An update on my mental health

Trigger warning: mentions of suicide and self-harm.

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve seen my psychologist and psychiatrist because surprise, I’ve been feeling quite suicidal again.

This entire COVID situation has taken a serious toll on my mental health. I don’t really see people, eat out, shop, or do the things I used to. I miss hanging out alone at Q Cup in Quezon City, and writing while having coffee. I miss drinking with The Best Friend. I miss having dinner with my friends.

During GCQ, I knew I could have gone out a lot more, but my fear of catching COVID prevented me from doing so. I didn’t want to be a carrier and have to go into isolation, or god forbid, have anyone in my household catch it from me.

Basically, I’ve been cooped up inside the house for several months now. And I know other people have it worse. Some are unemployed, some have to take extreme measures just to get to work, some are starving, some have been evicted from their houses. Knowing all that, though, just makes me feel worse, as though my feelings are invalid because someone else is suffering more.

So what did I do when I was feeling that miserable? I cut my forearms, I stared off into space a lot because I felt too drained to even cry, I didn’t drink enough water, and didn’t eat well. I even stopped taking my medication regularly because I thought, what’s the point? It only occurred to me that I should schedule an emergency appointment with my psychologist when I realized that I constantly wanted to poison myself with a can of insecticide.

My psychologist, as usual, was very helpful. She told me that I am not alone; a lot of people are having mental health issues because of the ongoing crisis. She pointed out that I am surrounded by loving people who help ground me when I’m deep in the throes of depression. She validated my emotions but also said that while there are depressing things I can’t control, we can focus on the controllable factors: i.e. eating right, exercising, journaling, setting a limit for social media, and other healthy coping mechanisms.

I also saw my psychiatrist, who, when I mentioned I’ve been having bad dreams again, suggested I journal those dreams and tweak parts of them that I didn’t like or want to change. He also upped my dosage of aripiprazole because of my increasing suicidal ideation.

Right now, as I’m typing this, I am feeling surprisingly hopeful and optimistic. Yes, I may have difficult days (or weeks, or months), but it’s worth remembering that they don’t last forever.

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