This was a drawing that my daughter did when she found me awake at 3 or 4 am, writing furiously in my notebook and decided to accompany me.
I was in the middle of a drug-induced psychosis and I didn't know. Here were my symptoms:
1.Decreased need of sleep. For the 3 days that I was unwell, I barely slept for more than 3 hours and I felt fine.
2.Racing thoughts and ideas
4.Delusion - that I was someone important and have supernatural power.
In the state of sleep deprivation, I had thought that my homonymous hemianopia was healed. Thankfully, I consulted my neurologist friend and it was not true. She noticed that something was wrong with me and told my husband about it.
When my daughter started mirroring my behaviour on the third day, it came crashing down on me that I was severely ill. I didn't have supernatural power, I wasn't healed and no miracle has happened to me.
I felt very fortunate that I am experienced in #mentalhealth that the moment I calmed down I was able to accept that I was ill and took action. When I was in the midst of it, I couldn't believe that I was having bipolar symptoms as my husband had suggested. We found out subsequently that it was a drug-induced psychosis and I saw a psychiatrist to ensure that I didn't have any residual effect.
Why am I sharing this story?
The main purpose is to be in solidarity with all those who suffer from mental health challenges on this ##worldmentalhealthday2021 and to raise awareness and to #reducethestigma by #killingtheshame. When we talk about our own encounter with mental health issues, we normalise it and we may inspire or encourage another person to step forward to seek help or to share their experiences.
The stigma is strengthened when we keep secrets; thinking that something is wrong with us and that people will judge us when we share our challenges. It took me almost 2 years before sharing this story as the above event happened at the start of 2020. I shared it with selective people and I wasn't comfortable and ready to go public with it. I knew that I will share the story with everyone when the time is right.
As a #mentalhealthprofessional, I'd like to share some recommendations:
1. Do check in with your friends when they suddenly withdraw from social gatherings.
2.Be mindful of those who might have higher risk of mental health issue - singles who are primary caregiver of elderly parents, parents of special needs children, single-mums, new mums who might struggle with post-natal depression, those who are separated from their family like the due to work and those who are in abusive relationships which include bullies at work.
3.Listening and validating is more important than offering advise. What most people need is the acknowledgment of their feelings and situations, not advise.
4.For corporation, implement wellbeing days