Lisa Liu

Humans of INKspire

“So I have two types of depression. One is called persistent depressive disorder (PDD) that I’ve had for 7 years, which is basically a long term form of depression. The second is called major depression. I treat both with light therapy.

My major depression started in my first year of university, mostly because I was stressed from not being able to make any friends, being very lonely, and yet having no time to be alone, as I’m an introvert. Plus, my social skills were so abysmal at the time I couldn’t even really make friends.

My rooming situation definitely did not help either. I’m very sensitive to light and sound, and so sharing a room with two people, I was never able to recharge. It was like insomnia, like never being able to sleep, except for never being able to be alone. I remember sitting in empty stairwells just to get some peace and quiet.

Both being lonely and also never being able to be truly alone stressed me out to the point of where I had a breakdown in the middle of frosh week, and was sent to counselling services. I was told to sit in a room full of people to listen to some frosh speech, and for whatever reason I got super overwhelmed. After seeing a few doctors, I was diagnosed with major depression and PDD. It made sense, as I had been having suicidal thoughts and depressed mood.

Trying to find treatment for it was mostly through trial and error. I went to therapy, was prescribed medication, tried exercise, but it wasn’t until I found light therapy did I finally find a treatment that worked for me. Light therapy is where you sit in front of this giant light box for half an hour in the morning, and it almost completely reversed my depression. No longer was I plagued with constant suicidal thoughts and pain. I was free! Life has since become a thousandfold easier.”

“Was your depression the hardest thing you’ve had to overcome?”

“Personally, for me at least, my depression was pretty easy for overcome. That was honestly super easy in comparison to other things I’ve gone through in life.

The hardest thing I’ve had to overcome in my life so far was forgiving my mom for who she is. My relationship with my Mom for the majority of my adolescence was very bad. We would have major, door slamming fights multiple times a week. This continued from the time when I was about 8 till I graduated high school.

“What did your mom do to hinder your relationship with her?”

“My mom is really bad at communicating, social skills and empathizing with people. There was also a lot of misunderstanding since she’s really bad at listening. I don’t mean this lightly. I mean that I would, for the majority of the time I would try to talk to my mom, I would have to repeat myself for 10 to 15 minutes straight just so she would understand a very simple concept.

She just didn’t meet my expectations as a mother, and I definitely didn’t help, as I was a very difficult child. Even when I was in Grade 5, I remember my teacher giving us all little pieces of paper and telling us to write down the top five most important people in our lives that we loved the most. I remember staring blankly at it, looking at my friends writing down their Mom and their Dad first, or their Dad and their Mom. My Dad had passed away, and my relationship with my Mom was already so bad that if I had to put her on the list of people in the world I cared for, I would’ve put her at the very bottom of the list. I would have continued to write the same list until I was about 17, when I finally became old enough to realize that perhaps my relationship with my Mom didn’t have to be this way.”

“How did you repair your relationship with your mother?”

“When I was 17, I realized that the only way I could have a real relationship with her was if I decided to be mature enough to be the one to change. Since my Mom clearly was never going to change, as she had been this way all this time I was growing up, I decided to try and accept her for who she was and remove myself from arguments. After that, everything became a lot easier. There was no more fighting, and a lot more of all the good stuff you want out of parent-child relationships. Interesting conversations, life updates and love.”

“Do you have any other goals or achievement that you want to see in a year or even five years?”

“My main goal is to be happy. If I wasn’t busy doing things like writing, animating, or going to school, I would be quite upset with myself. Since I know I’m going to die one day and my time on Earth is limited, I’d be doing myself a disservice by wasting time.”

“Is there any current challenges you’re trying to improve right now??”

“I guess currently I’m trying to improve my social skills. In order to do that, I’ve created this journal log where I write down all the things that’s difficult for me in terms of stepping out of my comfort zone or something I’ve never done before. So for example even saying hi or bye to the bus driver. So I’m hoping to fill out the entire book. Right now I have eleven pages of it filled out. Hopefully, eventually the whole thing will be filled. It’s helped me a lot with my social anxiety, and in turn, just doing regular, social things.”

“If you could change something in the past what would it be?”

“If I had a choice I’d take my maturity and knowledge that I have now and transfer it to my 12 year old self. I’d give myself the knowledge that my mom is who she is and I need to accept her for who she is, instead of focusing on who she isn’t. I’d also somehow educate my younger self on how important it is to socialize at a younger age, and to focus on learning on how to do it better. These are all things I learned a bit late in life, but they would’ve been nice to know at an earlier age. It would have prevented a lot of heartache and hardship I had growing up.”

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