Friday, March 29, 2013

Death of a clinically depressed

The 10th anniversary of the death of one of Hong Kong's beloved star (singer and actor) is just around the corner. Here is a song from Leslie Cheung's posthumous album.

張國榮 - 玻璃之情
[Leslie Cheung - Glass relations]

I first fell in love with his voice and music from some theme songs from his movies.

張國榮 - 今生今世

張國榮 - 追

According to Leslie Cheung's suicide note, he did so because he found depression unbearable. Just as one cannot tell a person's sexual orientation by just looking at him/her, one also cannot tell another person's mental health and/or the life challenges that he/she is currently facing just by looking at him/her.
E.g. The second most miserable period in my life was during my secondary school days (Canadian middle school). My parents were in the throes of mid-life crisis, alternating between "cold war" and quarrelling day-to-day (with the occasional objects in levitation). I was often kept awake at night, between my parents' middle-of-night outbursts and racing thoughts of worst case scenarios. The chronic lack of sleep (over a 2 year period when the crisis peaked) took its toil on me. I was often late for school and struggled to stay awake in class -- both of which are evidenced by comments from classmates' autographs on my tardiness and drowsiness with some wondering what I was up-to at night. I think a few teachers suspected that we had some family issues since both my elder sister and I (yup, we went to the same branded school) wrote about similar stuff in our confidential start-of-school-year essay assignments about ourselves. Otherwise, no one in school really knew what I was going through. Thankfully, I managed to pass all my examinations (doing well for a few of them), except for one red mark (i.e. E8 for Additional Mathematics in semester one during my secondary 4 year). Ironically, here are some descriptions of me from my secondary school autograph books: jovial, joyous, cheerful, always smiling, easy-going, happy-go-lucky, very optimistic, "lightens one up" and "brightens up the day". 
[My schoolmates also commented that they found me: smart, "can always think of idea(s) which no one can think of", brainy, eager-to-learn, very curious, sporting and plucky, your courage, interesting, exciting, cute, adorable, comical, blur, nice, kind, warm, helpful, responsible 有责任感, too responsible, most obliging, motherly, always fully equipped, generous, magnificent and great partner (in the lab), amiable, affable, 友善 friendly, loyal, good friend, close friend, nice company, "cherish your company", quiet, "caring and concerned", considerate, care for the feelings of others, sensitive, understanding 体凉别人, stubborn, very firm in your decision, sticking to your own beliefs and principles 坚持自己的原则, fighting spirit 不向困难低头, determined 有恒心, confidence, "something different (but) I like you to be what you are", with "idiosyncrasies", your [my] patience, too critical and sarcastic, "you pass sarcastic remarks", frank and outspoken, long-winded, 太直爽 ["too direct and easy-going"], soft and gentle, "posses compassion and a certain measure of wisdom", "doesn't mind to reveal(ing) your [my] own bad-points", and "can draw quite well".
Yes, I guess I was and probably still am all of the above.]
[Note, some also wrote: "my 1st impression of you was 'Eeyaks!'", childish, childlike manner, "at times... rather grouchy", irritating, "behaviour and ways are quite irritating", "I felt very irritated by your quite silly jokes", you "laughed about real silly jokes", "you seem to talk on everything mentioned, some of which are not necessary", "motivation to win, no matter what!!!", (over the years) you-have-become/I-found-you (a bit) "more tolerable", "do change / grow up to be a 'better' girl", "always talk about things which I do not understand", "you only go talk about silly things", "you can make more friends in a week by being interested in them than ten years by trying to get them interested in you", "exceptionally slow and cautious in doing everything", "you work the hardest" (in the ECA group), "gave me the impression of an industrious student... perhaps it is because of your spectacles and your bookworm-ish look", "you express your views openly and in the process you may hurt or irritate someone", "you've taught me certain things which I was never aware of before, whether you know it or not.", "I feel that if I am given enough (extra) time to know you better and I know I am not going to regret it".
So you see, I had a hard time fitting-in socially, although one wouldn't suspect it if one meets me today. In fact, I suspect my own teenage challenges made me a particularly effective listening ear to my vulnerable teenage charges during my voluntary days.]
There are seemingly highly functional persons who crash "suddenly" for "no reason". [Click here for an example where the inflexibility of policy administrators pushed a bright young man to take his own life.] Sometimes we stand-by and watch as others gang-up to bully someone because target "can take it", "should be able to take a joke" or "was merely reaping what he had sown". As I grow older, I find myself less and less willing to be a silent target and/or a silent observer from which bullies draw their power (social cachet). After all, we will never know what may be the last straw that breaks a camel's back.


As for myself, I take time-out alone whenever I feel my stress building or my mood swinging. In addition, despite the frequent encouragement from kind friends to go further (ambition or career-wise), I avoid over-stretching myself because I just want to live a simple life. I have no wish to shine brightly only to crash like a supernova. [Note: This is where I have changed since my teen, for one secondary schoolmate wrote back in the 1980's, "you aim too high and whenever you could not attain your goal, you will get very unhappy."]

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