Mental Health: The Rest and the Period

Forgive me in advance but this post will seem a little random around the edges. When I write about mental health, I usually let what I feel run more freely, to better express life with it. And right now, I feel pretty confused, so the following might seem equally so.

I’ve been without a job for what? About 3 months now I think. I ended my last full-time job at around September start, and have yet to find any other permanent employment since then. I sincerely cannot stand the idea of working again, at least, not so soon. Supposedly, I’m having a burnout, but it can’t be help that I feel entirely useless at this stage in life. Before I finished my military conscription, my psychiatrist had told me that I should take at least 6 months to rest up from my mental breakdown before going back to work. Being the stubborn ass that I am though, I found a job within a week of leaving the army and paid the price for it with another stressful meltdown.

Despite all this, knowing that my current break from stressful work or studies is crucial for my recovery, I still can’t see myself as anything else but a failure. My parents are constantly nagging me about finding a job or continuing my education, as they do not fully understand my condition despite my attempts are telling them. And despite the fact that I have a considerable amount of cash saved up for a rainy day like this, I still worry about my finances. And also, there’s this writing thing.

Last month, 139: In Evening nearly made it to JP30 in the charts. I say nearly, because at the last moment of the last day, we lost by two votes. I was quite excited that I made it into the top 50 of the month, and did not expect that losing the JP30 spot would hit me quite as hard. But it did. In fact, it brought me to tears. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still incredibly honoured to have made it to the 50 list. But it made me think long and hard about my choices in life, and the impact all of my hard work in writing might have brought, and is making me reconsider my future as a writer.

This rest period has been a really bitter-sweet moment of respite and self reflection. And I’m not sure if such an experience is only possible for those recovering from mental breakdowns, or more akin to the general populace. But admittedly, the mental breakdown part have been a huge struggle to overcome. Even now, I still fear and worry of a relapse if I were to start full-time work again. When I’m not experiencing mania and am clear of head, I still shudder at the idea of taking a leap of faith with my writing works. I fear the possible failure at attempting self publication, and also fear the The Number 139 would not live up to my expectation and fall, just as most, if not, all of my other works had done so far.

I have serious considerations for stopping writing after The Number 139 ends and just getting a standard 9 to 5 work and play games in my free time. Authors like Ryan Watt (@GuildofFeathers), M. Howalt (@mhowalt) and Kevin A.M. Lewis (@KevinAMLewis) I feel are much better equipped at handling the next step in writing than I am. They are talented, and social medially charismatic. And their stories are pretty darn good. Basically everything I am not. And it might be high time to quit while I’m ahead.

A lot of writing buddies of mine have asked why I continue to write. And I always reply that it is out of respect to my stories and the characters, and because of my love for them. I do not want to stop a story until I have seen the last period on the page. But then, my reasons for starting a story is entirely different. I start one with the concept of change. When a person reads it, I want to invoke a sense of change for the better in them, and in turn, make the world a slightly better place to live in. But I’m starting to wonder if such a morally wishy washy concept is a fit for this world.

I’m not sure if I’ve said this before, but 139: In Evening literally saved my life. I started it at the pit of my previous depression and perhaps continued to live because I wanted to see it succeed. I would probably be dead without it. But now, life is coming to a head. Unlike in the states, Singapore’s average work hours is 44 hours long. Minimally. 48 max, not including the overtime that is ‘expected’ in our jobs. Most of which can be unpaid if the employers deem it so. And with the unions under the same control of the same bosses, work-life balance becomes next to impossible to gain, and I might have to settle for the prospect of not being able to write again in the future. And not to mention having a much higher rate of a relapse to depression.

In retrospect, this post might be a little too random. I’m just blurting out whatever is on my mind at this point. I’ll stop here, less I start sharing uncomfortable details about my masturbation habit. But generally, this is how it feels to live after death. Confused, scared, and as lost as your socks in the dryer.

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