By Yohanna Abdullah
The roadworks and repair works at my home have been going on for at least three months and they have been extremely noisy and seem never-ending. The blocks in my neighbourhood have been repainted in brownish red and white which give a sedate clean look not too different from the colours before. I would have loved the colours to be more vibrant and engaging the senses and imagination of what goes on behind the windows and doors of the inhabitants.
Well, this dweller is sitting by the pretty, white, lacy, curtained window, doing work, topmost was sending an invoice to a client for translation works. Second, is to write this post – yes it is “work” that I am commited to – journaling my days, thoughts and feelings and sending it out to the parallel universes. Third, is to send questions for my interviewees for Club HEAL’s latest book and newsletter.
Yesterday, I made a friend who has just joined Club HEAL and was sitting for my expressive writing session at Club HEAL. Like me, she is 52, and has been intensively receiving Electro-Convulsive Therapy (ECT)at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) where she was warded for three months from January to March 2019. A Chinese Christian, she is happy to be in a largely malay-muslim environment and was very touched by our sharings and care. She has been battling depression for many years and like me is having regular ECT at IMH where we felt we have seen each other. Like me too, she was in IMH’s Mood Disorder Unit (MDU) where I gave a 45-minute presentation last Tuesday on my journey having Bipolar Disorder. At the support group, I met my 29-year-old former wardmate and we went home together all the way from Buangkok to Jurong, stopping by at Causeway Point as I was ravenous and already feeling the low-sugar sensations, being diabetic.
We had a lot to talk through the two long bus-rides and makan at Yakun Kaya Toast (my favourite place to get crispy kaya-butter toast and kopi-tiam coffee and half-boiled eggs). Our conversations were over existential issues mostly, our mental health issues and Club HEAL as we talked about how he can take part and contribute to the organisation which helps the mentally ill recover and reintegrate into society. God-willing, he will attend my sessions either on Wednesdays at Marsiling where he lives with his father on some days or at Bukit Batok near to Jurong where he sometimes sleep-over with his mum.
Last Wednesday, at The Soup Spoon at Paragon, I happened to sit next to a Lebanese Australian who has been in Singapore for a year. Coincidently or not, he is also an author, mostly of children’s books and shared that his favourite niece has bipolar disorder and his sister has clinical depression. Both have recovered sufficiently to lead a ‘normal’ life and he was keen to get me in touch with them. Coincidently or not, Anna Jenn and I also saw a billboard by the bus stop at Orchard Road which welcomes us to New York, just as we are making plans to make a trip there in August this year. Could it be a sign that our dream will be a reality? I hope so. At my expressive writing session at Club HEAL on the same day earlier at Marsiling, doing art journaling, I had written my goals clearly, one of them is to visit New York with Anna.
I shared with my peers at rehab that we have to make clear goals, script them in our heads, make mantras or affirmations of them, make heartfelt duas or supplications to The Creator and see the universe working with us magically to realise our dreams. Of course, planning and strivings come in, but as we plan, we know that God is the Best of Planners and with His Divine Wisdom, He will give us what is best for us.
Have a good weekend and plan for the unexpected!
May peace be upon you.