I hope this blog entry will be able to save lives, or at least prevent someone from developing serious mental health problems.
I started the year right. I was doing the things I enjoy. I was happy. I thought I was already okay, until third quarter of this year, I experienced a series of major relapses that alarmed me. Those were nights of crying spells that happen for no apparent reason. We decided to look for a doctor who can dig deeply into my disorder as opposed to lining up in charity. One was very expensive, but wasn't worth it. I ended up, coincidentally, with a doctor who happens to my sister's friend.
After a very long assessment of how I am, a graph changed the whole game. My doctor asked me to graph the level of "hyperness" (I know that's not a word) and depression that I have experienced in the last 8 years. After her analysis, she concluded that I wasn't just anxious and depressed. I have Bipolar II Disorder.
Bipolar II Disorder— defined by a pattern of depressive episodes and hypomanic episodes, but not the full-blown manic episodes... - National Institute for Mental Health
Bipolar Disorder is less talked about but is most misunderstood. Some people think that it's a personality disorder and oftentimes used as an insult towards a person who are "unstable". It is a mental disability where one experiences extreme happiness AND depression. In short, it is a combination of two mental disabilities: Manic Episodes and Depression.
My previous diagnosis failed to take into consideration my mental state years before I was diagnosed. I did not know that I had this ever since. What's worse is that treatment period is two times the period between the onset and diagnosis... so that's sixteen years.
The new diagnosis scarred me for life, and gave me flashbacks of the symptoms that I did not know back then: being excessively happy and sad, irritability, making impulsive decisions, etc. It made me question myself: What did I do in the past for this to happen? And I guess I can enumerate the answers to this question:
I overworked during college. I was so grade-conscious and an overachiever that I failed to relax my mind.
I was an overthinker. Before sleeping, instead of just resting, I worry on things, both big and small
I was surrounded by toxic people.
I did not eat healthy, and I deprived myself of sleep.
I prematurely withdrew from my medication.
I forced myself to work in a very toxic environment.
I am not aware of my mental health.
In short, I failed to take care of myself over the past 8 years.
And now I am finally undergoing a new medication. It also took me and my doctor several attempts to find the right medicine for me. I had to suffer akathisia ( a movement disorder that makes it hard for you to stay still - WebMD), insomnia, suicidal thoughts etc before we found Lamitor and Abilify to be the right medication for me, alongside talk therapies. Every session, I spend 5 digits, and the medicine costs ~P2000 every 2 weeks.
I am not able to work since the onset of the major relapses and now I'm completely broke. As I write this down, I cry in hopelessness of regaining the strength to live a normal life again. I am tired of cry spells. I am sick of thoughts of failure in life. I pity the people I love who are affected by my disability. But even if I suffer, I have no choice but to fight.
So to you my dear readers, especially my generation who are very susceptible to mental disabilities, please take care of yourself. Be kind to yourself, before it's too late. Prevention is better than cure. This blog serves as an eye-opener to those who still do not know or believe in the concept of mental health. Our brain controls our whole body. If it is impaired, our whole being is impaired as well. So please take care of mental health as well.
I Need Help
As of the moment, aside from my medication, I still try to find ways for speedy recovery. I joined a Church choir, do free photoshoots once in a while, show up to trusted friends, and dance when I'm alone. But what would really help me would be to get more couture clients so I can sustain my living as I am already broke. If you know anyone who need a made-to-measure garment, please do give my name. You can visit my very small atelier at Blue Residences, Katipunan Avenue. It would be of great help for me not just financially, but also mentally, as I try to regain the willingness to live normally again. Prayers are also highly appreciated, as well as occasionally talking to me.
Thank you and please wish me well.