The Medical Way to Mental Health

By Yohanna Abdullah
Today, I spent the morning at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) seeing my psychiatrists and my case manager (who just sat in the room quietly in one corner). One doctor said he thought I was on the low side and one said I seemed a bit on the high side, while I insisted I was feeling normal. I also said I know myself the best and they were not too happy that I spaced my Electro Convulsive Treatment (ECT) to 21 days instead of 10 days.
They are convinced that regular and frequent ECTs are what kept my mood stable for the past one year. When they spaced out my ECTs to once a month last year, they saw my mood going down.
Now I would like to think I have got a grip of this Bipolar Mood Disorder, but like my good doctor reminded me today, I have been admitted 20 times in IMH before and maybe I don’t really know my condition as much as I want to believe I do. But they were happy to see that I am much better than the past year and have been stable since July 2019. Today my injection has been reduced and one of  my medication has been adjusted accordingly.
Even as so many of my friends and acquaintances are so eager to recommend me oils and various products to heal naturally and organically or even spiritual methods, I feel that I have to trust the health care system in Singapore and get treated medically. I may not necessarily say that my doctors know best, but I believe in their expert knowledge despite the skepticism and disillusionment that not a few have towards western medicine.
I feel irritated when people come to me and seem to impose their views on mental health
and its treatment when I know they themselves would admit themselves into hospitals or see doctors when they have a sickness. Such well-meaning advice has kept many people away from treatment of their mental conditions.
Anyways, I am now at The Hut, at IMH, using the laptop provided here. It is literally a hut which is a hangout for patients and their families and friends. I just had the free coffee and brownies some patients baked this morning and am charging my phone. When The Hut closes at 3 pm, I will join my friends at Club HEAL’s pushcart next to the IMH canteen which serves very good food. I had my favourite ban mien noodles just now,
I am having my Simple Life Meetup at Marina Square this evening and am looking forward to be with my friends to catch up on our progress for our 2020 goals set last month. I try my best to be happy each day, having had a taste of depression many times before and having gone through periods of very high and very low moods, I cherish normalcy.
I am beginning to share my daily journeys here on FB not to attract attention but as a record of my thoughts and journey in life and also to raise awareness on mental health not just for the mentally ill, but for everyone. I believe everyone have their ups and downs and we all need a listening ear. With the right intentions, for the sake of Allah’s pleasure, all will be well, despite our challenges.
Have a nice day my friends.
May peace be upon you.

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