“Am I the only one I know
Waging my wars behind my face and above my throat?
Shadows will scream that I’m alone”
The song Migraine by Twenty One Pilots manages to capture my struggles with Depression and Anxiety so precisely.
The month of May has been deemed Mental Health Awareness Month by the US. I got this notification on Tumblr on the 1st of May as I was mindlessly scrolling (as one does), to alleviate the screaming in my head.
It has been officially three years since I was diagnosed with moderate depression, although I reckon this has been going on much longer than that. Three years of medication. Three years of dealing.
Too be honest it was a major relief when I heard those words come out of the doctor’s mouth. You mean there is a word for all this shit I’ve been feeling? It’s not a Vitamin deficiency as my parents thought for so long?
Getting diagnosed was my first step to recovery, and boy, has it not been easy. Almost a year ago to the T, I wrote this post on my blog, trying to describe how it feels.
These few weeks have plummeted me down the spiraling rabbit hole of depressive thoughts, 5 hour naps and appetite roller-coasters. I’ve made bad decisions, cried on public transport, and haven’t left the house in three days. I’m trying so hard not to relapse, but suddenly I’m back in my bed, tears streaking my face, my arm full of scars and it is 2015 all over again.
The biggest difference though, is that I’m telling myself that it is okay to feel this way – that it is not my fault. I am seeking help, I am taking medication, I’m going for therapy, and it is nothing to be ashamed of. Some days are better than others, this week being one of the worst weeks in a while, and I have exhausted all my coping mechanisms. Here is a comic I drew when I broke my phone last week.
For a long time after I was diagnosed, I used to sneak peeks at people’s arms, I used to look at them when they thought they weren’t seen, and I used to (I still do) send random memes to people hoping it would cheer them up. I was scared someone was going through the same crap that I was, and I didn’t think anyone deserved the sheer unhappiness I was feeling. Ever wonder why most comedians are depressed?
I have a point to all this, I promise. I’m here to tell you that it is okay; that you can talk about it. It feels like you’re the only one dealing with all this, and that no one understands, or worse, no one cares – but this is simply not true.
This Mental Health Awareness Month, I want you to get help. I want you to talk to someone that you trust, and I pray that they hold you close and tell you it is going to be alright. It will be alright; it does not feel like it, but I promise it will.
Here are a few resources to get you started:
1. SOS – Samaritans of Singapore – A suicide hotline based in Singapore; its the first thing that comes up when you google ‘mental health help Singapore’.
2. AWARE Singapore – A non-profit based in Singapore that helps women; I go here for counselling and honestly, it’s been the best experience. My therapist is a gem, and I’m so grateful for her, even if I do disappoint her sometimes.
3. Oogachaga Singapore – Another non-profit, this time working with LGBTQ+ individuals, providing counselling and general help, I was recommended this recently, and just might check it out, coz my raging Bisexual ass is miserable and needs help.
4. I found this pdf which might be helpful too.
Hotlines aside, I’ve been asked a few questions about how I have been coping, and here are some random bits of advice I can scrounge together from the dregs of my brain:
- I’m on medication for my depression – it’s not the standard ProZac – its called Nexito and I’m on 10mg daily. It takes time to find the medicine that works for you; I tried Prozac for a while and it messed me up big time. Don’t be afraid to change medicines, or even start/stop medication. Also, please consult a doctor before doing so because you can end up having a week like this, and it is not fun. In case you’re wondering, the medication helps me function; it does not make me “happy” nor is it a “placebo”. I take it because it helps me get out of bed, and sometimes makes me feel things – a change from either feeling nothing at all or everything at once.
- I’ve started monitoring my mental health via bullet journal – it helps to keep track of how you’ve been feeling, so as to figure out potential triggers. Here are a few ways to get started.
- Recently, I was recommended Headspace – It is a meditation app for when you’re feeling overwhelmed. It helps because it forces you to actually focus on yourself and your body for 5 mins and takes you out of your head. Try it!
- Some self-care for you to remember when you’re having a bad time – selfcare_printable
- Lastly, know that you are loved, you are seen, and you are important.
- Also, puppies.
“And sometimes death seems better than the migraine in my head.”