When I was an infant, I was one of those babies that cry all the time. It was really hard to put me to sleep. I was an evil baby. When I was a kid, I was described as very shy, neurotic and introverted. I had a lot of phobias, I was afraid of spiders, bugs, rodents, darkness and ironically, death. I am still very sensitive to caffeine. I would not be able to sleep if I drink coffee or tea. I did not think I was different from everyone else, I never knew what it was like to be someone else.
When I turned 13, we came to Canada. It was very difficult as a newcomer; I had to face discrimination and prejudice. I could sense that my mental health was getting worse and worse. However, my experience was only typical as a newcomer, but because I was very sensitive and weak, it would take me forever to get over a negative encounter whereas someone else in the same shoes as I was might not care at all. I remembered between 17 to 18, the year prior to my depression, I would stay awake throughout the entire night for countless nights. Falling asleep was always difficult. I was thinking all the time. The pace of my thoughts was always very fast. I had this enormous amount of mental energy. I also became increasingly negative, always thought of people and things in their worst. When I turned 18, I started dating. At the time, it was very special. I was extremely obsessed and manic. When the relationship ended after just four weeks, that’s when the insomnia started and the clinical symptoms of depression began to unfold.
Two weeks of not being able to sleep completely. I started to have suicidal desires. Four weeks of not getting any sleep, I had impulses of running in front of every car that drove towards me or jumping off a subway platform. I tried to overdose on medication, but failed. Two months of not getting any sleep, I was completely insane. And finally, I made my ultimate attempt by jumping off a building. I landed on my back and broke my spinal cord as a result.
When I was in acute care, my psychiatrist prescribed me with anti-depressant medication. Three weeks later, I started to feel drowsy and sleepy. I was able to sleep again. As my sleep was restored, my symptoms were dramatically better. Three years after my injury, I was yet again admitted to the psychiatric ward. This time, I received my actual diagnose, which was bipolar disorder. Immediately, I was switched to Lithium Carbonate. This medication gave me a lot of side effects, my mental health continued to be horrible. Until 2007, when my doctor switched me to Epival, I woke up one day and felt like I was refreshed. I began to recover as the result of being on the right medication. And today, my mental health is probably better than 90% of the population.
This blog chronicles my story in more details.