes me think that I have full control of the year ahead and that I can do whatever I want in my own time.

I can’t remember any resolution that I have kept before. Let it be about habits, goals or anything peculiar about my life. I usually fall of my list during the first month, try to pick it up again in the middle of the year and sometime before the end of the year, I forget to do whatever it is on my list. And I usually don’t care. That’s why this year, I decided to not have this resolution sh*t.

Reason 1: It’s too annoying

I’m the kind of person who plans her life but in the end doesn’t get what I want. That’s kind of annoying actually cause it just breaks the harmony and flow that I want my life to have. I tend to just go with the flow. I live everyday thinking that there is always tomorrow so I have to live today. When you have a list of sort, it makes you think in months instead of days. Get my logic? No. Idc.

Reason 2: I don’t follow it.

I write it, do it the first month, forget about it.

Reason 3: There’s no such thing as New Year’s resolution.

I don’t get it actually. They say that New Year’s resolution is made by the person to become better person for the next year or to be able to achieve something or whatever. The thing is, you can do whatever you want NOW. If you can’t do it NOW, why would writing it as a New Year’s resolution make a difference?

And because I tend to forget whatever my resolutions are, I don’t even know what my resolution was last year. Oh well.

 

On My New Year’s Eve and New Year

This is the first time that I ever celebrated New Year outside of my country. This is my first time celebrating New Year here in Canada. Let me tell you, it’s really different.

I grew up looking forward to New Year because of all the noises and the firecrackers and the celebration that the people bring. Filipinos believe that loud noises shoos bad luck away and so we make lots of noises during New Year celebration. I remember looking outside to find my neighbours lighting up a fountain for everyone to see. It was a very pretty view. And then we light up our sparklers and dance around as we greet everyone, family, friends and neighbours, a Happy New Year. That was really a memory to behold.

New Year here in Canada (well Grande Prairie) is pretty silent (for me). No sparklers, no fountains, no street party, no drunk people outside your house shouting Happy New Year. It was peaceful because I don’t think anyone lost their fingers but it was also very new… very sad for me. Well I do understand that you don’t have to shout or make lots of noises to celebrate but this is not what I’m used to.

There was actually a fireworks on New Year’s Eve and it was very pretty. We were able to see it from our living room and that was very comforting to see. With all the colours and explosions, it was nice.

Waiting for 12 midnight wasn’t as fun as how it was back then. Before, I would be so excited for it. I used to sleep early, around 7 pm, then wake up around 10 or 11 pm as to not miss the countdowns. All night you can hear firecrackers and people shouting outside the house, all eager for the New Year to come. When New Year comes, some of us would jump for the hope of becoming taller or just for the heck of it. However, this year’s New Year is something that I didn’t really look forward to. I didn’t sleep because I have to prepare the house because some friends would be celebrating the New Year with us. I didn’t have anyone at home because my mom was at work and would be home at 11:30. Waiting for the New Year wasn’t half as fun as before. I felt lonely and sad.

My feelings for this year’s New Year celebrations is mixed. I felt lonely because who wouldn’t be? I only celebrated it with my mom and some friends when before I celebrated it with lots of family members. There were noise everywhere and sparklers and fountain and firecrackers back home and there’s just snow here. I used to receive text messages from friends greeting me a Happy New Year but what I get now are just FB messages. Nevertheless, I also felt happy. Why? Because after more than five years, I finally celebrated Christmas and New Year with my mom. It’s something that I looked forward to despite of all my sad and lonely musings about this year’s first day celebration. It’s something that I treasure and celebrate.

New Year celebration is definitely different back home. However, comparing things (which I just did) won’t change anything and would just make me more homesick. But whatever. What’s great is that I get to welcome the Year of the Wooden Horse, 2014! :)

 —

video: Cagayan de Oro 2014 New Year’s Celebration

On Working as a Care Aide and Saying Goodbye to Nursing

For two years, I took up Nursing. I knew the theories and the basic Nursing stuff. I had the different immunizations and experienced being a student nurse for a short time. I experienced taking care of people, giving the medications, take their vitals signs and all those stuffs student nurses do. However, these two years of my Nursing education were overshadowed by my two days of experience as a care aide.

Last Monday and Tuesday, I had my orientation as a care aide. It wasn’t just a mere sit-down orientation, it was a hands-on orientation. I followed a care aide as he/she takes care of people and also helps here in one way or another. Before I went in for my orientation, what I imagined that I would do was kind of the same thing as I would when I was an SN. However, what I did when I was an SN was mere child’s play. This was reality.

On my first day of orientation, it wasn’t easy but bearable.We helped older people with whatever they need. Prepped them for dinner and bed. Changed their clothes and bed sheets and all those necessary stuff. It was actually something that I could do except that you have to do these things to more than five old people, six times a week. Of course, you have someone with you for some of them but most of the time, you’re on your own.

On my second day, it was pretty tough for me. Most of the clients were males and heavy. They have this moving equipment that you can use so you don’t have to carry them from the bed to the washroom. During the whole shift, I realized that this is something that I don’t wanna do for the whole of my life. I’m not happy and not contented. I wanted to be anywhere except on that place.

Now, here I am blogging about this. I’m not saying that spending two years of my life in Nursing school was pointless. It was actually rewarding because I knew basic stuffs about first aide and taking care of people. However, Nursing is not for everyone… especially not for me. I don’t regret my decision of quitting that job after two days. Why should I?

To My Future Child

Dear child,

I don’t know when I will meet you. Maybe in 5, 10 years? Who knows right? But Ill surely meet you when I’m ready to have a child.

Child, I promise you that you will never grow up with money problems. Nope, I am not going to spoil you but I’m gonna provide you with anything that you need. You can eat three times and a day and have pretty things for a few days of the year. I will let you have one special gift each year that you will surely treasure. I will teach you the value of money so that you’ll learn to save at a young age.

You will have a complete family. A mom, dad, you and maybe siblings and if you want a pet, I will willingly adopt one. You will feel the love of your family in everyday of your life. I will let you meet our other relatives so you will know more family members and won’t feel isolated. You’ll grow up seeing your mom and dad love each other. If we fight, I promise not to do it in front of you. If mom and dad fight, it’s not your fault. It never is.

You will have a great education. From elementary to college, I would strive hard for your to be able to enrol in the best schools. I will never pressure you to be on top of your class. All I’m asking is a passing grade and the assurance that you understood whatever you’re learning. You can always show me your grades even if some of it are failing grades. I know the feeling of having a failing grade. Of course I would ask you failed but after that, let’s have ice cream. It always makes you feel better afterwards.

What do you want when you grow up? Doctor? Engineer? You can tell me anything. I will support you in every step of the way. I will not dictate you in what course you would have to take. I don’t want to ruin your life because of my selfishness. Whatever you take in college could dictate your future and I want you to make your own future. I want you to be happy and fulfilled. Pursue what you want. If you want to travel then go. Just don’t forget to call me when you arrive at that place.

When you wake up in the morning, there would already be food on the table. What will your favorite be? I will definitely try to practice making some breakfast so that when you’re born, I already know how to make them. Will you want pancakes? I’m pretty good at that and I will cook that for you if you want. Or will you want rice? That will be good right? You’ll have lots of energy to play. And I will cook eggs for you and maybe introduce you to Bitter Gourd. And when you go to school, you will already have your lunch ready. I guess I would pack rice and viand for you. Just tell me if you don’t like it.

Will you be participating in competitions? Yay. I will surely support you. I will be your stage mom. I will be there with the crowd. If you’re feeling nervous, just look at me and feel calm. Enjoy whatever you’re doing. Win or lose, you’ll still get a reward from me.

If you get nightmares in the evening, don’t be afraid to go to our room. You will always have a space beside me. You can tell me all your nightmares so that you’ll forget about them. When you wake up, you will always get a morning kiss from me. I will be there to send you off the school. When you come home from school, you can just shout “Mom! I’m home” and you’ll surely find me waiting for you maybe in the living room or kitchen. You will always feel excited to go home because I’m there and there will always be snacks waiting for you.

My child, you will have a wonderful childhood. You will never feel lonely. You will have a complete family. I will do my best (and your dad) to raise you up the best way we can. So as early as now, I will start building the life I want you to have. I will work hard for you be able to live comfortably. I love you. I wouldn’t let you grow up the way I did.

I Love You,

Your (Future) Mom

p/s: Since you’re not yet born, think already of what you want to be okay? Let’s save for that early ^_^ And please watch over me and you (future) dad, whoever he is. <3

Wayback Wednesday: Childhood Shows

HIRAYA MANAWARI

Hiraya Manawari focuses on stories for children. I don’t really remember much of their stories but this became part of my morning addiction in TV.

SINESKWELA

Tell me, who’s that 90’s Filipino child that doesn’t know what Sineskwela was? Sineskwela was very popular before. It focused on Science and Health. I actually learned a lot of things from this. I can also not forget the flying jeepney, that was one of the highlights for me. They actually tried to revive Sineskwela but I guess it did.n’t become as popular as it was years ago.

BAYANI

Bayani focused on the Philippine History. This is actually one of the main factors why I got interested with history. I love how they reenacted the Philippine history and made the heroes alive. The one story that I can’t forget is the story of Melchora Aquino.

MATH TINIK

Obviously, this one was focused on Mathematics. Because of this show, I learned how to divide.

EPOL APOL

Epo Apol is focused on English. This is my second favorite educational show (the first is Bayani). That’s because the way they speak is so cute and because I’ve been taught that learning English as early as kindergarten is needed. And why won’t you love that magic door? It’s like the cuter version of Narnia. And the puppets! <3

DRAGON BALL

This was shown in GMA every Saturday and Sunday. It was my uncle and my dad who influenced me to be a big fan of this. Goku is so cute but I will never replace Vegeta as my first anime crush.

Way Back Wednesday: High School Movie Making Project

Director : Shaira Amerl Sales
Writers: Jonel Juaneza , Sundae Mae Indino
Camerawoman : Sundae Mae Indino
Starring : Suhaimen Lomondot
Kaycynt Joyce Lucagbo
Cast: Kerstan Hillario, Christna Banuag, JJ Fabiana, Roland Gironella, TJ Uy, Jon Pelino

This is one of the most memorable projects that I’ve made in high school (and maybe the most stressful).

This movie making project was a collaboration between the Filipino and Computer department. Kailangan talaga nito eh collaboration and participation ng group. May 11 members sa group namin tapos four groups per section. Medyo marami pero na-hati naman. Of course, ako yung naging director. Saya no?

When we started filming the scenes, we didn’t know how to do it. We just shoot and shoot. We made the script, edited it, submitted it to the teacher then shoot again. We didn’t have much time to shoot because we were all busy and many of our groupmates have their own personal reasons to go home early and not show-up on shooting days (or times). There were lots of moments where I lost my patience and just shouted at the “actors” because of their unreasonable alibis. Diba? Kainis kung aalis tapos hindi okay yung alibi nila. Tapos damay pa yung whole group. Wth?

So after maybe two months (?) of “shooting” and “editing”, we finally had a project! It’s a short movie, 30 minutes long, about a love between  two Muslims where the girl is already betrothed to another guy. It was a cliche story but whatever, we just wanted to pass the subject. We didn’t know what happened but our film was actually considered for showing at the SM Mall Theaters for the final showing night! Awesome!

Of course, good news. I was so excited when I heard this pero nag-alangan din ako. Kasi nga diba, ang hirap mag-shoot. Tapos sinabi ng teacher ko na  kailangan naming mag-reshoot ng ibang scenes and mag-add pa. Medyo nakulangan ang excitement ko nun. So I told my teacher na tatanungin ko nalang muna yung groupmates ko. Intrams nun tapos ang saya nila nung sabihin ko na na-consider kami. Pero when I told them na kailangang mag-reshoot, yun na, unanimous ang decision na hindi na kami mag-rereshoot. Pagod na kaming lahat.

So ayun, ang saya lang. May short film kaming nagawa kahit isa lang. Ngayon ko lang na-realize na nakapag-direk pala ako ng isang movie kahit na mga classmates ko lang mga nakakita. Kahit na diba? :)