I never realised I am mentally ill until I was prescribed anti-depressants & anti-psychotics. I had always thought my condition was normal- emotions and negative thoughts. It’s really hard to identify the start of the dark journey because I had been feeling that way for a very long time. I had no idea why I was not okay. It’s really hard to explain why, because I didn’t know too. I was a broken child and I grew up witnessing my parents’ hardest times – the divorce. I fantasized about having a family dinner together, going on a vacation together and being together. But I knew it was impossible, my younger brothers and I were raised by my mother who is the strongest person I know. Ever since that, I became very sensitive, angry and quiet. And I guess that was when the darkness grow.
Silently, at the age of 14 years old, I started to pick up the blades to give myself a guilty pleasure – cutting. I knew something was wrong when I became addicted to it, I enjoyed hurting myself. That time, nothing physical was felt because the pain inside was so much bigger. Day by day, I cut myself deeper & deeper. I loved the numb feeling, the blood and the sensation of punishing myself. Self-harming was a punishment for me because only god knows how much I hated myself for being me.
I wasn’t confident and I was more insecure of myself, physically and mentally. I hated how my body looked, how I felt I wasn’t good enough to anybody and how my brain worked that time. I tried to go on a healthy diet to lose weight but somehow it didn’t work out to be healthy. Not till 2 weeks of diet, I actually starved myself. The impatience I had to lose weight had overpowered me by starving. It started with one meal a day, then a piece of bread a day and water only.. It got bad. I passed out during my school’s sports day. But I wasn’t stopping, I became bulimic. I ate but I puked everything out. It didn’t last long though. I gained more weight, I craved for more sweets and I was getting even worst.
I got caught many times by my mom for cutting. Every time she asked me why, I didn’t know what to answer her. There were fresh cuts on my left arm and my thighs for almost every day. I was terrified of everything. I wanted to die but I was scared to die. I used to blame my hallucinations. The birds I saw when anxiety strikes, the doppelganger of mine when I was alone and the voices of people that were my companies.
August 2015. My mom asked me if I wanted to see someone to talk to. Of course, I didn’t want it. Helplessly, I had no choice but to accept the offer. I went on an appointment that morning, and ended up in psychiatric ward later in the evening. They said because I had suicide attempts and I should be monitored. I really thought it would help me to escape this dark world of mine, but I felt like it was just getting worst day by day. The ward was the shittiest place I had ever been to, the most disgusting place for people who were mentally ill. I cried my heart out, begging on my knees to leave the place. I was worried of everything, my PT3 examination was around the corner and I didn’t want to fail. I had enough of being a failure. I wanted to be someone who my parents would be proud of.
I spent 31 days in there, thinking of ways to escape and die. There were medical students visiting every day, to interview the patients including me and there was a guy, came to ‘talk’ to me. He approached me, and asked me the same questions the other students did. But then he asked me “If you have everything; a house, parents, friends, family and education, why do you still want to end your life? Are you not grateful?” When he left, I broke down in tears immediately and he triggered my suicidal self more.
In order to be discharged, I must showed good progression and I did pretend to be. They let me out but I was prescribed with pills. As days passing by, there were bad days but there were also good days. My relationships with the people around me, especially my parents were getting better. I started to talk and socialise more. It took me time and patience for me to stop self harming. It took me time for me to get to know myself. Honestly, I skipped my medicines a lot. At first because I was still in denial that I was actually diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), but also because I actually had hopes that I could get through this without pills.
As I was getting better, I gained more friends and I realised who my true friends are. My studies were also improving. I still went to appointments with a psychiatrist but I stopped taking any pills. I hate the side effects – I feel stuck when I’m on meds. I finally found new ways to kick Pristiq, the anti-depressant out of my life. I joined my mum in running. From December 2016 onwards, I’ve been running long distance. My first running event was on the 1st January 2017. I have never felt so much better than this! Running is my new anti-depressant. I love the sensation of running because it feels like an escape from the world for a while. I enjoy running as much as I enjoy life now. Other than running, I write poems, I read books, I dance, I sing, I get myself busy with school activities.
I must say, always believe in hope. In a tunnel of darkness, hope is the guidance for you to find the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s not easy, it’s freaking hard to get better. Of course, there are cloudy rainy days but when the rain ends, there will always be light and rainbow. I love the quote from my favourite book saying “Depression is the dark cloud, but you are the sky”. It means that depression cannot overpower you because you are bigger than you thought you are. My illness has taught me so many things, I am now someone who’s living her life at her fullest. Remember, talking helps. Regardless how old you are, what gender you are or who you are, when you’re not okay you should not keep it to yourself. You are so much bigger, you are beautiful, you are hope. I am okay, I am doing good, I still cry and laugh, but now I believe that nothing can hold me down now.
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