Journey of healing – A personal story

Three years ago, I lost contact with this online friend I had. They were the first person who I felt genuinely cared for me. We’ve known each other for a mere nine months, yet the impact of their disappearance was honestly life changing. I made that friend the centre of my life, they were my sun. When they left, I felt like I was out of orbit, lost and without a real purpose in life. I never knew where they were, if they were safe or not or when they would come back. I didn’t even know if they were alive or not. I never knew how grief could have such a profound impact on one’s life. I tried reaching out to my friends but they didn’t understand me. I tried asking my parents for professional help but they refused. I cried myself to sleep every night and the pain I felt was like someone squeezing my heart in a death grip. Then I started engaging in self-harm behaviors to distract myself from it. I didn’t feel interested in my hobbies nor wanted to talk to anyone. I also got diagnosed for neurodermatitis (精神皮膚炎) in 2021. Though I bottled up my emotions thinking that no one would care and that it would be a burden if I told my peers, I believed that I deserved special treatment from other people just because I was going through a hard time deep inside. I also expected someone to help me fix the situation and make it all better.

A year later, I picked up this book called “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” by Mark Manson. This quote really spoke to me “I didn’t choose this life, I didn’t choose these horrible, horrible condition. But I get to choose how to live with it; I *have to* choose how to live with it” It wasn’t my fault that they disappeared, but it’s my responsibility to act on it. It was a hard pill to swallow but I had to accept that the only person who’s going to make it better is myself and that I cannot feel better if I didn’t deal with this situation. So I went to counselling. It helped massively because I finally had someone who was professionally trained, to turn to. I found out that that friend taught me a lot both when they were and weren’t around. They taught me to follow my passion and ignore what other people’s expectations, that I should be the centre of my own life, and that I should show people how much I appreciate them while they’re around as I will never know when they’ll leave. Nowadays, I ask myself how and why I’m feeling what I’m feeling and am working towards showing some self-compassion whenever negative emotions arise and that it’s best if I validate what I’m feeling and work with it from there. Negative emotions like fear, anger and sadness are there to help you reflect and tell you what you value.

Even though I can’t change most of the circumstances I’ve faced in the past, changing my perspective towards life helped me pluck up the courage to carry on. All of my past experiences, both the good and the bad, contribute to who I am and I’m proud of what I’ve achieved so far. I know that there will be future challenges waiting for me but I feel more prepared than ever to take them on. I am immensely grateful for what they taught me over these few years and would like to thank them for making me stronger.

To whoever’s reading this, I hope you know that you’re not alone in this journey of healing, and that you will see the light at the end of the tunnel no matter how bleak it seems to be right now. You’ll get there.