everything will be ok?

everything has wound down for now and i can finally exhale- it felt like my life was on hold for the last 2 weeks. my vulnerability had left me holding my breath. i guess a lot of my past has shaped a lot of my fears and inhibitions. there has been several firsts in my feeble journey to recovery for the last 2 years, and if i wasn’t scared, i was disappointed.

my resolution to avoid incarceration lasted for a little over 2 years. i was in and out of hospital too much between 2010 and 2013 and lost almost 2 whole years spent in psychiatric wards. thus the decision to stay “out in the wild” in October 2013 after one last discharge. to be honest when i was “committed” (i wasn’t, but if i had not consented, they would have), i was very disappointed with myself for letting myself fall this much. but when the situation arrived thus far, how was i to fight and say no? i recognised that i was acutely sick in the eyes of psychiatrist and i needed help. i was such a mess that if it didn’t happen then, it would have happened sooner or later. so i let go and i let God, and surrendered myself wholly to His will.

it was definitely over 2 years ago when i halted my ECT sessions at #41 when i felt memory slipping through my hands like sand, too much for me to bear. the amnesia from #1 never went away, and only built upon each other with each consequent session. to say the least it affected my studies back then, my work, and then also my personal life. there was no lack of resentment for the retrograde and anterograde amnesia. but on the other hand i was also grateful that it saved me from my sinking sadness (and severe depression) many a time. when i was offered ECT as a first-line this time, i gave it little thought and said yes in a heart beat. there was everything to risk, and nothing but memories to lose. so this time i stopped at #44, and sometimes i ask myself if it was worth it. but right here and now, i think it was a good move made. i don’t think i can ever say no to ECT indefinitely.

it was my first time “coming out of the closet” telling my Catholic community whom i dearly call Sinners, that i was in. never in my life had i ever come clean with a group of friends with my hospital admissions. what it has always been was that my best friend would inadvertently find out about me being inpatient before i even told her. i knew none of my friends took interest in the fact that i was always in and out. besides it was never something that i could say without shame. closer friends told me before “you’re admitted AGAIN???”. and it hurt. however life has changed since joining Sinners in July and they have been my pillar of strength and support. admitting to them that i was going to be inpatient because i have been feeling a certain way… was me letting my guard down with my brothers and sisters in Christ, letting them see the vulnerable side me, and letting them stretch out a helping hand to me. the outpouring of love from Sinners, and also staff from Office For Young People, gave me this inexplicable feeling of warmth and love that i’ve never felt before. and God used them as His glorious instruments to tell me how perfectly loved i am. for all of these i have no words but my utmost gratitude.

it is also my first time being down with pneumonia. i hadn’t had a true fever for about 10 years (yes despite all my DMARDs), so the fever (up to about 39.2) caught me by surprise first. then the faint patch seen on my chext x-ray on my right upper lobe was the shock. my white cell count (16.6) had skyrocketed (neutrophils and monocytes were also twice the upper limit) i could never have fathomed that me and a case of pneumonia could go together. at least not at this age. all the doctors who were involved in my case before my diagnosis thought it was me restarting MTX 3 weeks before my initial admission. after my diagnosis, they all seemed to think it was that, and that it was hospital acquired (i was already in the 2nd hospital before i made the transfer to the 3rd hospital). they had asked my rheumy as well and her orders were to hold off MTX until i see her in December. that was something i was bummed with. i received several doses of intravenous tazobactam/piperacillin. my vein got “burned” and now it hurts even when i’m home. they discharged me only when they were positive i wasn’t getting anymore fevers..

coming out of all of these different than when i first got admitted is really God-given grace. i prayed and i read and i wrote and i drew and i sang and i meditated, in my bid to maintain any semblance of sanity especially in my first week of hospitalisation. as usual, with matters of the mind, things get really heavy and suffocating, and anxiety-provoking at times. i don’t know how i pulled through, but i know it could only be that my good Lord carried me through. no?


right now, the most pressing issue is school. i had decided to defer my current 2 modules, seeing that i have/will miss 3 out of 5 weeks of lectures. but i was just informed that these 2 modules won’t be offered till next September, and that means i have to defer my Honours year as well. i don’t think this was part of what i signed up for, so i think i’ll have to get an extension for my 2 papers which are due end of this week (can you imagine i haven’t started on it???), and read the lecture notes for my exams the week after.

i’m so screwed???



i stayed for 7 days and have undergone the currents 3 times, so that i could be discharged the next day.

but it wasn’t meant to be. on the night after ECT #2, i felt unwell bodily. many parts of me were aching, and so my parents had to leave early to let me rest. after ECT #3 i felt out of sorts again. but this time apart from the body aches, chills and rigor set in. i had a temperature of 38.8 degree celcius.

i hadn’t had a fever in some 10 years so it felt pretty new to me. the medical officer who came to review me did a thorough check, and made the call to send me to my family hospital’s Emergency Room. although i felt it was uncalled for, I followed suit nevertheless.

my white cell count was raised (16.6), and my chest x-ray showed infiltrates in my right upper lobe. my temperature went up as high as 39.2. i have pneumonia, they said.

bah humbug. how did i even get this? i got better to get out of one hospital, only to go into another one. sigh. 

they told me it’s one week of IV piperacillin/tazobactam. it’s easy when there’s air-conditioning and teevee. but what about no?

strength in falling

there is strength in falling, that you don’t know. it’s a rough tumble down into the dark abyss, that you can’t imagine. it’s staring into the white ceiling and the fan rotating, that you begin to realise. you’ve been so unwell despite the normalcy you portray that your mind finally betrays you.

you stare into the white ceiling and listen to the whirls of the rotating fan. your arms are tied down. and so are your torso and feet. eyes wide shut, you think of what’s gone wrong. did you not try hard enough? were you not a good girl? 

should’ve, would’ve, could’ve.

they upped the dosages. i could not fight. what was once a last resort for me is now the first-line. it’s hard to swallow, but i signed the consent anyway. anything to make it go away. 

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

-Psalm 73:26

I’m quite sure they’re trying to kill me

a part of me died again, when i heard for myself those words from my anaesthetist. i suspect that one day they’ll be the death of me.

my chronic pain is an unrelenting issue. i wished something, or anything will take it away. in managing my pain my anaesthetist recognises that stress exacerbates my pain, and thus makes it a point to ask how i’m doing. this time, when he heard of what “I’ve done”, he was perhaps really done with me.
he learnt that i took up a part-time job because of my financial difficulties. then he found out i went back into nursing for that, despite leaving nursing earlier because it has stressed me up so much. he calls it “self-sabotage”. i told him i don’t have a choice.

he shared with me that he had spoken to my rheumy about me. what he shared, would later kill me on the inside. basically i was told that with me my rheumy was very cautious with even giving me MTX. she thinks a lot of my pain is caused by stress. and so she believes quite strongly that my pain will be “better” if i could reduce the stress, or learn to cope with it better. and with these i died on the inside, holding myself together on the outside because i was “difficult” enough. vivid memories of the past when she told me my pain is psychosomatic still haunts me. 

my pain to them, isn’t real. and this is something i cannot comprehend. i recognise that stress exacerbates the pain experience, but the pain is rooted in the diseased self. not my inability to cope with stress, nor  my “self-sabotage” in inadvertently stressing myself just to cope. 
when a person invalidates my pain, he/she invalidates my being, and my desperate attempts to cope and live a life of normalcy as far as possible. when they do so they’re telling me that i’m not doing enough, or that i’m in pain because of my inabilities. i wish they’d stop trying to understand me when they are not  getting anywhere near the truth.

all of these bother me because it consumes a large part of me, and it is something that i yearn relief from. i really need to stop the emotional abuse that i so many times, tried to be rid of. i don’t think i deserve any more of this than i am already going through.

it’s time to stop.

strength in falling

i heard it again, those dreaded words.

her words, “you have to be stronger than this!”, was tainted with an oddly familiar sense of disagreement and resentment. it came when tears rolled down my face. i was just relating to her how much difficulties i’ve been facing with the Board.

i went through the roof while trying to stay calm- i punched the walls many times with a fistful of anger after leaving the premises. how many times do people want to tell me that i have to be more, only presuming that i have been less all the while? and so how many times do people want to murder me by implying that my situation (and hence a reaction to it by crying)  is caused by my “weakness”? it’s a double whammy because people want to believe that my situation is caused by my “weakness”, and so is my emotional reaction too!

to the the abominable people who give me such “unsolicited advice”, you don’t know what i’ve gone through to stand before you. you don’t know the storms i’ve weathered, nor the dark abyss i’ve clawed out of. you don’t know the pain and the darkness that wholly consumes me, while i hold on with hope so fragile, to fight for that glimmer of light to show through. you just don’t understand.

you don’t get to trip me over, and then mock at me for not being “strong” or “tough” enough to pick myself up while I’m hurt. i’m allowed to weep and cry because of the pain, the loss, and the grief that i experience, without being put down for it.

people keep telling me that i need to be “stronger” and “tougher”. but they do know that there is strength in falling?


it dawned upon me that i have to stop dead in my tracks, and look back and see how things have been retrospectively.

i suspect that i haven’t been doing my part in my journey to recovery. it’s not even “not doing my best”. it’s me not doing anything at all. i am simply going through the motion, seeing my doctor weekly/fortnightly, going for therapy, taking my pills day and night… and nothing else.

i guess i’m just tired? it’s no excuse, but i’ve worked hard at it before to know it’ll probably be futile. it’s picking myself up and falling every single day/week/month. it’s vacillating between being good enough and being absolutely nothing at all. it’s managing a smile or a laugh and then breaking down after. it’s pulling myself together to be kind to myself, and then failing apart and going savage on the self. it’s keeping up a façade in front of others, then turning around to have the façade crumble.

tired is an understatement. i don’t know what i’m fighting for anymore, nor if i want to ever fight again. this is not living. this is merely existing, patronising everyone with my presence.

i have to make the decision if i want to fight on, whether or not it is worth it.

what sparkle?


i have always believed that I have stayed true to myself. that despite criticisms and disagreements with who i am, i remain unchanged. but being reminded of this saying however, perhaps “my sparkle” has long been dulled. this realisation upsets me, because i take pride with who and what i am.

i feel extremely helpless when i overwhelmed with what i think is avolition. i lack the motivation to engage in meaningful activities, to leave the house at all, maintain relationships, and basically self-care. i guess i might have ‘”switched off” up in my head, because it’s just too exhausting to care. i can’t seem to wrap my mind around all these- i am lacking, yet it is too much.

“my sparkle” took a hard grinding. i’ve fought and struggled for a long time that i am exhausted. it has come to the point where i ask myself if it is worth it. do i cling on to everything that i am despite the exhaustion? or do i give it up to retain some semblance of sanity? i believed this is something that i’ve struggled with for a long time, and what i am now is me caving in and begging for some peace of mind.

if anything, i hope this bit of avolition is part of this refractory depression that constantly eats at me. that “my sparkle” will return one day, and that it’ll shine so bright. i am reminded that out of the darkness comes hope and salvation. sp let me never stop hoping that i’ll see the light again.