Bad Things Happen, But Why To Me? - Xiaojie's Story
Updated: Aug 20
Autumn of 2015, I was visiting New York City. I joined a walking tour, and the very interesting guide took us to one of the sites: The 911 Memorial. This is a very interesting memorial, instead of building something that goes upwards, the designers chose to build something that goes down into the earth.
The water falls into this seemingly endless hole. As I looked down, a sense of loss, unknown, and confusion arose.
After that, I went to the Battery Park at sunset, my thoughts started to flow, so I started writing them down on my cellphone.
Why me? That's the question I keep asking again and again when going through my darkest depressive episodes.
"I have tried to do everything right, I have a healthy diet, I’m careful about the friends that I make, I work hard, I explore my interests, I stay active, I stay away from bad relationships. Yet, I get into the darkest moments of life where the world collapses on me for no reason. What did I do to deserve all this? I have done everything I can and there is just no more left in me to change this. Out of all the illnesses in the world, why do I have to have this?" I felt like I was being buried alive and nobody was noticing.
Aeon I, Pere Ibañez, I.See.Dark. 2015
On top of all sadness, pain, numbness, loss of energy and words come the inability to smile or feel the existence of any kind of loving relationship, I let this abusive voice torture me endlessly. It's a daily monologue that my mind creates. It's a daily despair that I struggle with. It tells me that I have gone crazy inside.
I See Dark, Pere Ibañez, I.See.Dark. 2015
(Both portrait pictures in this article are taken by friend of CandleX, Pere Ibanez. See end of the article for more information).
It's hard to accept that I have bipolar disorders. For years, I didn’t even think about it myself. Obviously, ignoring it didn't make it go away. It came back to me, staring at and hunting me until I was in the corner and had to try to accept it, acknowledge it and learn to live with it.
Very slowly, I have learned to challenge the abusive monologue that tells me that I am not enough, and ask: if I were my best friend, would I still get so angry with her when she’s feeling down and vulnerable? No, I would be gentle and say that I am here, and tell her that she is a wonderful person even though you absolutely don't feel like it. I would be patient and let her know that this shall pass.
That was the moment I finally, finally, finally changed my perspective. I started to treat myself with compassion.
Yes, sometimes in my life, I can’t be productive, confidant, fun and smart, and sometimes I seem to have lost interest in everything that I love. I seem bored, lazy, weak and like a zombie. It’s okay. It’s okay!
Every day, many people in this world are told that they have cancer, or they lose their arms in a car accident, or they lose a loved one to a terrorist attack. Why them? Why anyone?
We can't afford to keep asking "why me?" It traps us in trauma instead of helping us to learn a new coping mechanism. Perfection is the devil's voice that tells us that we are not enough. It pushes down whatever we build up, and it enslaves us.
I don't know what abusive voices you may be experiencing. If you do hear it, just be your own best friend and know that you've been trying your best in life. Sometimes in the marathon of life, I have to crawl, and I don't seem to make any progress on the track. But now, I have learned to look at it a different way. As long as I am hanging in there, I am winning.
This was my sunset writing at Battery Park in New York City, after visiting the 911 memorials.
May all souls that have been going through trauma find peace.
Reference and Special Recommendation:
“I.See.Dark” is Pere Ibañez latest book and photo collection in 2015, it is an artistic exploration of mortality, fate, and strength in overcoming the unknown. Employing linguistic and visual cues from European witchcraft and folklore, Pere Ibañez creates a slow-burning narrative of fear and resistance in the face of challenge and despair. The book is available in digital and print formats through western iTunes and Amazon.
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