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Monday, October 31, 2011

a quasi-explanation

I have always identified myself with the phoenix - one who rises up from the ashes. But on Tuesday that symbolism was the furthest on my mind when I executed my plan, a plan that eventually failed. Now I guess I really am meant to be a phoenix and continue my journey in championing the cause of the weak till I am at least forty years old.

Up until yesterday I still thought of ways how my plan could have succeeded. I know this sounds morbid, but my plan was to die and that I failed means that - I failed, it is failure, it requires remorse. Remorse not because I wanted to die but remorse because I couldn't even plan my third attempt at suicide to succeed and not land up in hospital alive.

[Yes, to all the naysayers out there - I had planned to succeed. And - my actual suicide note (mostly instructions) is on paper. I liked where I was so I took a picture right before I was about to collapse, I had already gone through half my overdose by then. If I really wanted to be saved I would have told people where I was, the amount of medication and types of it that I had brought, and tweeted when I ingested each pill. If you want to do the same to attract attention - do that! It is far more effective.]

I thought that if I had removed my outerwear and sunbathed in the bikini I wore underneath no one would have thought me unconscious and called SCDF (the reason I was found). I thought that if I had remembered my towel I would look more like a sunbather. I thought that if instead of staying in the shade and lying where the tide had gone out I would have looked even more like a sunbather. I thought that if the tide was coming in instead, even better, I would have been washed away.

I chose to overdose amongst nature because this is the plan I have brewed over the years. My initial choice was the Ubi field but the Downtown Line construction started and I lost the place I wanted to die in. I would love to jump to my death but it would be very scarring and traumatic for people who witness it. Likewise hanging myself. I have tried cutting myself before but am not very good at it, so that was ruled out. I thought through which medicines to overdose with that would surely kill me - if I had not been discovered (who goes to Changi Beach? I didn't reconnaissance enough).

Having said the above, no, it wasn't supposed to be that particular Tuesday. It was just the self-destruction sequence I would activate when my depression takes over my daily ability to fight it. Yes it is a daily fight. There were a lot of triggers that Tuesday that prompted me to activate my self-destruction sequence. We - myself, my doctor and J - are working on strategies to prevent those triggers from happening again from now on.

I am by nature a very repressive person, perhaps the reason why I wrote - at last count on this blog, about seventy poems - instead of talking to people. There are even more poems floating out there given to lovers. I have become less repressive since my first official depressive episode in my early twenties because I realised it was a problem. I was also depressed in my childhood but of course in the eighties no one recognises a child is having clinical depression, particularly if I was repressing my feelings. So I began my journey in opening up to people but I have yet to perfect it. My blog and my twitter are probably the most revealing about myself because both mediums are of the written word. Both mediums don't require interaction unless I choose it. In real life it is rather hard to just sit there, catatonic-like, and not talk. Humans will worry because unless you are in a psychiatric ward catatonia is not a normal everyday sight!

So whatever happened on Tuesday, no human except my doctors and J know why it had to be that day I chose to end my life. Because I kept most of it to myself.

Today, this Monday, I no longer see my third suicide attempt as a failure and how I could have improved it to make it succeed. I am on increased medication doses - maximum dosage of my antidepressant Lexapro, and double the dosage of mood-stabiliser lithium. Yesterday I started to feel the effect of it - I finally felt some happiness. Happiness that was the absence of sadness and happiness that felt light. Up until I was on antidepressants for the first time I never felt that before, and yesterday I felt that again. Maybe that is why today I wake up and no longer feel like I failed in my suicide attempt and will instead focus on continuing the fight against depression. If this increase in medication combined with therapy does not work out over the long run again - I will bite the bullet and go for ECT. ECT is not painful, and while it does cause memory loss, it is the fact that it consumes a lot of time being hospitalised that I am not all very keen on it.

Why did I get discharged so soon from hospital? Medically I was okay by then but the psychiatrists did not want to discharge me, saying I was at 'severe suicide risk'. Unfortunately they also wanted to deny me my medication and put me back on the entire cocktail one by one, day by day, with no parole to go outside for smoke breaks and walks. This management, I knew, would make me very unstable, as I already was since I was admitted. CGH said that if I were to exhibit any more unstable behaviour they would send me to IMH. In my opinion IMH has one of the worst services in all the hospitals (I don't believe they are that award winning, personal bad experience there). So I chose to be discharged 'against physicians' advice' and went to see my own psychiatrist at Paragon the next morning after I went home. I got back on my medications, J has been learning more about caring for me, and things have been better. Had I stayed on in CGH, I know I would have been even more unhappy and probably by now I would really be in IMH or at least be tied up ('restrained') like some of the other psychiatric patients are.

Today, I feel like I normally do before that Tuesday, slightly not yet into the routine of my cat work, but more emotionally stable. Over the past few days I have been getting back into the rhythm of doing my cat work and aim to do more and more each day until I am back on full form. I have been doing my cat work with this illness for years, I will be able to get back to it as I am. After some damage control but hey, I am pretty good at writing press releases in my opinion.

Meanwhile, I will try to write more on worlds upon words. Writing among all the arts is my favourite and the one that I can express myself best. It is easier for me to write a poem than for me to tune and play my guitar or gather my paints and paint on a canvas. While depression causes anhedonia and makes me not want to do any of these things all that much I will force myself to and as my doctor says, use 'primary processing' to enjoy the experience. So, my name is Avalon and I will keep on writing, and fighting the big D.