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Love Life and Everything In Between: Mental Health Journey

February 12th, 2017

After I was diagnosed with physical health problems in 2012, I was always trying to figure a way to change the way that I had been living my life. Whether it was going on long backpacking trips or testing out different job fields, I wanted to change the way that I was comfortably living my life. Some would say that the cause of all my stress and mental health issues was due to the fact that I didn't follow the path that had already been engrained in my brain since a very young age. I didn't listen to my parent's advice or do what society had planned for me.

Yes, those are exactly why bad things keep happening to me. Somehow the universe is punishing me for not doing what I was told. I mean, that is ridiculous.

However, as much as I do not believe that the universe is out there making plans, I do somehow believe that things happen for a reason. In my quest to figure out "who I wanted to be" I found myself going from job to job and working to the bone until I just burned out. My last job before February 12th was working at a tattoo shop in Kuala Lumpur. I had rented a room close by to work for pretty cheap, the only problem was that because it was so cheap, it wasn't the cleanest of place. Not only that but I was surrounded by people constantly and surrounded by whatever germs they might have. I was working almost 13 hours a day and starting to get symptoms of the flu. At first I thought that it was just a common cold and I still went to work and did my usual things. However, a few days before the 12th, I started feeling really awful. I could not get myself out of bed, I definitely couldn't go to work, and I had no idea what was wrong with me. The night of the 12th, I remember trying to go to sleep but being unsuccessful and knowing that something was very wrong and asked the reception of the guesthouse that I was staying at to book me a taxi to go to the hospital. After that, everything went blank.

When I eventually woke up, what I heard shocked me just a little bit.

Apparently I had fallen into a coma for the past 13 days and the people around me feared that I would wake up with major brain damage. The night of the 12th, I had apparently gotten into the taxi and made it to the hospital but once there fell unconscious. I had fallen into a coma and the doctors planned to try and wake me up after a few days, but when they did a brain scan they noticed that my brain was expanding and swelling and decided to put me back into a medically induced coma. I was supposed to wake up within 2 days, I didn't for another 6. The doctors were telling my loved ones that there was a possibility that even if I did wake up, I could have potential memory loss.

However, I did eventually wake up with no memory loss, but I had lost mobility. I couldn't move my legs, couldn't move my hands, couldn't even sit up properly without someone helping me. I had had a feeding tube in my mouth for so long that I lost my voice for some time as well. At first I had no idea what was going on, I was obviously freaked out and confused. From what I can remember, I was hallucinating hardcore when I originally woke up. I was in places that was physically impossible since I was in a hospital bed in the middle of Kuala Lumpur.

When I eventually gained full consciousness, everything started hitting me at once. Being someone who has always been independent, I was helpless. Nurses and loved ones had to feed me, had to bath me, had to help me sit up properly. There was nothing that I could do on my own, I felt like a burden. I ended up spending almost 5 months in the hospital, I had to be moved to a different ward because of my lungs but all-in-all about 5 months of physiotherapy, speech therapy, constant needles being prodded into me.

While that time in the hospital obviously affected me physically, it also affected me mentally. It was only a year and a half before that I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and clinical depression. That was the reason why I kept pushing myself so hard when I was working because it wasn't until I was diagnosed with it, that I knew I was having a manic episode. A manic episode that would last for months until my body just gave up. I would skip the depressive episode completely and run myself to the ground.

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My time in hospital was spent with daily visits from the doctor, nurses constantly being around, going to physiotherapy, and then daily visits from family. However, as time went on, my mood changed drastically. There were days where I didn't want to see anyone, talk to anyone, and actually let the nurses stab me with needles. It got to a point that an additional part of the day involved the therapist coming and talking to me an hour a day. But, nothing would change my mood until I was able to leave the hospital. The day finally came where the doctors told me that I could actually leave the hospital and go home. Well, a different version of home which involved my over-bearing and controlling parents.

My relationship with my parents at that point was rocky at best. We hadn't spoken to each other in quite some time because they disapproved of the way I lived my life. They did not understand why I didn't want to live with them or why I didn't have a proper job. So, moving back in with them was going to be a challenge to say the least. Since I had just been discharged from the hospital, I didn't really have the energy to do anything but my parents took it to a whole other level. They watched me like a hawk, they didn't allow me to go out, if I did want to go out it had to be with them. They really did try to put in the effort to spend time with me, but I just wasn't having it because I didn't want to be there or be around them. The fighting continued and eventually got so bad that when I finally "healed", I was going to leave again. The only problem was that I knew my parents would not let me leave, so I had do it without telling them.

It has been 3 and a half years since then and I still have mental health issues and my physical health is better, but I am working on it. I am working on it and so can everyone else out there. It is not a overnight fix, it is a long process that will not go away completely but learning how to love yourself no matter what happens is the most important thing.

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