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  • 5 Important Things I Learnt At Rehab


    1. Medication Management -

    I learnt the importance of medications and I get educated by doctors and nurses on how having them to help me. I feel like I have tried every single antidepressant and antipsychotic so far, including valium. If I wanted to have a medication withdrawal, this would be the 'best' place to have it I reckon, cause there is support and the doctors and nurses work really hard to be on the same page as me.

    2. Exercising -

    I know this a cliche one, but I have never exercised so much in my lifetime until since coming here for six months now. I feel motivated and I never found exercise was fun until I came here to this mental health rehab. I find it challenging too, in a good way. I never knew I enjoyed doing so many squats!

    3. Reaching Out To My Support Network -

    During the time here at rehab, I must remember this place is only temporary, I won't be staying here all my life, and I need to reach out to the community ultimately for support. I have friends and family who I can reach out for support. It's just important to connect to my friends and family and let them know how I'm going with everything.

    4. Finding New Coping Mechanisms -

    That includes diamond painting (new form of visual art I discovered - it's so much fun!), using my DBT skills for stressful and distressing situations, and also reaching out to my support network. Also importantly, building the trust between my support worker and myself is just as important as reaching out to friends. When I get emotional and feeling distressed, the main person I contact are the nurses here. 

    5. My Safety Plan -

    My safety plan is basically...my safety plan! Self-explanatory...I reach out and look at my safety plan to remind me during distressful situations on what I should do and the step-to-step process I should take to minimize any self-harm and people I can contact if I was running in trouble. I learnt to make this safety plan while being here at this mental health rehabilitation. It's a valuable tool.

  • How I Overcame And Prayed Against My Suicidal Thoughts


    Photo by Suzanne Dang

    If you find this triggering, and you need help:

    Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service:  1800 011 046 - http://www.vvcs.gov.au/
    Lifeline: 13 11 14 - http://www.lifeline.org.au
    MensLine Australia: 1300 789 978 - http://www.mensline.org.au/
    Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467 - https://www.suicidecallbackservice.org.au/
    Beyond Blue: 1300 22 46 36 - https://www.beyondblue.org.au/
    Headspace: 1800 650 890 - https://headspace.org.au/

    As a Christian, I have made the mistake of using the wrong kind of prayer for certain issues I have. From using a prayer of deliverance when I should have just asked God for something simple as peace and calmness over me when I was in the midst/road to of feeling suicidal. Either way, I think for me it's important to pray whenever I am having a problem.

    Only recently I was feeling and having strong suicidal thoughts after stopping my medications, as much as I believed that God had healed me from my mental health illness. And I still believe that, to this day. I may be back on medications now, but I have already been healed. Jesus has already died on the cross for our all sins. The issue with medications is that once you start taking them for a long time, stopping them cold turkey is not physically the safest option for your body. So anyway, when I was feeling that way, I prayed for God's spiritual covering and protection - cause he is a loving God. He is never angry with the things I've done and even angry about my suicidal thoughts. He accepts me for who I am and knows my journey before I was even born. I prayed for mental and emotional strength. I prayed I will receive good flashbacks amongst the negative flashbacks after I was raped in the relationships and other reasons why I should live. Live for my family - my mum, my grandparents, my siblings. I asked God to help me see through Him and believe He has overcome it all, and I have nothing to worry about.

    When I make an overcomplicated, some would say - a "fancy" prayer for myself, I always end up in tears. I believe I have done some mistakes, which let the enemy creep into my life, but I feel God's overpouring power of Love when I do these kinds of prayers against these attacks of the enemy. Actually, I think it was only a few weeks ago that this happened. I think it was a self-deliverance prayer. 

    Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken ~ Psalm 55:22

  • Dating A Girl With A Mental Illness pt II


    Photo by Kaitlin Maree Photography

    Hold her when she is crying, when words no longer work. Acknowledge the fact you cannot fix anything at the time, but you are there to support her. You can only do so much. Tell her of all the good qualities she has such as, she is kind. She is beautiful, and wonderful as she is. Understand and mention that you are always on this journey with her, and that God always protects her and loves her for who she is. Be active in her progress in her recovery, and cheer her on for every good step of the way. 

    Be supportive and encouraging, always.

    When things get tough, and it feels like neither of you understands each other; take a breather, and re-evaluate and see that you are not letting your emotions and feelings dictate the choices you make for each other. It's okay for both to embrace solitude, but not isolate each other. Be creative in her recovery, not just like the visual arts; but be pro-active in her journey, not overwhelming her with too much information, as it can be overwhelming. 


    Photo by Kaitlin Maree Photography

  • How I Was "Let Out" From Psychiatric Ward Without Taking Any Meds


    Photo: Tuan Thai Photography

    I was recently hospitalised down in the psychiatric ward. Again. This isn't a secret guide or anything like that if you're purely interested in how "getting out" of the Psychiatric Ward, it's just my experience and each case and person is different from each other. I just want to give a few points on how I made it out of the psychiatric ward without taking no medications at all. 

    I was suffering from short-term memory loss (I lost my wallet twice this year), hair loss, shakiness in hands, and daily constipation from the medications I was taking for the past 6 years or so. 

    If you're not aware, the psychiatric ward is a really different place. I have met some of the most fascinating people (patients-wise) yet "scary" as well. In my last admission, I was wrongly accused of stealing of another patients' pants/leggings and I was shocked to hear that same very day that my roommate was told by that patient who accused me to steal my pants at night time when I am sleeping. This shook and scared me, I thought the patient/s were playing psychological games with me. I did the right thing straight away and told the nurse and the nurse in charge about what had happened. I don't argue with patients, I am polite to them but distrust them in most ways I would like to add.

    Anyway I didn't take my/any prescribed medications when I was in the ward. I had the right to refuse as I was a voluntary patient mainly. I know the nurses loved and respected me as a patient, I would help the Bed Warden with some tasks such as making beds for new admissions for example. They know I was kind, respectful and wouldn't hurt anyone. But the doctors and nurses would still prescribe and administer me medications whenever I told them I was "anxious" and not "calm". 

    I remember in my first admission I would learn to say things the doctors and nurses wanted to hear, take the medications they prescribed no matter informed I thought I was in taking the medications I was prescribed. But this time, I wanted to do things differently and Suzanne's way...of what I think is best for my body, and of course being aware of what the doctors and nurses tell me about medications and taking care of myself at the back of my mind. I am a grown adult, I have a lot of support from family and friends and sometimes it feels I am treated like a child in there (especially in the first few admissions). 

    So I decided to stop my medications cold turkey and I was discharged earlier this week. I am able to sleep better, I don't feel sedated when I take the night medications as I also love to burn the midnight oil and work at night on things I'm passionate about in life. I study full-time, and work as well. I have been able to maintain employment longer than I used to. 

    Just saying people don't realise how highly functional I am as a "mentally ill" person. 

    This time during the admission, my room was the cleaniest (so I was told by the nurses) out of all the mental health patients in the ward, I dressed well enough that people told me I looked like a doctor or/and nurse. It was quite hilarious actually.

  • Confessions Of A University Disability Student



    I accepted the past and know that there was no turning back (I don't live by regrets) in telling the GP seven or eight years ago that I've been feeling "suicidal", have a loss of appetite and my sleeping pattern has been getting worse and worse. I simply diagnosed myself with "Depression" during that time when I was nineteen years old. I had been failing my University subjects for nursing, that the next year or so, I was finally excluded from the program and school. 

    A spiralling tunnel of darkness going down overwhelmed me.

    I had no hope in studying again for a few months, I did not know what to say to my grandparents who poured their hearts and soul in teaching me and supporting me the value of education. Sure, I still valued education, but I found it all too "difficult" to comprehend - the assignments and exams.

    But of course it's more than that. University life is more than...university. You need to find a way to maintain a balance of social life, family life, university life and most importantly, time for yourself to rejuvenate. Rejuvenation is the key to anything. As I am someone who wants to keep my loved ones happy, I do feel the pressure of putting on a mask sometimes and doing...things, to keep them happy. Back to being excluded from nursing, I had already failed the same nursing subject three times, and fast forward a few years; I attempted on taking Childcare then Photography then Fashion Design at TAFE Brisbane. 

    Failed all those courses too.

    It was an awful experience for me.

    My HECS debt was getting higher and higher.

    I would try and try again. But something was always wrong, and I would fail, academically.

    Until...

    ...until I found out about disability support at University/TAFE. Disability support was the most amazing discovery I have found up to date. With the disability support, you have to promise to yourself and be on the ball with things. I mean like, you have to book an appointment in early with a Disability Support Officer, include lots of medical documentations. I included my Clinical Neuropsychologist Report which cost me a fortune which I did when I was nineteen. The report and my current medications list, report from my therapist and psychiatrist helped me write a report how I am stable and managing my "illnesses" well. Also be on the ball with things in regards to updating your tutors and lecturers about how you're travelling. I did that this semester for my current University course (I am taking Korean and Sociology as majors) and I received tremendous help in regards to exam and assignmenta adjustments. Both universities I go to are very supportive. So make it clear with your tutors and lecturers about how you're going cause the only way to do well at University and graduate is to be active with your learning and know your strengths and weaknesses, which is what I did.

    Because of disability support, I have been receiving good grades too.

    Photography: Tuan Thai Photography

  • Dating A Girl With A Mental Illness



    Make her feel beautiful every day you see her. Tell her that she's beautiful. Don't judge her for the cycles and seasons she goes through. Believe that part of her recovery is you being there with her through the storm. Understand and listen to her feelings and emotions. Don't be quick to judge her and tell her to snap out of it. Don't tell her to change her way of thinking. 

    She is a strong woman, for going through what she's experiencing.

    I speak from experience, and it's not an easy journey to date someone with mental health problems. Not saying you shouldn't date someone with mental health problems. A mental health problem is just like any other problem, like cancer and other physical problems. 

    My two year relationship was like an emotional rollercoaster for me, I was and still am a person who has low self-esteem. I act all confident on the outside but on the inside that is really the important part. I get jealous very easily. My partner at the time experienced many times where I approached him about him being unloyal to me. He's allowed to have female friends, as per normal. I felt I was the one to blame for being jealous. Jealousy is about you, I learnt. It's not about the other person and psychology studies shows that jealousy is exhibited from low self-esteem, and not trusting the person and among other things. 

    I would get jealous at the slightest things, my partner talking to his other female friends and when they're laughing together, I was perhaps, a bit delusional (I have been diagnosed with schizo-affective disorder) and I would think they are purposely flirting with each other. It's like little things that makes me go mad.

    I don't know where I am going with this. It's just another blogpost with ramblings.

    Photography by Vee Photography

  • How I Bounced Back To Normal From Suicidal Thoughts By Myself


    Michelle Fleur Photography

    Holding the aluminium sheets of medications I was about to open, I take a moment; just the slightest moment to really try to think this is what I really wanted to do: to end my life. To end it all with overdosing on medications.

    This isn't the first time I have tried to attempt suicide in my room. It's something that seem to come by as now a "normal" behaviour of mine it seemed. Knowing the fact that I'll leave everything behind: my passion for fashion, my family, my friends and my dreams and goals. The "happy" person, Suzanne, no longer wants to be part of this world.

    I am writing this at this moment where I have just overcome another hurdle for this season and which that was the suicidal attempt I experienced in my very own bedroom a couple of nights ago. I did not manage to overdose, or else I wouldn't be capable of writing this blog post for my readers. 

    It was the self-talk that saved me.

    It was not the phone call to my best friend, or to the hospital. 

    I looked at myself into the mirror and simple told myself, "You are beautiful, you are an inspiration" whilst crying my hearts out. No matter how much I didn't want to believe the positive affirmations, I still, in fact, found myself looking into the makeup mirror and whispering out those affirmations.

    Lonely nights at home seem to trigger a lot of things in my mind, as it's quiet mainly. I try to occupy myself with studies, work, seeing friends and the like to help keep my mind busy. As we all know, our own mind can be our own enemy.


  • 3 Things My Good Friends Say When I'm In A Manic Episode

    Understanding someone with a mental illness/es is a hard one. It takes a lifetime for someone to understand someone else's condition I would say. You don't just meet someone and the person with the condition tells you about their struggles and you say you understand what they're going through. Unless you've been in similar situations such as hospital admissions and similar diagnoses but even that there's not full understanding in my opinion. My normal friends got it tough. But I'm going to say I have it tougher. I have been through a lot, and although there's no point in dwelling in the past, the past has been journeyed and there's no way I can change that. What I can change is the way I think and the way I react to certain things. Like when someone tells me to 'Chin up' and 'Snap out of it', especially when I'm in an episode, it simply doesn't help. On normal days I just shrug it off and don't care about explaining my situation. But on those terrible days I just want to be understood and not be told those unhelpful statements said above. So what do my good friends say when I'm in an manic episode?

    1. "We'll go through this hell together"

    No one wants to be alone. No one wants to be misunderstood and for me having mental illnesses it's easy to feel lonely in your own mind and time. I learnt that recovering from mental illnesses has nothing to do with strength but it includes having a good routine of sleep, a good diet, exercise, and a healthy support network such as love from family and friends.

    2. "I love you. I care about you."

    How often have I have been in an episode and received a lot of love and care from my support network? A lot. Whether that's in a form of written text on card or over Facebook msg, it can mean a lot to me. For someone to just say that, it touches me on a very deep level. I think it's something that gets missed telling to loved ones everyday and it can be taken for granted for.

    3. "Are you ok? What happened?"

    Instead of jumping to quick assumptions about what happened, good friends ask these questions to confirm everything is ok and they truly want to know what actually happened. People can normally be quick to judge (even I can be a victim of this).

    So there you have it. I have compiled three not-so-detailed points about what good friends say when I'm in a manic episode. I can think of more but I'll leave it to next time.

  • 4 Signs That I'm In A Manic Episode

    Friends, this post is to help you understand me better maybe, and perhaps help you recognise when I'm in an episode. It is also for me to document a bit of what's happened in the last couple of days as a reflection as well as it being therapeutic for me. In the above video, I mentioned that I have been diagnosed with depression, schizophrenia and bipolar. Sometimes it's difficult to understand when each illness is present. Today my therapist who I have been seeing for almost a year now told me that I don't have schizophrenia. It's just depression and bipolar. I'm still getting my head around this. I don't always have to get it, cause it's tough. After each episode, I learn more about my condition even though it feels like I've taken a big step back. When I have a manic episode, I notice that:

    1. I lose hope 

    Hopelessness is a big factor to notice when my mental health is deteriorating. It can be accompanied by worthlessness and losing interest in things for the future. Hope is something I need everyday to help me survive. Without hope, there is no future. But how does one have hope when everything around them seems to be crumbling down? This is something I tell myself when I lose hope. 

    2. I think people are out to harm me

    Not just emotionally, but physically, mentally and spiritually. Sure, it's normal to check your back if someone is following you when you're walking home late at night. But spiritually? What about the pastor who I thought tried to speak to me and make me feel guilty for what I have done in life? Those sort of things, if that makes sense. Sometimes when I am in an episode I think people are out to harm me. 

    3. I engage in risky behaviour/s

    This is a big one and it can mean in so many levels. It could mean from myself going out clubbing and exposing myself in a dangerous environment where there's drugs, alcohol etc are involved. I am a spiritual person I tell you that, and I know for sure clubbing is not the most spiritual place to be for someone like me. Saying I want to quit clubbing will not work, especially if you have done it in the last 2 months and going out every weekend. 

    4. My mood flutuates like crazy

    I have bipolar depression. I can get hypomania. Or even hypermania. Google it if you don't know the meanings to these words. So when I'm in a really low mood, it can be very lethal to my well-being, to the point sometimes I have suicidal thoughts. Sometimes, if I'm lucky, just the feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness arises.

    This isn't all of the signs I tell you, there are more. But maybe I'll give it a rest now. This post is written from a very personal level but I want to share it with you all.