Thursday, August 13, 2015

The depression is real.

     Sorry for having to start of this post with that image. That was the previous header for this blog, I put that there after writing the previous post, dated 20th Feb, 2014, one and a half years ago.
The upside was, I found a job that was of my interest on 15th Aug, 2014, which also paid surprisingly well. So, somehow between February and August (Approx. 6 months), I got out of the rut, the hell hole, the dark valley, the cave, whatever you want to call it. 

     I discovered an online book on the Google Play store on treating depression the natural way. There were 6 main 'elements', the ones I could remember now is social support, sunlight exposure, exercise and supplementation (Omega-3 high in EPA and DHA). The book said the supplements will take three months to kick in. So I tried what the book outlined. I would play badminton with my family once a week, get some sunlight and regularly took my supplements. Eventually I got better. or that's how I felt at least. Up to the point that I even took up a job as car wash supervisor, which paid pretty well for that kind of position. 

     It was a new beginning, this was my fresh start. I was motivated to bring up the sales of the shop. The shop was making a loss every month, the location was bad as there was almost zero walk-in traffic. I was convinced with superior workmanship, the customers will come. The car wash/detailing centre was a support unit to the main business, a car workshop specialising in German cars, mainly Audi, Porsche and Volkswagen.

     There were challenges although my boss did not really pressure me into generating more sales, he was more concerned of the quality of work since they have mostly high-end clients. We wash and detail more Porsches than BMWs and Mercs combined. I was also happy that I could manage the Indonesian staff. They were lazy and stubborn to start with, who wouldn't be. They had little work to do and had a relatively high salary. In comes this new supervisor that wanted to bring new changes. We will have arguments but over time, we became good friends. I brought them out bowling once and all the tension from the workspace were heartily laughed off. I even have dinners with them, we enjoy each other's company. 
     However, after working for 7 months, I got restless everyday. The sales were not growing. Although we had more repeat customers. The quality of work was also much better. Somehow, I was either charging too little or doing too much for the service. I have customers from Mont Kiara and even Shah Alam, driving all the way to Kota Damansara(30-45 mins drive) just for a car wash, I was proud of that. My boss said they didn't mind the loss, since the core business's(workshop) profit could cover for us. Somehow, I felt dissatisfied, I was to blame. Also, during my 7 months at that place, anytime I make a mistake, I would feel extremely terrible. I would take me 1-2 weeks to recover to feeling normal again. I'm pretty sure this isn't normal. Even for the slightest mistake, I would blame myself heavily. 

     One of the ways to treat depression was to be mindful of negative thoughts and rumination. The longer I worked, the quicker I lost the ability to block out these negative thoughts. I got lazy, I let my mind loose, I started ruminating. As it gathered momentum, I felt I was slowly starting to slide back into the hell hole. I relapsed. I quit my job.

     I relapsed so strongly, suicide was on my mind everyday, every moment. I researched on the best method to suicide and concluded that hanging was the quickest and cheapest. It's painful, but the success rate is high. You don't want a failed suicide as you will survive with disabilities(e.g. brain damage). Cyanide seems too troublesome to produce, I'm bad at chemistry. The least painful way was Inert Gas Asphyxiation(Wiki). The setup for this method was expensive(buying the Nitrogen). So I decided on hanging. Then comes with dealing with the grief and sadness that you will leave behind. I didn't want to leave this world with burden to others. So I bought an insurance plan. 

     An insurance plan has a suicide clause, if the policy holder suicides within one year from the date the policy starts, there will be no death coverage. So if I suicide after a year, I can at least give some money to my family. It is not much, you can't even buy a mid-range Japanese sedan with that money, but it lessens my guilt of leaving. As such, the plan is to wait out the 1 year, and exit.

     8.5 months to go. The policy started end of March 2015. The past 3 months hasn't been easy and am having depressive symptoms everyday, feelings of hopelessness, suicidal thoughts, difficulty sleeping, withdrawal from social contact, etc. But this wasn't the first time, it was harder a year ago, when I would lock myself in a room for a week. I guess I was more experienced this time. I could wear a more convincing mask on my face to hide my depression. Sometimes, I would just tear up over the thoughts of uselessness and leaving my family. I would be eating breakfast with grandpa and would suddenly tear up, I'd then control it before it became obvious.

     I turned off my phone and deactivated Facebook to cut off social contact. My best friend noticed this after a week, and he suddenly came into my room to my surprise(thanks for that, you know who you are). He told me he has two friends diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and it helps them by just being present, instead of offering advice.According to my psychiatrist. offering advice may be good, but not necessarily helpful. My friend and I would go out for tea and then come back and watch a show and play some games. It wasn't anything special, but it was very welcomed. I appreciated that. I switched on my phone again.

     Difficulty in concentration was making it hard to enjoy my games and shows. I would watch a show for 5 minutes, felt irritable and switch to gaming, and back and forth. While browsing Reddit one day, I came across this thread(Reddit). I was surprised by the number of positive responses from anti-depressant users. It was encouraging. At first I was depressant because I was anti anti-depressant. Get it? 'Coz double negatives...nvm. I was against anti-depressants as the book I was reading was telling about how bad the side effects could be and its ineffectiveness for many people. After reading the Reddit thread, my mind changed. I arranged an appointment with a clinical psychologist. This time round I was more open to her than my first psychologist. Prior to talking to her, I had to sign a form, one of the clause states that if they think I am will potentially harm myself, they can inform my parents/guardian. She did.

     I could hear my mum cry over the phone as the psychologist told her what I was thinking, I broke down in front of the psychologist. I also told her I came to see her because I wanted to be referred to a psychiatrist for medication. She was slightly surprised by that, sort of implying that I will accept taking medication. I guess the general sentiment towards depression medication is negative. At this point, I'm willing to try anything instead of feeling suicidal everyday and not being able to execute(1 year insurance clause). 4 days later, I see a psychiatrist and he has confirmed the depression, and possibly bipolar type II. 

Prescription log

The SSRI(Wiki)Anti-Depressant:
  • Luvox (Fluvoxamine Maleate) 0.25mg once a day for one week.
  • Luvox (Fluvoxamine Maleate) 0.5mg once a day for one week.

Standby 'tranquilizer' a.k.a sleeping pill:
  • Xanax (Alprazolam) 0.5mg once a day when necessary.

Mood log

First night(after first 0.25mg Luvox):
     Difficulty sleeping, noticeably more anxious thoughts during sleeping as usual. Only slept for four hours. Awoke feeling restless. Slept again for four hours(afternoon time), incredibly hard to sleep, constant worry and anxiety, never felt like this before medication. Woke up at 5pm feeling tired.

Second night:
     Had to wake up at 6am next day to send grandpa to hospital for eye checkup. Normally would not sleep but didn't want to feel tired. Took the Luvox and also 0.5mg of Xanax at 9pm. Slept by 9.30pm all the way to 5am. One of the most restful sleeps I ever hard in the past months. Didn't think I had any dreams, which was good, since depression makes you dream a lot more. 

Third day:
     Walking out of the house with granpa to get into the car. Looked up and noticed the trees seemed to be greener, the sun was more yellow. It's like I was viewing an AMOLED screen instead of a regular LCD screen, colours were more saturated. I noticed things I usually ignore. I was also less irritable and felt more calm. I usually dread these hospital trips but things didn't seem too bad this morning. Did not feel as anxious when waiting among other patients unlike last visit two weeks ago. I doubt it's the medicine working as it normally takes 2 weeks up to months before the medicine can have any effect. Maybe it's the Xanax giving me better rest last night and the calming effect still lingering around. Maybe a placebo effect? Or the therapeutic effect of my parents' concern over the knowledge of my suicidal thoughts and insurance plan (the Psychiatrist told my mum). Even texted my close friends letting them know of my condition, which I usually don't. Also agreed to go out for tea with a friend tonight, which I would usually decline. 


P.S, 1pm, after re-reading my post, there were many spelling and grammatical errors, it seems like I have trouble concentrating or some sort of cognitive impairment. Also feeling a slight buzz(in a good way) in my head. Don't have the regular low feeling for now, not sure if it's the Luvox or Xanax doing it's thing. 


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Diagnosed with depression

So I recently visited a psychologist for the first time. After an hour of talking, she said I was quite depressed.

I often asked others, were you ever depressed? A girl once replied me, the word 'depression' tends to be overused, maybe you are just feeling sad. I guess that is not my case.

I feel numb, unmotivated, guilty, worthless and occasionally suicidal. Although I have not taken any action on suiciding, the thought does linger in my mind every now and then. I have lost the will to fight. I have lost the ability to love and feel loved. Nothing seems to make me feel happy.

I find this statement very agreeable. "You are afraid of waking up and facing the day each morning and secretly hoping when you go to sleep that night that you may not open your eyes the next day."

Thursday, January 10, 2013


Two thousand thirteen. This blog is almost eight years old. My age by the year is now 26. That is a little more than half of fifty.

Wouldn't we all just like to rewind the clock, do things differently and be able to not be in the position that you are currently in?

 As a guy that ran away from home at the age of twelve because he was banned from playing computer games, the gaming habit still stuck with me. Why do I even play games? I'm not very good at it, I know guys who have faster reactions, can come up with better strategies, and are all around better then me. Why play then? Is it because it's fun? Well it sure is, but I find it to be less fun nowadays compared to last time.

So why play? Well it could be the temporal sense of achievement I get from it, the sense of achievement that I don't feel in real life. I'm not playing the blame game but living in a critical family has its drawbacks. Compliments don't go around very often. It makes you have self-doubts and low self-esteem.

 I remembered my favourite teacher was my science and B.M tuition teacher, they made me loved the subject because I loved them. I loved how un-authoritative they were, how loving and caring they were. I clearly remembered my B.M tuition teachers words before the UPSR exam; "Forget what everyone told you about getting 5 As, just go in there and do your best". I got 2 A's for UPSR, both for B.M. (karangan and the other one). I loved science but a B was all I managed to achieve. I wished my two favourite tuition teachers could tutor me further, in education and in life.

Was it the lack of expressed affection back home that made me fill with so much self-doubt that I find no confidence in doing anything? I do believe it's good to have some form of critical behaviour. When there's not enough, you don't reflect on yourself or judge yourself enough. When there's too much however, you judge yourself so much that it impairs your ability to do anything.

 I feel like that's the state I am in. I game so much that I now see friends from Secondary school, College and University surpass me in life. Close friends that I usually hang out with I have avoided, for the embarrassment I feel when I compare myself to them.

 I've stopped working for my father as I feel I'm such a lousy and undisciplined person that I am unfit for what's ahead of me. Better to have them give up their hopes on me now then later. I used to read a lot of self-help books, it does help me know what is the right thing to do. Now I know what is the right thing to do, but actually doing it is much more difficult. Books on self-confidence and positivity does give you the motivational boost, but not for long. Soon, the negative thoughts in your head becomes a routine and even makes you feel comfortable.

 "I'm not good enough"

 If I have a dollar for everytime that thought appears, I can buy myself a big house. Not good enough in what? In everything. As you see your old friends surpass you, you start to hate them. Hate them for what they have, hate them for who they are, just pure hate. I do have some friends that are non-judgmental and I appreciate them. Although most will have the natural tendency to look down on you and probably just erase you of their 'keep in touch' list.

 Criticism. It's something that should be handled carefully. When people express affection to me, I just scrub it off as fake and untrue, no matter how genuine it appears. It's as though, 'real love' does not exist anymore.

 Don't give me that "God loves you" bullshit either. I'm not a believer.

 So here I sit, jobless, typing out the thoughts that have been stuck in my head for months.

 Before I end, you know what I hate, when people doubt and criticize your every move. The lack of support they give. I was polishing a car one night, my mum has a bunch of friends over and they were sitting outside having drinks. I could overhear their conversation from where I was working.

 My dad joins them, one of their friends told my dad that "your son if very good, knows how to do these kind of things".

My dad said, and quite loudly, "but it's stupid!", then he goes on to explain how little money it makes as there's a ceiling that it will touch (max. amount of cars that you can do, there's a limit to that figure).

 "It's stupid", that's the general response that he gives whenever people talk about my car detailing business. If I'm a self-confident guy, I probably wouldn't even remember those words and press on with detailing. But I'm not, so what does that do? It puts another dent in your self-esteem. Imagine, telling that in front of all his friends, within my hearing range, "It's stupid". I don't even know why it hurts me to this extent but it does. 

Since those are dad's words, it must be true. He IS the king of the house and the breadwinner of the family. Before I worked for my dad, I worked at another auto detailing business, it was hellish and physically exhausting. About 12 hour shifts, Monday to Saturday, sometimes even on Sundays. My dad never agreed with me working there and always thought I was wasting my time. But, I was happy there, I had the sense of achievement, I loved it. I guess it was a matter of time that his disapproval of my job brainwashed me into joining his company. It was a 9-6, Monday to Friday job. I get to reach home by 7pm, instead of 10pm every night. I get Saturdays off, I don't have to work on Public holidays, and it's much less exhausting.

 As time goes by, I started to hate it.The reason? Well I've never really gotten to know the real reason. My best guess would be because of my dad? He was real happy when I joined him. I guess I should be too, it's much more relaxing, but I guess I never got what I wanted from him.

 Assurance. Confidence. Those kind of stuff.

 My previous boss was whole lot different. He was an insurance guy, and selling is his thing, but he also has a way of boosting the morale and confidence of his employees. Although I am critical and can tell they are fake sweet-talks, I was still happy to hear them, probably because it was very rare in my family. I liked working under him, it was what kept me going everyday, despite the unfavourable working conditions.

 Now I tell my detailing customers that I'm on a break due to a 'muscle injury' as the previous two cars I worked on did not turn out that well. The cumulative amount of self-doubt from my day job sets in and I just crashed.

 Haven't been working for about 3 months now. Playing games all day to feel that temporal sense of achievement. Ignoring invites from friends to hang out.

 Wouldn't we all just like to rewind the clock?