When you are unwell, what sort of things give you hope and keep you going? In the September 2014 issue of Panorama we profiled RichmondPRA’s Enterpraise at Warwick Farm and spoke to one of its employees, KEN HUA, who has had quite a remarkable life. Ken has written many stories and would like to share his ideas in the hope they will help others. So here is an excerpt from ‘My Life in Blue,’ where Ken reveals some of the things that keep him hopeful when he is unwell.
At the end of August last year, I had a fairly bad relapse because I’d been working too hard. I felt quite depressed and had suicidal thoughts. I complained about my condition to my youngest son, who was living in Sydney. I asked him whether I should be admitted to the hospital, and straight away he told me he didn’t think so. My youngest son reminded me of how ill I was back in 1994 and that this relapse was nothing in comparison with the serious sickness I had gone through during the time I was in hospital. He said I should be patient with my illness and that I would get better soon. What helped me get back on my feet again was not just visiting the doctor, but also, once again, it was the support and encouragement of my three children, particularly my youngest son.
I think I must give my three children “a thumb’s up” for their encouragement and caring throughout the years!
My youngest son advised me to write a note and stick on the wall in the kitchen, so whenever I came to the kitchen, I could see the note. The note reads like this: “When I feel very depressed, it doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world. Just be patient, don’t put too much pressure on yourself. You will get better soon. Exercise is good for you. Try to break the circle and get out of bed and there is light at the end of the tunnel.”
In addition to the note, I made a list of other reminders to help me deal with my depression. Maybe it will help you too, dear readers. Anyway, everyone is different and should make up a list of their own.
Ken’s reminder list for dealing with depression
- I must be patient with my sickness.
- Always be calm, relaxed.
- Don’t worry; be happy.
- I will get better soon.
- Medication takes a little bit of time to work on your sickness. Please be patient.
- See the funny side; be optimistic.
- Seek help if I need it.
- I must always be strong, determined to fight against my sickness.
- There is light at the end of the tunnel.
- I strongly believe in faith.
- I sincerely pray to God to help me overcome my sickness.
- May God bless my family and me!
- If you can’t sleep during the night, try not to stay in bed too long. Please wake up, listen to relaxation music, have a cup of tea and some snack and then go to bed again.
Thanks to my youngest son’s slogan, I was on the mend again in two or three weeks. He also asked me to write a story about my relapse on the computer and asked me to read the story whenever I had a relapse. My relapse story really helps me to control and manage my illness better. I often listen to relaxation CD’s, too. Before I go to bed especially whenever I feel stressed or depressed, I always pray to God to help me go through the difficult time.
I think if you have faith you will become a calm, relaxed and happy person.
I have to admit that I’m quite sensitive. Sensitive people can take things too seriously, which can trigger mental health issues. Recently I’ve been concerned over comments my wife made, as we have had a rocky relationship for some time. I think my sensitive nature might have been one of the triggers for my depression and anxiety. I had to call my older son for counseling and he gave me some good advice in addition to seeing my psychiatrist to adjust my medication.
One of my friends also advised me to be thick-skinned like an elephant so that I would not become over-concerned or ignore what other people say. I think I have learnt a quite good lesson from my son’s counseling and my friend’s advice so that I would not take other people’s remarks so seriously that it might trigger to my depression and anxiety.
It is my great pleasure for me to share my special story, “My Life In Blue” with you.
So my dear friends, if you are suffering from some kind of mental illness, don’t be disappointed or desperate because you are not alone and in most cases they can be treated. If you need help, call information hotline on 1300-22-4636 or visit www.beyondblue.org.au
I hope you will keep well. May God bless you!