8. Death’s siren call

The earlier chapter describes how I felt. Despite the medication, I was not doing well. I was on leave from work, thankfully, and I went through all that I needed in order to ensure that I didn’t fall into the rabbit hole.

But nothing seemed to work.

For the first week, I made sure I did small tasks, to have a sense of accomplishment. I cleaned all the fans, washed all the air conditioners at home, and ran small errands. I made sure I had sunlight, and I exercised, no matter how painful it was. Through it all, I kept in close contact with my wife and our friend, to keep accountable, including the thoughts of suicide. I visited my family doctor to get more medicine, and took it at the regular times.

I even fed back to my doctor that I had a couple of nights of insomnia. The doctor immediately told me to switch over to taking my medicine in the morning instead of at night.

I was doing my best to remain responsible.

I went back to work, to try to push my recovery. I honestly panicked. I couldn’t talk to some of my colleagues whom I was not as familiar with, and I avoided having lunch. My appetite crashed. As I write this, I have lost 3 to 4 kilograms, just from not wanting to eat. Hunger kept me alive. Hunger was painful, and made me aware of my presence. I was fearful that the lack of pain would mean that I was dying. My senior and my reporting officer were both really understanding, and got me to head home to rest.

At this point, the words in my head dried up. I could no longer write. Whatever I put down seemed anaemic. I felt helpless as my source of therapy was no longer effective, or efficacious. Except for one poem that I wrote describing depression, nothing worked anymore. I had to find other ways to express myself – and I couldn’t.

I went to a polyclinic to get a referral to a government subsidised psychiatrist, when nothing seemed to help. I felt myself sinking, and I knew I needed more help than my family doctor, a GP, could provide. I was told the hospital would call me back with a referral. I also booked a time with a counsellor, but again, at subsidised rates, it would be weeks before I would see one.

By the time the last week came, I was desperate. I’d gone to the Singapore Botanic Gardens once already, and it was painful to walk. I found no pleasure in my walk, or in the sun, or in the green scenery. On the Monday of this last week, my week of crisis, I made my way to the Botanic Gardens anyway, hoping and praying that nature would bring me out of myself. I prayed, as much as I could, which wasn’t much. The pain was overwhelming. My prayers were short.

“Help me. Please.”

The pain that day was terrible. I only remember holding on to my sanity by reminding myself that committing suicide – however I chose to do it – at the Botanic Gardens would be terribly insensitive to the gardeners. And the insurance would not pay out a single cent to my family.

Tuesday came. I called the hospital which was supposed to call me back, to check on my appointment with their team of psychiatrists. I felt desperate, and I felt helpless. I asked to admit as a private patient if that would speed things up. The receptionist told me to be patient, as a private appointment would only be available in November. If I could wait, the doctors reviewing my case might give me a much earlier date than that. I wanted to cry, but I wasn’t able to, when I heard this.

I attended bible study that night in a daze. I don’t remember anything at all.

Wednesday saw me spend time at a cat cafe. I was desperately trying to find ways to resolve the pain. Pet therapy is known to work wonders. So I planned, and spent the whole day at the cafe. My wife made sure I ate well, at a steamboat buffet, before I left.

I left the cafe in the evening, in a haze of pain. I was totally helpless and in despair by now. I felt nothing but pain. A lack of improvement was already devastating enough. I was numb to the feline influence. I didn’t want to talk to anyone. I didn’t feel that I could go on.

So I made plans. And I decided that by the weekend, where my medical leave would expire, I would put it into action. There was no point waiting anymore. Even the insurance no longer was a point of control in my mind. Death was simply the only way out. And I really wanted out of the pain and torture.

I started the first phase of my plan on Thursday of that week.

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