Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The Year I Got Drugged and Other Memories



The previous year was the year I totally lost control and just broke down. Just thinking about it right now still gives me the feels, albeit faint, I wish I'd already left behind. 2015 was a difficult year for me that I wish it never happened. But, quite honestly, it's still one of the most important pages of my life I won't allow myself to be ungrateful of.

It was the year my long-term relationship ended. I thought I was prepared for its end but when it did, I didn't know what to do. I was surviving, somehow, by burying myself with work. Then, problems back home and at work came up. I thought I was doing well but with that final blow at work, all the chaos in my head that I'd been keeping at bay eventually blew up. They well reminded me how emotionally fragile I actually was.

I didn't help that I didn't open up to people I was with everyday. I only talked to a very few, select people who, unfortunately, were living far from me. I felt physically and emotionally alone, despite the actual help I'd been getting from friends and attempts of consolation from officemates.

I was diagnosed with major depressive disorder, which didn't surprise me at all. I was a melancholic child and had a first major bout of it 10 years ago. I was desperate enough to finally visit a psychiatrist and take medication. Medication helped. I didn't have crying spells at work anymore - the very reason I sought professional help was to function "normally" in the office. (Just now I realised that I wasn't even thinking of making myself well, I just wanted to be the person I had to be for other people.)

I got numb. Finally, deep sadness, self-hate, and guilt were not felt anymore, which was what I wanted to relieve me from suffering. I didn't cry at sad movies and songs and things that remind me of the person anymore. But I got scared of the numbness. I somehow got alarmed of the absence of pain I was trying to escape from. And I knew medication shouldn't be - and it isn't - an escape or band-aid solution for me to function normally for my job and for other people.

I stopped seeing my psychiatrist and taking medication. They're straining me financially. I thought I would have to surround myself with people who make me feel good about myself and keep on doing and experiencing things that make me calm and happy. I know the mood chemicals in my brain are still busted and the episodes will come as they please. Sometimes I have thoughts of going back to medicating but if I could help myself without the financial strain it comes with, I'll do my best to stay away from it.

I quit my job. Despite having the most supportive and encouraging boss, I felt choked and stressed by the demands of the job and my depression. I wouldn't have quit if I wasn't so fucking depressed and anxious, but I felt I need to take care of myself first and be well.

2015 wasn't all awful, although it honestly felt so. I had a great time with colleagues in Baguio City in January. I got to watch Incubus for the 3rd time in March and reconnected with people I hadn't seen and talked to for ages. I explored Nayong Filipino in Clark Freeport Zone on my own. I started running again.

It was a good year of travel as well. My friend and I were in Jogjakarta in July and watched the sunrise of my birthday at Borobudur Temple. I had the most calm and gloriously golden lit sunset walk at Prambanan Temple Complex. We visited Pinto Art Museum in Antipolo a week after Indonesia (with a sidetrip in KL). I spent a week in Sagada on my own where my daily itinerary was 'Eat-Read-Sleep-Walk a lot'. Baler and Baguio happened (original plan was Kalinga to get a traditional tattoo from Apo Whang-Od), immediately followed by the Chiang Mai-Bangkok-Singapore trip where I ate so much good food, marvelled at golden Buddhas and beautiful temples, walked a lot (again, because can't ride a bike ='|), and made a fool out of myself in a stiff city. Finally, I got to spend the holidays with my family in Davao City.

It was the year I got to know again the self that somehow got lost in pleasing others the past years. It was the year of re-learning to trust my gut and instincts. I painfully learned that the people I trusted with my life weren't quite honest with me at all. That's what hurt the most - being disrespected and betrayed. I lost my footing when the bubble of plans and possibilities I nurtured in my head burst and struggled to come to terms that the life I imagined isn't happening anymore.

But, it was also a year of learning to be kind to myself. Though I still get bouts of anxiety, I learned to be present and be mindful of my thoughts and emotions. It's a daily struggle, but it helps me cope and feel better. I learned that it's okay to be angry and express it; that it's okay to talk about my illness and not feel ashamed of it; that my feelings are valid; to forgive people not because I'm letting them off the hook, but because I have to be kind to myself.

I'm scared. I worry myself stiff (I try not to, okay) because I've run out of funds and am still jobless (LOL). I feel like I don't have my life figured out like I'm supposed to at my age. I might leave for another city again, but am undecided yet where it will be. I'm scared to trust and love and be hurt again.

But, I have hope and a sense of self. I don't need to seek others' permission anymore on what I want to do and where I want to go. If there's one thing I'd have to get permission from, that would be my bank account. I'm also learning to not put up with bullshit, even mine. I'm hopeful that things will be better, especially for my well-being. I have accepted that my neurotransmitters aren't wired 'normally' and would have to live through their ups and (mostly) downs.

I regret that I was way too nice to officemates who were assholes. I regret not saving up more (haha). I wish I was smarter and wasn't clueless and too trusting. I wish I was more eloquent with my thoughts. But, I do not regret being faithful and hoping my old relationship would last a lifetime. I do not regret loving truthfully. I do not regret taking a break to keep my sanity. I do not regret travelling and going out of my comfort zone.

I'm hugging myself right now.

Nobody goes through life unscathed.