Disorder or Cure?

Xinru YinJuly 27, 2017ResilienceAwesome Moments
Disorder or Cure?

Artwork by Caleb Ramirez

Myocarditis: inflammation of the heart muscles. The moment I was diagnosed with this illness, which is serious but treatable, more than half of my body trembled with joy and satisfaction.

Strange as it sounds, I was secretly hoping for a powerful strike like a supernatural firework booming in the sky to stop everything in its tracks. In the end, I realized that myocarditis had unfolded my true self.

I look back on myself as a small child — a frantic book-lover who crawled behind the curtain with a novel and wouldn’t come out except for meals and bed; a passionate learner and student who took delight in every single moment of knowledge acquisition and encouraged others to do the same; a responsible citizen who was filled with so many dreams and ambitions to make the world a better place. I had a naturally peaceful mind that had not yet been exposed to the outside world. I lived in the perfection I created, believing that everything I did was meaningful. There was nothing like sadness or indifference in me.

However, when I entered high school, the world suddenly became diverse and tempting, and I began to change. As Wechat made it to the top of Chinese social media platforms, numerous peers shared their glorious moments online. Surprisingly, I found these really disturbing and discouraging. I wasn’t happy if every picture in my “friends’ circle” showed magnificent vacation scenery when I was working on my computer, nor was I satisfied if my friends sent out links to volunteer work or progress reports on their projects: when others had done so much, I had done nothing!

In terms of “friends,” strictly speaking, I had few. Back in my old primary school days, there were kids from wealthy military families who copied my homework, gave me used pens as gifts like I was a garbage bin, and left me with all the classroom chores. Somehow I saw them as amiable playmates but never got into long conversations with them, partly because they looked down upon me as a pathetic little bookworm, and partly because I looked down upon them as spoiled and ignorant kids.

People in secondary school have been even more difficult to please. There was a girl in my class who teased me about my ignorance of singers and movie stars for five years. The nickname she gave me, “Stupid Yin,” became even more popular than my real name; boys who had hardly spoken to me before, and even seemingly considerate girls, began to point at me and shout “Stupid Yin” right through the air while shuddering with laughter.

Every time this happened, anger and contempt grew in me simultaneously, and I became both a nerd and a jerk. It was always the same when I met people: I was both conceited and self-abased. I rejected people by keeping a distance, but secretly wished to befriend them. I didn't want to see people as better than I was in any way, but I didn’t believe in my abilities. Consequently, I always told myself I should do whatever was necessary to prove that I was stronger than anyone else.

As a result, I set higher and higher bars for myself but was not determined and mature enough to sit down and concentrate on reaching them while others were enjoying their rightful leisure time. I envied their stress-free lives of midnight desserts and museum tours. There was an incessant beeping voice inside my head, nudging me to stop and rest. Ironically, I gave in to that fatigue and sluggishness instead of sticking to realizing my dream of becoming stronger than anyone.

Thus I spent my time watching TV series, paying attention to the latest fashion trends, and spoiling myself on social media instead of tackling physics. I let myself be carried away by the hustle and bustle of flippant people while I should have picked up a book or chatted with people from all walks of life to learn about their stories. I even found it boring and undeserving to be an all-rounded person. The tempting whirlpool of superficial things washed away my aspiration like the ferocious whirl of hurricane.

Tasks never disappeared due to my unwillingness to complete them, and worries about accomplishing them built in me day after day. Not until I couldn’t breath normally, stumbled through the corridors, and felt like my head was whirling did I realize that I had dragged myself to the brink of a real breakdown.

Myocarditis. I earned it. I traded my health for self-discovery. When there was suddenly nothing to worry about, there came a complete revelation. No matter how I may hide or escape from the route of life, it always stays the same and waits for me tor resume my journey. Whether I rush here and there in anxiety or sit down in calmness, things don’t change. As that’s the case, I shall not go back to my old life again. Not back to the days when people and their lives were all that mattered.

There are a million ways to fulfill one’s dreams and ambitions, and the particularly carefree and comfortable one that seems to dominate social media and my classmates’ conversations may not be the perfect match for me. “Stupid Yin” just stands for the silly laughter one group invokes when it cannot understand another, and I now know I should never look down upon myself because of that laughter. It is made up of ignorance and arrogance most of the time. Stupid as I was, I fastened myself to a wholly different attitude and manner from them.

My unique hilarious dance will not be changed by how others behave. My faith in family and school responsibilities, as well as appreciation of myself, awaits; the golden old days still doze in a cozy corner of this complex world. By listening to the voices deep in my mind, I gradually find that sun-like child smiling at me and coming back alive. She radiates her warmth and passion to me and helps me to become better. When I am asleep, I will tell my old self about myocarditis and how it somewhat cured its painful cause, the “mental disorder” made up of jealousy, unwillingness, ignorance, and the last straw—mountainous stress.

Back, deep into the sea, and dig.

Xinru Yin is a junior at the High School Attached to Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. She enjoys the company of nature as well as well-woven thoughts of the most prominent humans.