Here’s an instant personality test. Get your iPhone out and bring up the keyboard. Tap the emoji button and look to see what your most frequently used emoji is. It’s the one at the tippy-top of the list (unless you’re using an Android device, which will show your most recently used emoji, not your most frequently used emoji). This is the emoji you go to time and time again when communicating with others. And this byte-sized blip may say more about you than you think.
“Well, you have a severe anxious depression,” the psychiatrist said to me. “Severe,” he reiterated. Tension hung. “But that’s great, because we know exactly how to treat that.”
Instantly my temperament lightened. I felt assured on some primal level by the psychiatrist, Dr Ken (name changed for privacy). It was as though he knew exactly how I felt, and just what to say. He was a warm and soulful man, not the cold science-minded sort you’d instinctively associate with the head of the psychiatric unit of a major hospital, close to the end of his career.
He had a mat…
As I laid awake in bed unable to sleep, worried that I may never fall asleep again, stuck in a state of panic so powerful it caused my heart to thud, my chest to clench, and my head to sweat, I couldn’t help but feel that the word ‘anxiety’ doesn’t adequately capture the gravity it ought to.
When I was diagnosed with a generalised anxiety disorder a few years ago (alongside a severe depression), I was semi-surprised. This is what ‘anxiety’ is? Why didn’t you warn me? There was no hint in the name about how devastating it is. …
First, you withdraw.
Life shrinks down to the size of your home, then to your bedroom, then to your bed—sometimes over months, but more often over weeks.
Old joys stop having the same pull.
You eat less, drink less. Have less interest in speaking.
As your body’s systems start shutting down, you have less and less energy.
You sleep more and more throughout the day.
You start to slip in and out of consciousness and unconsciousness for longer periods of time.
Staying alive starts to feel like staying awake when you are very immensely tired.
At some point, you can’t…
When a contact of mine mentioned she’d done a job for a lady who has a monkey zoo in her backyard, I knew I had to investigate further.
I mean — A monkey zoo? Run by a lady in her backyard?? I had so many questions.
Part of what piqued my interest so quickly was the fact that it was so close to home. Who would’ve guessed a magical world of monkeys had been hiding round the corner all my life? I told my partner about it, my family. I told friends in the area too. …
I’d just come home from watching Crazy Rich Asians with my partner, and I was bawling my eyes out. It wasn’t just a passing teariness from the movie either — it was that deep, existential empty-feeling kind of sadness, the sort of sadness that makes you feel as though everything you are and everything you’ve strived for is folly and futile. My partner tried to console me, to no avail — I was inconsolable.
How could a lighthearted rom-com about a woman winning the affections of her fiancé’s obscenely rich Singaporean family be so soul-destroying?
At the time, I chalked…
So, I have this friend on Facebook… In fact, you probably do too.
He’s the guy who posts offensive, multi-paragraphed Facebook rants about ‘lamestream’ media conspiracies, the evils of same-sex marriage, the decline of Western society, and the inerrancy of Jesus Christ his Lord and Saviour — and then defends those positions to death in the comments.
For me, his name is Ryan (name changed for privacy).
I don’t remember how Ryan ended up on my friends list. I think it was through a mutual friend who enjoyed debating him. …
These are my earplugs. I use them to swim.
Without them, water gets in my ears and causes a weird ringing pain. With them, I can swim for much longer — and it’s swimming much longer, each day over the course of several months, that helped me out of a really dark spot in my life a few years ago. I’d like to tell you the story of how.
We’ve all heard how depression creeps its way in — slowly, unnoticeably, bit by bit like some squatter who moves in one atom at a time — so I’ll save you…
Last winter, I was forced to take time off work because my asshole was under attack. I’d gotten shingles — an appropriately medieval-sounding illness which presents as a skin rash but is really an infection of the nerves beneath that skin. The typical shingles sufferer is in their sixties or seventies (I’m in my twenties), and the typical course for a case of shingles is this: first it flares, then it weeps, then it scabs off in gritty chunks. Fun stuff. In most cases it takes about six weeks to go through the cycle, depending on how early you start…