Monday, November 20, 2017

Stranger Things Season 2 is a Story of Struggle and Hope

I finished binge-watching Season 2 of ‘Stranger Things’ a while back, but decided to wait before publishing this because I still know some people who haven't gotten around to watching its awesomeness. Unfortunately, I can't wait any longer and I really need to let it out! In my humble albeit broken opinion: the second season of 'Stranger Things' is even better than the first season! (Yes, it's possible!)

While I enjoyed the E.T. / Stand By Me / sci-fi vibe of the first one, this Goonies / Alien / Jurassic Park second season resonated so much with me on several levels.

For starters, it has to be shared that Will Byers has been my favorite 'Stranger Things' kid ever season Episode 1 of Season 1. I remember watching the first few minutes and claiming that Will was definitely my favorite kid. Imagine my dismay when he went missing and most of the season didn’t have him in it, save from a few Upside Down snippets that just depressed me altogether. Season 1 was more about Eleven, the other kids and the Byers: how they dealt with the disappearance of Will and never gave up hope of finding him.

Stranger Things made it up to my Will-loving heart in this second season, though, as most of the season really revolves around him. (Massive shoutout to the amazing Noah Schnapp for his acting chops in this one, by the way. You made your biggest fan so, so, so, so proud!)

While I knew that there would be a lot of Will in the second season, it isn’t until Episode 2 that I realized how much I could relate to Will on a deeper level in this season. In Episode 2, he is sitting on the couch talking to Mike and they start talking about how they feel like they’re going crazy. *cue my schizophrenia here*

And then this happened and it was the most beautiful thing I had heard in a while:

By the time I reached Episode 3, I found myself completely immersed in Will’s emotions. This is when everyone starts to realize that even though they thought Will was back to normal, a part of the Upside Down is still with him. His hallucinations aren’t hallucinations, after all; they’re real.

Bob talks to him at one point and tells him to face in his fears and man, when Will finds himself stuck in-between worlds, Will tries. He tries so fucking hard. The shadow monster comes after him after he finds Dart in the bathroom, and he hears all of the wise words of wisdom that Bob had given him in his head. "Face your fears, Will. Tell it to go away." And that’s where the struggle happens. And that’s where I almost broke. Will tries so hard and you see him try so hard and he screams at that thing to just go away, and yet, the shadow monster consumes him anyway. That scene describes my current mental health situation perfectly.

This goes on for several episodes where Will tries to explain what he’s feeling, but just somehow can’t put it into words. And you see him struggling between being regular Will and another version of himself that is actually the shadow monster (which is, by the way, what I will be calling my schizophrenia from now on :p). In Episode 5, Will says, “The more he spreads, the more connected to him I feel.” And that was the pinnacle when I realized that this is what would make me love this season more than the first: my relatability to it.

And it's not just Will that's relatable, either; everyone is sure to find someone to relate to in this season, be it the misunderstood Three Musketeers-loving Dart; the everything-is-bullshit-thinking Nancy, the lovesick abangers Jonathan; the even more lovesick and hopeful Mike; or the more mature, responsible and protective Steve. Even Bob and Joyce bring so much to the table in this season. Especially Hopper and Eleven. There are just so many feels in Season 2, it's hard to decide who to love the most (though for me it's definitely still Will :p).

All of those struggles aside, though, Stranger Things Season 2 shares a common denominator with the first season: it proves to be a beacon of hope in the dark.

Whether or not you are struggling with serious issues like I am or if you’re struggling with something a little less deep, Stranger Things Season 2 does a good job of showcasing different people's struggles in life (without belittling any of the other struggles that everyone else is going through), and how hope and positivity and an amazing support system can pave the way to a better you. The world feels a little more hopeful after watching Stranger Things Season 2. I hope that somehow it strikes a chord in you, too. :)

On that note, I'm giving away Stranger Things merch, in particular Dustin's cap, a Netflix baller ID, and a Funko Pop of Will! All you have to do is post any Stranger Things photo of your choice on any of your social media accounts with the hashtag #WWRxStrangerThings and tell me why that's your favorite Stranger Things photo! :D

Make sure to like Wonder Woman Rises and When in Manila Geek on Facebook, and to follow @lilmisswonderwoman and @wimgeek on Instagram, as well. :D

Saturday, November 11, 2017

It's never "just a crush".

Disclaimer: these photos are old, from a time when my hair matched my beanie, and the thoughts in this post are pretty old, too. In fact, I didn't even know these thoughts exist. I just found them in the Notes of my iPhone written one probably drunken early morning last month at 2:28am. Here goes…

Sometimes, you feel like your crush doesn't like you back; and so you end up making stupid decisions, like making out with a stranger as a dare, or shifting your attention to their best friend, or sleeping with an ex - and just hoping that somehow that would fill the void.

Spoiler: it doesn't fill the void.

No matter how hard you try to fight the feelings you have, no matter how hard you repeat to yourself that "it's just a crush, it's just a crush"… let's face it: it's never "just a crush".

Because most of the time, all you can think about is those 24 hours you spent together, that one night where you felt like you mattered - when you felt like you could actually get what you want (cue The Smiths songs) or you felt like maybe this could lead to something.

But that something ended up being a one-sided nothing.

How can you make someone feel the same way that you feel towards them? How can you make them see you in the same light that you see them? Can you magically place the same butterflies in their stomach? Can you teleport your being somehow and make yourself run through their heads all day? How can you make them hunk about you the way you think about them?

It just isn't possible.

And so, day in and day out, all you really do is hope - hope that maybe one day, they'll finally see you in that way. One day, they'll look at you and realize that this is what they have been waiting for, too. They will realize that maybe it won't hurt to acknowledge that and give you a chance.


But all you can really do is hope.

But we all know that hope is shit in the end.

So, really, what's the point?

Maroon beanie from a friend / Star Wars dress from Folded and Hung / black studded sandals from Zalora / delicious Jamoca Almond Fudge from Baskin Robbins

Monday, October 30, 2017

What It’s Like Living with Schizophrenia

(No photos for this; it didn't seem appropriate.)

I’ve always known I was mentally unwell. But while the words ‘depression’ and ‘mood swings’ were practically second nature to me, hearing my doctor tell me I have schizophrenia was a completely different blow. As everyone else out there is probably thinking, I thought the same: “Schizophrenia? That means I’m crazy, right?” When my doctor prescribed me with anti-psychotics (not anti-depressants, anti-PSYCHOTICS), I knew that my world was definitely going to change.

It started when I decided to tell my mother that I had been seeing a psychiatrist for a while. I was surprised that she was so casual about it. She was even so supportive, she asked me if my psycho analysis sessions were working and whether I needed medication. Ironically enough, I was prescribed my meds right after I proudly told her, “No, I don’t need meds.” But now, I do. Now, all of a sudden, it’s more real.

There are times when I intentionally don’t take my medication because I am still in denial. I tell myself that I’m in control, that I don’t need medication just to be normal. But then, after two or three days, the downward spiral begins. I find myself wondering why my friends aren’t messaging me to invite me to hang out. Did something happen? Do they hate me? And when I see them, I always feel like they aren’t as warm as usual. Did I do something wrong? Are people spreading shit about me?

It gets even worse when I’m on the road with no one to talk to. When cement mixers come up next to the car, I start imagining – no, wishing – that it would roll over and kill me so that, that way, it wouldn’t be suicide; it would just be bad luck. That way, I could still go to heaven and not spend an eternity in hell. Other times, when I’m on the Skyway, I imagine the car speeding off of it and killing me instantly – no pain, no worries.

And then there are times when I just stare at my medication at night and wonder what would happen if I took a handful of it and down it with alcohol. Maybe I wouldn’t wake up anymore. That way, it would be a peaceful death. That way, I’d just drift away and all the nightmares would just end.

What triggers the downward spirals? I don’t even know, and that’s what we’re trying to figure out right now. Sometimes, I send someone a text message and don’t get a reply, and that would be the end-all of my day. Sometimes, I do something wrong at work and get told off for it and I find myself crying uncontrollably for hours – not even in bathrooms, but in public. Sometimes, a song comes on and my mood just changes in an instant.

On the days that I do take my medication, things aren’t exactly better. The voices in my head fade, sure; but I also wake up sometimes with a massive headache that feels like a bad hangover and muscles so sore, it’s actually difficult to move. Then there are days when I don’t wake up when I’m used to at all. My eyes are so heavy and when I check the time, it’s already late in the afternoon. Of course, that stresses me out even more. Where did my day go? How will I get things done? It’s a vicious cycle.

With meds or without meds, life with schizophrenia isn’t something I would wish on my worst enemy. It’s hard waking up in the morning and not knowing how your day will go. It’s hard not knowing if it’s going to be a bad day or a good day; and then, when it’s a bad day, it’s hard not knowing if it’s going to be your last.

And that’s why I’m in therapy. That’s why I’m on meds. That’s why I got help. A lot of people have been questioning the changes I’ve been going through, and well, surprise: this is it.

To those of you who don’t know me well and have always thought I was just an overly dramatic, OA and papansin person, I’m not hoping that this will make you understand, but I’m hoping that it will at least make you more sensitive and more understanding of me and my ‘crazy’ or ‘bipolar’ personality, as some have already called it.

I haven’t found my triggers, but I’m hoping that one day I will. I hope that one day, I will be able to take control of my thoughts. I hope that one day, I’ll wake up and realize that, “Hey, it’s been a month and I haven’t once thought about death in any form.” But until that day, all I can really do is hope. I hope you can hope with me.