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. 

End.

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.