It all happened in 2015.
The nothingness, which I discussed in the entry Help. Please Save Me, had already been overwhelming back then. It was already affecting the different aspects of my life, especially in terms of work and relationships.
I was a freelancer back then and the start of 2015 was not smooth at all for me, emotionally and psychologically. And these led to me cutting ties with one of my already regular clients. It soon led to continuous inefficiency with my other clients. I kept messing up with work, and being the perfectionist that I once was, the frustrations from these just added to the nothingness I was feeling back then. I repeated the mistakes and the weight of nothingness just got heavier and heavier. Finally, I decided to take a break from the workforce.
I tried telling the situation to friends, but they all seemed to be victims of the stigma on mental health: telling me to just watch something happy and everything would be alright. But everyone going through nothingness knew that this would never be the case. I felt that no one understood me back then and I eventually even cut ties with those whom I considered as my best friends. And this just worsened the nothingness that I was experiencing.
As a result of this heightened nothingness, everything in this world seemed to trigger something inside my head.
Before I continue this article, let me just discuss this thing called emotional trigger. In a gun, the trigger is the small device that releases the spring, thus firing the bullet. In the emotional realm, a trigger is anything, whether it is a smell, a line in a movie, a pat on the back, that can release a hidden memory from your subconscious, and depending on the intensity, can even open all of the floodgates of your brain, thus firing something in your waking life.
Back then, I seemed to be triggered by even the slightest external stimuli this world could ever produce. Anything that I saw on TV or online could fire an overwhelmingly intense emotion. Any single thing that I hear from songs or movies could make me cry so hard that it seemed like my whole chest would burst. Even the slightest sensation of touch or even the faintest smell of something released a memory from my subconscious until finally the whole gates were opened. I was already having panic attacks, and just like those phenomena that I discussed on my Chester Bennington blog entry, it eventually led to those scary thoughts.
The phone call that triggered it all
Back then, I had a friend who kept telling me to just think of happy thoughts and everything would go away. I told him that that was not the case. Actually, he was one of those friends that I cut ties with, but before I could do that to him, he gave me the contact details of his clinical psychologist friend, whom I eventually called “Doc,” as discussed on my About page.
Upon the receipt of such numbers, I did not call Doc right away. I just kept them at the back of my address book, for future reference.
As what was expected to happen to someone who had stopped working, my savings slowly got exhausted. And those just gave me heavier nothingness and more panic attacks. Subsequently, I accepted another project again, but it seems like I was still not capable of delivering good output.
One day, I received a phone call from that client. It was a simple yet clear call: I messed up again. And that seemed to be one of the worst triggers in the history of my mental health that all the floodgates got opened.
My heart beat so hard that it seemed like it wanted to jump out of my chest. My own brain told me how stupid I was for messing up again. My own self told me how an idiot I was. And suddenly, it seemed like those negative thoughts had gathered all the most terrifying memories from my childhood and brought them all out to tell me that I was the worst person this world could ever have, and the worst thing of all, no one could ever compare to my stupidity.
Fortunately, I survived that f*cking panic attack with a few hits on my head, and told myself, “Sheen, I don’t want to experience this anymore. This was not you anymore.” And the moment that realization came in, I reached for Doc’s number and sent her my very first message. The rest was narrated on my About page.