“I’m not sure what I’ll do, but— well, I want to go places and see people. I want my mind to grow. I want to live where things happen on a big scale.”

F. Scott Fitzgerald

Happy birthday again, to me. Welcome to the 27 club, Chos.

Since two years ago, I made a habit of ‘running away’ during my birthday, two years ago I was in the scorching hot and humid Singapore, one year ago I was in Jakarta, all alone with no one but myself, this year, I run away to the place where I had the happiest time of my life: Yogyakarta.

Since two years ago, I also made a habit of writing a reflective blog post on my birthday. It started after I fell down the rabbit hole of depression. Two years ago, I wasn’t formally diagnosed but I know that something’s go wrong with my system. It wasn’t about quarter life crisis, it was about something deeper, much more painful and confusing than quarter life crisis. When I first wrote this birthday blog two years ago, I was unmistakably depressed , a year ago I was content though I still feel the black dog of depression looming in the background. And I was right, months after I moved to Boston just a month after my birthday, I fell into another relapse – my second depression relapse which leads into my first and hopefully last suicide attempt.

Many things happened in a span of one year from 2018 to 2019,

I went back for a while to Indonesia and travelled to Yogyakarta. At that time, I thought I was fine and happy. But I was still anxious, irritable, painfully and silently suffering while I watched the love of my life withered away in grief.

I lost the love of my life and went through an incredibly hard time. My academic life was suffering, I skipped most of my classes, I almost failed two classes and unable to graduate, I loathed myself and the world, and I felt like my pain will never end.

I was then hospitalized in a psychiatric hospital for three days after my suicide attempt. After that, I began seeing psychologist and taking my antidepressant medication again. I was determined to never ever ever again go back to the psychiatric hospital where I feel so dehumanized.

After months of struggling and self-loathing because again and again I didn’t give my best shot, I finally got my Master’s Degree in Emerging Media Studies from Boston University.

I went to my first and hopefully not my last Pride parade and I felt incredibly joyful.

I began enjoying Boston in the Spring and Summer, biking around the city, going to the gym, hanging out with my friends. I’ve made up my mind that after my school year is done, I will come back to Jakarta because more than anything, I need my friends and family, and my better half though she’s no longer with me.

I fulfilled my long life dream: to the see the fireworks on the 4th of July. Ten years ago I didn’t have the chance to celebrate the 4th of July and I promised myself that one day I’ll be back to Land of the Free and Home of the Brave to celebrate the 4th of July. Thank you for being my second home and being the place where I discovered myself once more.

One day before I arrived in Jakarta, my oldest sister sent me a lengthy WhatsApp message telling me that I need to ‘get my shit together’. She said this to me two years ago and I broke down crying, hating her, hating the world for expecting too much of me. This time, I just smiled because I know that I’ve been so loved – so, so loved by everyone and I can’t see it because a lump of black cloud keep following me around and a voice in the back of my head keep telling me that I’m not worthy of love, life, or anything really. My sister told me that she doesn’t want me to waste away my life feeling sad and troubled, not realizing and never living my full potential. I was given the privilege of freedom, love, and knowledges and I won’t deny that I have indeed been wasting it feeling sad and down.

“You can’t get away from yourself by moving from one place to another.”

Ernest Hemingway

There and Back Again

If you read my previous blogs, you might’ve know that one of the cause of my depression was because I failed my first LPDP attempt. But then I got it anyway and I went to Boston and I was still sad and I was still hating myself. I thought it was Jakarta who caused all of these unhappiness, sadness, and pain. But yeah, not surprisingly, it’s not. It was within me all the time – the anxiety and depression, it follows me although I’ve tried to run away to the other part of the world, to a city so calm it feels like a dead city after the sun went down.

I can say that I’m happy now, not content, not enough, but happy – filled with hope and enthusiasm. I can feel the old enthusiastic, naive, optimistic, babbling fool me resurfacing to the top. I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel, the sun that hovers above the ocean, I began to enjoy the small things in life again.

One of the biggest thing that I learned this year was that I was inherently a feeler – I feel too deeply about everything and it causes my unhappiness, but, it also causes my utmost joy and happiness. I don’t want to not feel anymore, I don’t want to be chill or cool, I will never ever be chill and cool. This is who I am, I am unapologetically filled with fire and passion and an endless yearning to live life to the fullest. I will cry with the world and I will laugh with the world, and maybe just maybe with my passion I can make the world just a slightly better place.

You might belong in Gryffindor, Where dwell the brave at heart, Their daring, nerve and chivalry. Set Gryffindors apart.”


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