about help

Help will always be given at Hogwarts, Harry, to those who ask for it. I’ve always prized myself on my ability to turn a phrase. Words are, in my not so humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it. But I would, in this case, amend my original statement to this: “Help would always be given at Hogwarts, to those who deserve it.” Do not pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living. And above all, those who live without love.

-Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

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Paper Towns

Quentin: Margo, where have you been?

Margo: Everywhere. Nowhere. You have to get lost before you find yourself.

Quentin: People were worried about you.

Margo: No, they weren’t.

Quentin: I was.

 

From the film Paper Towns – this dialogue only took place in Quentin’s dream.

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breath of fresh air

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This view from our balcony – it took two hours to reach this hilltown by car (from the airport), it wasn’t an easy journey with mostly hilly and winding roads.

This town is so full of charm though, the villagers so welcoming and genuine. Places of worship (of different religions) sit harmoniously in a row, since historical times we were told. Thank you hilltown of Sri Lanka for restoring my faith in humanity.

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therapy

They said writing is a kind of therapy. I never thought I could write.

But I will try.

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This, is MCO for me.

For two months 11 days now, I have been feeling soreness and a phelgm/mucus-choking sensation in my throat. One of the days I drank a glass of honey drink and so much phelgm clogged  in my throat that I felt shortness of breath which lasted for hours. I have been suffering from an unknown illness for a while now.

I was fearful to get to the doctor’s during this time. I fear being told to get covid-tested. I couldn’t bear thinking if it was covid I would have infected everyone in my family. I consulted my sister (who is a doctor) and assumed it was a post-nasal drip caused by dust mite allergy.

Then it got worse. One night I was awaken by a sharp pain in my throat radiating towards my ears. I took antibiotics, steroids, lozenges, used a nasal spray; I deep-cleaned my room, threw out stuff, nothing improved my condition. Finally I made an appointment to see the ENT, after over a month of suffering.

He did a throat scope and told me I have GERD. He suspected it’s mostly triggered by anxiety. But he did not ask about my medical history or go into details or suggest any further checks. On the doctor’s advice, I started to limit my diet to steamed dishes only, no oil, no spices, no fried or fatty food, no sugar, and also eliminating all the acidic and gas-producing food from my diet, this basically includes most fruits which didn’t fare well with my stomach. I too, like many others, want to seek comfort through tdelicious food during the pandemic, but I couldn’t.

I have also been on stomach acid-regulating medication (which messed with my digestion system) since May. I had to go back to the hospital and be referred to a gastro and he told me to just continue taking the medication.

Within these two months, I’ve seen four different doctors, made numerous trips to the clinic and hospital. Not to mention all the drama I had with my insurance company trying to claim back the hefty medical bills.

I’m not sure what is a good proper sleep anymore, I haven’t been able to lie down flat on the bed without acid/bile or gas gushing up my throat, waking up several times throughout the night seems like a new norm for me. Sometimes I would be awaken by sharp soreness in my throat, cold-sweating, bloating, heart burn and more recently, a churning stomach.

“It’s all in your mind. You’re being too anxious. You should just get out of the house. You should just try eating this. A little oil won’t harm.”

Those were advice given to me. I am not sure others would understand how it feels exactly, unless they have gone through it themselves. The suffering after eating trigger food would mean I would suffer all night. Sometimes I don’t even know what is trigger food and what is not. Everything is just uncertain. Yes, I am anxious, I am fearful. This is the reality, my reality.

I have now seek a second opinion, another gastro, and gone through another episode of nerve-wracking hospital visit. This time, it was for an endoscopy. During times like these, I do think having the physical presence or support of someone would be very helpful. But I did not have, I had to do it all on my own, well at least with the company of my meditation app. The scope shown a gastric erosion and gastritis inflammation in my stomach. Oh the suspense and anxiety before the procedure was just intense. I will now have to be on another few more weeks of medication – with no guarantee that I will recover.

These are my physical symptoms. Now try imagining what a persistent bland diet, sleep deprivation, a non-resilient body and uncertainty about your health would do to you psychological state.

Depressing, yes it’s depressing, extremely. It’s hard not to feel anxious when your guts won’t corporate, also all this while making sure I don’t lose my job while trying to fix my body. Oh, did I also mention that it was my birthday in April. On the day itself, I had a meltdown because I was just depressed. Eating a thin slice of cake just irritated my throat so much and I didn’t know what was going on. Friends got in touch (with good intention to cheer me up) but I just simply couldn’t cheer up, I only did because it would be ungrateful not to. I also had to stop my physical activities due to weakness in my core and acid reflux i.e. no yoga for me.

At the time of writing this, I still have not recovered. I am learning to live with imperfection – with an upset stomach, with a sore throat, with acid reflux, with a bland diet, with my anxiety. I am trying, every single day. I won’t lie, but some days I just felt really down, but I try. I try to pick up a book, to read a magazine I like, to turn on music, to watch a film, to cook my meals, to carry on with my job.

The silver lining:

  • I hope to walk out of this and become more resilient.
  • This experience is teaching me a lot about empathy, especially for those who are suffering from long term illness or mental health.
  • To appreciate my body more and not take advantage of it. Work should never take precedence over health/wellbeing.
  • The importance of keeping to regular meal times, healthy diet and good posture.
  • Learning so much more about mindfulness, stress management and self-love.
  • I’m sure there are more but I will leave it for the next post.

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familiar faces

“Earth seemed a dessert I was bound to traverse, seeking to find the old familiar faces.” Charles Lamb wrote. I feel I have been searching for the old familiar faces for many years now, and I can’t quite account for why I recognise these as yours. But I do.

Do you suppose it’s possible for us to already belong to someone before we’ve met them? If so, I belong to you, or you to me, or me simply to the spirit I found among you on Guernsey. That is as good a definition of family as any I know. I wish you all peace, and hope that if books do have the power to bring people together, this one may work its magic.

Love, Juliet

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

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silver lining

The world will break your heart ten ways to Sunday, that’s guaranteed. And I can’t begin to explain that. Or the craziness inside myself and everybody else, but guess what.

Sunday is my favourite day again.

-Pat,

Silver Linings Playbook

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about language

I’ve read this essay by Audre Lorde – The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action.

Her perspective on the power of language is just so profound and empowering – may this be the driving force for me (and many others) to continue speaking up for what we believe in.

“We can learn to work and speak when we are afraid in the same way we have learned to work and speak when we are tired. For we have been socialized to respect fear more than our own needs for language and definition, and while we wait in silence for that final luxury of fearlessness, the weight of that silence will choke us. The fact that we are here and that I speak these words is an attempt to break that silence and bridge some of those differences between us, for it is not difference which immobilizes us, but silence.

And there are so many silences to be broken.”

Read the full essay here.

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in the age of surveillance

We are all responsible. So the question is what do we do with that responsibility? Can we embrace it?

As individuals we can limit the flood of data that we’re leaking all over the place. But there’s no silver bullet. There’s no way to go off the grid. So, you have to understand how your data is affecting your life. Our dignity as humans is at stake.

But the hardest part in all of this is that these wreckage sites and crippling divisions begin with the manipulation of one individual. Then another, and another.

I can’t help but ask myself, can I be manipulated? Can you?

 

-Notes from The Great Hack

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