7.7

Is seven supposed to be a lucky number? I think in different cultures the magic number for luck differs. But I do recall ever coming across ‘lucky number 7’.

As usual, I am and have been in a funk. It somehow seems that I can never extricate myself from this pit that I have slipped into, even though I know that to people looking from the outside, there really probably isn’t anything wrong and that I just need to change my mindset or frame of thinking, and start being thankful for what I have in my life, or make the best of what I have.

I don’t know… if it’s something that I will ever be capable of.

There is just no longer any will or desire to try, yet day-to-day there is this constant battle being waged between the angel and devil, where on the one hand I let myself sink into the abyss and think all the negative and pessimistic thoughts with myself just short of taking any tangible action to end it, and on the other, I am admonishing myself for not practising positive self-talk and speaking what I want to see into reality. Does that actually work anyway?

I have been driven to my edge of my sanity by the unsavoury species of the homosapiens who happen to my neighbours, all 3 sets of them. I have tried to speak to them, even lodged complains to the town council where these were unhelpfully forwarded to the relevant government agency that nonchalantly told me that high-rise living brings with it neighbourly considerations (which they are obviously not giving a f*** about) and they cannot do much about it.

I resorted to even submitting a case to the CMC to request for mediation, as that is supposedly the first step I should take since I do not have a lot of evidence/materials to prove my case if I were to approach the CDRT. I read that police reports do nothing too because apparently that is beyond their jurisdiction, unless the neighbours are creating noise disturbances within certain hours.

The thing is, these noises, from slamming of doors repeatedly from 11pm to 12midnight, dragging of furniture across the floor, hyperactive kids jumping the whole damn time or basically someone seemingly slamming themselves or something against the wall/floor, they can occur anytime and throughout the day, yet these are difficult to capture with the amateurish quality of my phone’s recording functions. A lot of ambient noise is collected as a result, and these can hardly help to solidify my case.

I don’t know if my only option now is to just look for a new place to move to, and to check out all the neighbouring units of the new flat, hopefully to determine the quality of the neighbours. I hate my neighbours, for causing me my mental health, especially during this extended period of telecommuting. What was supposed to have helped me prolong my stint at my current role, because of the increased flexibility of my work hours, has morphed into a living hell for me when I have to put up with the noises all day long, and even when I go to sleep at night, I get jolted awake when the door slamming begins.

Working-from-home needs a lot of discipline for the person to draw boundaries and stick to them. Unfortunately, I have not done well in this aspect and have allowed myself to let the email-checking and work creep into the nights and weekends, as a way of compensating for the time when I may not be engaging in work when I should be. Although I do not mind it, I think it has affected the quality of my sleep, and sometimes contents of some emails have not sat so well with me; so it isn’t just doing work (that I absolutely can and will do) but rather doing work that probably should have belonged to someone else, which gets me into a tirade on my own.

There is so much uncertainty right now, in the environment in the society in my work and in my life. Uncertainty translates into a loss of control and I have also personally experienced that loss of control over many things. I no longer have the willpower to control what I eat, how often I eat and how much I eat that I frequently get myself into a state of deep guilt for overindulging and overeating, on all sorts of unhealthy junk food.

Where is all this leading? What can I ever hope to look forward to at all?

I abhor my job. Hate my life. Detest everything about myself.

once broken, forever damaged

When someone get afflicted with some variant of mental health issues, damage is done permanently and a flaw will always remain. No amount of time will heal the cracks and scars that have formed even if they were to slowly fade away.

Nobody really understands what a sufferer goes through, each time he/she undergoes a meltdown, a breakdown, a collapse, a relapse. Even another ‘fellow sufferer’ would not be able to empathise with what someone is going through because we are such unique beings, and all of us are wired so differently that psychologists and psychiatrists can only but guess what is it that traps our minds in a constant prison cell, with us pacing back and forth or going round in circles, a Pandora’s box that locks up a whole host of past trauma and hurts.

Back story. I have been and am in a bad place. Mentally. Physically I am constantly fatigued and tired. Mentally, I have been veering on the edge of overwhelm and burnout. I don’t know what is happening and why this is happening. Some days, I ask God to bring me home because the anguish that is threatening to envelope me is just too much to bear. I scream at God amidst angry and frustrated tears, every-single-day, asking why He is allowing this to happen to me. I have surrendered myself haven’t I?

I have tried to live each day at a time, take the tasks from my boss one thing at time, try to ignore each and every single knock, hammering, thump, slam, whatever, that 3 of my surrounding neighbour units make. But where has all these led me? I am nowhere closer to finding peace and solitude. I feel like my sanity is breaking with the endless emails that are sent my way, asking me to explore/find out/think about/consider/etc., that often leave me wondering if I am the only person in the organisation who has to work or if my boss thinks I am just idling at home all the time so that there is a need to flood my inbox with probably close to a hundred new items over the course a leave day and a Saturday.

When is it ever enough, when am I ever enough?

I have felt that life is unfair. And I acknowledge that. It’s just that, it is never unfair to my advantage. I am always on the losing end, even if this sentence is making me sound like I am victimising myself. Maybe I am. But I just feel aggrieved that I was denied a promotion but ended up having to take on tasks of those who were promoted – and I do not know what they are actually doing now. I am so close to resigning. But everyone tells me no, because times are bad.

They tell me, I am the only one who can help myself, that I need to change my mindset. Is mindset that easy to change? If it is, all the mental health professionals would probably go out of job because we just need to ‘change our way of thinking’. I wish it was that easy. I didn’t ask to be depressed. I didn’t ask to feel this way. It isn’t fun to watch myself washing my face daily with tears, crying my eyes swollen, unable to sleep peacefully each night. I, too, want peace. I, too, want happiness. But how?

Once broken. Forever broken. And always never good enough, always not doing enough.

what is this ‘phase 1’?

It has been a week since the circuit breaker officially ended. We are in Day 7 of ‘Phase 1’ of the new normal. What is the new normal?

Everything feels almost exactly the same, except that when I am out for my essentials, there are definitely more people out. And I am still befuddled and mildly annoyed that my boss is blatantly trying to get us to return to the office despite that the default mode as advised by the authorities is to continue ‘working-from-home’ for those who have been doing so during the circuit breaker. No doubt that split-team-arrangement has been implemented, but the fact remains that even though we fall into a category where we can reopen in this Phase 1, what we do is ultimately ‘non-essential’, and I would dare say at least 80% of us do not need to be in office because there is no specialised systems so to speak that we need to access. I just do not get the thing about local employers and their hang-up about presenteeism and ‘face-time’.

I could be sitting in the office staring through the computer monitor while my mind is a million miles away but I guess they just find comfort in seeing that you are physically there, not out gallivanting or spending the time that we are supposed to be at work engaged in some other form of activity personal or professional, regardless of any productive work resulting from warming the office chair.

Anyway… so that’s that with my usual grouses about work. I still feel a sense of dread and hopelessness when it comes to life, when it comes to work. There just does not seem like there is any reason, purpose or meaning to life. The feeling had always been there, but the virus situation and the emanating lock-down kind of amplified it. Some days I sit staring out the window, wondering what lies beyond and what happens next. It is a case of feeling lost and directionless.

A new routine was formed. Human beings are adaptive in that way. When their usual routines and habits get disrupted, the urge and desire for structure – something I realised that I badly need – would cause new habits and routines to form. Some have advised that having a routine helps to give a day structure. It does, to a certain extent, but beyond a day, it still does not offer any clarity on why I am going through life. There does not seem anything worth going on for, because taking another breath, living another day, just feels like a torment that is not worth the pain going through.

Some days, I miss travelling. I reminisced the last couple of trips that I had taken. Maybe we had all taken travels for granted. The spontaneous impulse to buy an air ticket, book a hotel room in a city thousands of miles away, and spend a week there languishing in being anonymous in a foreign land. I don’t know when I would feel comfortable to travel again, pay the expectantly higher airfares and put up with the longer times associated with airport clearances and the likes. It just seems like too much of a hassle to go on a trip.

What is the real point of this post? There does not seem to be one.

I find that I need structure. I find that I need to not be disliked. I find that I need to be accepted. I find that I need to know a purpose. These seem to be things I cannot identify with or find in this role.

Yet even with what I know, I know not what role is out there for me to take on. Countless applications sent with nary a response. It just feels more and more hopeless and disheartening, especially so in the current dreary economic climate where many are losing their jobs and it would probably serve them more to land a job than me who has a job but am unhappy every single breathing moment.

Life just likes to make a sport of us, doesn’t it?

Death… is an option, not?

Sleep does not come easy. I tried melatonin and I am not sure if it helps but there seemed to be side effects arising from taking it so I stopped. Broken and short sleep patterns contribute to splitting headaches. A compulsion to stick to a routine has wreaked fatigue throughout my entire physical being yet it doesn’t promise sufficient exhaustion to plunge me into deep slumber.

Sigh.

Let’s see what goes on next.

the last day…?

Today marks the official end of the 8-week circuit breaker period.

It is the first day of June, and the start of the last month for this first half of the year. Five months have ‘Zoomed’ past us, with ‘Zoom’ taking on a newfound meaning in many of our lives as a lot of us were suddenly acquainted with this videoconferencing app/facility which not many of us knew about or use prior to Covid-19. All too quickly, we have been forced to become adaptive to how rapidly the situation evolved and some of us, probably counting myself within the statistic, had been a victim of mal-adaptation.

What happens after today? Is there any palpable difference, with the myriad of advisories from the authorities about returning to the workplace? As much as I am rather glad to be away from the office, because I honestly do not miss my colleagues a single bit, it could be a reprieve from the current state of ‘lockdown’ I seem to be experiencing, forced to put up with ridiculously inconsiderate behaviours of people living in the units around me. I don’t know if the change in scenery, and a renewed routine of going to the office again, will have any positive bearing on my mental health and well-being. I hate being negative and fatalistic; I hate having to be ranting and whining all the time, and dissolving into a sobbing heap of mess when the pressure gets too overwhelming arising from a single email or string of disturbing noises.

Has my psychological state caused the hypersensitivity to noise? I don’t think I ever recalled myself being so prone to feeling irritation and annoyance, or having such a major penchant for quietness and peace. Is it because there is too much ‘noise’ in my mind that any further extraneous sources of noise just makes everything too much to bear? Why can’t people be more considerate and ‘human’? It sometimes feel as though I am living within a zoo of sorts, with monkeys and elephants staying in units surrounding me. Are these not human beings residing in dwellings that were actually built for humans?

I can’t help but to engage in such talk. I admit. It’s deplorable.

So I have been feeling a lot of resentment (as usual) and disgruntledness over the last few days arising from some work-related matters – no surprises there. In our corporate world, it never pays to do something well because you end up being taken for granted and saddled with more work because that’s the easiest course for the boss to take to minimise any pain on the boss’ side to deal with the non-performative ones who were originally tasked to do that thing. Presenteeism is also something our work environment here in Singapore will never get over, despite all this talk about ‘telecommuting becoming a new normal for workplaces here’. To put it crudely, it’s bullshit. Employers love ‘face-time’, and they don’t care that employees may well be putting in long hours at the office engaging in non-productive work as long as they see them physically there which they naively construed as ‘doing work’, as opposed to letting employees work-from-home and feeling all manner of insecure that employees are actually skiving, even if demonstrable higher productivity results.

What happens next? What will I feel next?

We just have to take it a step at a time, a day at a time. I am just glad that I can now visit my parents! Although at this moment, I can only do so without having my brother’s family there since we are not from the same household.

My past posts have all been annotated with photos of that same place which has become my favourite go-to destination during this period. Let me break it up with something more frivolous – circuit breaker “cooking” – which really is just a fried egg. So much for cooking.

sliding

I didn’t realise that it had been a fortnight since I last posted. I thought I would be writing more, either here or on a micro-blogging app I use on my phone. On both counts, I think I hadn’t. It’s definitely easier to post on the app because I can just do it on the go and upload photos directly from my phone, if I wanted to.

But the inertia that I feel sometimes just makes writing elude me. I feel like writing but everything that my fingers tap out is just pessimistic, angry or frustrated. I get so tired of being so angsty, ranty, whiny and sad.

It seems to feel like this is a so-called new normal that we have to adapt to, which is what I keep writing about and advocating or encouraging people to do, in some of the work that I do. Yet, I feel like such a fraud. I don’t embrace change like I should, I don’t embrace this ‘new normal’. If anything, I feel a sense of desolation and aimlessness. It is like there isn’t anything palpable to look forward to at all, anymore.

Some days I reminisce the trips that I made to Tokyo or Hong Kong. These seemed so long ago, yet it was about … 6 months since I visited Tokyo. I don’t know when I will ever get to go to Tokyo or Hong Kong again, even if borders are open would I feel comfortable stepping onto a plane? Would I be willing to pay the expectantly higher airfares and put up with the longer wait times and inconveniences of airport clearances? I don’t know.

And what else is there on the horizon? I struggle to cobbler together a new routine in my life now that I don’t get to attend yoga classes or spinning classes, which were a daily fixture of the recent past that also seemed like a lifetime ago. It has been about 2 months? Since I last had a spin class or a hot yoga class. I try to practice yoga, an hour daily, following teachers on IGTV or YouTube but the motivation is often lacking because I have little discipline in pushing myself when it is just me on the mat, and also because I have not found it in myself to join a Zoom yoga class with strangers ‘zooming’ in for the class. It is silly to sign up for a live Zoom class and disable the video because it is as good as practising yoga with a recorded video. Yet the vulnerability of having several pairs of eyes watching you and the possibility of the video being recorded… I have trust issues in that area.

Everyday as I go about the ‘new’ routine, it just feels like life is slowly chipping and seeping away. I don’t know why there is a constant pounding and stomping from people who live in the units above and beside me, and why the walls of HDB flats are so paper thin that I just cannot bear the continual lack of peace. Maybe only when I wake up at 4am in the morning is the time when there is this silence that feels so breakable and precious, the tranquility and stillness that do not carry any sounds of slamming doors and iron-cast gates, grating voices of neighbours of a certain nationality (it is ok if you think I am xenophobic, maybe I am but I just abhor the shrill sounds of their voices piercing my ear drums), screaming kids who are overly hyperactive and cannot stop jumping up and down.

My mind is a constant whirl of thoughts and yet there isn’t anything grounding or anchoring. Everything seems to be and have spun out of control and I can only derive comfort from the very thing that also bring a deluge of post-consumption guilt as I worry about the inability to control my weight.

My body is breaking from the broken sleep and disrupted sleep patterns. It is breaking from the sudden introduction of a new activity that it is not used to and built for. My mind is breaking from the avalanche of thoughts going in all directions that threaten to tear it apart. I cry. I implore God for help. Anyone. But am I the only one eventually who can help myself?