KALM: Hi KALMers, today KALM had the chance to interview one of Indonesian’s cosplayer, Crow, who is also a survivor of depression and anxiety disorder. Hi, Crow!
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Hello, everyone! You can call me Crow. I started doing cosplay since 2012.
The reason people call me “Crow” was actually by accident. I was roleplaying the character Kuroshitsuji of Black Butler. I was playing as Sebastian, because that character was really popular at that time so I give a middle name to differentiate. My middle name is Crow and since then people call me Crow and it stuck until now.
But what is cosplay?
Cosplay is a combination of two words: costume and player. So to put it simply it is when we wear a costume of a character from an anime, manga, or movie.
How influential is cosplay for you?
Its influence is quite big. If only I didn’t find cosplay community I think I will still be an introverted person – because it’s really hard for me to find a friend that can connect well. And in this community there are various kinds of people as well. There are people with family already but still does it. So this hobby is not just for kids. There’re cosplayers who are 70 years old.
Wow! So maybe if there are KALMers who are interested in the world of cosplay can try it out to find new experience and new friends.
Now, Crow, wants to talk about mental health. Do you mind sharing a bit about your experience with anxiety disorder?
Actually I’ve experienced it since 2.5 years ago. At one point I really wanted to find help. First time I tried I was alone, without my parents, and when they found out that I have reference letter to go to Mental Hospital, I got scolded.
“Why do you go to a Mental Hospital? Are you insane?”
Things like that… But what can I say? it is the reference letter that I got from the clinic. Incidentally, this year I can finally be honest to my parents that I need help because I have problems.
In the beginning we have to argue about it. My parents rather go to the religious route while I prefer the medical. Not that I don’t accept it, anyway. Finally, my parents finally wanted to try to accompany me [to go to a psychologist] – but that’s after a long debate.
So your parents actually still have a negative stigma about mental health?
Very much so! The stigma goes even after meeting the person who is medicating me, they kept on asking even though I only took it once or twice, “Feeling better yet? Are you healed?” Well, it’s not that fast.
So it can be hard to explain that it’s not like treating flu or other illnesses that can be cured after taking antibiotics.
So within that 2.5 years, what was the turning point that made you willing to go to a psychologist?
When it wasn’t just me who started to realize but other people as well. Other people started to notice, started to be concerned. “Crow, why are you so skinny? Do you eat properly?” Or “Crow, why do you look like a panda? Do you get enough sleep?” Or, “Are you doing okay in your dorm? How come you never go out?” At that time it was so obvious for me that if it is like this I have to get help.
So what are the things the psychologist recommended you to do to deal with your anxiety?
To deal with it at the beginning I was told to write anything that triggered that anxiety. Then try to figure out why it is making me anxious. Then try to find the solution. Sometimes, I’m also confused. I felt it but I don’t know why.
How many times have you been to a psychologist?
About 5 times since July, 2019.
Are there any improvements that you feel?
Improvement, for the main issue, is still very little. [Because] the roots of the problems are so many. Many are not resolved yet. Just one or two, especially the ones related to my parents, are resolved.
Can you tell us a bit what meeting a psychologist is like? Can you provide a picture for KALMers who maybe a little bit scared if they meet a psychologist they will get interrogated or judged?
I didn’t feel judged. Even when telling my story, when my parents in the beginning accompanied me, as I was about to tell it, I was asked first whether I want my parents to stay or leave. Then if we don’t want them to hear, they have to leave. So it was just the two of us and in the beginning the questions are quite normal, “Can you tell me what is the problem?”
Since I often feel stuck, I often don’t know what to tell when I was asked. So before I was asked I usually write it down first. What I was feeling- for example if I feel something or get panic attack or something like that – I write it down in my phone. Then, when I meet the psychologist I just give my phone, “please read this.” So it saves time, too, right? From what I wrote in the phone then they start probing.
You said before that your anxiety often resurfaced. What do you do when that happens?
Depends on the intensity. If it is bearable, I’ll just find something to do. For example, if I feel it at night at my dorm I’ll try to go out. Maybe it will subside or I just usually go to sleep.
What do you think of people who try to find help from a psychologist?
I think it is way better than just burying the problem. If you do that then it will never be resolved. So it is better to find help so we can be free from that problem. Highly recommended!
How about online counseling? Have you tried it before?
I have a few times.
What do you think about online counseling?
I think it is quite important. Many people might be scared in the beginning to meet a psychologist or a psychiatrist. They don’t have any idea what it’s like, as well as the negative stigmas in their community if they go to consult. With online counseling like this we can communicate easier and faster.
Actually, online counseling help people being more aware to find help.
If KALMers are curious about online counseling, you can try it with KALM App.
What stigma or public opinion that you would like to change about mental health generally or specifically?
Generally I just wish people don’t automatically brand someone with mental illnesses as “crazy”. Mental illnesses have a wider range. Not always when we look for help from a psychologist or a psychiatrist means we are crazy.
Or if we are the ones who want to be a psychologist or a psychiatrist people would say, “Why would you want to deal with crazy people?” So I just want to make people be aware what is mental health. Why it is important. Even though now there are many people who do start sharing this and that, right?
One more thing, please do self-diagnose because it can endanger yourself even more!
Very true, self-diagnosing can lead to new problems! Lastly, what do you want to say to those who are struggling with their own mental health problems?
The point is you are not alone. There are people out there that are willing to help you. So don’t hesitate to ask for help. Don’t be embarrassed to ask for help because people will help you when you can be open about it.
It’s very true that you are not alone and it’s okay to not be okay. Thank you so much, Crow, for your time. Hopefully your story can inspire other KALMers.
Find other articles and other interviews on mental health here.
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