Entry #16: Sophie’s Choice

I know it’s have been awhile since I write anything here. I’ve been really really depressed for few months now, and after some times, your energy getting drain. For more than a week, getting out of bed is a challenge. There are some days I didn’t even remember to take my shower as I spend most of my time on my bed. It feels like you have been beat down repeatedly until you have no will power to get up anymore. However, I still force myself to get up. Now, even a short shower, I’m proud of what I have achived. People without this condition would not understand this, but I know, plenty of people with this disorder do.

The reason I feel like writing something today is because I had appointment with my psychiatrist this morning. I have seen a lot of psychiatrists over the years, and he’s my favourite. Before this, I requested that I want to use the Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) machine that is only available at another hospital at my city. Since he never had any experience with TMS, he said he need to do some research on it first. At the same time, I do some reading. It turns out, although TMS doesn’t cause memory loss, it also cause damage to brain’s cells. And to compare with ECT, ECT have higher success rate than TMS. A crappy ECT have higher chances to get better than TMS? Then TMS not so great then.

So, my doctor asked me if I still want to try TMS, but I said I don’t know since what I read wasn’t that great. He said he will make the arrangement if I want to use the machine, however the machine isn’t at the hospital, but at my old university. WTH the TMS machine doing at a university? I’m guessing it’s for some research purposes. In that case, sorry, I would have to say no. I want to get better, not to be a lab rat.

So, now I’m down with medications or ECT. He was quite suprised that I’m considering ECT again as he knows I’m against it. He asked me what makes me considering ECT again. I told him I couldn’t handle the pain anymore. Its been months of major depression and I’m running out of energy to keep on fighting. I’m starting to tearing up. I told him I don’t know what to do. If I go for more ECTs, I will suffer more memory loss and cognitive impairment. I maybe end up cannot continue my PhD study. If my memory won’t recover, there goes my career. All my dreams and my future will be shattered. On the other hand, I can continue experimenting with medications, which what I’ve been doing for the past few years. However, I’m having suicidal urges everyday. And I have almost no energy to keep on fighting. I’m too tired to go on. I may end up committing suicide.

These two choices are so ridiculous and unfair! I’m seriously tired of everything. I don’t think anything about this is fair. Some people may say “it’s a test from God”. Well, what will you do if you are in my shoes? Would you live a long unhappy life with regrets and shattered dreams (which may lead to suicide also), or a short life but doom to hell. Is all these fair to you? Plenty of people who want to live a long life but die at a young age, but I want to die now but I can’t. Is it fair? When someone lose a battle of physical illness, they will be prayed upon and everyone will say good things about them. However, if someone lose a battle of a mental illness, they are doom to hell and everyone will say bad things about them. No. It is not fair! We never asked for this illness. We never want to be this way. We are sick! And we are not faking it to get your intention.


Entry #15: “Gastric” Attack

Few night ago, I was in a car with my sister’s family just cruising around the town cause I’m too depressed. Lately, I’ve been having this weird chest pain where I feel my chest being pressed really hard and I’m having difficulty to breathe. I never paid too much attention to it as I thought it was nothing. That night, when I was sitting calmly in my sister’s car, I started to feel the pain again, together with a massive headache. Every second, the pains getting more intense. So I requested that we drive back home.

As we on our way home, the pains make my head feels like spinning like crazy. I’m trying my best to keep in control because I feel like I’m about to passed out. The head pain remind me a lot of the headache that I had after having ECT. While the chest pain was getting more unbearable. I thought maybe I was dying. It feels like I was dying from all the pain.

As we reaches home, I asked my sister to help me to get from her car to my bed. I was dizzy and can’t walk properly. My niece and nephew was really scared when they saw me acting that way. I started to cry as I feel so hopeless and I’m freaking out. I don’t know what that was. I never experienced anything like that before.

When I reached my bed, the pains started to go away and I begin to feel calmer. However, the chest pain is still there. So, I just go to bed.

When I woke up, the chest pain is still there but less intense. So my sister forced me to go to clinic to get a doctor opinion. I refused but she insisted. When we were at the clinic, the doctor asked me to go to the emergency department at any hospital immediately. When we get there, they did few tests to see whether my heart is OK. I did some ECG, blood tests and XRay. After waiting for a long time, the doctor finally came and said nothing wrong with my heart. That was a relief. However, he suggested that it’s maybe a gastric pain acting up. I was like, seriously? I know gastric pain since I was 5, and that is not it? I feel extremely furious. Come on! Is that all you can get? Gastric pain? WTF!

So, to all medical doctors out there: I know getting a medical degree is extremely hard. But, just because you have a MD, it doesn’t mean you know everything. Nobody knows everything except God. If you don’t know anything, ask! Please! Do ask! That is how we learn. If you don’t have the answer, just be honest and don’t make an assumption. What you said will make a huge affect to someone life. Just because I had ECTs, it doesn’t mean I a retard.

Btw, I just had another “Gastric” attack an hour ago and I’m not hungry.

Entry #14: When It All Start

I don’t really remember when it all began. All I know I was 14 at the time. Since my mum was busy with work that year, I volunteer to stay at my school’s hostel, so my parent won’t go all the trouble to send me to school everyday.

I think that is when it all begin. I saw “ghost” for several times. Yes, at that time I do believe that I saw ghosts. I don’t know whether it is ghosts or not, but now I think it is just my halucinations. The “ghosts” was very clear and vivid. That was my first symptoms that I noticed. Then, there was polydipsia and polyuria. Which means extreme thirst and frequent urinations. At first, it wasn’t obvious.

OK, I know that it is not the symptoms of bipolar disorder, but I didn’t know the symptoms back then. Yes, I’m starting to feel depressed at that time. I spend all my free time at a school mosque. Just sitting there while holding a prayers book. I believed that time that it will take away my sadness. All the things that happening to me (sadness, halucinations, polydipsia and polyuria) was only the devil’s works, so I thought. Due to all that, I decided to leave the hostel. I don’t want to live at the school’s hostel anymore. Due to that, I got plenty of backlash from almost everyone, which added more to my depression.

A week after I leave the hostel, my grandma was admitted into a hospital’s ICU because she was unresponsive. I was first heard the news when I came back from school. When my mother told me the news, I felt that my heart been ripped out from my body, then stabbed repeatedly. This was the woman who have been there for me for all my life. I’m  much more closer to her than my own parent. That afternoon, she went into an emergency surgery on her brain. 

Since then, my depression become more obvious. I cried myself to sleep everyday. I refused to go to school because I don’t feel like leaving my bed. No one understand what happening to me. Not my family, not my school. To them, I’m just a lazy teenager that is trying to get away from going to school everyday. I have few major nervous breakdown, and yet, nobody think there is something wrong with me. And, don’t get me started with the school’s counsellor. He called me for a counselling session. I just cried during the whole session and he just sit there watching me cry without doing anything.

It wasn’t until I was 22 or 23 that I know I have a mental illness. I never knew what mental illness was before that. Now, 10 years later, I have tried plenty of medications, and it seems like none suit me well. That is why the last resort was ECT. Although I have mental illness, I always been the brain in the family. However, I’m also always been the socially awkward one in the family. And now, I’m ugly obese mentally ill person who’s a burden to my family.
P/S: My psychotherapist suggested that I end my blog entry with a bipolar quote. So here goes nothing.

I know it’s not a positive quote, but I just love this quote. This is what I’m going thru for the pass few months.

Entry #10: ¬†ECT’s Adverse Effects

It’s been weeks since I did ECT and I’m still regretting it. I’m still having difficulties in memory, disorientation and still suicidal. After some advice from my nephew’s paediatrician, I went to see a neurologist to seek some advice just to make sure there is nothing wrong with my brain. Mostly, to comfort my family, who’s really worried about me.

The neurologist was a very nice and polite person. He did asked about my mental illness, my medical history and my medications that I’m currently on. He then did some physical testes. I think he noticed my disorientation. Then he did a memory test on me. It’s a standardised memory test I guess.

I managed to aced few questions (although he did gave me few hints, I still count that as a success). I can’t remember my own birthday, which is a huge blow for me. I always remember the birthdays of my family members and friends. Then he asked me whether I’m OK in math. Proudly I said, I’m good in applied math and I’m currently doing my PhD is in Mechanical Engineering. Then he asked me some simple arithmetic questions. I didn’t remember the exact questions but it’s something like 7 plus 6 and 100 minus 9. I was stunned. My tears started to fall. I can’t believe I dont know the answers. I used to able do multiplication or division a number up to 5-7 digits to a few digits number mentally. And yet, I can’t do arithmetic. I can’t stop crying. I’m broken. Math is my pride and joy. I love math more than I love myself. But, I have failed!!!

Only God knows what I felt at that moment. The doctor tried to console me. After the session, he said the memory will come back, but he doesn’t know when exactly. I need to rest more and do more enjoyable things so my brain will heal faster and I won’t be too depressed. If not, I may need another round of ECTs. 

I may take a longer leave of absent from my studies, but my supervisor will leave this country end of this year. I don’t have the luxury of time at this moment. I did express my concern to my supervisor last week, but he was extremely supportive. He said take as much time to heal as needed as health comes first. Once I’m OK, then my dream to be successful will come true. I’m blessed to have them as my PhD supervisor. And I’m blessed to have my family and friends. Only God can repay what they have done for me. If any of you are reading this, thank you!