Detox is a period of time in which one abstains from or rids the body of toxic or unhealthy substances. Substances that you rely upon to forget or to let go of feelings you do not want to address or deal with. It can be any shape or form - illicit drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, to mindless coffee consumption among other things. 

I guess when you talk about toxic or unhealthy substances that includes people too right? I mean, there will always be a set of people that you can never really get along with or that they exude negativity. There will always be a handful of people in your life that you just cannot seem to shake away. The complainer, the always victim, the user, and the blamer. There's always one everywhere and most especially, they are part of your circle of friends. Let's be honest here - who are your true and real friends at work or at school? And out of all your friends' list, who do you genuinely and personally know? 

I have a few friends who go through a social media break every now and then and I have never seen it as a need until July. It was a cacophony of everything. I first started with severing ties and doing some spring cleaning in my life and in all my social media accounts. I have uninstalled all social media apps from my phone, unfriended and unfollowed workmates, highschool friends and even quick acquaintances. Let it be known, I do not hate anyone in my life. I needed to do something to take control of what I consume online. I have decided to leave chat groups while I was at it. I closed and archived most that are of no use and have not been active for a very long time. 

Have you also had that feeling that almost 90% of the time what your feed consists is any if not both, negativity and narcissism? About 8% about fake news and 2% of great thoughtful content? Well, that has been my feed - so I had to clear out people that bring in those vibes. I am fully aware that I am totally in control of this aspect however, it gets too dark for me to bear.

And have you ever felt like nothing truly excites you anymore? Talking has rather become a rare commodity these days. Conversations revolve around what was recently posted, who recently shared an intriguing quote or the latest video shared online. We have been so dependent on social media that we fail to truly engage in true human connection. Phones down, eyes at each other and being present in the moment. It has been replaced with silence while we all individually check our feeds. Mindlessly scrolling down, refreshing your feed like kids in parallel play.

There are days when nothing stimulates my mind and conversations are becoming more labored. Crying myself to sleep has become more common and even sleeping more often has become my norm. Days when even in a crowd, I feel lonelier than when I am by myself. Things that used to bring joy does not do its magic anymore. Anhedonic that's what they call it.

I went to seek help from a Psychiatrist.

As they say, no one ever knows what you go through beyond what you see in the four corners of the office. Yes, jolly old me always throwing the funniest quips and can definitely laugh her heart out sought help. It took a lot of courage to do just that, I have been contemplating about it for weeks. Reached out to my friends and a few people of whom I trust the most. I did my research regarding establishments and was willing to travel to be assessed. I was referred to someplace nearby and after a few days of thinking and after gaining approval from my immediate supervisor - I finally did. Boy was seeking help an adventure in itself.

I was asked a lot of questions during assessment - family history, childhood experiences, work issues and other somewhat mundane at the time to try to figure what triggers these emotions. I have always been rather melancholic - I have not shared much about my life but I did write a lot when I was young. Composed poems and short stories revolving around heartache and pain. I have friends who share the same melancholia I have and we are a crazy bunch! No pun intended.

The heaviness feels like lead around July. When asked why I seek help - I answered nothing makes me happy anymore. I cried saying that because it was the first time in a long time I ever said it out loud. I did not want that - I did not want to feel that way anymore. I was asked when this started or what triggers it - July 23, 2016.

My dad died.

Looking back, I am certain that even without my dad's passing I will eventually find myself seeking psychiatric help. Something will eventually lead me here, still. I am not ashamed to share this nor feel the need to gain pity from those around me. I have no intention to draw any form of validation. If you could, stop saying that everyone goes through stuff like this and say that this feeling will simply go away. Rest assured, I have tried my best to cope and nothing is truly working for me. Not going to church, not talking to friends (although it helps alleviate the pain temporarily but it comes and goes like the tide), not travel as the feeling becomes fleeting and I sincerely hoped that I will not have to use medication. What works for me is talking to the doctor, letting everything out, no holds barred. I guess I just needed someone to speak to me without bias and without judgment. I have been visiting her every Tuesday for the last two months. I have been on medication during the said time. I like the version of myself when I am on meds. Nothing irks me as much as I do without it.

I am trying to regain some form of control over my life like how I am sharing this with you today. I hope you create and start conversations about mental health between friends and colleagues. Feelings of sadness, pain, and loneliness though felt by many may be far heavier for others to handle. And not everyone can openly talk about it without being asked. Try not to listen and acknowledge, choose your words carefully and try not to dismiss our feelings.

I can only hope that after you read this post, perhaps you will try to reach out to the strongest people in your life and ask how they genuinely are. Listen without judgment and bias. I am expecting that you educate yourself and debunk any myths revolving around mental health issues. I strongly suggest you stop using mental disorders as adjectives. Your adjectives are our diagnosis. So please stop.

Line art by Charlie Mackesy

I finally decided to choose myself first this time in a very long time. I am strongest when I was at my most vulnerable. 

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