KEN HUA describes what he did when he experienced a recurrence of depression. This time, he began to think it would never leave him! Luckily, the experience confirmed some of his old knowledge and taught him some new things about managing his health as well.
Gosh! My depression strikes again! I said to myself. My last episode of severe depression had struck as recently as May 2015, so I began to wonder how come it had struck me again only a few months later? Nevertheless I knew I had to face reality and deal with it accordingly.
From my previous experience of severe depression I knew that usually for the first few days or the first week when the depression strikes, I am feeling quite uncomfortable. It is lucky that I have my children’s support. My children always remind me that I have to be patient, calm and relaxed and I will be better soon. I have to say it is easier said than done!
For the past few years, I have enjoyed quite reasonable, stable mental health because I have been always trying to manage it well so that I will not get sick. I don’t think anybody wants to get sick because it is such an unpleasant thing! One out of five people in the world experience some sort of mental health issue in their life.
I have to say that in some ways, managing my own depression does not seem to be as hard to handle in comparison with some other people. Some people I have heard about seem to have more complicated issues to deal with than me.
So I have usually managed it quite well in the past. Each time when depression strikes, I usually call my caseworker; then he will book me to see the psychiatrist. From experience, I usually know how to adjust my medication by myself because I know my symptoms quite well. [NOTE- Like Ken, Panorama suggests that you fully discuss any proposed changes to your medication dosage with your health care professional first- Editor.] My main tablet to treat my depression is an anti-depressant.
My normal ‘maintenance’ dose is 15mg, but I had taken doses as high as 30mg when necessary. For example, when I begin to feel significantly worse, low or depressed, I increase the medication from 15mg to 22.5mg for a week and often that will put me back on my feet again.
There have been other times, however, when I needed to go further and increase it to 30mg for about a week before I felt better again.
Nevertheless, this time was a completely different story! After I tried taking 30mg for ten days, there was no sign of improvement and I was panicking a little.
I did have some things in my favour. My caseworker, has also been the Service Manager for Fairfield Mental Health Services for quite a long time and his performance is said to be outstanding. He cares about the people he works with. My two sons were trying to comfort me by saying that probably it is because I am getting older and my body’s reaction is slower and different. What else could I do but to try my best to be patient, calm and relaxed? However the frustration was building up in my mind and I sincerely prayed to God to help me overcome this problem.
After two weeks and then entering the third week of taking 30mg there was still no sign of improvement. By then I was feeling quite desperate and disappointed.
I noticed that this time, the depression I felt was a bit different from what I had experienced before. Instead of having thoughts that bothered me, I had no motivation to do anything and everything was an effort for me. For example, my caseworker and my two sons had asked me to go for a walk, however, I just did not have the motivation to lift my feet. I even did not want to take a shower regularly and it seemed that it was the end of the world for me.
In addition to my depression this time, Gosh! I have had prostate problems! Misfortune did not come singly! I had to manage the two issues simultaneously.
When I saw the G.P. for my prostate problem, she prescribed me some medication that made my skin itchy and so I had to visit her for the second time. Thank God this time the medication was working all right for the prostate. However, when she saw my sad and melancholy face she decided to prescribe me 45mg and suggested to me to give it a go.
I hesitated, I discussed with my youngest son and my caseworker and they said that I should remain on 30mg. But the intake of 30mg had entered the fourth week already. Gosh! Still no sign of improvement.
I have to say that I was extremely, awfully frustrated about the situation so I decided to give the 45mg a go. After only two days, my mood was lifted and I felt I was starting on the road to recovery from this severe episode.
I always monitor my symptoms carefully because I have bi-polar mood disorder and I have to control my high moods carefully and cautiously. I am glad I finally I got out of the blue mood and eventually there is light at the end of the tunnel.
NOTE: Ken is a retired former employee of Enterpraise Warwick Farm, and has created a blog that’s full to the collar with short stories. You can check Ken’s blog here: