Amends 2

Today I responded to A regarding her apology from last week.

 

Hey A,

I appreciate your message, and it’s ok. You didn’t know any better, and neither did anyone else, really, including me–fortunately studying neuroscience helped to answer a lot of the questions my doctors couldn’t or didn’t have time to answer… Mental illness, especially chronic and recurring mental illness, is surrounded by misunderstanding on all sides. I remain hopeful though that we’ll find some permanently effective treatments in the future.

I’m not yet finished with my degree, but because of the pictures I posted and being back in LA and all I’ve been getting congratulated. 🙂 DOK and the academic review board permitted me to march at the graduation ceremony because I had completed 30 of my 32 units. I had taken two years off in 2013-2015 to recover from another severe depression, only I didn’t recover, and I essentially lied saying I was healthy again so I could come back in 2015 and finish my degree. So unsurprisingly I wasn’t able to finish my senior year without dropping a couple courses, and now I need to make up those units elsewhere. But I don’t ever have to set foot on the Wellesley campus again, so that’s good. 😉

Your Facebook timeline tells me you’re having a good time, and I’m glad to see that. I hope it reflects truth. 🙂 First year I remember was also a very difficult time for you, and we hadn’t talked much after that. For the most part I have created distance between myself and many people, including people from high school, people from Wellesley, and my parents. Some of this was to avoid negativity or people around whom I feel sad, and the rest was because I just can’t relate to certain people anymore because I’ve changed so much. I have tested my emotions by occasionally socializing with some of these people, to try to make myself adapt and be less sensitive. I have found this to not work very well and after so much testing of the waters outside my comfort zone and becoming more anxious as a result, I have learned that taking cover and accepting one’s vulnerability can in some cases be better than facing fears. I hope you can understand if I keep my distance from you. I begrudgingly respect my limitations.

Thank you for reaching out, A. It is a reminder of the fact that you have always cared. 🙂

Take care,
Nikita

 

 

Amends

A week ago I received this message from someone I hadn’t spoken to in years. We’ll call her A. We were acquaintances in high school and when we found out we were both going to Wellesley, we tried our best to bond so we could support each other once over there. Long story short, things just didn’t work out.

 

Hey Nikita,
Just saw your graduation post. Congratulations!

I’ve been thinking about you lately , like when I went home and reverted to becoming a teenager and when I got together with S.K. on Saturday and thought about high school and even yesterday when I was listening to a podcast about “solving the problem” and frames of reference. You’ve been on my mind and I would like to apologize for not being a good friend to you during college.

I didn’t understand depression and still have a lot to learn about it. I remember our last phone call and regret how I handled the way you expressed how you felt. I shouldn’t have diminished you and what you were going through because it was big. And when you came back to Wellesley, I figured you didn’t want to be friends and I kept my distance.

So, a long overdue apology. I am sorry for not being there for you when we spent so much time together. Our minds were in different places and spaces. I regret not stepping out of my tunnel and seeing you.

I hope you’re well and congratulations again.

Repost: Cells carry ‘memory’ of injury, which could reveal why chronic pain persists

A new study from King’s College London offers clues as to why chronic pain can persist, even when the injury that caused it has gone. Although still in its infancy, this research could explain how small and seemingly innocuous injuries leave molecular ‘footprints’ which add up to more lasting damage, and ultimately chronic pain. All […]

http://biotechin.asia/2016/05/18/cells-carry-memory-of-injury-which-could-reveal-why-chronic-pain-persists/

A Haiku for You

Strip me of my meds

and I will resemble more

the dead girl I am.

  • I like haikus because they’re so simple. Even I can do them and I’m not a poet.
  • These days, the average amount of sleep I need in order to not feel like I slept too much or too little is 11 hours. I think I am developing a tolerance to Fetzima. So that’s two meds now: bupropion and Fetzima. I wonder now and then how I’ll ever get off them.
  • Finals are over!!!

Playing God’s Advocate

I’ve been noticing my brain’s been trying to give religious perspective more air time. “How would one interpret my situation within a spiritual context?”

The better I feel, the easier it is for me to believe in God. The doubt is still strong, and I remember knowing when I was at my lowest that if I ever got better, it would be like this. I had even hoped for it; spirituality is great medicine. But the part of me that wants to be true to myself, be consistent, and respect my depressed self as much as my healthier self is resisting. I’m fine with that, too. My beliefs carry a lot of weight, and they’re not easily changed.

I like being an agnostic materialist, because that’s my truth. Science is my truth. It’s what I know will never cave for however long I stand on it. If I have any faith in God, it’s the size of a mustard seed at best…

A perk of severe depression

*Trigger warning: death/loss/suicide*

When my grandfather died about 2 1/2 years ago, it was due to a heart attack he had had while we were walking in the park together. Right after I saw he had fallen, I watched as his chest quickly deflated and didn’t rise again. I shouted for help as I didn’t have my phone on me to call 911, then folded up my sweatshirt to put under his head. There was a small pool of blood under it. I thought to myself that this was probably his last day of life or close to it, and I felt a tiny bit envious. A retired pastor, he was now on the fast track to heaven, if we are to assume there is a heaven. He was also getting a ticket out of this dreadful world, as I saw it. I took note of my reaction as just another interesting thing about my depression. Later on at the funeral a couple weeks later, people I talked to thought that seeing him fall, etc. must have been traumatic. Nope. It was more of a peaceful experience than traumatic, honestly. I was relieved and glad for him. Of course, I didn’t say this.

Also when I’ve been pretty depressed (I’m fairly stable now) and witnessing the euthanization of a mouse in a science class, I’m not as freaked out as my classmates. I don’t feel disturbed. I don’t think, “Oh, poor mouse!!” I remember my lab instructor saying, “It’s normal to have a negative reaction to this. It’s actually weirder if you don’t feel bad.” Lol. I wasn’t offended. And this is not to say that I never feel empathy for animals. I do. I once had a dog named Mopsy whom I loved very much. She was the best dog, very cute, very well trained, and very smart. She was also very mellow. As she got older, she developed dry eyes that would get caked with eye mucus that we had to clean out. It was hard for her to see. She also developed Cushing’s disease, and I could tell by the way she moved that she was depressed. I was experiencing one of my first depressions at the time, and I couldn’t pay as much attention to her as I used to. It hurt to look at her. I felt her pain too well. I told my parents and sister to euthanize her. They interpreted this as coldness and heartlessness. Eventually they did take her to the vet to be euthanized, while I laid heavily in bed. Afterward they told me how sad it was to see her die and that they had cried, and that I was so selfish for not going with them.

It wasn’t until a year later on a trip to Ireland that my feelings became clear. My mom and I were looking at a Shetland pony in a stable, and it looked sad to me. Its head was low and it didn’t look at us. We threw some bread in and it sniffed it but didn’t eat. It just continued standing still with its head low. I was reminded of Mopsy. My eyes welled up and I cried and cried. Perhaps the pony was sad for most of the time; perhaps its owners did not take adequate care of it or pay enough loving attention to it. Perhaps it felt trapped like me. But a pony in its circumstances doesn’t have the option to commit suicide and end its misery like I do. It probably doesn’t even have a concept of suicide…

By the way, suicide is not the answer and I’ve been telling myself it’s not an option. What I said up there is a reflection on my feelings from 7-9 years ago.

My point is, depression can make you more disturbed by life, but also less disturbed about death. 🙂

Wow, am I writing depressing stuff today or what?

Neuropharm presentation on bupropion this Friday :)

So… I have a straight-up D in my neuropharmacology class, even though I’ve been looking forward to this class for years, because I’m unable to stay focused enough to complete assignments due to depression and anxiety. (I’ve also dropped two of my three courses this semester!) But I’m pleased to say that my 10-minute presentation on a medication of my choice this Friday is one of the few assignments that I’ve started working on before the day it’s due. That’s because I already know a substantial amount about the drug from my personal experience with it, and therefore I don’t need to muster as much motivation to get started.

I’m also pleased because my telling the class that I’ve used Wellbutin (bupropion) in the past and that I’m currently on it should make the presentation a little more interesting for everyone. Hopefully I can prepare enough to the point where I can be proud of the final result.

You might be thinking, Is it really a good idea to disclose that you’re taking bupropion? Isn’t it… unprofessional? 
I used to think like that. I’ve had a therapist tell me it may be best to not let anyone know at my neuro internship that I struggle with depression, to keep business and personal life separate. A friend and former classmate who has bipolar disorder also suggested it might be best to not tell the class that I’m actually on the medication. But I feel strongly about my role in destigmatizing mental illness. Anytime there seems to be any discomfort either on my end or on another’s part regarding the knowledge of my depression, I feel the need to face the discomfort head-on instead of trying to avoid it. I think that’s exactly what destigmatization requires. As long as I am privileged in the sense that despite being mentally ill I have the confidence to be open about it, I’m going to actively use it to bring mental illness into conversations and awareness because it’s an extremely important issue facing the entire world today.