I really hope you're all in good health and that you are surviving these unusual times.
My name is Aziz and I am a 20-year-old business student. I was born in Tunis, Tunisia, and back in January 2020, I received a 100% scholarship from Xiamen University Malaysia, Xiamen University China's international campus in Malaysia and I want to reach out to you all for help hoping that anyone would support.
"Sometimes reality is too complex. Stories give it form." ~ Jean Luc Godard
TL;DR: International student diagnosed with Pure O OCD, needs a simple animation set (Laptop + Drawing tablet) to help confront his intrusive thoughts (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) as he can't afford individual sessions. I got infected with the Dengue virus during the pandemic and was hospitalized for a week so I had to pay 3 months and a half worth of part-time salary which was originally meant for buying a laptop that will replace my 8 years old VERY slow and ALWAYS crashing laptop. Now, I am back at ground zero and can't work for the next couple of months because every facility is closed since the lockdown. I would greatly appreciate your help.
There's a LOT of ways that you can help me with. If you can't donate even as low as €1, it would HUGELY benefit me if you share this campaign or send it to someone who can contribute with any amount. I will be forever grateful for everyone who donates, shares, or even follows.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Now, if you're still here let me take you on my journey: (10-15 minutes read)
I have always had depression episodes during my life and struggled with anxiety since my teenage years, but things seem to only get worse as I get older, and I am not sure anymore if that's circumstantial or not.
At the beginning of this year, I managed to leave my home country after 20 years of effort and that was my first time I lived away from my dysfunctional family, so that helped a bit at first until the pandemic hit.
When I traveled to Malaysia to study abroad, I had clear visions in mind; that I am going to work part-time jobs so that I can afford to see a therapist, fix some of my childhood trauma, and live an independent life, but I couldn't do that for various reasons.
Almost a month after I arrived in Malaysia, the university announced that it's closing up the campus and switching to online education: meaning that those who don't have another place to stay in other than the dorms won't have the freedom to go in or out until the lockdown is lifted.
Little did we know that the situation would still be the same to this very day.
So during the last couple of months, during the lockdown, my situation dramatically got worse.
I would always find myself crippled with destructive thoughts, about people getting hurt, myself getting hurt, and people dying, scenarios that literally hurt my whole body every time they rush into my head.
I, later after extensively looking into it, self-diagnosed myself with Pure O OCD [Purely Obsessional OCD], a form of the more known Obsessive Compulsive Disorder but only involving the obsessions and not the compulsions. The diagnosis was backed up by a psychotherapist from my home country who volunteered to WhatsApp me multiple times and help me overcome my intrusive thoughts. (I am genuinely grateful for what she did to me.)
Her advice and the university counselor's (who's not qualified enough to treat me) was to confront my thoughts and challenge them. And as someone who has very visual thoughts and a person who is into animation and graphic design, her idea was to not only envision the scenarios but to create them from scratch as mini-clips that should work as a form of CBT if I still can't afford the sessions with a therapist.
That way, the effect of those imaginations reduce, and the self-fulfilling anxiety lessens, which otherwise and if not faced properly, would turn into whole different kinds of phobias.
The problem back then was (and still is) that I didn't have a laptop powerful enough [I own a 9 years old almost-tore-down Toshiba Satellite from back in the day (2011 to be precise)] not only to get into animation, which was my dream since my childhood but to even conduct day-to-day activities related to my studies. During the first few months of the year, I would usually go to the university's library and use one of their desktops instead of using mine.
So the plan was to collect enough money that will allow me to purchase an animation setup: a laptop both for school and content creation and as a potentially effective treatment for my intrusive thoughts.
I wanted to buy a mid-range laptop and a graphic tablet, anything powerful enough to get me started.
I picked up two jobs on campus, one in the university's English center as an English helper, which is basically someone who helps people practice their language skills and assist them with different tasks. The other was a student coordinator spot helping testing organizations (TOEFL, IELTS, and other local exams) to manage exams on campus.
I was paid exactly 8 Malaysian Ringgits per hour for both jobs (The equivalent of $1.95 or €1.64 hourly).
I worked almost 100 hours a month in the first three months I started the two jobs, for an average of 4 hours a day, 7 days a week only to collect $600 at the end.
I did that while making sure I keep a good grade /rank to maintain my scholarship .
I managed to get ranked the first in my class for the first semester , but my grades fell shortly during the following semester as I exhausted myself.
During June, I got infected with Dengue fever disease which disrupted everything in my life and almost killed me.
I found myself sleeping in intensive care in a local hospital for a week and I lost between 11 to 18 pounds over the course of 2 weeks.
The hospital stay cost around RM3500 (RM2,586 + RM925 which is the equivalent of $850) in total which was basically more than my hard-earned money.
A lot of this was due to the poor management of the staff on campus which immensely took its toll me.
Just a couple of months later, one of the members of the student body conducted an investigation on the staff's performance during the lockdown and included my story , but she later abandoned the story and did not send the complaint letter she was working on to the Ministry of Education fearing she might lose her scholarship in the process.
I even applied to rent outside with a group of people, but my application got declined because there was one policy put forth by the university that prohibits international students from renting outside until they're in their second year.
Now as an immigrant and someone raised by very old-fashioned parents, I was never fond of the idea of asking people for favors let alone with their money. In fact, this is my first time doing so and I wouldn't do it if I didn't feel the need to do it.
As an international on a student visa, I can only work on campus, so my only opportunity would be to work for RM8 an hour (if not less) which will theoretically take me 8 months of continuous 4 hours a day work, 7 days a week, nonstop, no weekends, and not even holidays off to afford this set. This idea alone makes me feel that I am always fallen behind which is so anxious. (Exchange rate can screw you up if you're on the other side of the world, man!)
But why would I buy an expensive MacBook Air, instead of a cheap Windows alternative?
In my defense, I already collected $800 before giving it all away to the hospital, so I really wanted to buy a good laptop and drawing tablet. And after endless YouTube Tech videos, Reddit Reviews, and google searches, nothing can seem to beat the M1 MacBook Air in terms of value for money, which can still deliver strong performance for handling video editing, 3D rendering, and anything else you throw at it while still being future proof.
I already own a Windows laptop, and I tested tons of my friends' laptops. And as long as I am not trying the latest ThinkPads or XPSes, (all of which are way more expensive than the base model MacBook Air with the student discount) all of them will throttle and won't handle intensive tasks.
The whole cost of the set would cost me $1700 (€1500) in Malaysia, but if I managed to catch a discount or buy slightly used models I can definitely save some money.
Long story short, COVID19 has been hard on all of us, and I really want to congratulate you for pulling through this period so far. You're a champ, truly!
If you're struggling, I feel you, you are not alone in this. (also email me and we can grab an e-coffee, if you don't feel like it, please stay hydrated and get quality sleep)
So even if you close this right now without doing anything, I just want you to walk out with that in mind. I really appreciate you taking the time and considering it.
But for those that do not succumb to the apathy, think that it's not okay to skip, and genuinely want to do something about it: for every contribution, I will try to give back and provide as much value as I can:
○ For €1 donations and above: I will send you a handwritten modern calligraphy-style thank you note with your name on it.
○ For €5 donations and above: I will send you my dope notion template so you can duplicate it and use it if you want to (or help you with yours).
○ For €10 donations and above: I will help you with any writing assignment you have.
○ For €25 donations and above: I will offer help to assist you with any problem whether it requires compassion, research, or design work.
○ For €50 donations and above: Help you practice Arabic or French, or simply anything related to the two languages if you happen to need that.
○ For €100 donations and above: You have every right to a free discount on every project I am going to build in the future. That includes things like: Personal Blog , FBA Products, Fiverr Gigs , E-Commerce, SaaS (Notion Integration), and more... AND If you ever found yourself in Malaysia or Tunisia, I will be your friendly host, guardian, and/or companion. If genuinely still don't care about any of that, I will send you a list of TONS of free recourses I have put together after days and days of scrolling through open source projects and other cool services people offer on the internet, things that will help you kickstart your project or simply entertain you technically for free (Design, programming, entertainment).
- Jack Kin Lim
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