What could a poor, third world village girl know about path in life?
I was 29 when my great depression hit me.
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I thought I had all what a girl could ever wish for.
I was working as an expat in Malaysia and could do whatever I wanted to do, buy whatever I wanted to have and travel wherever I wanted to.
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Few months before I went MIA from a job that I thought I wanted, I was in Bali.
It was what everyone has been raving about so of course, I must see it. It will look good on my Instagram and Facebook.
Everyone wanted to be there. The night life is incredible. The beach is pristine. The view is just breath taking. But not to me and I couldn’t justify it.
Bali is beautiful. What was boiling inside me, wasn’t.
No matter how beautiful the sunset in Tanah Lot was, I couldn’t explain the melancholy. It was like I was numb the entire time that I was there. I just couldn’t explain it.
I went back to my usual routine after that last string of nearly a month of backpacking but one thing was already certain: I couldn’t stay in my little cubicle anymore.
I remember, the fact that our office was sharing a building with Hilton Hotel thrilled me. I would normally have my coffee by the window of our pantry just to look at the hotel’s swimming pool below us. That never failed to do the trick. It never failed to make me feel refreshed to go back to work again.
But not this time.
Later that I realized that these were signs that I was not in the right path in life.
The first red flag was when I started hating Mondays or any start of the work week and any sign that I will need to be at work again.
I have been forcing myself to look forward to something like a new dress, a new pair of shoes or activities after work. But work itself, no.
I was lucky to have enjoyed the company of my colleagues but it is the job. It is different. It doesn’t spark any joy inside me and that I couldn’t handle it anymore. I couldn’t go on another day or week or month anymore.
I was chirpy, happy-go-lucky and really loud. I used this to be good in servicing our customers. I got compliments which meant an hour off for every compliment that I would get. But during those days, I would snap at our customers. I would answer impolitely.
My number of complaints went up, my number of absences and tardiness increased and I just couldn’t find other fitting words to justify why I was behaving in such way. I was lying to my boss and to his boss.
My boss was just so kind and patient to me. I know that he knows that I am a hard-worker. He would defend me until he could but my attitude wasn’t acceptable anymore, at least to me.
No matter where I went, with whom and number of activities I did, I just wanted more. I just wanted to have that kind of exhaustion that will make my entire body tired enough to knock me out at night so I will not be able to feel that void.
I would surround myself with different people every night but I just couldn’t tell exactly what was wrong and I wasn’t sure if anyone would be able to understand me if I would open up. It looked like all the others didn’t have to deal with such hallow feeling.
I was forcing myself to be just like everyone else hoping I will not feel that kind of emptiness if I blended well.
Unsatisfied with life
My salary was more than enough to support myself and all the luxuries I was used to but I never seem to stop in looking for more.
I kept on shopping for clothes and I hated to be seen wearing something twice.
I would count the number of shoes, bags and dresses I have during my little spare time and would go and try the endless bars. I never cared how I would be able to come home even if I had to work the following day.
I would drink until I could or even until I couldn’t anymore. Until one of my friends needed to literally drag and push me inside a cab just to make sure that I would make it home safe.
I changed minds easily. I was the most impulsive person I know. I never thought twice about doing something. I looked for cheap thrills and instant fixes.
“Who am I?” “ Why am I here?” “What is life really about?” “Where am I going?” “What motivates me?” “Do I have purpose?” “What will happen to me in the future?” “Do I just do this over and over and then what?”
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I wanted to kick myself for having so much questions. I wanted to kick myself for having so much energy to even ask. Why do I even ask? Why can’t I just go on with my job, activities and not think so much?
Why there aren’t people asking these? Why can’t I seem to find the answers?
I know, no one really knows the answer to these questions but if you are in the right path in life, then whatever answer you come up with your questions, you will be okay.
You always feel tired
My experience with depression told me that the physical and intellectual aspects of life aren’t the only things that matter.
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I have managed to lose nearly half of my weight, I managed to look good from the outside but still felt that something was rotting inside me.
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I felt that there is an open wound that’s making me bleed to death.
When I reached my lowest low, I realized that what I thought of just simple unanswered questions in my head isn’t tiring. This is where I realized that my mental, spiritual and holistic health matter too and if I will be honest, they matter more.
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If you feel that you need more time to rest even if the amount of your physical activities aren’t that much, it’s time to do a life audit. You are headed in the wrong direction.
You are not tired. You are not inspired and not motivated.
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Unclear Dreams, Goals and Future
When you are in the wrong path in life, you’ll feel that your existence is just to make a living.
You will set aside answering questions like “What is your ultimate dream?” or “What are your goals?” I mean what are the real ones if money is no object?
You change your mind often. You will more likely to settle just because you need to survive.
You will not sit and really ask yourself what makes you happy and even if you do, you will tell yourself to forget it because it is not going to happen anyway.
When the topic that includes the future comes up, you don’t see it. It’s blurred. You know it’s because every bone in your body is telling you that this is not what you wanted.
When someone praises me, I question the intention.
What does the person want from me? I know the manner of my upbringing will be questioned here but its the truth. Maybe I was never given the right kind of praises growing up in a poor family of farmers because to look good is not the main objective.
The family’s main objective is not to work in the farms anymore and just sit in the comfortable corporate world.
But because from the village, I was sent to a private school without warning me that kids who go to that school have a different culture, I got to thinking that I will never be able to fit in. I didn’t know that culture can clash too even if it’s just in the same town.
We firmly believe that education will stand us a chance in life but this education didn’t give me enough trust in myself. I needed a different kind of education. I needed an education that will cure my low regards for myself.
A robot in the making
You hardly have time for yourself and for little pleasures. Your priority isn’t yourself. You wake up, prepare to work, work, go home, remember to pay the bills and tend to your family.
You are on auto-pilot.
Your routine has been the same for years. You despise it. You want to change it but you just don’t know how.
In your little spare time, you stalk your favorite Instagrammer then you resume to living your life according to your routine.
You just feel it
No matter what you do, you just feel deep down that there is no alignment between what you want and where you are in life. You know deep down that you are just anchoring on the safe shore.
You don’t believe in yourself, in what you can do, what you can achieve and how you can change your life.
You don’t believe in the beauty of your daydreams. You’d rather struggle inside than to risk being in a very uncomfortable situation.
You resist the chance to grow.
You resist to give yourself the chance that for once, you are doing something for yourself and not for anybody else.
I know life isn’t easy. It isn’t about butterflies and unicorns but it is beautiful.
But sometimes, we are too caught up with all the things that make us busy that we wonder how we reached a point where we didn’t know what happened.
Let these ten signs be your reminder to do a self check before things get out of hand.
I know, you know deep down inside you what you want. You just haven’t found the right words and courage to express it.
Girl, life begins at the end of your comfort zone. I’ll be happy to meet you there. =)
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