NON FICTION: Depression Can Be A Great Teacher, And Here’s What I’ve Learned

Woman staring out a window

Photo: Anthony Tran

All right I’m going to start this off my saying that I may or may not have depression. Let me explain.

I’ve never been a particularly happy person as far as I can remember. In fact, the last time I’d felt true joy was probably at the age of twelve. Then secondary school came and swept me off into the world of angst and darkness.

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NON FICTION: You Could Very Well Find The Meaning Of Life

Photo of space

Photo: NASA

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NON FICTION: What Being Dumped (Over And Over) Taught Me About Life

Torn paper heart hanging on a string

Photo: Kelly Sikkema

“I think we should break up.”

“Right,” I said. I slipped the paper rose I’d been hiding back into my pocket.

“I just want to be honest,” Lana said. She pointed out the main entrance of the shopping mall, where her new boyfriend was waiting in his car. “It’s just that he has… you know… and you don’t… you know…”

Money, she meant money. To be fair, it was one of the most honest breakups I’d ever had to endure. You had to give her credit for that.

“I get it,” I said. “Okay then. Guess I gotta go back to work.”

“You’re not mad?”

Mad? She’d been hanging out with this guy all week, told me he was just a friend she hadn’t met in a while, was breaking up with me for him, and they were heading off on a date right after this, while I’d have to spend the remaining hours of my shift dealing with customers trying to haggle a couple bucks off our pirated Playstation 2 games.

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NON FICTION: I Don’t Know What I’m Running Away From

Man running down sand

Photo: Remi Jacquaint

I’d like to think I have a universal face. That’s probably the reason why people tend to speak to me in their mother tongue at first meet. I’ve been mistaken for a Filipino, Thai, even Vietnamese, but I seldom get people speaking to me in Chinese, which actually makes up half of what I am.

As a result, what’s supposed to be just a transactional conversation often turns into a tactical decision. Should I continue speaking to them in Malay, or do I reply in Chinese and risk a follow-up conversation that I don’t have the energy for?

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NON FICTION: For The People Who Aren’t Depressed Enough

Man sitting on couch frustrated

Photo: Nik Shuliahin

“You’re fine,” she said.

“Really?”

“Yeah. You did some work this week right? So I’d say you’re not clinical.” She put her clipboard away, the one that she’d scribbled intently on as I spoke. I wondered if she missed out the part when I said I only wrote two sentences this week.

What about Anthony Bourdain? I thought. He worked his ass off. So did Hemingway. Since when did work have to do with feelings? Then I felt guilty for even having the thought to compare myself to the greats.

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