As of present, I have not been officially diagnosed by a professional. However, since many of my symptoms have disrupted my life, have plagued me for 11 years, it’s pretty safe to assume I have a mental disorder. And that, from the collective nature of the symptoms, my condition is either depression or PTSD. Maybe with a side of bipolar.
I should probably add at this point that I’m from a small town in Southeast Asia. Needless to say, my country is behind the US in terms of societal awareness. So I’ve not had access to counseling, medication or emotional support until a year ago, after moving to the capital. By then, my illness had woven itself so deeply into the background of my life that I was regularly, unconsciously engaging in multiple forms of self-destructive behaviour .
But if you ask me whether I’d go back and change those parts of my life that gave me so much pain, my answer would be a “no”.
Because, without experiencing the utterly senseless bullying I did at 11, I would not have understood what it was like to suffer. If I hadn’t been alone at 12, and had someone who stood up for me, I wouldn’t have really gotten the value of unconditional acceptance. If I hadn’t engaged in an extreme bout of self-hatred at 15, I would never have known exactly the kind of despair a person could be driven to when they’re punished for being themselves. I wouldn’t have been humbled, wouldn’t have learnt to judge people only by the contents of their soul, wouldn’t have given human and animal rights such a deep passion. I would never have picked up poetry or singing. Would never have been able to support my brother.
No matter what you go through, have gone through, your suffering doesn’t have to be meaningless. Doesn’t matter if you don’t believe in a God who presents hardships as challenges. Even if your experiences have broken you and still cripple you, you can decide if they mean something, if they make you something more than just a victim.
It’s not a quick way to healing. Redefining what I made of myself and my condition wasn’t a magic bullet. I still have a long way to go. But for what it’s worth, my life has regained a semblance of dignity and a greater significance.