It took a long time for me to accept that I have to live with Mental Illness and have to deal with the Stigma behind it.
I am Karla Katrina from the Philippines; a country where people living with Mental Disorders are stigmatized and stereotyped.
I was diagnosed with Bipolar 1 Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and Borderline Personality Disorder.
I grew up with an easy life but my childhood was never “normal”. I knew then that something was wrong with me but I couldn’t figure it out. I could say I was already Dissociated at an early age.
Growing up, having my own family, failed marriage and from that, I saw that life was never easy. The alarming symptoms of Mental Disorders manifested already. Depression, Mania, Paranoia, Anxiety, Psychotic Episodes, Suicidal Thoughts and Ideations.
I was able to manage to be the best mother I could be, not until I began to hear voices telling me to kill myself in any available way. There was a time that I almost jumped from a footbridge but I was able to resist the impulsivity. I endured another year of Paranoia, Anxiety, and Depression until I decided to see a Psychiatrist when I felt that I could harm myself because of constant Suicidal Thoughts and Ideations.
I can no longer count how many times I tried to kill myself by OD and thoughts of jumping from a building. I have been in and out of Mental Hospitals or Psychiatric Wards and yet I am still alive. Maybe not only for my kids but for a purpose and that is to make people aware that Depression or any Mental Illness is real. People like us suffer not by choice but because it is an Illness just like Cancer or Diabetes.
I am mocked but never ashamed. I chose to continue my therapy and Psychotropic Medications not because it could cure me but to fight the greatest battle of my life and to continue my duties as a mother.
It has been over a year now of undergoing Psychiatric Treatment, Medical Incarcerations and dealing with the side effects of my Psychotropic Medications and finally, a member of the PWD community under the category of Psychosocial Disability.
Yes, I undergo therapy to understand myself and to help me cope with my Psychosocial Disability. My prognosis is guarded to prevent chronic course of remissions and exacerbations.
I am more of a Borderline than a Bipolar. Oo, parehas akong ganito.
And this is the reason why sometimes my psychiatrist is exhausted. I undergo Dialectical Behavior Therapy to help me with tactics and skills to cope with my emotions and personal relationships or social interactions.
Wala kasi akong gitna, dulo sa dulo, kulang sa kulang, sobra kung sobra, grabe kung grabe.
Kahit anong gawin o sitwasyon, hindi ko kayang igitna ang sarili ko. Kung igigitna mo ako, matutuwa ako nang sobra at magiging manic since Bipolar din ako or magagalit ako nang sobra kasi aatakihin ako ng anxiety dahil hindi ko kelan man nagamayan yung ganong pakiramdam.
Mabilis akong ma-overwhelm sa kahit anong bagay. Actually, hindi ko pala nasubukan yung ganoong pakiramdam, ang gumitna.
Kaya kung bago sa pakiramdam ko dalawang bagay lang lagi, sobra akong matutuwa o sobra akong magagalit.
Mas mabilis magpalit ng mood o isip ang may Borderline Personality Disorder kesa sa may Bipolar Disorder. Mas mahaba kasi ang episodes pag Bipolar ka kumpara sa Borderline pero parehas akong ganon so isipin mo na lang paano kaya tumatakbo ang utak ko.
Para kasi akong walang balat. Lahat ng klase ng emosyon ay sobra sobra kong nararamdaman. As in lahat.
“May lunas ba sa ganitong sakit sa pagiisip”?
But I have maintenance meds and I undergo therapy just to minimize the symptoms at para mapigilan ang progression sa kawalan ng katinuan.
Mood stabilizer, para minsan “steady pulso” ako kahit paano.
Tranquilizer, para kumalma.
Antipsychotics, para sa psychosis during my manic and depressive episodes. Major tranquilizer ‘yun para hindi na mauwi sa kung ano man na ikakapahamak ko at ng ibang tao.
Teka, nanay pa din ako.
Gumigising ng alas kwatro ng madaling araw para magasikaso ng mga anak kahit laging nahihilo o bangag sa psychiatric meds ko.
Naglilinis, nagluluto, naglalaba, namamalantsa, nag-aayos o grooming sa mga anak ko, nagtuturo sa assignments, nagbubutingting ng mga sira sa bahay, umaattend ng school meetings, nagdidisiplina, dumidiskarte para mabuhay at higit sa lahat, kaibigan pa rin ako yun nga lang malakas talaga sumpong ko.
I must continue my therapy and meds for an indefinite period of time in order to stabilize my mental condition and to strengthen my coping skills and ego functioning.
Kinda tamed now because of my Anger Management Therapy but the next time that someone would ridicule me or take advantage of my condition, just don’t forget that if I happen to stab you or cut you into pieces, I could plea not guilty by reason of insanity and just get away with it, so watch out.
To my children: You will always be my stronghold.
I will always love you and never will I forget you no matter how chemically imbalanced my brain is. Keep in mind that I will always be that psychotic mother that will always protect you from any harm. They mess with you, then they are messing with me.
To those who lost the battle, may you all rest in paradise. Life will never be complete without death. I respect the way you chose how to complete yours…
To those who are still fighting, remember, we are alone together.
Expect less from people who would never understand us. Desire less.
No desires, No sufferings…
You could not have been the person you are today if not for the lessons that life taught you, no matter how scarred you are, always remember that still, all is well.
Unstable but still able.
I may be facing Stigma and Discrimination but one day, they will be reading my story and see how badass of a woman I am.
I am not trying to mend everyone as I am also broken.
I am sharing my story and my battle with Mental Illness to raise awareness. I know that I cannot change the world. But in my own little ways, I know that I can make a difference to someone who would value any source of hope.
I cannot prevent hopeless people from being suicidal but my story can somehow change someone’s view when unfathomable circumstances happen to them before they hit rock bottom. (Been there, Done that)
If I happen to end my own life, it would be because of my choice on how to have it entirely done. It doesn’t mean that you have to do the same or no longer believe in Mental Health Advocates. In the end, we are accountable for our own deeds.
And to anyone who is NOT interested about Mental Health Awareness and Mental Health Advocates, please do us a favor… REFRAIN FROM TALKING, DARLING
If you happen to suffer like me, always remember that you are enough, My dear…
Even if all you can do for a day is to breathe. Remember, you are more than a Diagnosis.
Everyday is a good day to die but definitely not today…
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