Tag Archives: anxiety

EXiST Temporarily Exits

Dear supporters,

Thank you for being such a good heart in supporting EXiST funding project. I have been doing some soul searching over the past weeks. What happened to me with the stress, http://www.outtospace.com/im-farking-fine/, have made me decide to retreat myself from Sydney and spend sometime in Bangkok, at least for a while. Therefore, with sadness, I have cancelled the campaign on FundBreak.

At this stage, I put the project on hold to figure out the possibility to produce it either in Thailand or Australia. The passion in making the short film trilogy about depression, anxiety and stress is still there as it is the best I can do to reach out to the people who suffer from the illness.

Feel free to express your disappointment directly to me via email: tachyon@outtospace.com or twitter: http://www.twitter.com/apostrophepong. In the mean time, please take of yourself and your loved one.

With my deep appriciation.

That was my private message to all the supporters of EXiST project via Fundbreak. I have been inactive on this journal and reflective on my place in the world. Even though, my high blood pressure went back to normal after the heart palpitation incident and no medical treatment was acquired, it was like a false alarm became a wake-up call.

I wanted to tell a story about anxiety and pushed myself into this project. What happened was I has an anxiety attack when revising the script. The same thing happened when I was in the writing zone for Memory of You | Reflection of Me and overwhelmed by the depression experience.

It became a doubtful thought that filmmaking was part of my therapy then a realisation that what I needed was a break: a career break, a rest break and, most of all, a break from my own vicious cycle—feeling lost, isolation and worthlessness. Bangkok, my hometown would be the place for me to find it and being around old friends and family would certainly help.

For now, the project is on the shelf until an urge would explode again. Actually, I already have vivid dreams about reviving it twice. The deep sub-conscious will keep poking me to finish what I have started, I guess.

I’m Farking Fine

As I am writing this, RUOK day is over and I am glad. Not because I am being cynical about this campaign raising depression awareness but it is to the point that a viral campaign becomes repetitive and you feel like being brainwashed, this time not from mainstream media but from every little stream you turn. And you cannot hide from it, just like Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

I have to remind myself that I still am climbing out from the hole of worth depression myself and genuine concerns from people around you play a very important role to get through it. A simple question “Are you OK?” is a powerful step to make people with depression realise that there are someone out there who cares. I have made that in my short film Memory of You | Reflection of Me.

The next short film—EXiST—as a part of DASS (Depression Anxiety Stress Scale) trilogy, tackles on anxiety. It is fascinating how our minds affect our physical body, not just our behaviours. And I have experienced it myself.

While I was rewriting the script on breakfast at my favourite café near the work, there was a feeling like a punch in my chest and my palm were sweaty. I stopped, took deep breathes and it went away. At lunchtime, the tightness in my chest was back and lasted longer. I knew it was heart palpitations. In the afternoon, I could feel my heart pounding on the fabric of my shirt. After work, I decided to check myself in and tried to stay calm on the train to the hospital.

When I got Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, the heart rate was about 100 bpm with irregular frequency. They put me on ECG monitor, traced the heart rate, had my blood tested and my chest x-rayed. The doctor examined my medical history including the depression breakdown, which I got the last major one on April-May, and told me she did not see what caused the palpitation, “You are a perfectly healthy young man.”

It was six hours in Emergency Department until I got discharged with a letter to my GP. It pinpointed to the stress I had and the only concern physically was my high blood pressure. By that time, I had enough of watching other patients, their relatives, nurses, doctors and other medical staff in the ward.

Even though the script was not finished and the project was not updated as planned, I felt energetic when I left the hospital for a number reasons. The first hand experience of the stress effect to the body was an invaluable material that could inspire the conclusion of the trilogy. It was good to find that there was nothing wrong with the test result. And most of all, I did not get carried away with panic or struggle with the attack that my own mind created.

Like a Nice Sunday Afternoon

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This weekend I was supposed to do a heavy work on promoting EXiST. Campaign but a big self-doubt just happened to pop in my head. It was a classic question, “Why am I doing this?”

The doubt could kick in so easily especially for the people who are climbing out of depression. And I have been putting myself very exposed to this very self-doubt by asking people to help and support the project.

It was an exhausting battle in my mind and I ended up playing online games and doing some housework, and almost lost it and let myself into the loop of depression—low-self-esteem>anxiety>worthlessness and so on.

However, with the help of a couple of beer by the window in a dark and gritty Sly Fox, I could let my thoughts flow into a decent afternoon light outside on Enmore Road. I told myself that this could be a nice to share this to someone you care and that could make my life more meaningful.

That was it, the answer.

Although making film, in every process from funding to distribution, is not as easy as sitting in a pub on Sunday afternoon but in the end, to me, they somehow lead to a catharsis process. I am doing this to realise this project not just to overcome my own anxiety but also to use my best ability to tell a story that would help others.

I am writing this as a reminder of this discovery. Hopefully, whenever I have this doubt of where I am standing in the world—which I doubt I won’t—the thought and the feeling of sharing a nice Sunday afternoon in spring will come up in my head as it is as meaningful as making this film for people to see it.

Photo credit: Stilgherrian’s Weekly Wrap 13 and 14

The Lemon Association

Ass Sew See Asian

Imagine you are holding a lemon in your hand, you can see its bright yellow colour and feel its shiny, holey skin. Then you cut it in half and it bursts with juice. Finally, you pick one half and squeeze it. The fluid comes out of its flesh and the citric scent is extracted from its rind. While I am writing about this lemon, my mouth starts to water.

That was the exercise I had in a psychology session last week about how our experiences associated with our behaviours.

We always have a voice to stop or encourage us to take actions of something. Either an angel or a devil, it is the product of our minds. And it is so powerful that could become an enticement or an obstruction to our goals.

To me, making film is about making understanding to predominately improve myself and hopefully to make an impact to others. And it is more about the process that the result. And I am in the process of getting over those fears in my mind, which have been blocking my path to the destination.

This is where the EXiST campaign comes in place. I want to overcome the fears I have in terms of getting out there and realising the project. The most vicious product of my mind that stands between the human connection and I is the association of the threats I experienced in my childhood with how I perceive the world.

My own big brother who, today, would, be diagnosed as Narcissistic Personality Disorder abused me psychologically, sometimes, physically. And one of his best friends secretly had a sexual relationship with me. Living as victim of your own family had shaped perspective even though I managed to stand up for myself and moved on after the years of adolescence. I fought back against my brother and ended that casual affair I felt I was being taken advantage of.

My life turned upside down from a shy and reserved boy that was a target of bullying to energetic head of the cheerleaders in high school sport day that lived a double life with cool kids outside school and sneaked out at night for clubbing. Then I surprised everyone with the result that I got into one of the best universities in communication study in Thailand. I was very proud of the transition and the direction I paved it myself. However, I did not realise there was a sleeper deep down there.

That experience of being targeted by people around you was suppressed until I moved to Sydney. The first years of living in an estranging culture was a rough period. I was not able to create works because I could not use my writing skills and my visual expression was not rediscovered until later and it needed, still does, to be developed. The sense of worthlessness gradually grew on me as I tried to make a living in the overly expensive metro with the job I hated in hospitality.

At that point, the sleeper had been woken up and dominated my view that the world was not to be trusted. They would humiliate me like my brother had assaulted me, exploit me like his friend had molested me, and most of all, desert me like my parents had overlooked me. In the recent years, I blamed that on the people I loved and on myself like I had taken that on those people in my earlier life. It went down in the whirlpool of depression, anxiety, denial, irritation and recreational activities.

And that is the homework from the session—to identify those fears that stop me from making an attempt to promote the project and make it exist. It is a good exercise. It is not very easy to bare your soul to world but every time when the project gets a supporter, it is not just one little step closer to make the film EXiST for a good cause but it also makes me believe that those humiliation, exploitation and desertion are just the association of my mind produced from scraps of the past.

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