23. State of depression

28 Sep 2017

My doctor’s review was brought forward by my case manager at the behest of a mutual friend, and by the agreement of my wife and myself, to Monday 25 Sep. I needed more help. Dr Tay was very kind, explaining my condition better, and scheduling me for psychotherapy, as well as adding on a different medication. I was reluctant at first, but his manner and explanation convinced me to agree.

I’m reluctant not because I don’t trust medicine, but because of my earlier experience with fluoxetine. I’m still not sure whether that was the reason my condition crashed so fast leading to my suicidal tendencies, or not. But it ingrained in me a fear of new medicines.

The new drug has one drawback – or strength, depending on your perspective. It has an antihistamine effect, so I’ve been very sleepy and groggy these past few nights. The dosage should go up tonight by the doctor’s instructions which should start activating something called noradrenaline, which the doctor says is helpful for alertness. It’s been difficult otherwise, as I’m so sleepy in the morning and it takes me ages just to get out of bed.

I went for counselling on Tuesday 26 Sep, and will continue. There’re things I need to talk about which may never see the light of day on this blog. But otherwise, I’ll try to be as transparent as possible. I also met my boss and my senior. As I was so heavily drugged, my wife accompanied me for both appointments. I am thankful for that, as I would have dragged my feet everywhere otherwise. My boss and senior continue to be really supportive.

My appetite has crashed again. Wednesday was spent going to places I like, to buy a snack at Chinatown, and to look at guinea pigs at Anchorpoint. Along the way, I stopped by wherever I liked the food to eat, despite my poor appetite. Project Guinea will have to wait a while, as guinea pigs are social creatures, and the one that I fell in love with is stuck to her friend. So we have to take them as a pair, or not at all, since I can’t bear to see them separated. And it’s not just money, but time as well, that will have to be invested. My wife is unsure, and so am I. They’ll reserve the guineas till Sunday while we talk and pray, and visit again.

I skipped dinner.

This morning was difficult. The boys have been switched to afternoon school from today till next Tuesday, to allow the P6ers to take their PSLE (Primary School Leaving Examinations, a rather important milestone in Singapore’s education system) in peace. So I woke up to the noise of my younger son yelling in rage, and I could almost hear the jumping up and down.

It took me the better part of half an hour, and a lot of prayer, before I could get up to go out of the room. I couldn’t speak much at first, so I could only tug on their singlets, to get them to go to the living room. Once there, I engaged them quietly, asking what happened, pointing out their options, and teaching them about love.

In other words, I did “a good thing”.

But yet, after the boys had hugged and walked off, I sat there, on the sofa, wondering why I felt so useless and dreary. My wife had been observing, and shortly after, she sat down next to me. A tear or two fell as I asked her why I felt so useless. She tried to reassure me, talking about how helpful I’d been and how long she’d been struggling with the boys without my involvement, ever since my dysthymia hit. I could only nod, but I didn’t feel anything really got through.

So that’s the state of my depression. I react to kindness by trying to beat it off. I spent 15 minutes in bed on Wednesday, curled up, because of a kind message. In my mind, I was flailing like an animal, at the kindness that was approaching. The negativity is still very strong, and positive messages simply fail to get through. The sense of hopelessness and uselessness is very hard to let go of.

Some days, I wonder if I’ll ever get there, even if everyone (esp the doctors) think I will.

Please pray for me.

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