I'm undergoing medication for my suicidal thoughts
I thought I was not ashamed of the fact that I am on medication for my depressive episodes and suicidal thoughts until my most recent appointment when it was decided that it's time to try to increase my antidepressants and to add a new medication into my treatment.
My doctor and I spoke about what this new change in my medication routine meant and had an objective conversation about managing other areas of my lifestyle in order to see the best results.
Towards the end of my consultation, I couldn't help but raise the same concern I had the first time I decided to go on meds, "But doctor, I am a bit concerned about increasing my dosage and adding a new medication to my treatment."
She paused, smiled, and said:
I was waiting for you to raise this.
Would I have presented my concern in the same way if I were diagnosed with any other physical illness?
Having concerns about not getting better was fair but my concerns were not stemmed from the fear of not getting better. It was the fear that I am now much deeper into this and I'm forced to actually acknowledge and accept that I am being treated for major depressive disorder.
Throughout my ride home, I couldn't help but question, maybe I should not have gone in for my first ever consultation? Maybe I overreacted the day I had my first psychiatric evaluation? Can I try to not take my meds and see if I am able to dodge another suicidal episode?
My doctor was right
I am still having trouble accepting and acknowledging my struggles.
But I always tell my close group of friends, "I am not ashamed of this. If someone asked me, I would share my experience."
People have asked and I have shared, but — including my close-knit friends — I am cautious with how I present my story. I keep it as objective and informative, with any personal experiences I have, shared in a third-person perspective.
I have never seemed to be able to talk about this journey in relation to myself or how I feel and have felt about all of this.
As I write this piece, it's still the same mental dilemma of how do I keep this article as objective and as informative as possible?
Because if I were to share from a personal perspective, where do I even begin?
Should I explain what caused my first onset of suicidal ideation at the age of 16 or every single thought that runs in my head as these suicidal impulses happen?
These personal experiences include persons other than myself.
It's complex, it's messy.
It's not something that could ever be articulated or captured coherently from a three-series biography let alone a single article. It also includes telling a story that involves loved ones and people who genuinely care about my well-being.
Would it be fair to share a story with other characters that have shaped the person I am today and my lived experiences?
But if I don't provide context, would others be able to understand why would someone even need medication in the first place? Or why would someone have impulsive thoughts about killing themselves?
How is it that someone who has a stable job, is pursuing their postgraduate studies, is sociable, could ever be diagnosed with major depressive disorder?
Mental illness is such a complex topic because of how differently it presents itself in different individuals
I have met people who are undergoing the same treatment but what brought them to treatment were vastly different experiences, symptoms, and reasons to mine.
My initial intent of this article was to share my personal experience of receiving treatment from our healthcare system, but I am now at the end of this article with blocks of paragraphs of just word vomits of my thoughts that hopefully captures some of the struggles and dilemmas people have with sharing and talking about their own personal mental health struggles.
This story is the personal opinion of the writer. You too can submit a story as a SAYS reader by emailing us at [email protected]
Asking for help is not a sign of weakness.
If you or anyone you know may be at risk of suicide, please call these Malaysian hotlines:
1. BEFRIENDERS KL
Email: [email protected]
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2. TALIAN KASIH
Email: [email protected]
Website | Facebook
For a more thorough directory of resources, head over to the Malaysian Mental Health Association's website.
Suicide can be a sensitive and taboo topic, but it still very much needs to be talked about today.
We asked several mental health experts how to respond to someone who might feel like giving up on life. Here's what they shared:
Here are some Malaysian-made mobile apps to help you deal with your struggles without needing to leave your home: