MS Word Recovered Document – 11/29/2018

I’m unsure if my change in disposition went unnoticed by the world at large. I barely publicly talk about my mental health anymore. I barely had the same passion as I once had for most things, especially, and most importantly, my mental health advocacy. The same lack of passion extended to my photography and my music.

 

I stopped creating art and beauty. I stopped being a fan of art and beauty. And without that love for art and beauty, without my own artistry, I found myself lacking an identity as being an artist – in whatever capacity, be it as a writer, a musician, as a photographer. Being that is all I’ve known of myself. Been one since I was a teenager writing poetry that’s now been lost on the annals of time.

 

I’ve sporadically put it out there to the world that the lack of personal identity has caused me a great amount of confusion and pain. I became a man without steady ground to stand on. I became a man completely hovering aimlessly, directionless.

 

 

It was not for a lack of trying. I tried to be the person I was, I tried to be the person who made me who I am. Early this year, I once again decided to go the music route – the route that I set for myself in 2012, the time I started writing songs. I even invested in the tools that would help me with that. But circumstances discouraged me, again, from finally accomplishing the goal I had. I sold of those tools, as I’m inclined to do once a roadblock manifests on the path.

 

A few months later, I decided to go back to something that once gave me the stability that I’ve often craved for ever since I was a child battling my inner demons. I went back to familiar, safe grounds, one that I excelled at – photography. I can’t, for the life of me, remember why my re-attempt on photography didn’t take. I had a borrowed camera. I invested in new lens. I was, for all intents and purposes, back to form. I was back in my comfort zone.

 

But as I mentioned, it just didn’t take. The emotions I felt when I was in the process of capturing life as it happened weren’t there anymore. It made me feel like a fraud with a camera. It made me feel like I was past my prime, that I didn’t have what it takes anymore. Me being me, mental illness and all, got discouraged and just stopped taking photographs again. I surmised that, perhaps, it just wasn’t for me anymore.

 

Of course, the assumptions I had for the failed resuscitations of what I loved doing were merely justifications as to why I quote-unquote quit. Admittedly, I am easily discouraged. But there was another factor at play – one that involved the pills that were supposed to make me feel better, make me feel living instead of just alive.

 

In the early part of the year, the mood stabilizers I was on, Abdin, was slowly losing its effect on me. It happens as time goes by. There’s really no one pill to cure them all, after all. That factored in with the decisions I had made to drop things that I was inherently passionate about.

 

And so a change of medications were in order. I was on lithium (just like the classic Nirvana song.)

 

The lithium was a godsend. It did what the previous meds I was prescribed wasn’t able to do – it limited my emotions. There was suddenly a wall between me and my emotions. The lithium did was it was intended to do, to stabilize my mood. However, it had initial drawbacks.

 

Not the pills per se, but how I reacted to them. As a depressive, my emotions and feelings are heightened. Amplified. I feel too much, even to less at times. I feel things more than normal people do. Something goes wrong, I consider it the end of the world. It leads me to an abyss of desperation wherein the only way out is to lead my physical body out of the realm of the living.

 

The lithium prevents that from happening. It blocks me from feeling too much so I won’t get overwhelmed by emotions. However, in the early months of being on the pills, I was confused as to what was happening to me. The changes in my mental health was foreign to me, considering that I’ve spent decades living with enhanced emotions. I was so confused that I translated the changes as me losing every bit of me that made me who I was. It was nerve wracking, to say the least. Bouts of insanity became the norm. I was fighting what was happening to me.

 

I wasn’t as passionate as I once was. I stopped becoming a mental health advocate. Is stopped being a photographer. I stopped creating art and beauty. I stopped creating the one thing that has saved my life time and time again – music. I felt as though those weren’t in me anymore due to how the lithium nullified my capacity to feel passion.

 

And as a person who’s lived his entire life being a creative (and I don’t mean to use the term as just a buzzword,) I was shattered. I was in hell.

 

And then…days before my thirty fourth birthday, I was gifted with a revelation that I never considered in those hellish months. I received the best gift I’ve ever had in recent memory as it effectively made sense of what seemed excruciatingly senseless.

 

I relayed to a friend the hell I was experiencing with the lithium, how it blocks my emotions, how it was preventing me to feel “normal.” Her response was monumental and enlightening. What she said was that perhaps what the lithium does to me is what makes me normal now. For all intents and purposes, the lithium makes me feel things normally. Normal, in such a way that every normal person – those not afflicted with mental health issues – feel. All this time since I started on the lithium, I was actually feeling emotions the way they’re supposed to be felt by normal people.

 

I’ve lived decades feeling emotions in an intensified way, and in an instant, the emotions are filtered. That’s a mental culture shock, if there ever was one.

 

So now I’m coming to grips with these new processes. I’m adjusting to the massive changes in my mind. And I must say, so far, so good. I’m doing my best not to let the emotions cripple me. There are still relapses, of course, especially in matters of the heart. But I’ll make it out of it.

 

So what can I expect from myself in my thirty fourth year of existence? One, to live more. Two, to finally accomplish the goals I’ve set out with much delayed music. I mean I’ve already accomplished my goals in photography, so it’s time to finish what I started with my music.

 

It’s a new era. Time to do all I can for it. It’s time, once again, to live as much as I can.

Waltz #2

So, I’m still alive. Still hanging on. It’s been a tough couple of months for me – hell, it’s been a tough couple of years, but I’m alive. And that’s what matters. I’m alive and I’m still making progress.

 

I’m not on Aripiprazole anymore. It was barely working for me as time went by. I’m now on Lithium. Day five. It has some untoward effects, as with most new medications, but nothing I can’t handle. Had a bad mental health day yesterday because of the change of meds, but I survived. I’m sure I’ll have more days like that, but I’ll survive them also. I always do.

 

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I’m still on Escitalopram. Still can’t cry because of it. So that’s a bummer. I miss crying. Can’t even remember the last time I cried. I honestly don’t know if it’s still working, but there’s gotta be a reason my doc kept me on it.

 

Oh, I was rediagnosed by my PDoc. Apparently I have Bipolar Depression cos I wasn’t responding to the anti depressants.

 

Anyway, just wanted to update this blog and whoever reads it.

A stable life balances an unstable mind

2016 was a peak year for me. It was the era when I was at my most stable. Had a career as a music photographer. Had a girl. Had a guaranteed support system. Had a life – a real one where I was actually living. I was, for all intents and purposes, a functional human being with a clear direction.

 

I knew what I was waking up to in those days. I had reasons to wake up to, instead of waking up out of necessity. I wanted to live, not just ‘need to live.’

 

These days, even most of last year, everything’s a God damend mess. Nothing’s affixed. Nothing lasts longer than it should. Thought I’d restart a music career. Went nowhere. Lost the momentum and finally accepted that music isn’t for me. Now I’m back to film photography, and I am once again doubting if it’s the right path to take.

 

Hell, it’s the only path right now. Not that I have any qualms about it – I was a better photographer than anything I’ve ever done, really. Photography is second nature to me.

 

I do, right now, feel the need to reclaim the state I was in back in 2016. That’s been the goal, anyway – stability. A stable life balances an unstable mind. Got to thinking that I should recreate the state I was in. Sell my old car and purchase a digital camera and photography gear and go back to being “John Mari A. Marcelo, Photographer.” I do sorely miss digital photography. I can do film photography for personal projects, digital for work.

 

Sounds like a plan, right? But is it feasible? Is it doable? Damned if I know. I’ve been uncertain of too many things lately.

Battle Notes

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Before writing this, I tell myself that I don’t know how I managed to survive without my anti-anxiety pills for a month. That’s not really true. I managed because I did whatever I can to survive. I will admit that there were unhealthy coping mechanisms – nothing too extreme – but I do consider them unhealthy. I’ve been sleeping the anxiety off, overeating (pizza budget was exceeded,) negative/dark thoughts…

Continue reading “Battle Notes”

Providence & New Ghosts

I say this with no confirmation as getting it would be impossible at this point, but my mother may have passed her mental health issue on to me. Genetics play a crucial factor in our wellbeing. That’s a scientific fact. Heart issues run in my father’s side of the family. I have one. Nothing major, but it’s there. On my mother’s side, well, that’s one where nothing can ever be known. My mother’s family is a black hole to me, unfortunately.

After my mother’s funeral, her whole family cut ties with us. I don’t know why, but I can speculate. Her sister, whom I assume she was close with, blames my father for my mother’s suicide. We’ve tried reaching out the only way we can: by leaving our contact info to the caretaker of the Marcelo mausoleum to give to the Aunt that is a stranger to me. I may have passed her, or anyone from my mother’s family, on the street and I’d never know it.

Continue reading “Providence & New Ghosts”

An Open Letter

An Open Letter

My dearest ______,

 

If you’re reading this, then it could only mean one thing: I’m in a much better place. If you’re reading this, then I have finally done what I should have done a million years ago. If you’re reading this, it means that I was too tired of fighting, of everything – the voices, the constant dread, the hell I was in, my skin that seemed like it was never my own, everything about myself – and needed that way out. That final step.

If you know me, you’d know by now that I have clinical depression. It bears repeating. I have clinical depression. I HAVE CLINICAL DEPRESSION.

Continue reading “An Open Letter”

The Aftermath of 3/12/2016’s Battle

The Aftermath of 3/12/2016’s Battle

I wrote the following last night. Had an anxiety attack as I was writing it.

3/11/2016

My honeymoon period with my anti-depressants is over. It’s been over for about a month now, if I’m not mistaken. I’m afraid. Everything’s real now. That constant rise of my emotional momentum has begun to normalize. Up and down. Rise and fall.

On those first months with Escitalopram, I felt so much lighter. My head was on the clouds. On a high. Happiness. Medicated happiness. I felt an optimism that I’ve never felt before. Positivity without the danger of slipping back into the darkness.

Continue reading “The Aftermath of 3/12/2016’s Battle”