Monthly Archives: December 2013

Venting out some struggles

I just came back from a short trip in Phuket, Thailand.  It was a great trip with pretty decent massages fr the Thai.

Today I decide to talk more of my feelings towards my psychiatric treatment.

My last part of my Journey in Therapy is still under construction so be patient.

It’s been 3 months of my visits to my Pdoc.  Honestly I don’t know what’s my diagnosis. Sometimes, I don’t bother knowing as I feel I know what I’m having difficulties with hence having a diagnosis doesn’t really make a difference.  But at this point, I feel the Urgent need to know what the heck I’m going through!

at first, I managed to ask my Pdoc about what are the probable diagnosis/ses. He told me it may be Depression, Bipolar II or BPD.

i thought I would get an answer fr him shortly after that particular session,but unfortunately I didn’t.

I have had 5 appointments with him so far, and already spent 1500+ on medical & consultation fees.

The worst thing is as I just told him in our last session that I was REALLY feeling better, I wanted to taper off the meds and he told me that even so I need to be on them for at least 1/2 a year to 1 year as maintainence treatment.

Sigh.. I realized these few days where I was in Phuket, I find my temper was out of my control. I get heated up easily and I tend to shout at my family.. like real loud. I felt guilty always after the shouting. I don’t know why I seem to be unable to control.

Pdoc lowered my Lamictal dosage fr 50mg to 25mg during my last visit. So I guessed it might be because of that perhaps.

Anyway, tomorrow I hope it will be a great day as I will collect my internship confirmation letter as well as go for a lunch date with a guy friend.  I like him but I am not sure if he is right for me.

Hoping that everything goes smoothly tomorrow.

messy me ~

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Looking at life the SIMPLE way

Life
in its essence
is precious.

Many ponder…
on the existence
of afterlife, karma, consequences

Existentialism talks about us
as humans, being in control
it’s a non consequentialist theory

I’m a Christian
and Christians believe in God
who is the creator of living beings

Putting all theory that people made
religions and faith aside

Look at life
just as simple as it is
there’s a beginning
there’s an end

But no one knows when these times will be
It doesn’t matter really
as we should not try to control

Many fear death
I fear it too

From a Christian point of view
Wages of sin is death
So as we live day after day
we give thanks to The Lord our God

From a general viewpoint
Yes, death may be scary
There may be many things
one wish to do, accomplish and succeed in

Rather than being afraid,
Why not seize time?

Life is a time frame
it has a duration
And Time waits for no man !

So, between these two unpredictable yet fixed times
of human existence
I urge you set what you want, i.e. Goals
Live it to the fullest
hopefully let there be no regrets

It’s okay not to be perfect

Perfection

Achieving Perfectionism has always been a need for me.  In high school, writing a practice essay will be drafted again and again, many times until my standard of perfect is reached.  In college, my assignments were never, in my eyes good.  I would always see flaws in my work, just because I want everything I do to be perfect.  

Competing with classmates in academics was also a need for me.  Throughout my primary and secondary years, I was always in Top classes.  There, I feel the absolute need to succeed, I just want everything in my life to look good, appear fantastic so that other people will look up to me, just like how students look up to scholars.  My circle of friends were amazing smartypants.  I was smart too. But just wasn’t up to their par.  Everything they are were great.  I had a friend who lost her father in a car accident.  As I look at her during those school days, she was strong, I thought. This made me feel I was weak, as I get sad easily.  I feel inferior, I feel lonely as I never seem to say the right things, mix with my peers and have a happy life.

It has been years I search for happiness in my life.  I was never happy.  I remembered I was so sad about my life due to lack of friends, constantly being bullied because I was very small size – being prematured – during primary school.  At that time, I told God (whichever God it is, I wasn’t religious at that time and didn’t have a proper belief about God):

“Please, you can take me away now.  I am ready to die, I am done with life.”

Literally, I was in a school holiday trip at that time, I was supposed to have fun…. but that was what I wish for.

God didn’t take me away as I wished.  I lived through those years, those bitter years.  I guess how I cope back then in primary was telling myself it’s okay to not have friends.  I used to have this best friend, I will call her here. Once, I betrayed Z in a way where I told another mutual friend of ours, M, that likes the same boy she likes.  I thought I was doing them a favour.  Childlike thinking was that if they know that each other likes the same boy, they can discuss this boy together.  I thought I did a good deed, but hated me for leaking the secret.  We fought and finally we cut our friendship ties.

Now, being a young adult,  I had difficult and painful experiences in the past.  I’d lost friends, being suicidal, grieving over loss of a pet, depressed, falling short of my high expectations over and over…. Many things I had experienced, was painful.   Happy memories were few.  But I guessed I have to thank these experiences too.  Through them, I learned that Life is full of ups and downs. And among these peaks and troughs of life, there is few we can control, needless to talk about perfection.  


Through hardships I learned


it’s okay to let other win, 

it’s okay if you’re less than perfect, 

fall short of the cohort, 

it’s okay if you don’t match up to others’ standards… 


Because it’s important to know that you, me, all of us are unique.  Perfection is just an idealistic mindset, subjected to personal opinions, point of views and perspectives.  When things and situations don’t go your way, take it as simply unexpected hence less dull, or maybe take it as a challenge!

If you can’t remember anything I’ve mentioned earlier,

Just take home this message:

There’s no perfection in life.  As humans, it’s natural to want more, desire more.. There can never be enough.  So, seize time and opportunities in life, for we never know when we may not see tomorrow. Live life to the fullest!

May peace be with you, always.

Journey in therapy #2: Reflecting year 2013

Reflecting year 2013,

Throughout these 9 months, I have worked with my counsellor – I will call her T here – for a large amount of time. I would say I was beyond troubled when I approached her in March. I had so many issues that I don’t know how to deal with. As I recall them now, I felt the same feelings too.
Continuing from my background story, I was feeling good from Aug ’12 to Feb ’13. I wanted to restart my life. Life was great, I was participating in many activities, clubs, societies, events… Really, deep down in my heart, I am happy about my life. Until things got bad.

Academic problems
As I was taking a combination of Science subjects, what they call Pre-Med subjects. I am not sure if writing it here is any helpful to my mind.. sigh.. Anyway, it was tough, I couldn’t handle Chemistry and Physics as well as I thought I could. It was also a dream to study Medicine. I really wanted to become a doctor, an oncologist as I was fascinated with cancer and how to treat it. I wish to find a cure for cancer. Well, reality hit me. I just feel it was so so difficult. I couldn’t store the information in my brain. It’s very difficult. It is just not fast enough. I take hours of brain draining to figure out a question. Put it simple, I am not a fast learner for Sciences. Plus, I was a perfectionist back then.

Flashbacks of the horrible incident
It was horrid when I started having flashbacks of my depression episode. My mind kept replaying those scenes where I was just dysfunctional.. I don’t know what to do. That was when I approached T. It was scary. I was nervous when I went into the room. At first it was another counselor that attended to me. I liked him better actually. But somehow I got stucked to this T. Flashbacks, flashbacks, they reminded me how broken I was back then. they reminded me of my useless, restless self, the days where I would just lay in bed and do nothing. I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t study, I didn’t even want to talk. I was so afraid that I will not be able to do my test well. But the end I calmly took the exam. For my piano diploma, I also passed. At that time, I told myself, the medication will work and help me to calm down etc. But during this time, I feel useless and helpless needing to take medication at that time (2012). The flashbacks bugged me day and night, I couldn’t function. What changed within me was, after February, which is two months of happiness. I was fearful, of myself, of the future. My future, to me, was just bleak.

Beginning of Sessions
Somehow, I started session with this T. She was professional, very professional. I can hardly recall how she helped me with these flashbacks. But what I do remember is that I told her my depression episode and how I hated my psychiatrist, how I didn’t want to take those medications that do not work as much as I want, how I hate the Psychiatry field that cons people, how I would never see another psychiatrist again…. the list of what I don’t want went endless. She asked “What do you want?” I was stunned when asked this question. Deep down, I don’t know. But I just replied: “I just want to feel better, and forget everything that happened in the past, and start over” It was also terrifying as I feel I don’t remember what kind of person I was before that episode. It was as if some memory loss. I just remembered life was like a living hell with my mind going almost nuts everyday..

I felt things got better
After a few sessions of counselling, I felt much better. And I feel I could continue my studies well again and I feel I could handle my flashbacks / prevent them as well as let the past go. I left counselling.

I went back to counselling
Well, I couldn’t remember what brought me back to counselling. But I was in it from April all the way to November.. As I wrote a hardcopy journal on a as-needed basis back then in April. I flipped back to the book to find out what was the thing that I was dealing with.

Turns out I was afraid of a relapse. At that time I was seeing a so-called Holistic Wellness lady doctor who said I didn’t need to take psychiatric medications such as antidepressant as it was my hormones that were the culprits. I believed her. However, at the same time, I was thinking about whether or not a problem existed?? I couldn’t do maths in class. I had learned helplessness for Maths. I couldn’t focus for piano classes. My mind would be lost in something painful while I went autopilot on my fingers.

Life sucks. I was so into researching that I read up A LOT about mental illness, psychiatric medications, I even have an iPad application about it. I read about depression, schizophrenia, DID, CBT, even rumination.. Indeed I was ruminating a lot. But I couldn’t stop thinking. It’s like a whirlpool keep spinning in my mind.. So annoying yet I couldn’t stop it.

My academics were failing… I just couldn’t get myself to do anything academic even though I know I have the ability to do it. I was afraid, scared of a relapse all day long. I called Befrienders many many times in the past and I did during those difficult times.

Some issues I struggle with:

  • Perfectionism
  • Over-expectations
  • Couldn’t stop thinking
  • Rumination
  • Feeling useless most of the time
  • Extensive researching and reading a lot
  • Fear of failure
  • Fear of success
  • Fear of future
  • Stressed up all the time
  • Learned helplessness in Maths
  • Fearful that I will not do well in assignments and tests
  • How counselling help me

I guess it was around June to July when I was facing the difficulties listed above. I am glad I wrote some of my sessions overview down in my hardcopy journal. It helps me remember what I gain in counselling. This is an excerpt from one of my entries.

We talked about my fear of failure. What is it that I am scared of that makes me cannot do my work? I am afraid that once I get to my desk , I start to have expectations with the work that I am about to do, then I get very stressed out when I have those difficulties doing my work. I think most of my session I was in my thoughts. I didn’t actually think if I conveyed the message correctly but who cares? I realised T was listening in the process, posing questions during intervals. I realised and guessed there was no need for me to plan what I was going to say. Just let what will be what is Be! I realised what I need is calmness to work on my stuff. I am still very scared of whetheror not I will be able to do it, but I realised all this while, since I have promised myself not to give up no matter what! No matter how difficult a situation may be, because it will get better. I was holding on to a word, a thing called HOPE! T asked me to remember that hopeful feeling whenever thoughts are overwhelming then I will be able to do my work. ……. Appreciate my efforts that I put in and Value them. Where is the learning process in this? I am actually happy I held on till now really! If I hadn’t I don’t know where I would be now. …… I want something more, I believe to a certain large extent, I am in control of my life. Control what we can and surrender the rest to God.

This is the end of this part where these were the issues I faced. In the next part I will talk about another set of issues I faced after July ’13.

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Journey in Therapy #1 : Background story

This is the beginning of my story, describing my journey in counselling in year 2013, starting March ’13 and ended November ’13.

That is a 9 months long journey, haha, me giggling here, because it is the same number of months for pregnancy lol.

Anyway,

An Introduction: 

High school

Towards the end of year 2012, I was in my final year of high school / secondary school (as we call it here).  It was an important year as I was going to take my public examination at the end of the year.  We call it a “Passport” to anywhere you want to go.  High school certificate was the requirement for any job out there that does not need much qualification beyond that level.

– The trial exams

Put it in simple terms, I screwed up the exams.  I was in the best class in the whole form.  I was in Science stream, aspiring to become a doctor.  I was panicking throughout the examinations, I remember clearly, I couldn’t handle my most confident subject, English.  Now, recollecting the memories, I feel the anxiety.  I was in a mess.

– Doctor’s visit

I was going crazy.  I was (still sorta am) a perfectionist.  I was very very anxious, I couldn’t really handle the emotions, needless to say the exams.  It was horrendous.  I got to a point where I couldn’t take it anymore, I asked my parents to bring me to a doctor, someone, whoever, who can help me get better.

– GP’s office

Initially, my parents were considering to bring me to my younger sister’s school counselor, but somehow it was a Sunday.  And I didn’t want to do anything… So, my dad was searching online, desperately finding any GPs who work on Sundays.  Finally he found one.  We went.  And I recalled, I was crying and crying in the lady doc’s office, telling her how I screwed every single test, I couldn’t study or remember anything I read etc.  She then gave my parents a card, referring me to a psychiatrist.

– Pdoc’s office

I went to visit this Pdoc (slang for psychiatrist).  He was friendly. But after my complaint about how crazy I was during the exams, he insisted that I take medications.  And so I did.  It was May 16, 2012.

I remembered how apo-lorazepam calmed me down instantly and miraculously.  Then came in Lexapro into my system for the first time.  It didn’t work.  Pdoc suggested a change in medication, saying that it takes a few tries to find a right one.  Next was Cymbalta  for my depression & anxiety and Ritalin for my focus and concentration.

– Sessions

The Pdoc therapy / med consulting sessions were always pretty long.  I appreciated that he’d spend a lot of time with his patients.

– The turning point for the worse

The medications was working, but not as well as I wanted them to.  I emailed Pdoc saying I feel better off without the meds.  And I have stop taking them, only taking them whenever I feel like it.  He replied saying I should not stop the meds as the good effect will be lost.  I didn’t like him.  I then terminated treatment hence stop taking the meds.

– The research

Because this Pdoc didn’t tell me anything about what’s wrong with me, or how can I help myself etc.. He practically sighed most of the session too.  Hence, I began my extensive research on mental disorders, then it went to psychiatric drugs, then Psychiatry and Psychology specifically on therapies.  During those months, those were my only reading materials and the only subjects that interest me.

– Life turning out well

I went for Pdoc visit from May to July.  Since then, I joined a cell group at church and had many friends there.  I felt loved for the first time.  At church, I felt peace and comfort.  God saved me.  I was healed.

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