Facebook Status Update dated February 9, 2019

 

TRIGGER WARNING

“Don’t post that, it’s embarrassing!” “Don’t tell anyone what you did or where you are!” “Insanity doesn’t run in the family!”

My name is John Mari A Marcelo. I’m a mental health advocate. If I don’t talk about my experiences with my own mental health, then what’s the point of being an advocate? If my experiences can help people, then I’ll share them. I’m not ashamed of it. I’m not embarrassed.

I have to lead by example.

My name is John Mari A Marcelo, and a few weeks ago, I tried to kill myself. Not once, but twice – with a mere 24 hours in between. I had the means, the motive, and the opportunity. I had the pills, I was feeling an overwhelming sense of loneliness, I was alone.

I was alone in a sense that I didn’t consider my own self as company. I felt empty at the time I took 28pcs of Xanor that first time. I was empty when I took 30pcs of lithium that second time. Capped them off with a cigarette and messages to people.

On the first try, I messaged a friend what I did. The Xanor blurred me already. My text messages were illegible. I mumbled even on text messages. But the message got through, as friends orchestrated a rescue. A good friend came to my place and took me to the ER. I was blacked out at a time, my subconscious ran my body.

I wok up that noon not knowing what happened, or how I ended up in my bed. That whole day was honestly a blur that of it weren’t for photos I took on my phone, I wouldn’t remember a single moment. It is still unsure if it’s the Xanor residue in my system, or a manic high, but I felt too alive that day. I was so energetic that I barely stuttered.

My constants and I had dinner out. Went to Tagaytay after. Both events are a blur to me.

Once we were done, i drove them home. Got home, grabbed my Lithium blister packs, sat on my bed beside the lamp, opened the Lithium, took half, gulped water, took half, gulped water.

I smoked and slept.

I woke up at noon remembering what I did. I was still alive from my crime. Didn’t even eat, I asked my guardian to drive me to the same ER I was taken during the first OD. A constant friend followed later.

I was transferred to another hospital in Ortigas at around 5pm. Better facilities, perhaps? I spent a day and a half on the ER connected to more IV drips. The lithium was being washed away.

Around midnight, i was told that a room was ready for me. “My own room, how awesome. Hope it has a view,” i thought. But no, my hospital bed carried me to the doors of the psych ward, a floor below the ER.

I spent a seven and a half days in there, and it was the most important week of my life. I saw what could happen to me, saw reflections of myself. Once I settled in, a realization came.

I’ve made homes out of places, made homes out of people. But I never really felt like i belonged anywhere, until i settled in in there. I felt like I was in a place where I actually fit in. I was surrounded by people with various mental illnesses and I felt safe and secure.

I learned so much about the human condition. I learned so much about myself and about people. I watched, observed, and analyzed every but of information that was within sight. I listened to the whispers and conversations and morning sirens who sang like they were in a concert.

I have always been fascinated by psychology and I was in a place where it came alive. The psych ward was heaven for me. It was Elysium.

When I got discharged, I was driven straight to a rehab facility. And God, I’ve been learning so much about myself in here. I learn lessons not just from myself, but from others as well. I learn from their experiences and wisdom. I learn from observing the people around me. And I’ve been applying almost all that I’ve learned so far to my life here. And, hopefully, to my life when I get back on my path.

I probably died those two nights. The Psych Ward, and where I am now, this is my purgatory. Purgatory is where I learn to be a much better person, where i get to work on my low self worth and confidence. Where I work on being the best version of myself.

My name is John Mari A Marcelo. I’m in purgatory to heal and become better. And when I get out, everything will be alright.

 

_____

end

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.

 

photo_2018-06-05_16-51-53

 

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.

Whatever I’ll lose, I can regain.

Going in on yesterday’s therapy, I considered having my doc up my dosage of mood stabilizers. Or, perhaps, try a new anti-depressant. I need the extra mental reinforcement. I need my mental foundation to be stronger. I still consider the foundations I have now to be weak, as it’s been shaky the past months.

 

But as my doctor and I talked, the more I realized that I’m letting my impatience take over. Despite the attacks and episodes, I’m still very much in control of them. I may have resorted to oversleeping lately so the attacks would cease, but that’s part of me taking control. That’s me using whatever I have in my disposal to combat the attacks.

 

Of course, the strategies I’ve concocted recently has its pitfalls, but I’ll reassess the situations I’m in. I’ll reassess the strategies, see what works with my current environment and my current path back to being a full-time photographer. I’ll have to make adjustments again to my lifestyle and how I operate. I’ll make mistakes, I’ll make errors in judgement, but nothing I can’t correct. That’s par for the course in being a depressive on recovery – learning from trial and error.

 

My life since I started treatment has been an experimentation. I was reborn that first time I walked into my psychiatrist’s office. I’ve gained much. I’ve also lost many. I’ve learned a lot, and I’ve also unlearned lessons and attitudes that were harmful for me.

 

Maybe my life will forever be like this. Maybe this is a cycle that I’m bound to live with for all my life. That I’ll have clinical depression until the day I’m gone. Maybe it’s more manageable than incurable. But I’m willing to stay the course and fight til life permits me to.

 

What have I got to lose, anyway? My sanity? That’s been decaying and rebuilding itself for decades. My life? I’ve been on multiple lives already, got a lot more of that in the tank. Whatever I’ll lose, I can regain.

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.

Fave Film Photos Pt. 1

Wow…haven’t posted in a while. Sorry about that. Life just keeps getting in the way. I’m still alive, obviously. Lots have happened since I last posted. Lots of stuff I wanted to blog about, but never got around to.

 

Anyway, I thought about posting now something that has kept me preoccupied last year – film photography. If you must know, I kinda got away from it for a while to pursue music. That didn’t really take, and I have finally realized that it’s not for me at all. But this post isn’t about that. It’s about my favorite film photos that I took!

 

Enjoy!

Continue reading “Fave Film Photos Pt. 1”

Battle Notes

Yesterday…damn it…yesterday.

Felt like I was losing all hope I could ever hold on to. Hope is the only thing that keeps me alive. The hope that I’ll get better. The hope that I’ll be normal. The hope that I’ll be free of the mental illness that has plagued me for most of my life. But yesterday, I felt that hope was missing from the equation.

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I did the usual routine to keep me stable: Pizza. Playing my guitar. Taking photos. But none worked.

Continue reading “Battle Notes”

Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor

There’s only one song that I can think of that has made a huge impact on my life, and in the past two years, on my mental health – Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor, Op. 11 – 1 Allegro Maestoso.

 

My first introduction to Chopin was through his Nocturnes. I felt a sense of identification with the pieces. Later on, I started filling my iPod with other Chopin songs. One of them was the aforementioned “Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor, Op. 11 – 1 Allegro Maestoso,” a twenty minute gem of a track that transports me to a state of calm.

 

Right after I fell in love with the song, which didn’t take long, I randomly checked out the Cultural Center of The Philippines website to see if the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra, by chance, had its live performance on schedule. Lo and behold, they performed it live literally the night before. I was saddened at the misfortune. I promised myself to always check out the PPO schedule since then. Wouldn’t want to miss another live performance of the life changing piece. That was back in 2010.

 

But I did. Life happened and the once routine of checking the CCP website was forgotten. The PPO performed the piece again in 2015. That’s twice now that I’ve missed it. Never again.

 

October 27, 2017. CCP. Cecile Licad and the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra performs Chopin’s Piano Concertos 1 & 2.

 

I mentioned that it’s made a huge impact on my mental health recently as I’ve been using it as a strategy for those times when I’m shit deep in anxiety. I’d imagine myself all alone in a theater, with an orchestra and pianist performing the magnificent piece. All my anxiety would disappear as I use the imagined aural and visual delight as a tether to sanity and serenity.

 

Come October 27, I’ll finally get to hear live one of songs that changed my life.

.

 

My first introduction to Chopin was through his Nocturnes. I felt a sense of identification with the pieces. Later on, I started filling my iPod with other Chopin songs. One of them was the aforementioned “Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor, Op. 11 – 1 Allegro Maestoso,” a twenty minute gem of a track that transports me to a state of calm.

 

Right after I fell in love with the song, which didn’t take long, I randomly checked out the Cultural Center of The Philippines website to see if the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra, by chance, had its live performance on schedule. Lo and behold, they performed it live literally the night before. I was saddened at the misfortune. I promised myself to always check out the PPO schedule since then. Wouldn’t want to miss another live performance of the life changing piece. That was back in 2010.

 

But I did. Life happened and the once routine of checking the CCP website was forgotten. The PPO performed the piece again in 2015. That’s twice now that I’ve missed it. Never again.

 

October 27, 2017. CCP. Cecile Licad and the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra performs Chopin’s Piano Concertos 1 & 2.

 

I mentioned that it’s made a huge impact on my mental health recently as I’ve been using it as a strategy for those times when I’m shit deep in anxiety. I’d imagine myself all alone in a theater, with an orchestra and pianist performing the magnificent piece. All my anxiety would disappear as I use the imagined aural and visual delight as a tether to sanity and serenity.

 

Come October 27, I’ll finally get to hear live the song that changed my life.