So hello and welcome back to the long ignored Taking Back Happiness, not to be confused with the youth slang for To Be Honest, (Oh msn message slang, I do not miss you at all.)
I left off pretty abruptly with only ever getting out two posts in this series. For those of you who don’t know, I started this series a few months ago when I made the decision to go to a local doctor here in Japan for various mental health reasons. I was given mediation for the first time and decided I wanted to share my journey of taking back my happiness with you all. I had wanted to document more of my journey, however, ironically I wasn’t in the right head space and found myself spiralling more than a little. I tried various doses of the medicine but to no avail. If anything, I felt worse than I had before hand, with the positive affects wearing off just after a month or so.
Tired of hating myself, my life and feelings disconnected from those I loved the most, I felt at a loss. Here I was, trying my best with medication to help, and nothing. Squat, zilch, nada. But then, I had a message saying the referral I was waiting for finally went through and I had an appointment coming up with a psychiatrist at the big local hospital. I had been waiting for this meeting for months, and last week I finally got my chance. The hospital is huge and if it had not been for the lovely staff I would have gotten lost in the fray. Finally, however, after many forms and many queues, I was waiting outside the doctors office. I had ben told he could speak English, so I was a little surprised when a Japanese doctor called my name. I must admit, I was very panicked. Mental Health is a very delicate issue here in Japan, and after the horror story that was me trying to talk to my GP about it, I felt my body start to shake with the formation of tears. It turned out, however, to be a very good session and the doctor was kind and supportive.
He confirmed that yes, I do have OCD etc, but there was also some more news to come my way.
I have a yet to be diagnosed mood disorder.
I was both a mixture of utter shock and complete understanding all at the same time. It explained a lot and I left feeling very anxious but a whole lot more stable.
For just over a week now I’ve been taking mood stabilising medicine as well as an upped dose of my previous anti-depressant.
I’m not going to lie, walking around with an undiagnosed mood disorder has been rather stressful, but there has been somewhat of a comforting element to this truth. Growing up I had always been susceptible to bouts of bad mood swings. I could go from the happiest girl in the world to slumped in a corner drawing sad eyes over and over on paper. It would send my world reeling and even days later I would still be recovering from the roller coaster ride that had been the emotional drop. Vice versa counted too, which was equally as exhausting. Knowing that these mood swings are, however, something that is happening to me and can be treated, makes me feel a little better, oddly enough.
Today was my second visit to the hospital and it was a lot quicker than the first time. Despite my episodes of depression, over all I have felt much better in myself. The mood stabilisers are working, however, a side affect is coming through, so if it doesn’t subside I may have to change after my next visit in November. I have felt more myself in the last few weeks than I have in a lot time. He was pleased to hear this too. We talked a little about my medication and decided that it would stay as it was for now, with the addition of a fortnights worth of sleeping tablets, as I find it difficult to get a good nights sleep. Every night I’m plagued with up to three nightmares, leaving me teary and groggy when I wake up. I was a little apprehensive at first, but they are only 25mg and the few times I have used them, my sleep has been much better, despite the lingering grogginess that tends to hang around for a few hours.
I had thought this session would be a counselling session, and was a little disheartened when I found out it was just a normal consultation, but he told me those will be set up from next week. He was actually incredibly kind about it, offering to sit in during a Japanese consultation and translate if an English one could not be set up. I mean, I could perhaps get through one in Japanese alone, but the emotional energy it takes to talk about my inner deep feelings is already overwhelming enough in English, let alone trying to get my head around the Japanese. I don’t want to misunderstand anything, I don’t want any miscommunications.
All in all I feel comfortable in this doctors care. He is attentive, kind and culturally aware which is something I highly appreciate.
Self Prescribed Homework
- List 4 good things before bed that made you happy during the day.
- Eat healthier
- Meet up with a friend for tea during the week
- Have some alone time and relax your brain