Letting Go Of Ghosts

Battle Notes – February 14, 2017

 

As I’m typing this, the time is 9:09pm. Less than three hours until midnight. Less than three hours until I survive another Valentine’s Day.

 

But first, I have to apologize for the four month absence. Life has been, well…life. So many things have happened. Can’t even list them all down at this point. Need to focus on what I need to write.

 

Anyway…

 

This year’s Valentine’s is rougher than last year’s, no doubt. I was losing my shit again earlier. My breathing was compromised. Chest heavy. Felt like I was trapped in a prison I created for myself. But I know it’s my brain’s doing. It’s the depression’s doing. It’s that thing inside my head that was fucking with me again.

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The Seven Day War: A Week Without Medication

The Seven Day War: A Week Without Medication

I found myself in a very precarious position eight days ago. I had to go off my anti-depressants as I was to take anti-biotics for my cyst removal surgery. I had to go cold turkey as my hand was forced. Sort of. I did allow for it to happen so I had a hand in it. I was afraid. Very afraid. But I did want to see what would happen. I wanted to know if I was capable of surviving a week without medication.

 

On the days when I forget to take my meds, the stressors get the best of me. I lose my shit. For the first few days when I had to go off meds, everything was okay. “Okay” like I was still medicated. My body as going through physical withdrawals (i.e. dizziness, light headedness, lags) but nothing to be concerned about. I don’t think.

 

It was the lack of stressors and triggers that made those first few days…good. Sane, even. I was still in control of my thoughts. I did this “thought test” I do when the need to assess my mental situation arises. The test, albeit morbid as fuck, hasn’t failed me yet: I imagine myself holding my revolver with the intention to blow my brains out.

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A Month Away

Preface

Forgive the desolate tone of this blog post. It’s one of those weeks.

 

__

 

I

Six months to a year. That’s what I was told when I asked how long I was to take the medications. Of course, that was just an optimistic estimate. But I still held on to that. “I’ll be fully recovered in a year,” I thought. “I’ll finally free of the darkness that made a home in my head.” I knew it would take much longer since I’ve had the depression undiagnosed and untreated for almost all my life. Let’s say, thirty one years. That’s thirty one years of darkness versus a year of recovery.

 

A year won’t cut it. Let’s be real, here. I knew that. I knew that it will take more than a year. But it was nice to think that after a year, I’ll be the me I should have been if it wasn’t for the depression.

 

In less than a month, it will have been a year since I started seeing a psychiatrist. It will have been a year since I’ve been taking anti-depressants. What’s changed since then? What’s happened since I first walked into the clinic?

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Not yet ;

Not yet ;

“I don’t really want to die. I just wanted it all to stop.” That’s what I once wrote here when I mentioned my suicide attempts. That’s what I answer people when asked “why did you do it?”

What I did three weeks ago is no exception. The only difference from previous attempts is that it got that far. Closest I’ve come to to actual suicide. Had I not…had I not fought til the end, I wouldn’t be here right now. You wouldn’t be reading this.

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How Far We’ve Come Pts I & II

Part I

 

On a previous post, I mused about something my doctor told me. That I have had this thing inside me that has kept me alive all these years. I initially theorized that it was “control.” Another theory is a “survival instinct.” I have another theory: a “will to live.”

All of the above, perhaps. And other still unknown variables that has kept me alive. I am still, after all, in the process of knowing and understanding myself – everything about myself related to all aspects imaginable and unimaginable – so there’s still a lot to learn.

 

Which leads us to recent events that has undeniable implications on my mental well-being – the romantic relationship that I was in ended. Both sides made mistakes that contributed to the demise of the relationship, both parties learned lessons in the aftermath.

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Shallow Water Blackout

Among the things I’ve learned in recovery, one of the most important things, is to acknowledge that I’m not okay. I have to do that now. I have to acknowledge that, despite the smiles and laughter and the love I’ve been feeling recently, there’s that voice in the back of my head that’s yelling “stop ignoring me! I’m here! Something’s wrong!”

I’ll admit, I may have gotten lost in the happiness recently. Gotten too absorbed by it. And because of that, I have overlooked one of the key tenets I’ve taught myself: self-awareness. Mindfulness. I’ve been unaware, or perhaps even replacing what it is I’m supposed to feel with positivity, of the negative thoughts in my mind that I have to face head on.

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Bloodstream Pts I & II

Part I

 

“What would happen if I went off my meds? Even just for a day.”

 

I’ve often wondered about that. I wanted to experiment. Wanted to see what would happen. I’ve been on Escitalopram every single day since November. That’s over half a year. It’s been a huge part of my life. It’s an integral part of my life. That tiny little white pill has helped me create magic, create a life that I never thought I’d be able to have. One of success. One of fulfillment. One of productivity. One that I can honestly say that I now can’t walk away from.

But what would happen if I stop taking that little white pill? Would all I’ve learned, the survival skills and strategies I’ve amassed, in the six months since I started treatment for clinical depression would be enough? Would everything I learned help me survive without it?

Even just for a day. Just one day without the pill.

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A Face to Face

A lot has happened since the last time I checked in here. Man, that last post was weird. It was random, just had to post it cos I felt like I had to. Anyway…

I decided to get off the Risperidone. It had undesirable effects on my thought processes and thinking. “Undesirable” being an understatement. I felt like I was really losing my sanity. Like whatever grip I had to it was mere inches. It got bad. Really bad. Had to have a friend sleep over in case I do something stupid or lose my shit completely.

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I Don’t God Damned Know

I’m not okay. That’s something I have to say. Acknowledge. Lest I start burying things, thoughts, again. The new meds I’m on makes me feel odd. Less sane.

Risperidone. .5mg for my stuttering. Haven’t been on it for long. Six days. Not enough to feel the effects. Enough to feel the side-effects.

I’m on a strange headspace right now. Even my body feels strange. Foreign. I currently have goosebumps. I’m twitchy. Uneasy. Body’s on auto-pilot. Almost zombie like. Same side-effects I had when I started Escitalopram. I should maybe lay off the Americano.

I was on the verge of another breakdown a couple of nights ago. I set up my tripod and camera to photograph my spiral. Self-portraits. Documenting the insanity. It has come to this. Felt a little bit better afterwards. Who knew selfies could actually save lives?

I miss her. Being around her keeps me sane. In the two days we were together while I was on Risperidone, I felt saner even though I was feeling the side-effects. I felt uneasy, but a bit calmer than without her. Felt like I could make it.

I make it without her. Obviously. But I sometimes feel like I’m deviating from my path. Like I’m losing my mind. Especially when I’m outdoors.

I should stop. Should I stop? Meds can be dangerous, especially when your body is still adjusting to it. But when it finally does what it’s supposed to do, life gets better. I get better. My speech would get better.

But at what cost? I should stay indoors for the time being. Lock myself in my room where it’s safe.

Locking myself in my room…locking myself inside my mind.

Universe, help me.

Six Months On…

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.

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