Category Archives: Hang In There

A Knight

pic credit: Ben

I am a member of Chivalry Now, a non profit organization started by Dean Jacques.

Years ago, one of the members posted a poem that I really like. The poem above is an adaptation of the original poem posted on the group. I couldn’t find the information of the original writer, to whom I want to give credit to.

I have this poem printed and posted on my wall as a daily reminder for me.

Knights are imperfect,

But they have learned to NEVER GIVE UP.

They fall, yet they continue to climb.

Here’s to the Crazy Ones

Think Different

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

by Rob Siltanen

It may sounds crazy… but I do believe in this.

🌻 Sophie


“Sidney, you told me that you wanted to be a writer more than anything in the world.”

He suddenly had my attention. “That was yesterday.”

“What about tomorrow?”

I looked at him puzzled. “What?”

“You don’t know what can happen tomorrow. Life is like a novel, isn’t it? It’s filled with suspense. You have no idea what’s going to happen until you turn the page.”

“I know what’s going to happen. Nothing.”

“You don’t really know that, do you?” Everyday is a different page, Sidney, and they can be full of surprises. You’ll never know what’s next until you turn the page.”

I thought about that. He did have a point. Every tomorrow was like the next page of a novel. 

We turned the corner and walked down a deserted street.  “If you really want to commit suicide, Sidney, I understand. But I’d hate to see you close the book too soon and miss all the excitement that could happen to you on the next page — the page you’re going to write.”

Don’t close the book too soon… Was I closing it too soon? Something wonderful could happen tomorrow.  

Either my father was a superb salesman or I wasn’t fully committed to ending my life, because by the end of the next block, I had decided to postpone my plan.

Excerpt from “The Other Side of Me” by Sidney Sheldon

Sidney Sheldon was a very successful American writer and producer. He is consistently cited as one of the top ten best selling fiction writers of all time

NY Times reported, “Variety estimated Mr. Sheldon’s net worth, including his earnings from his film and television ventures, at $3 billion. Mr. Sheldon’s books have been published in 51 languages, making him, by many accounts, the most widely translated author in the world. “

What many don’t know is that Sidney Sheldon almost died of suicide at the age of 17, and was saved because his father (who was supposed to be away) forgot something and had to go back home.

Sidney has Bipolar.

Continue reading SiDNEY SHELDON & Bipolar

A Memoir of a Teacher

Ati (my grandma) and Parmin (her husband)

A story of a little girl’s fight to become a teacher during and after the Dutch occupation in Indonesia.

Note: Today would have been Ati’s 101st Birthday. Ati is how I called my grandmama, the first woman in my family who went to school, got higher education and became a teacher. She was the one who taught me the value of persistence. She taught me to dream big. She was also the teacher who helped me overcoming my learning disability.

Continue reading A Memoir of a Teacher

Overcoming Learning Disability

This story is a tribute to Ati, my grandmama, a woman who believed in me and taught me how to have the persistence of a bulldog.

polishing a rough diamond

I was struggling as a child with a learning disability. I actually quit school in grade 4, because I was badly bullied. It was my grandmama Ati who saved me from illiteracy. She did it by telling me stories. 

Every night before I go to bed, she would be telling me stories about fairies, princesses, and knights. But they’re not typical bedtime stories. I remember that the knight never “saved” the princess. But they save each other and work together. Many different stories, but always the same theme.

 About a couple of weeks after I quit school, one night she told me a story, a fable, about an ugly rough stone, a lump of useless coal, who turned out to be a diamond. The story went like this: 

“The stone was sitting by the river, crying because she felt so ugly and worthless. Then came a wise Owl, who said to the stone that he could make her beautiful and worthy because of all the things she would be able to contribute to the world. But the stone must have faith because it was going to be a long journey, the wise Owl said.”

The story goes on.. telling how the stone must go through many obstacles, pressures, and hurtful cutting processes and polishing periods before it becomes the precious diamond.

The Dynasti Diamond

I remember Ati said this to me, 

“You are like this stone. Your brain is. Right now your brain is a rough diamond. 

But still, a diamond is a diamond, no matter how dirty it looks now. 

A diamond can fall into a mud puddle and looks dirty, but it will still be a diamond that can have the potential to shine, only if someone works on it. 

We need to polish your diamond. 

We need to polish your brain.” 

 I agreed to go back to school, but I asked my parents to transfer me to a different school so I can have a new start. 

It took about 7 months before I started to catch up with my other classmates in the new school. During that period, Ati worked with me, tutoring me every night. 

Not long after, I started showing great progress and ended up graduating as one of the top students. 

Later in life, I constantly won awards and scholarships and it dramatically changed the course of my life.

P.S. Today, January 2nd, 2021 would have been Ati’s 101st Birthday. I still miss her every day. I like to imagine that she’s watching me from heaven, smiling, watching me now help other students to shine, just like she did for me.

The team of girls I mentored at Ciputra University won the first place on an entrepreneurship competition.

What to focus on when we’re going through a depression bout

At times when we’re going through a depression bout; I think it’s very easy for us to get distracted, to look at troubles and challenges around us, instead of fixing our eyes on what we should be focusing on. It’s really easy to see the negatives, and it takes effort to stay positive and hopeful.

pic credit: unknown

As a person with clinical depression, I know that situation too well. In most mornings when I wake up, it’s hard for me to remember good things in life, or how far I have come at this point in my life and work journey. This is where faith plays it’s part; even though I have to admit that even to do this, to hold on to faith, is not something that I can automatically do.

This is the time when talking and writing becomes my refuge. Sometimes we need to be reminded of how far we have come, and how much we have done.

When you’re going through a depression bout, it’s easy to fall into its lies, “You’re a failure, you’re no good, your life means nothing, you’re worthless, you’d better of dead”; and it will take a herculean effort to believe that those thoughts 💭 are lies; that they are not true.

Sometimes during times like that, the best thing you can do is to let go, to stop fighting the waves 🌊 that are pulling you under. Use the energy you have to just stay afloat; not fighting the thoughts 💭, but letting them pass through you, and believing (no matter how hard) that this storm ⛈ will pass too; and when the water is calm, then you can swim 🏊‍♀️ back to shore.

Depression is temporary. It may take some time, but you will feel good again. Trust me.

Stay safe, stay sane, stay kind ❤️

Borderline Personality Disorder – Taming the Beast

In my opinion, BPD is one of the most stigmatized and misunderstood brain disorders out there. Because it is a Personality Disorder, even the person who suffers from it, often is not aware that he/she has it.

Toby Allen, an illustrator who decided to deal with explaining and conquering such mental illness types as depression, borderline personality, and anxiety disorder by recreating them as cute monsters drew BPD as the picture above.

I can’t agree more. I think BPD is one of the most challenging beasts to deal with.

Having said that, I also believe that it is NOT impossible to tame this beast. And in fact, when this beast is tamed, you can use its power and ability to your advantage.

I like to use the story of Newt and Zouwu as a metaphor.

In the movie “Fantastic Beasts 2”, Newt Scamander was facing Zouwu, a monstrously large feline beast, as big as an elephant, with a striped body, scraggly mane, four fangs that curl out of its mouth, long sharp claws, and a disproportionately long, ruffled multicolored tail. Zouwus are terrifying for most human beings, but they are incredibly powerful and fast, capable of travelling 1,000 miles in a day.

Zouwu is a powerful beast. When Newt first met him, Zouwu was wreaking havoc and scaring many people, seemed to be totally uncontrollable.

Continue reading Borderline Personality Disorder – Taming the Beast

Brain Disorders as Fantastic Beasts

pic credit: AngelofDeathz

Someone asked me about the cover picture of WorkWithTheBrainYouHave Community Page. I created that picture, mentioning 7 different brain disorders: ADD/ADHD, Bipolar, Anxiety, Depression, Borderline Personality Disorder, Autism, and OCD.

The reason I put them there is because those are the 7 conditions that I am the most familiar with.


I am a person who has Bipolar type 2, ADD (Inattentive ADHD), and Social Anxiety.

I have a son who has HFA – High Functioning Autism, and I have various friends who have these various brain disorders: Autism, Male Borderline Personality Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder, Anxiety Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

I also experience bouts of depression, anxiety and at times ‘mixed states’ which in simplified explanation means having a bout of depression and anxiety at the same time.

Those are the conditions that I have, at different times, researched and studied in the past 5 years. I use my findings to help me and my friends in our recovery. I am now sharing them here in the  hope that they can help others in their journey of recovery.  

There are literally hundreds of different kind of brain disorders, and unfortunately I don’t know all of them because I have never researched them. But there is tons of information in the internet and you can also get information from your doctor. 

Sadly, there is a lot of stigma around the word “mental illness”.

The word ‘mental’ means ‘relating to the mind’, and as a slang in English language, it means ‘crazy or insane’.

I prefer to use the term “brain disorder” to explain the condition/illness. Because in reality, that is the truth: mental illness/disorder is the illness/disorder of the brain.

Another thing I like to do is picture them (brain disorders) as ‘creatures’. And apparently I was not the only one who does it. Illustrator Toby Allen, decided to deal with explaining and conquering such mental illness types as depression, borderline personality, and anxiety disorder, decided to re-create them as cute monsters. Giving such intangible illnesses some substance, makes them appear more manageable as physical entities.

I was so excited when the movie ‘Fantastic Beasts’ came out in late 2016. I like to think the various brain disorders that we have as the various creatures in the story.

Newt Scamander was the nerd who studied and cared for many different beasts that many others preferred to stay away from. 

It was because of his knowledge, humility and perseverance, he was able to tame those beasts; and at times needed, he can also use their special ability or power for good purpose.   

pic credit: Iris Red


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