Friday, October 10, 2014

The wondering and pondering regarding well, marriage.

One of the grand questions at my age that I've started to pay more attention to is the the purpose of marriage. Sure there are so many opinions and 'reasoning' especially so eagerly given by the lovesick newlyweds in which I'm inclined to be repulsive to due their clouded reasoning and strong emotional assertiveness. What they give me are expression of themselves instead of discussion of the material itself, what marriage really is. I would love to shove as harshly as possible to these group of people the question, "do you not feel that way because you've been up all night thinking about him/her, wishing to hug, and ultimately have sex?' Of course you would deny in an instant, but of course. It's been culturally and religiously educated to you (if at all) that marriage is sacred and is carried out for the Deen, everything for the sake of Allah. why of course, but if you have nothing other than 'to complete half of my Deen', 'to get the blessing of Allah swt' or 'because it's the nature of human to want company' then seriously, you ought to question yourself; How much do I actually understand about marriage?

Those 'reasonings' obviously shallow as they sound are quite frankly borrowed ideas. Which means you do not have an idea of your own regarding marriage and how dangerous it is to be sailing the vast sea known to be vicious and adventurous, not knowing that the water isn't plain? Yet people, so hard has the brain and the heart froze from the strength of the nafs that it didn't want to turn back, to reconsider, to think, to reflect or to learn. Until the nafs is satisfied, nothing will stand in its way, unless distracted. Most people however (myself not excluded) have great difficulty in curbing and distracting it. What happens to nafs after it's fulfilled? Sure enough, it cease to exist until the next unknown surge and the heart and the mind are left to take the after-effect. This is what happens a few years after marriage, when the Nafs has been greatly fulfilled, when people feel that the 'love' is no longer as strong, no longer there.

Which then brings me to my own. Even as i say all these, when average person may not think complicated stuff the way I do, I myself is having trouble to figure out; WHAT IS MARRIAGE? Let's just cut off the point where I had silly ideas about it and consider them obsolete. There are many ideas, especially if you scroll down on facebook there would be so many articles the likes of; 'how to have a long happy marriage' or 'tips on happy healthy relationship', oh you know what. At one point I began to believe that marriage is a partnership, that's why they call it a life partner. You share the same space, the same capital, investments and reward. I believe that you can't find a person similar to you, that you don't have to have similar everything to make it work. That you can just be your own persons as long as you're able to run in close parallel to each other, from beginning until the end. As long as you respect that you are not running the same course, that you are two different persons, masters of their own will and that their paths must not be interrupted or combined. In some way that is my idea of a marriage; a life partnership of two different people.

While that's grand and everything (also it almost fulfills all the criteria the 'good happy relationship/marriage etc), I can't help but question myself again. That could not be just it? We are Muslims, Islam is our way of life, we worship Allah the Almighty and He has his ways, His secrets. We are not just body we are also soul. We have a pre-set goal: the After-life. I mean I'm starting to sound mystique, i know, but I just wished that these ideas will be included in the understanding of marriage. Keeping them in mind while building the foundation of matrimony. Somewhat like having a vision and mission before you start any company or any projects. It must come from your own understanding, so that you will be able to communicate your ideals down the line so that the whole institution moves as a unit and sustains for a long time, having a clear and worthwhile direction. Instead of borrowing the vision and mission from others' projects cause we're just so lazy thinking it must be the same anyway cause we're doing the same thing. Only, the error is that the person does not understand what he has borrowed. I'm sure we've all been there, under both the capable and incapable leaders. Where one seems to make the project bombastic while the next kills it altogether.

I strongly believe that if I am able to understand then I am ready. Finishing studies, having a stable income and all those stuff just falls as the lower down priorities. Having the mind, however cliche that may sound, proved to be the most difficult yet fundamental preparation.

When I decided to open my blogspot I wanted to question myself whether I'm commitment phobic and if I do is it related to my lack of understanding of marriage institution. well... yes because the idea of being tied down to one person still seems so boring and un-adventerous to me. and also no.. in a sense that I know I will want to be married at some point, for the right reasons, at the most convenient time. Yeah. So maybe I am at the moment also affected by my lack of understanding about marriage leading to the non-existent desire to settle down just yet because I do not know as to now, the purpose for that matter.

Obviously you can see, I think but with very little knowledge. I realise that and that is my flaw, a quite dangerous one actually but it's okay because I have a natural tendency to be critical on every opinion and also the flexbility to change my own stands so I won't really be misleaded by my own 'syok sendiri' view. InsyaAllah.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

A sneak peek of my mind: cognitive error

When I was down I thought the only important thing was to improve my mood and then that's it and that the follow up sessions were just to monitor how I am doing to make sure I actually achieved full remission. Tak adalah lepas 3 minggu ke 2 bulan ke jadi benda yang sama balik. I honestly didn't think there would be long follow up sessions and that I would be discharged once I feel better. After a while I found out the minimum number of sessions would be 6 to 8 and for good reasons too because apparently there are always something o work on. I didn't know it then. I didn't know at all that there is something more profound to be corrected other than my mood. All this while my mind was messed up in the way it thinks, the way it solves and connects ideas and experiences.It solves problems and abstracts on a situational basis, on the basis of need or rather when a problem arises when actually all of these can be tackled at the roots.

It is a great realisation, a discovery to be told by the counsellor that there are ways to think and things to tackle along the way. From there on out, I started to be conscious about my thoughts and the way I think. Like why am i thinking this way and working on a pattern of them, tackling the bad ones and replacing them with a better way of thinking. I am now constantly arranging my thoughts, trying to find things inside my head, somewhat like arranging your drawers. Trying to classify things bit by bit so that the mind becomes more organised and that I can find and take out what I need, when I need it. It's not easy to do hell it isn't but I'm practising on it. If i were to describe my mind it is like one giant ball of tangled threads. In a way that one strand cannot be pulled out without untangling the whole thing, the same way it is that I am solving the riddle of my mind. Very slowly and maybe I won't ever completely untangle it. Definitely, it will take years, many years.

Well that's the tough parts, kinda like my vision, what I aim for the future of my mind. hehe. That's okay I won't worry too much about it. If God wills, I will find my way but I do realise that a great effort must be accompanied with. In the meantime, I would work on the basic, most obvious things first. These are the basic thoughts that directly translates into my behaviours, my actions and how i feel.

The first thing that the counsellor told me (after we're over the depressed phase) was to google cognitive errors. Being a medical student, obviously she can just tell me to do that because I can help myself to understand what she meant. Cognitive means thoughts or thinking. So these are thinking errors. What are the 'errors' or the things that should not happen when your mind is processing a thought. There's maybe a long list to it but I only jotted down about 10 to 15 common cognitive errors in my diary to check on every now and then. Whenever I receive an input ( news, people's reaction, lecturer's feedback etc) that somehow made me feel bad or squeamish, I will write the experience in my diary, connects the experience to my feelings and checks closely for the presence of any cognitive error which may be causing the weird sad feelings. Kinda like trying to find which turn you took wrong that led you to this route. If I do find one, I will correct it, convince myself etc and most of the time I would end up feeling better.

Obviously I can't go through all of those as well as I'm only guilty of a few of them. Like a set of characteristics, you can't have all characters in one person right.

The most obvious and commonest cognitive error that I have been guilty of for the longest time is the SHOULDs.
This could be divided into two:
1) I should ; as in I should be exercising, damn I should be studying etc etc. This error makes me feel guilty and bad about yourself
2) People should; as in they should know it's common sense to take down the trash when it's full (common problem with housemates), and a lot that has to do with the so called 'common sense' which can also be translated as "hey i do it, I've been educated and trained to do it, I can think of it, why can't you??) This error will end up making you feel extremely frustrated and unhappy.

The I should are easy enough to correct, at least for me. Instead of saying should, I can replace it with, 'I can' or 'I want to'. I much prefer to use the 'i can' it sounds friendlier to myself and more encouraging for example, 'hey, i can go and jog this afternoon'. It gives off a sense of capability, strength and also a hint of making time for exercise which is possible despite always being busy with studies.

The people shoulds however are the trickier part. This is what my counsellor said:
'You are very critical of yourself therefore you are being critical of others as well. People are willing to give you what you want, you'll have to learn to communicate it to them, you'd be surprised.'

Again and again I have to confront this error especially in my household. One, I know I must not be critical on my housemates, that I should expect less. Two, if it is however very important for my emotional wellbeing for them to do stuff like I prefer it to be done, I MUST COMMUNICATE IT to them. Bottling it up inside won't get you anywhere but honestly though, confronting your housemates about as petty stuff like 'wey bawak turun sampah kalau penuh' or 'jangan la letak kasut tengah jalan' or well you get the idea, is soooo awkward but if I don't say anything I'll get frustrated and become passive-agressive.(Actually usually these are the problematic ones because if it's a big issue you must always confront right. It's always the little issues). So i told myself I MUST be selfish for my own emotional wellbeing! and I chant these words again and again: 'People are willing to give you what you want, you just have to communicate it'. It really is like building courage to fight and break your own habit. So with what might I gathered backed up by that chants I forced myself to say what i want them to do.

And hey you know what, indeed, most of the time I'm surprised at how not so much of a big deal it was. It may be a big deal for me, those little little stuff but obviously it was not for them and it wasn't also if people ask them to change or do something about it. Usually I would get a really casual reply that is disproportionate to my my anxiety. Here, my counsellor also pointed out how I am being self conscious, as in it's just in my head, it's just me feeling it while for other people tak ada apa pun. The only big deal was me fighting against my own bad habits. I only needed to say and people would be so willing to give. Obviously I may have to tell them again and again but that's okay, more practice for me.

So yeah, that's my major cognitive error with regards to other people. I have another major one and was surprised to be having that actually but let's leave it to next time. I don't have a very good writing stamina. Words will become sluggish and uninteresting after a while. Just got up actually, 11 am on a Sunday of Public Health rotation. Pretty chilled. Haven't had my breakfast, thought I'd gather my might to write this down first because I've always wanted to and the push was last night when I encountered this again.

Till next time when I feel like it. haha.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

little stars tiny stars paper stars. stars of any stars. many and little as you may be, shining and sweet you be to me. ;)

4444th tweet to myself: love love and never hate. think of what you can give instead. appreciate what you are, who you are.
Sun will show up, and brighten your face. and you'll look prettier and prettier everyday! yayy :DD

Looking back on stuff and advocating some stuff as well. haha

Haha, just suddenly somehow came across my own posts when I was searching something else on the internet. Like usual, I ended up reading my old posts, which was amazing. Seeing myself grow and evolve as well as reminiscing on those good old times. Man do i wish I've written more posts now...

I've actually had a few ideas on writing my experiences which i would like my future self to see. I can just keep it in the diary but honestly it just doesn't feel the same as posting it. It's like coming across a different person online and then realising, oh, that was you!

I actually have a Psychiatry OSCE examination on Monday. Today is saturday, now is afternoon already and I'm still finding it difficult to start revising. Somehow inappropriately already on holiday mood. lol. So that's how this came about.

I will talk about my experience going through depression I guess but am having difficulty even to write stuffs on my diary what more to write for other people's understanding. What's with the passing of Robin Williams suddenly depression became a huge hit issue. I actually think that this is it, you know, this is finally it. Now is the time that everybody should start acknowledging that this problem exists. It is projected that in 2020 the illness that would have the greatest disease burden (in terms of healthcare cost, inefficiencies, work loss) would be depression, with diabetes following closely behind. It's one of the commonest illness yet people treat it, especially in Malaysia, like it's a spiritual problem. NOT NECESSARILY SO.

That's where most people are trapped, thinking that this is something that they must solve themselves hence they don't seek help. Yes, only you could treat yourself in this case that's true, but you know, sophisticated researches and therapies has been developed by the most brilliant of the professionals to address and help you go through this process of 'helping yourself'. So why aren't you using these great resources. It's a shame.

In Malaysia the healthcare unit as a whole is a bit messed up but still, you should always try first. I'm sure not many people know that you can have access to psychiatrist and counsellor service through the primary health care unit. Primary health care = the clinics, the general practitioners, the people you go see first when you have flu or fever. Although I have to warn you, psychiatry was only pretty recently introduced in medical course worldwide so not all doctors especially seasoned doctors have much knowledge or care regarding mental health and the services it provides. They won't even try to poke you further if you clearly have symptoms of depression or other sorts of mental illness as they would do for physical illnesses. What you can do is, request from them to see a psychiatrist and if they are convinced that you will benefit from it they will refer you to a consultation with a psychiatrist.

Oh and should i clarify too, a psychiatrist is a doctor that specialise in mental health NOT on treating crazy people. If your thoughts are running wild and you are sad beyond capability to carry out your daily activity without any other physical illness, who is to say you are not sick? So ditch the stigma and i so want people to just prioritise on being well. A counsellor however is a psychologist, they deal more on the umm how should i say, the complicated stuff of the minds, the abstract, the one who studies all kinds of theories of mind and development and all sorts of stuff. They are the one who would help and guide you on the complexity of your mind. Admit it, sometimes, we can't figure it all out by ourselves. When we reach that dead end or when it gets too complicated, you need someone to give you the right hint, the clue, the key to untangle the absurdities of everything, at the time yes, everything.

At the moment i think this is enough. I'd usually take hours to write that's because my mind is always shooting in different directions at any one time so I always needed to pull the strands one by one before laying it down in a structured manner that is understandable by others. Writing is good for me to be honest. Helps me think in a fragmented manner. One at a time.

Monday, January 27, 2014

been long peeps


It's been almost a year since my last post. Not that i've been veryyy busy, no, not at all. Although i should. As in i should be studying hard everyday, but not everybody's a keen student all the time all year round right.

When I was in Ireland I sort of made a rule for myself to write at least one post a month, I dont know, just to force me to write something, mostly cause I think writing always needs practice and it's a skill much appreciated by, well, me. Another reason might be just I'll appreciate it later in life, capturing bits and pieces of various maturity, emotions and intelligence. heheh.

I actually wrote a few incomplete posts during the gap (i think) so i'm gonna dust them off the draft box and see if i can post it later.