A Prepared Ship to Sail Through Storms

A while back, I found a tip on achieving any goals in life. The secret is; instead of having better and well-defined goals, focus more on having better and supportive systems.

I used to think that mindset is the most important thing to have, to achieve goals and a better life in general. This moment of relapsing super bad opened my eyes to the fact, that mindset alone is not enough to ride you through the tough storms in your life. To find a balance of properly functioning and solving your problems, I need to have a better system. So I decided, I will make a change now, and try to consciously provide myself a more established system to have more sanity and balance in wading through this storm.

Establishing a good system in your life is like preparing your ship with any ammunitions, auxiliary equipment and supplies you’ll need before you go to the battle ground.

Since the first extreme revelation of my past wounds that happened several years ago, I started to notice the signs and symptoms I get every time I have an “episode” or relapse in my mental health problem.

I remember one important message revolving in the mental health community in social media that I follow:
“If you come to finding yourself falling into a relapse, you’re never truly starting back at square one. You’re starting from experience.”

Although the problem is slightly different this time and the symptoms are back stronger than ever, reflecting on those experiences and the knowledge it brings, I did several things to help me cope:

  1. Opening up to my family members about the struggles that I went through.
    As a first born, this is quite challenging considering that I need to be vulnerable to do so, and I feel like everyone looks up to me. I am afraid that it might disappoint them and change their perspective of me.
    However, since it was really painful and I need to let it out of my chest, I managed to start this with my sister. I didn’t expect her to take it so well, considering how different our personalities are and how religious she is. I am very thankful that despite everything, she accepts me for whatever I am right now and supports me to achieve whatever I want to do. But until now, I am not sure how to talk about this with my parents, considering their expectation towards me and how religious they are. I don’t even know what to expect afterwards, though I know that they learn to love me properly now.
  2. Scheduling a therapy appointment.
    I have been avoiding a therapy, unless it’s very necessary. I thought that sharing my story with open-minded friends is enough to give me direction in solving the problems. But I don’t think it would work this time, because I don’t see my friends having through this type of problems before, and each of us now have enough problems in our plate. It would be better to talk with licensed therapist since they have more understanding and depth on the topic. I am not really comfortable to have the session in Singapore, since I think it would be more sincere and honest if I share the story in my first language. Thankfully, the discussion on seeking help for mental health was not a strange topic in my circle of friendship. I managed to get a contact of good psychologist, which thankfully because of COVID, can hold the session online so I don’t need to worry about the distance of SG — Indonesia, and with a very affordable rate. I am also grateful that I am in a financially better place now, so I don’t really have to bother about the expenses for therapy sessions like several years ago.
  3. Talk with other people I trust to practice sharing the problem before the therapy appointment.
    The therapy session can be difficult and exhausting. I need to recognize all the biases I might have in facing the problem, and whether I am seeing the situation objectively or just projecting whatever I wish to see. Remembering how it was several years ago, it was always painful after you recognize that your judgement, either conscious or sub-conscious are not always correct and significantly influence the situation. It has been a while since I talked to a psychologist, and this is the first time I want to bring up this problem. I decided that I need to practice sharing this problem, since I know I will cry a river and flooded by emotions every time I talked about this.
  4. Reading reference and books about my problem, and try to understand the scientific backgrounds for it.
    Looking at the situation, I feel like the timing is impeccable this time. I can’t run away, because every where I go, there will be something reminding me to work through this.
  5. Avoiding any trigger during recovery process.
  6. Be patient and be kind for myself.

Reflecting on the results of those efforts, I realized several life-changing information that I didn’t even aware of before:

  1. I am thankful that my family, despite the broken history, can be the very first place for me to find safety and solace.
  2. The symptoms and discomforts I have experienced all over my life, is prevalent for the victim of sexual abuse. Somehow, I find comfort that I am not alone in facing this battle, there are other people scattered all around the world having to fight the same battle. There are people who can recover and make peace with it, so I might as well have a chance and give it a shot to try.
  3. It’s good to ask for a help.
  4. Small but consistent kindness can go for a long way.

A girl who loves the sky, still struggling to understand the world and how to live each day joyfully