wiped out


I have not been able to feel much lately. The numbness hangs in the stillness. If I could feel, at least I can understand whether I was depressed or anxious or both. If this was depression, this is another level I have not yet known – would it also count as personal growth and development?

I don’t feel either. I just don’t feel. There are times when I cognitively know I feel a certain way, or know that in those circumstances my usual feeling would be a particular way or intensity. But I don’t actually feel the emotion. Nada. Nothing.

It is as if I have been wiped out. There is a blank, an empty blank. My name and shape is still there as some arbitrary form of identity, but that’s all it is. It just hangs there. It’s not a void. It’s a blank. In a void, at least one could fall. In a blank, nothing can be done. 

Perhaps my safety plan is not so complicated. Perhaps all it needs to be is for me to continuously arrange forward-dated commitments. I cannot bear to break promises. So if I had a date in the future where I needed to be somewhere doing something for someone, I would feel obliged to keep that contract and so, as much as my weariness wants me to stop, I would hold on till that date to fulfill the promise, which means I would stay alive at least till then. Perhaps that is the reason why I keep my agenda full and schedules back to back. It has nothing to do with my fear of good enough driving me to keep myself busy to prove to myself I was mildly good. I got it all wrong. It does not even have anything to do with my sense of self-worth.

Now I see. It is primitive survival instinct. It was some part of my superego sadistically keeping my physical body pumping through non-stop commitments. This is why I don’t stop. I cannot stop. If I stopped I would simply disappear. Burnout is a distraction from something more drastic. It serves a good purpose, so that is why I do not prevent burnout. It is good for me.

My friend a few days ago said “Okay good, then at least you will still be around for another month” after I told her about some client work we just won. We both laughed. It was bitter.

I used to cry quite easily. For the last month I could not really cry. I tried to one time, to think of something sad and make myself cry. I thought, if I could cry maybe I could feel again.

I could not. I keep going nevertheless. So I keep doing. It has nothing to do with resilience or mental wellness or perseverance. It is a straightforward paradox. Drown myself in tasks and doing, so I do not need to live because otherwise I would only have the quantum to ponder death.

But why keep an empty screen on? Why continue to create promises for myself that I do not want to keep? A blank cannot do much. A blank will be forgotten, it would just be a matter of time.

I am wiped out. By myself. By others. By my memories. By my wants.

It has to stop. I need to stop.

My heart is wrenched. I know the ache. But my mind is blocking the hurt so I do not shatter. For someone who prefers to die, I seem to be strangely good at keeping myself alive.

Why do apples crumble? Why are calla lilies yellow? Why is a feather heavy? Why call a sour lemon drink, A Sparkling Kiss?


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about Noch Noch

Enoch Li, (pen name: Noch Noch) was born and raised in Hong Kong and Australia. She has also studied / worked / lived in the US, France, UK, Japan, The Netherlands, China, and has travelled to more than 40 countries. She loves travelling and her curiosity in foreign cultures and languages has led her to enjoy her life as an international executive in the banking & finance industry. However, she was forced to take time off work in 2010 due to her illnesses and after spending time in recovery, cooking, practising Chinese calligraphy, reading and writing – in short, learning to take care of herself and letting out the residual work stress, she has transitioned into a Social Entrepreneur and founded BEARAPY to help corporates make workplaces mentally healthy, and support executives to become more resilient.