We had a massive junk clearing in our house a couple of years back. We were segregating old things we might still have use for or old stuff that’s still of importance and stuff that’s to be thrown away or donated to charity. I found an old folder containing documents that once belonged to my mom. Nothing important – old bank checks and medical documents from when she was rushed to Makati Med for God knows what reason – but I kept it anyway for reasons that weren’t clear to me back then.
This was a couple of years ago when I was still trapped in my own little world. I barely read the contents. Did an obligatory glance, then kept them hidden behind my safe (it didn’t fit inside my safe.) And then it was forgotten. I only remembered the existence of documents a couple of months ago when I started to work on my oh so obvious mommy issues. Heh, but I don’t see it as that. I see it as me wanting to know where I came from. It’s me getting to know the benefactor of my mental illness. It’s me getting to know my mother on a personal level. I still have a lot of questions that may be left unanswered, but I gotta work with what I have.
The medical documents were from when my mother was rushed to Makati Medical Center in September of 1980. She was 23, if I’m not mistaken. The documents contained copies of receipts from the various medications and medical equipment that were used during her stay there. I googled the medications that I could decipher (why are doctors’ handwritings such a pain to read?!) and most were anti-psychotics and anti-depressants. Some aren’t used now. Some, like Valium, are still in circulation.
I tried to recall a possible story that I’ve been told by my father about that incident. One where she was possibly losing her shit and she had to be taken to the hospital – ambulance and all. I couldn’t recall such story. The only story I remember that involves a hospital of sorts is when she was in rehab. That, and her suicide.
There was one medication that I couldn’t read in the documents. I let my Doctor read it after my session last Tuesday. According to her, it was a medication that was used to calm a patient down. It’s not being used anymore. I also told her what my research bore (the anti-depressants and anti-psychotics,) and she theorized that my mother may have had Bipolar Disorder. Not Clinical Depression, as I once surmised. I wouldn’t consider the revelation as a game-changer, but it definitely got me thinking more about her and about myself. Her Bipolar Disorder could’ve been passed on to me. Mental illness is hereditary, after all. The mental illness that I instead got from her is Clinical Depression.
Speaking of anti-psychotics, I’m currently on one. Risperidone. Just a low dose. Risperidone is used to treat Bipolar Disorder and Schizophrenia, but on low doses, it’s used for the management of stuttering. I don’t know if I have mentioned it here already, but my Doc talked to me about it during my first session. She asked if I wanted to try it out. I was curious and tempted, but I said no because I’d also be taking Escitalopram for my depression and Xanor for my anxiety. I was worried that too much meds all at once would fuck me up even more. My Doc also said that the anti-depressants I’d be taking could help manage my stuttering better, so I wanted to see just how it would affect it. There’s been changes, benefits, but on bad days, my stutter is still bad.
I finally decided to give it a shot. I’m still on Day Two so there are still no effects. It usually takes a week or two. If I have some underlying Bipolar tendencies that my mom passed on to me, I guess the Risperidone will help a bit.
As for side-effects, there are some. It shares some, if not most, of the side-effects as my Escitalopram so I’ve got that covered already. My body has adjusted to it so I’ve got that covered. I can handle it much better. There’s some grogginess and zombie-mode, but the fact that I still got to write this speaks volumes. I couldn’t write for the past month and here I am with two meds in my system. If that’s the case, then I’m off to a good start
In other mental health related news, it’s been half a year since I finally did something about my darkness. It’s been half a year since I was diagnosed with clinical depression. It’s been half a year since I sought treatment. It’s been half a year since I decided that I didn’t want to think about the ending anymore. It’s been half a year since I decided to take control of my life.
It hasn’t been all sunshine since then. I’m still battling the darkness. I’m still embroiled in a war with it, against it. For it, at times. A deadly trail of thought, but it happens. But now I know where I’m headed. I know how I can win the war. I’ve learned so much since that first day. I’m learned my worth. I’ve learned what I’m capable of. I’ve learned to love myself. I’ve learned to live for myself. I’ve learned to live.
Happy Mental Health Awareness Week, everyone!