A Clean Slate

This was written in 2016 but only being published now in 2017. Wanted to perfect it further and made sure I didn’t leave out any important events. But oh well, I should push the publish button already.

Here we go…

I’ve been wanting to write this piece of writing at the end of 2015 to celebrate a year free of depression but couldn’t find the time to sit down and pen my thoughts. It has also been slightly over a year since I last post something to this blog so here we go…

2015 meant a lot to me. It was a year where I celebrated my first wedding anniversary, a year where I could stay in a job with a small company where I worked on so many things and learned so much than I ever did during my previous 2 years spent working in a bigger company.

It was also a year where I began to practice yoga seriously. A year where I began to carry myself lightly. A year where I’m surrounded by more younger people but finding them more complicated than my older self. I guess it was also a year my thinking became simpler. I used to worry and think too much.

2015 was a crucial year for me because I wanted to make it count. I’ve lost 2013 and 2014 due to major depression. It was tough because the first time I was diagnosed with depression was around my birthday in 2013. Imagine taking your birthday gifts with you and placing them next to your pillow and crying yourself to bed on your birthday night. I had trouble remembering things, my memory was failing me. Coming from a person with good memory, it was a very scary feeling what depression can do to instil in me all the fear I’ve never asked for. I wanted to remember my big day and was so afraid that I’ll forget the people who celebrated the birthday with me. I wanted to wake up the next day, thinking about the birthday celebration that my loved ones had prepared with so much thought in it just to make me happy, knowing well the condition I was in.

I had to quit my job and stopped working for about 8 months because I couldn’t work, let alone get out of bed or the house during some of the worst days.

My birthday on the next year in 2014 wasn’t a great one either. I was down with dengue fever and had a depression relapse just about the same period. It was harder this round because I had two important milestones I was looking forward to. My registration of marriage is to happen in August and few months down the road, I’ll need to walk down that aisle in November. I just cannot afford to have this depression happening at that juncture.

I eventually managed to recover in time to walk down that aisle with God’s grace. I’m now God’s Grace. Sometimes amazing. 🙂

I put in a lot of effort to be free of depression in 2015. I worked hard to resume my career. I wasn’t expecting a lot. I just took up a job that was being offered without thinking if it had the perks and benefits I used to have. I just wanted to get back up again and prayed that the environment and job would allow me to. I had to make sure I do not get too stressed up with work and to be able to withstand a good amount of stress when it happens at the workplace. 2015 was a year of being very conscious of my well-being, physically, and more importantly mentally and emotionally.

I knew what it’s like to be in the dark for a long time and once you’re there, you’ll never want to go back again. I was very sad about the relapse that happened in 2014 because I read somewhere that once you have a relapse, the tendency of another relapse is high. So my goal from then on is to make sure I don’t have anymore relapses.

I have a few poignant moments during my darkest period that I’ll never forget, in no particular order as below:-

1. I cried so much in the office toilet, feeling sad that I was feeling sad for no particular reason. My now husband, then boyfriend took me to the temple after work, I sat there, with a calming feeling sweeping over me with the chanting sound coming from the temple. I cried even more, this time with even bigger tears. I call it the biggest cry of my life up till now. I could literally feel that big drop of tears forming around my eyes, dropping down one by one with much weight.

2. I actually suggested to my boyfriend to bring me to see a psychiatrist. I was searching on the Internet of what could be wrong with me. I stumbled upon an article on depression and the symptoms I was experiencing matches the list. It took me some time to acknowledge that I may be suffering from depression. The first visit was tough because the doctor so easily proclaimed I was suffering from severe depression and it would be hard to recover on my own without the help of medication. But still, I told him I will try and he gave my boyfriend some medication in case I changed my mind. I didn’t touch any of it.

3. No matter how hard I tried, I wasn’t going anywhere. I finally gave in when I was trying hard to not cry in the food court while eating with my colleagues. I excused myself immediately after lunch and walked superbly fast to get out of the building. I had another cry this time and I was shaking. I tearfully told my boyfriend who was trying to pull me together that I want to go see the doctor. I couldn’t do it on my own anymore.

4. I started going on medication. I slept so much in the first week like I’ve not slept for years. I began to have appetite which I’ve lost for I don’t know how long. I put on weight because the medication makes you crave for food, in my case, sweet stuff.

5. The first depression was long and it took quite awhile for me to recover. The relapse was shorter but more intense and scarier. I had thoughts of me committing suicide. It seemed real and feels like a bad nightmare at the same time. I’m definitely not the kind of person who would do such thing so when these thoughts started appearing, I was very very scared.

6. My family … What would I be without my family? My sister brought me to see a psychologist on top of the psychiatrist that I was already seeing. The psychologist made me sign a pledge that I will not take my own life. I was ashamed that I was actually signing that piece of paper because like I said, I’m not that sort of person to take my own life. However, it was real that I had such thoughts appearing in my mind and so it served as a reminder and also a promise to myself that I had to make sure I choose to LIVE. Another thing that I can relate a little and understand when I read on the news about people taking on their own lives, is that it may not be something they want to put themselves through. But when depression hits you like a truck, you suffer so much that you just want to end it. It is not about not having any willpower. You don’t have anything anymore inside and it takes someone who has experienced severe depression to understand what it is really like and how it makes you feel.

7. I’ve always thought that I’m a burden to my parents. When you are in depression, you would feel like a burden to everyone, particularly people closest to you, due to the fact that you loved them the most and similarly you don’t want them to see you suffer. My mum was with me, making sure I ate well and for the first time, I made her drive in KL because I had panic attacks that will happen unpredictably and I couldn’t drive. She had to drive me to the doctor with me navigating and directing her from the passenger seat.

8. My dad gave me lectures and reminded me how important I am and that I matter when I told him I felt useless. I must have broke his heart for saying that to him when he sees something entirely different in me than what I saw in myself.

9. My family went with me to China to see a doctor. They would move the highest mountains and cross the deepest ocean just to help me get up again. I live with that in mind each time darkness looms and I cannot see any light at the end of the tunnel. At times, it felt like there was no end to this darkness.

10. I even told my to-be-husband at that time not to marry me as I didn’t feel like I was going to make him happy. Again, I told him I was a burden to him. He never gave up on me and so willingly and lovingly take me under his wings.

11. I still have no clue what is the main cause of this depression. It could be genetic, accumulated stress or both.I have been very well-protected by my parents and I would say my life has been quite smooth-sailing. I did well in school and I performed well in my job. I haven’t had any significant hardship (well, there’s one but I survived it and so I thought I wasn’t affected by it but who knows it could be post-traumatic stress too).

12. I do the things I want to do now without thinking too much. You only get to live once and for me, I felt like I’ve been revived from my dead soul. Depression was the worst experience I’ve ever gone through but it was also the best because it taught me a lot, made me understand myself better, showed me the unconditional love of my family and friends. I used to be very timid, shy and fearful growing up as a kid. Most of my life up till I had depression has always been filled with fear, anxiety and worries. But now, I can feel courage and I’m building to have more of it. I am not that fearful anymore because there is nothing scarier than the scariest that I’ve already been through.

13. I’m very busy with my life now and I religiously stick to my weekly yoga class. I’m going to practise yoga for life because yoga gave a me lift and boost my recovery. It makes me calm and it makes me love my body and mind.

What is coming is better than what is gone.

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