First Psychiatrist Appointment, Diagnosis and Medication Prescribed

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Mental Health is something that is not taken seriously by many up until now. In the Philippines, when you say mental disorder or mental illnesses, they would automatically think of it as “baliw” (insane) and this is due to the lack of awareness and education about mental health. I am one of the people who believes that mental health should be taken seriously as physical health. Just because it is not as concrete or easily spotted doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

One of the most common issues among my peers is Depression. Common Filipinos would say it is just “pag-iinarte“, “sakit ng mayaman“, “kulang sa dasal“, “Nasa isip mo lang yan” and would even tell stories of how they’ve had it worse invalidating what you’re feeling. I am one of the people who refuses to speak about how I truly felt because of the lack of empathy and understanding of other people. Often times people will just tell you to “suck it up”.

I’ve written a lengthy post about Common Depression Myth is that people need to stop believing. Educate yourselves. I CANNOT STRESS ENOUGH THAT MENTAL HEALTH IS A SERIOUS ISSUE. Most of us still don’t understand it and the majority REFUSES TO UNDERSTAND it.

I have been depressed for so long

It took me some time to actually recognize that I have been depressed for so long.

  • I have no passion for anything.
  • Nothing interests me anymore.
  • The things that used to make me happy no longer make me feel anything
  • All I keep thinking about is how pointless everything is so I don’t make an effort
  • I feel like I am just floating in life
  • I hate myself for not being enough and for feeling this way
  • I know what I have but it isn’t enough for me to be grateful and be more appreciative in life
  • I no longer find joy in the things I used to love
  • I struggle even waking up in the morning. Everything feels like a drag.
  • I set this high standard for myself and I get ridiculously upset whenever I cannot meet it halfway, I just give up or drown myself in anger or self-pity (sometimes both)
  • Maybe I have imposter syndrome? I hate myself whenever I can’t get things right for the first time and whenever I make mistakes and mentally torture myself for it.
  • I try to set up a new routine to do better, something that would work for me. I might be able to do them for 1-2 weeks but I just fall back to the cycle of, endless scrolling, playing games to distract myself, self-pity, hating myself, hating myself for wasting time then hating myself for wasting so much time, rinse and repeat.
  • I am aware that most of my struggles are self-inflicted.

It is taking a toll on my physical health

  • I would either not eat or binge-eat.
  • Same with my sleep. I would either stay awake all night ’til morning or sleep the whole day.
  • I have no strength or energy to do even the simplest of tasks
  • I feel weak and dizzy all the time.
  • I just wanted to lie down
  • When there are abrupt changes, I tend to panic and I am unable to calm myself down

Recognize if you need help

I know if I continue on this rabbit hole, I might end up in a much darker state and never be able to get up at all. I don’t want to end up at the point where it starts affecting my career or my relationships.

I knew I needed help but I don’t know how. I don’t know where to start or who to turn to. I don’t want to feel judged. I can’t tell friends or loved ones about this. Mostly out of fear that people will just dismiss and invalidate my problems and they’d tell me other people have had it worse. It’s not really helpful.

Luckily, me being an anonymous surfer on the internet and an active reddit contributor, I have gathered enough intel and opinions from people who feels the way I do. No matter what age, what career, or financial status in life, depression does not discriminate.

People in support groups keep saying one thing “consult with a Professional” so I can get the help that I need.

Finally getting an Appointment with a Professional

Since it is a pandemic and everything is restricted (as if I don’t feel like I am a prisoner of my own mind already), I decided to consult online. I downloaded the app KonsultaMD.

I found Dr. Castillo, a psychiatrist that specializes in Anxiety, Depression, Psychosis, Trauma, etc. She also has her own facebook page where you can inquire about her services and book your appointment. It took me a while before I can find a schedule that would work for me since she is fully booked most of the time.

The session went smoothly and I felt a bit lighter after it. I was diagnosed with Depression and Anxiety and was prescribed medicine for both. For my depression, I was advised to take Fluoxetine and Alprazolam for my anxiety. (NOTE: DO NOT ATTEMPT TO BUY OR START TAKING THEM WITHOUT A PRESCRIPTION. Always consult with a professional.)

What to Expect

  • I cannot stress this enough. Getting sick is expensive and yes this includes the consultation for your mental health. My appointment cost me about Php 2000 for a 1-hour consultation with a Psychiatrist.
  • Don’t hesitate to share everything with them. Don’t feel like they are going to judge you. They have probably heard it all. Allow yourself to communicate properly in order for them to properly assess what is going on.
  • Most of them would suggest a monthly check-up especially if they prescribed you medicine.
  • MEDICINE is very expensive.
  • Medicine (anti-depressants) doesn’t instantly work and they won’t solve your problems. They only manage your symptoms.

I don’t think that my problems were actually solved but at least it has lessened the symptoms I am feeling. It only manages some issues like my inability to focus, or my constant thinking about negative thoughts or feeling bad about myself. I felt like it took some time for the medicines to work though I actually have no idea if it was just me, the medicine, or the combination of both.

I also started taking melatonin in order for me to get the sleep that I need. To be honest, I am skeptical about taking them since I would hate to be dependent on drugs just to be okay. However, some people truly needed them in order to function. It happens.

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