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On Stage Life

OPINION


by Ferliza Calizar-Contratista


I am half treated for depression. Technically, I am supposed to be on treatment still,
but I stopped it some three months
back (I think), because I told myself that I am okay (or so I thought). And I had this slight occurring pain in my left thigh which the doctor (thanked God he still answers me even if I missed our sessions) said will be taken cared of. You see, depression, just like any other mental illness or body illness has a treatment period. It is not that easy to fix the mind, like fixing a broken arm. It is not easy but it is POSSIBLE. How did I find out that I have depression? Hmmm you see, it was expected of me… I thought I was just gonna be okay, I easily got back on my normal state after two deaths…loss of two important persons in my life. Super painful was the murder of my eldest son. Remember that 22 year old guy who was shot by drug hitman Jessie Largo, on his sleep? I had things going on immediately as I searched for justice, barked at politicians and cops and cursed whoever created shabu! I never had time to mourn. I wasn’t able to process several emotions guilt and anger. And in barely six months, my Papa died in April this year, a few days before my birthday. Again, another set of emotions. Yep, I had myself checked at the Center for Behavioral Sciences of the Don Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Centre (DVSMMC) June of this year because I felt that something is really not normal in me.


You see me bubbly, full of life, fighting and even inspiring, but I already had certain attacks which made me chill even during day time and fever in cold days. I was sad… I cannot focus anymore. At work I am only productive at certain times but my mistakes were no longer negligible. I cannot even spell my own name right. At home, I get so emotional. I panic when i don't hear a word from my boys, I shake every time I hear some shooting ..Lord not again! Please please Lord… protect them! My posts were already obvious to some who probably has an experience of being sad for a long time. It was more of blaming myself and too much anger to the world. And worst, I can’t sleep. Panda eyes, my face was sporting no concealer can conceal. So there I was, face to face with my doctor (yes, we do have good doctors for the brain at Sotto), after I underwent two types of written tests. Point blanked he told me, I have major depressive disorder. It was only a matter of a few more triggers that I could reach my tripping point. This means, I could no longer determine whats real and whats not. My good doctor explained to me, that there is this side of my brain which ran out of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that is intricately involved and key player in mood, anxiety, fear and general sense of well-being. Imbalances in serotonin are common causes of depression. What caused my serotonin level to deplete? Accordingly, the greatest factor was the prolonged period of stress. I had stress when I took in a whole lot of things in my life and not being able to deal and process emotions. My good doctor said the three top causes of depression also known as prolonged sadness, are in this order, loss of a loved one, rejection and addiction. Death is the first one. Rejection is that when you've been betrayed by a loved one..those that were unable to “move on”; when you gave your all but the all was just consumed; presence of the “ikaduhang bathala” and those sorts. Addiction is of course, drugs, gambling, smoking and etc.
Therefore, there was a need for me to take an anti-depressant which will raise back to normal the level of serotonin in my brain. I was also prescribed with a sleeping pill which I will only take when my eyes are still open until 11 pm—just 1/4 of a teeny weeny tablet. The best part there is, the psychotherapy part. I was given an assignment—I will write a letter to my son and to Papa.. Tell them all the stuffs I wanted to tell them.. one day at a time. I also get to talk about my feelings during sessions. Am advised to do a lot of physical activities and to give time for myself to listen and process my feelings. Taking the antidepressant, caffeine and liquor are a no-no, not even chocolates, just so it won't interact with the antidepressant. I was off grid for almost a month and when I was back at work.. I felt renewed. Things were already lighter. But as I said at the earlier part, I stopped the treatment. I am such a hardhead. So here I am with some “attacks” again. I think I managed because hey, am still writing this column hehe But my doctor really advised to go back and get the full treatment. “We want you to be really okay”, my good doctor said.
Depressed but smiling after the burial of my eldest son John Ronli Calizar

But hey, this goes out to all you readers out there. I know it sounds so mushy to say that we’re just here, we understand what you’re going through….truth is .. we don’t…they don’t. We have our own degree of sadness, our own way of coping things…in loss or grief, nothing can comfort us.. One thing though, when you feel that things are getting out of hand, and you still have, wait, we should still have that desire for life…. there is help. The good news is, there is help from the government. The Philippine Mental Health Law (Republic Act 11036) has been passed and its now in the perfecting stage of implementation. There will be funds in the local government for mental illnesses medications. But for now, you can go to the Center for Behavioral SciencesDivision at DVSMMC. Everything is free. A shout out to the men and women of the Philippine Mental Health Association (PMHA-Cebu) headed by Dr. Glenda Basubas for untiringly conducting mental missions and working on the tie up with Cebu Province for mental health projects in the localities. In my next issues, I could probably talk about the Municipality of Dalaguete, which by the way, had been taking care of it’s mentally sick persons for decades now. But as I park my pen (err tip tapping the keyboards), let me say this, to all depressed moms, dads, friendsis, beshies, out there… help is available. Come out? Lets talk.. comment or email me at azilref@gmail.com..after all these are just part as we go …on stage life.




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