The gentle sunlight filtering in through the curtains woke you up. Through your half-lidded eyes, the glare of the morning sun sparked a fresh wave of gratitude for getting to wake up and greeting another new day. As you pad through your apartment, you inhale the scent of freshly brewed coffee and the freshly baked croissants wafting in from the bakery just a few doors down. Getting into your morning routine, soon you find yourself out the front door, waving goodbye to your cat who as usual continues to ignore your existence. Walking down the streets, you take in the scene all around you. People bustling back and forth – on the way to work or school, some tucking into their breakfasts, some jogging. People smile at you and you smile back as you walk briskly on your way to the job you’ve always wanted to have since you were a kid. Life was good and you couldn’t even wish for anything more perfect than this.
Hold up. Whatever that’s been described up there feels like something ripped out of a fluffy fanfiction. No denying, when I was a kid, that kind of life was everything I envisioned I would have as an adult. Good job, nice home, routine perfectly planned down to a T. I always thought an adult would always have their life put together, they would always look so immaculate, and being an adult is like having a superpower of its own. But boy, how wrong was I.
I entered adulthood with so many hopes and dreams. Yes, no doubt my childhood dream of becoming an archaeologist -> musician -> photographer was shot down by my parents, but it never really stopped me from hoping that things would work out in the end.
My diploma years were filled with many memories – some good, some bad but that’s life. At 21, I got an offer to pursue my undergraduate studies in Sydney, Australia and at that time, it felt like I just unlocked the highest achievement of my life. Things were finally looking up until it didn’t. One semester in and I had to drop out. That event broke me and left me in a state of depression. The once rose-tinted glasses I always put on soon became black and white. Everything felt monotonous, everything was grey. The things I used to love doing brought me no such joy. Days were spent hugging my pillows and crying my eyes out, constantly putting on a smile that grew heavier the longer I had to fake my feelings in front of everyone. There were days I had no energy to do anything but just stare out my windows and wish I were anywhere but locked in my room. I didn’t have the energy to clean my room and I left it in such a bad state, I had millions of dust bunnies as my best friends then. Then, my best friend of 12 years left me to be in a better place and that left me extra devastated.
Things looked bleak, and I felt like there was no light at the end of the tunnel. Every time I thought I made progress; things would go back to how it was before. I became a shell of who I was before. Every smile, every laugh, it all felt like such a taxing thing for me to do. I felt like a robot programmed to do all those things without any meaning to those actions. Every day I pray to wake up and find this whole thing a nightmare, every day is a constant battle of blaming myself for putting myself in this predicament, every day is another day in hell that I have to go through. Sleep was my only escape.
Depression is real, and it is not beautiful. No, the TikTok videos or edgy posts on Twitter don’t cover half of it. Everybody deals with depression differently. My whole journey through it has been a rollercoaster ride. I lost so much hair, my hairline could rival that of Vegeta at one point in time (thank god, my hair is finally growing back albeit slowly), my weight went up – but of course, all everybody could say was I gained weight without knowing the cause. I still have days where I don’t have the energy to do anything, and my bad days still outweigh the good ones.
Fast forward five years later, I’m still struggling with my depression, though there are better days now. The once grey world I view daily is slowly creeping in with colours. Being deep in my thoughts and feelings taught me to appreciate the little things in life – like the sunlight filtering in through the trees on a sunny afternoon, the clouds rolling by, the stars dotting the dark sky on a clear night, the sound of my cat purring. These are the things I used to take for granted but give me a sense of comfort and warmth now.
Growing up is not easy. I spent the first half of my twenties battling a formidable enemy and now I feel like I have to pick up the pieces of the five years I lost. It gets frustrating whenever I see people my age with a stable job, getting married, or even building a family, whereas I’m still here trying to figure things out. But in the words of Ashton Irwin, “it’s all just a matter of time.” And I get that. Everything takes time and everyone’s journey is not the same. Yes, I might be struggling now but who knows maybe tomorrow or the day after, things will start to look up. Life is not perfect, nothing is, but the most important lesson I learnt is to take life one step at a time. There might be good and bad days but as a wise wizard once said, “all we have to do is decide what to do with the time that is given us.” Who knows maybe one day, that life I envisioned in childhood will finally come true.