It has been a long time since I last blogged. So much has happened since then— universities, trips, mental crises—that have left me exhausted and gasping for air. I have decided to write today as I am unable to get past a deep irrational fear of mine, and it has been weighing down on my life. A website said that it gets worse if I don’t write out my feelings, so I am doing so. This post is about death. If you don’t want to read it, please don’t. I know I should make this post private but somehow I think knowing that there is an “invisible audience” out there can make this attempt at catharsis a bit more effective. But it doesn’t mean you should read it. I don’t want my problems to become your problems.
I have a fear of death. There, I’ve said it. Initially, I was scared of my own death, the feeling of nothingness, of not existing. My fear came as a surprise to me as I have always thought that I was beyond that; I had rationalised early on that since I didn’t enjoy life much, I would hardly miss it when I go.
But, I realised my fear of death runs much deeper than that. It is not my own death which I fear, but the death of my loved ones. My mother. My father. This is how I spend my Sunday nights: I lie down on the sofa on my mother’s lap while scrolling Instagram or whatever, while she caresses my hair and uses WeChat or talks to my father. Contentment. Bliss. When it gets late, I reach forward for a hug, while she counts the kisses she gives to me. I get so much love from my family, that it hurts me to think that one day this would be gone. I’ve been increasingly accustomed to thinking life as a bubble—precariously fragile—but knowledge that what I consider bliss would one day cease to exist. A day in the distant future, but one day. I care less for my own death, because I know I won’t even be conscious to mourn or worry, but I know there will come a day I will no longer get to enjoy what I enjoy. Family dinners. Jokes. Hugs. Kisses. Love. It hurts me so much as as I write this, I am sobbing uncontrollably. But I must write on, as writing is therapeutic.
I suppose this fear was triggered a month ago on my birthday. I was in Beijing and I met up with a wonderful woman, a former professor of English Literature who’s a friend of my mother. She was going through a period of immense pain; her mother constantly tells her how much she fears death, to the extent that she was spending way too much time counselling her mother, whilst trying to ignore her own grief. It was heartbreaking; her expression cracked in the most painful way and she started crying. It brought out a lot of fear in me, and this was worsened when I found out that my estranged grandmother is sick. Apparently, she has Alzheimer’s, a sudden development a mere couple of weeks ago. It reminded me of the transience of life, and since then, I have (unhealthily) viewed life as almost a film, a bubble, that is so contrived, and would break in a very “matrix” style once I put my finger on it. It doesn’t help that my parents like to talk about grandkids; I think I am just over-sensitive given my already fragile mental state.
I’ve talked to my parents about it; they reckon that because I am now faced with a vast amount of time with nothing to do, my mind is too free and is constantly wandering in directions which make me unhappy. I feel that these few months with nothing to do have given me mild depression and anxiety. It sucks. Hopefully, it would get better when I go back to university, where I actually have a goal to strive towards, and really enjoy the moment, and not think about eventual loss and grief.
I have to be strong. Nobody can help me, besides myself. My father has a theory—that life is full of pain and grief and stress and is basically shit—and thus we should at least try to enjoy life a bit to make it a bit better. In a way this is a good theory to have as since life sucks, one shouldn’t think about “missing life” when we’re gone. I also had a theory, that life is theme park and the hurdles in our lives are roller coasters and we have to make sure we enjoy our lives in the theme park as we are in for the experience and that’s the point of theme parks but since theme parks get boring we would one day come to a point that we would be glad to leave. Most importantly, one shouldn’t always think about death as it’s a complete waste of time to think about leaving the theme park when you’re in it. They are similar theories, except my dad’s is more cynical.
I feel a bit more positive now. Life is painful, but we owe it to ourselves to take a deep breath to keep living, through stress, pain, sadness and all the bad times. I’m packing my schedule full to put myself constantly on the move, so at least I can be a bit excited about life. Tomorrow, I’m doing a massage with my TCM therapist, followed by driving lessons and maybe night study with my sisters. It’s going to a brilliant day.