I actually did a very risky thing that following fall going back to school. I ditched my medication during my summer vacation. The doctor was shocked and glad to find out nothing serious had happened. I did not know at the time that this behavior would cause sudden relapses and might lead to serious consequences. I also learned years later that stopping medication would make my next depressive episode harder to treat and increase my relapse rate. I seriously hated being on medication. The idea of some chemicals interfering my brain irritated me deeply.
There were some difficult winters after I moved to New York City. Now looking back, they could be some sort of relapses of my depression. But without health insurance and sufficient income, I tried my best to get through them and didn’t take any further steps. In other words, there is no official records during this period that my depression acted up but it might have. The winter of 2016 was something els. It threw me into an immense shit hole. My relapse was so sever that I was not able to work for a long while and barely function as a person.
I knew something was very wrong from past experiences and used the little bit of the energy I had to get help. I found myself a private therapist quickly. She used sliding scale to charge her patients and gave me a very decent cash price. But I could barely afford my sessions. Finally a clinic that took my insurance had a spot opened up. They also had in-facility doctor that can prescribe medication if I need to get back on it. But, of course, that would be my last resort, so I thought at the time.
This latest episode was the most violent out of the three. Therapy didn’t cut it. It got even worse after I started working with the clinic staffs and I really had to get back on medications. I spent a whole year trying out different meds to get myself back on track. It was the most bazaar period of my life that I had and I had never been so afraid of myself. I was a living zombie for a while that experienced no emotions and completely numbed of whatever was happening around me. Then I turned into a hyper-eccentric mania that could not sit still for 3 seconds and always wanted to do something but could not ever focus and finish it. For a couple months, I had to put all my pills and any sharp objects I own under my roommate’s care to protect myself from possible overdose and self-harming. All these behaviors were side effects from ill-matching medications, which was unavoidable part of the searching process. I was experiencing so much but could not share any, not to mention connecting with any of my friends. I basically disappeared from my social circles. It was so devastating but I knew I had to keep going. Because no one els can get me out of this.
I want to live, but feeling helpless was the only consistent thing through those days.
I had one very vivid imagery stood out from this episode. I was alone stuck in a murky swamp. The muddy water was so deep and I could hardly keep my head high enough to breath. There was alway a thick layer of fog lying around. I could see nothing; smell nothing. All my censors were overloaded by how heavy and cold the mud water was. It seemed I was walking but I didn’t seem to move anywhere. The scenery never changed. Everything was so still. I was so exhausting from keeping myself upright, because if I dropped down, I would be dissolved into the murkiness of this giant swamp. It did not feel like this journey was ever going to end and I would have to spend the rest of my life surviving in this mud water.
After a year of try and error, we eventually finalized my medication cocktail. I was finally able to be a person again. Life didn’t just snap back to normal. I had to collect all the pieces of myself and put my life back together. First thing I did was booking a tattoo appointment, and I knew I was dead serious to make this one that last tattoo related to my depression.
I had enough. Way more than enough, I would say.