Hi guys! Hope you all have been doing well. I haven’t posted in over a week, largely because school has been kicking my ass. I have two midterms next week and do not feel ready for them, at all. So that’s what my Lunar New Year / long weekend will be comprised of– studying, and more studying. Fun fun.
Lately, I’ve completely lost touch with myself, my morals, my discipline. I’ve stopped dancing. I’ve stopped going to skating class. I’ve been skipping lecture. Stuffing my face with whatever food I crave. Partying to oblivion. Feeling… lost. It’s interesting, because just ten days go, I was manic, riding the wave of the high, feeling on top of the world. Now, I’m coming down from that high, and the low is slowly sinking in. All of my deviant behaviors this past week have been a manifestation of my mood disorder.
This is what I’m telling you guys– bipolar is a bitch. It’s a double-edged sword. The highs are amazing and dangerously exhilarating. The lows… those are the worst. But it’s good that I’m keeping track of my mood patterns, so that I’ll have a greater sense of awareness for future bouts of extreme mood swings.
I’m planning on giving a talk about bipolar disorder at this year’s SPIEL– basically, a TED talk event for students, put on each year by UCLA’s Regents Scholar Society. Did you know that bipolar affects only 1-2% of the U.S. population? So many people are in the dark with regards to this mental illness, unaware of what this mood disorder entails. In speaking openly about my illness, I aim to bring more people into the light by being vulnerable and sharing my personal struggles with bipolar.
I don’t want my life to be governed by my illness. I must regain control of my mind. The first step is being aware of when I am sliding down the slippery slope of depression. This often happens even before the symptoms of depression manifest themselves; my lows always start with my highs. Upon realizing that I’m not okay, I harness a strong set of coping mechanisms to get me through the rollercoaster ride, until it finally stops, and I regain a transient semblance of stability and control. And then, when the rollercoaster starts back up again, as it inevitably does, I must dissect the trigger that kickstarts my mood swings, and be wary of them in the future.
Next thing on my mind I wish to discuss– hookup culture. Coming into college, I spurned the very idea of hooking up. I found the act animalistic, insensitive, and ultimately pointless. It’s true that the human sex drive is quite strong at this age, but why seek out another person to satiate your physical cravings, if you can take care of it yourself?
But, as is often the case when immersed in a culture, you get caught up in it. And soon, I found myself partaking in the very thing I had once eschewed.
These past two weeks have been, let’s just say, wilder than I’ve ever experienced. I thought long and hard about sharing the details of my private life, before ultimately realizing that the insight I’ve come to transcends the inevitable judgement I may face from many of you guys, in all my vulnerability. So, here goes.
Through my experiences, I’ve realized that the root of many people’s drive to engage in meaningless sexual activity stems from LOW SELF ESTEEM. So worthless and empty you feel within, you turn to the outside world for validation. Soon, the external validation becomes a drug– you’re constantly looking to others to bolster your self esteem, because you don’t know how to feel good about yourself intrinsically.
During sex, individuals feel wanted by their partner. Desired. At least in the act. It’s not so much about the physical pleasure of sex as it is the emotional and psychological reinforcement sex provides many people with. To be able to give your partner physical pleasure is enough for you; as long as you feel your partner wants you, you are fulfilled.
That is, until you are finished. It’s after the act is over that the cruel nature of hookup culture rears its ugly head. Your partner leaves you. Cuts off all ties with you. Pretends as if the physical intimacy that happened between you two, never happened. In the end, you’re left feeling emptier than you did before. Drowning your sorrows in alcohol is only a temporary form of relief. Eventually you’re left feeling downright shitty about yourself, longing for another means of validation.
And so, you seek out another partner. Same thing happens– ego boost in the moment, downward spiral immediately after. It’s one step forward, ten steps back. Soon, you find yourself caught in a dangerous, toxic cycle, unable to stop.
I’m grateful for my dear friends who’ve helped me cope through this emotionally tumultuous time. They’ve intervened, and I am now turning to healthier means once more– namely, writing and dancing– to cope with my low self esteem. I am slowly finding myself once more, and learning to love myself wholeheartedly. I am holding myself to a higher standard; not throwing my body to any person who shows me the slightest bit of affection and validation. My body is my temple, and I must cherish it.
Alrighty guys! This was one of the hardest posts I’ve ever written. You know I’m all about vulnerability, as my aim in sharing my story is to humanize the day-to-day struggles we all know and love. Some parts of my life are easier for me to admit than others, though, and these past two weeks have not been my proudest of moments. But, they provided me with tremendous insight and growth, and I hope those of you going through similar struggles with self-esteem could learn something from my experiences.