(Story) A childhood followed by a Depression

Updated: May 11, 2019

I was a bright and cheerful kid with a joyful childhood, but probably a little bit isolated.

I was sent to nursery since 6 months old as both parents had to work full time for the Government departments. Quite young for a child to be apart from her mother, but it was very common in my country at that time when the wars had just finished and most of the working class was made to work hard for the beginning of an economy.

Since I was about 2-3, able to run around and play on my own, and also at that time my Dad was made redundant as his department was closed as it was no longer needed after the wars, he became a tailor working from home, I was home with my Dad, watching him working patiently turning pieces of cloths into nice shirts and trousers, or spent time on my own nurturing dolls and wild animals, or running around the neighbourhood gardens and hedgerow looking for buds, bugs and flowers, instead of going to nursery/ pre-school.

I remembered standing at the fence of the nursery which was just opposite our house to watch other kids playing together and following what the teachers asked them to do; I remember wanting to be one among of those kids. I remember playing on my own all day long waiting for my mates came back from schools and asked them about things that they had learnt. Probably this was one of the factors that contributed in my quiet nature as I spent most of my time observing nature, animals, my Dad, other kids and people; lost in the thoughts and contemplations on what i saw and asking questions about the meanings hidden behind the things and events that i saw.

Somehow my Mom and Dad managed to teach me maths, read and write during this period of time. 5 years old, I was able to read newspaper and books, and even teach my mates who were 6-7-8 to do maths, draw, read and write after they came back from schools.

I first went to school when I was 7. I am not sure if it was a good thing when I already knew all the things that the teachers taught at school, either it was reading or writing, doing maths or singing… I remember feeling proud of myself when looking at classmates as just kids…

After the first year at school we had to move to a town a few hundreds km away as our village was destroyed by flash flood. I don't remember at all about that event, only heard from my parents years after that, that many people had died, many houses were swept away. My Dad and other adults together tried to save people and saw many were drawn and swallowed in the fierce water. Our house was one of those situated on top of a hill so we were safe. But the whole town was devastated and in danger every year when the rainy season came.

In the new town - Dien Bien Phu, we started a new life. I did well at school and was made the leader of the class ever since, and 2 years later was made the leader of the whole student union of the school and carried on the same good results and leadership all the way up until I finished schools at 18.

13 years old was the big milestone in my life as it was the time a big crisis happened. All my school friends and most of the teachers turned the back to me and throwing at me harsh words, hatred and harassment probably to make sure that I was acknowledged that I was a terrible person, unwanted, hated and rejected. They actually succeeded.

Probably that was the first time when I started asking questions: "What is Life all about? Why am I here and for what?" as I really couldn’t understand what was going on in my life and couldn’t see how to make it through another day.

I wasn’t sure how things started and how gossip and rumors spread across. But I know for sure how painful the experience was when facing detraction and slander not just behind my back but right on my face as constant harassment, without having a chance to explain myself… It was on and on for about 2 years until I got in High school, I had new teachers at the new school and the old friends went to different schools and classes, so they seemed to stop harassing me.

I became so afraid of saying any word to anyone and so afraid of expressing myself in anyway. I was afraid of being the leader and of the good results that I made in studying and school activities/ contests, as all that could be hated and made rumors by others including school friends and even teachers in the previous experience. The only reason that kept me going to schools, doing my roles and keeping good results was to satisfy my parents. It wouldn’t be a surprise if a Vietnamese child did whatever the parents wanted her/him to do or to be as the child is always the focal point in the parents’ lives and is their biggest hope and expectation.

I had lived the following 15 years with depression and distrust in myself, friends, and other people. I became a person who would not say a thing about what she thinks and how she feels, just silence and blank.

I was so convinced that I was the worst person in the world, that I should have disappeared from everyone's life, that everyone so hated me, whatever I did were all bad, wrong, terrible and evil, and that I should hate myself to bit, and that I deserved to be treated badly as punishment...

I became addicted to negativity, self-hatred and self-destructive which I only realised lately in my life when thinking back about the long period of time when I was depressed... Even though I did not attempt suicide, I did harm myself in different ways which might be a bit sad for me to talk about in details...

I always wondered: What’s the meaning of Life? What would come after Death? What’s the point to live such a Life that is filled of self-hatred and devastation; living in a shell filled with inner conflict and distrust whilst performing daily life tasks; too afraid to be myself; but what Myself is? I wasn’t even sure… Would it be worthwhile if I kept carry on living like that? Or would it be better Not living at all?! I wasn’t even sure…

I later on look back and think that from my childhood to the adulthood, I was a confident (or indeed over-confident) sort of child/ teenager with an Inflated Ego plunged deeply into the destructive Ego state - where I retreated myself as a victim of the outside world and events - with seemingly no way out. I made myself become the centre of the whole universe in my perception by directing all the thoughts and destructive emotions towards brooding over my self-hatred!.

But if I would be given a wish and be able to change something in the past I’d choose not to change anything at all! as I now understand that everything was how it should have been! Every single thing in life is exactly how it should be at this moment as it takes the entire universe to make it how it is right Now!.

I appreciate all that happened, all the friends, teachers and people that I met, all the painful memories and feelings that I went through, I appreciate my parents who raised me up as a traditional Vietnamese child who did well her part to meet the parents’ expectations and also had all the support financially and mentally from the parents to be able to do so… All that became the history and important parts in my evolutionary journey, and all that makes me Myself at present!!

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