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.
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 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
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
"Where are you from?" - someone asks me for the first time in our first meeting. I stutter for a bit at the answer, trying to quickly process in my head whether to say if I'm Australian or Vietnamese.
Growing up in the city of Brisbane, I've always been proud of my cultures. But sometimes I am torn between the two cultures and deciding which I feel I identify myself more as is, in fact, quite difficult and makes me feel torn between the two cultures.
I love Australia. I love the weather, I love the people and the vibrant cities and activities that the places has to offer. It's an amazing country to be part of and I'm proud to call myself an Australian citizen.
For Vietnamese culture; I love the history (not saying Australia doesn't have one), the food, the people and especially visiting back to the country itself helps me get a feel of the real culture that it has to offer.
It just feels a bit wrong sometimes to say I am Australian, and not Vietnamese. It makes it sounds like I'm trying to say to the other person that one culture is better than the other.
The main trouble with myself is that every time I get asked this question, "Where are you from?", I also want to sometimes explain to them all day that I am Australian by paper but I also can sometimes identify myself as Vietnamese as well. But of course, everyone is running out of time and not have all day to listen to me and ramble on about my troubles with cultural identity and the like.
Tuan Thai Photography
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.
I attended the Ipswich Fashion Festival Gala Evening 2015 on Friday 25th September for the second year in a row. It just gets better and better each year. I loved the entertainment from Those Tap Guys in between fashion shows. It was all very entertaining. As outlined and promised in the program; there were delicious canapés, entertainment and glamorous fashion from student to emerging designers etc. There were many different types of fashion to see from recycled wear, evening wear and bridal. I loved everything to be honest. The event was well organized and people were ushered in at 7pm or so and finished a bit before 9pm. I also received a photo frame which I loved in the goodie bag! Here are some of my favourite snaps from the night though:
Above: Love the gypsy style look from Tengdahl
Above: BORA does it again with amazing details
Above: Extraordinary millinery
Above: One of the entries for the SESSION STYLE HAIR DESIGN AWARDS
Above: Winner of the SESSION STYLE HAIR DESIGN AWARDS
Above: One of the entries for the PFAFF STUDENT FASHION DESIGN AWARDS
Above: An amazing millinery piece for the ASPIRE FASHION DESIGN AWARDS
Above: The 400 Co – an amazing corporate look!
Above: When Freddie Met Lily! Look at that pop of blue! Photography by Lyle Radford Photography
Above: Love When Freddie Met Lily clothing - Photography by Lyle Radford
Above: Love viewing bridal dresses. Look at the lace!
Above: Amazing win from Alexandra Bell from Xandra Bell The Label for the PFAFF STUDENT FASHION DESIGN AWARDS
Photography by Suzanne Dang unless otherwise stated
It's important to support your fellow designers and fashionistas in the fashion industry. But there's nothing even more important to give them continued support with their work in my opinion. I think that's what I'm lacking in the fashion industry. I go to these once-off events but I don't really follow up with the designers and models etcetera as much as I would like and do collaborations with them. Anyway, I went to the The 400 Co. Opening Store Launch on Thursday night 24th September and it is such a beautiful store. Everyone has to check it out. It's located next to Gucci on Edward St (how amazing is that!). There was a sweet station and champagne/sparkling water on arrival which I loved. Here's a glimpse of the my evening at The 400 Co:
Above: The 400 Co has come from a long way, I'm remember attending one of their first fashion event! Congratulations Laura Chong!
Above: Sweet Station
Above: Lucy Mae- Model at the Sweet Station
Above: One of my favourite outfits on the wall!
Above: Suzi from The Armored Club, Sandra from Sandra Carvalho Blog, Caitlin Bennett from Sundholm Style
Photography by Suzanne Dang
Network/Contact with The 400 Co.:
Phone Number: 0412 916 804
Address: 188 Edward St, Brisbane
Life isn't easy. We all know that. We have to work hard towards our goals and if we have any at the time. It sometimes phases me that for someone like me who have all these problems that it can sometimes be easier to die and end it all. Yes, I have attempted suicide before. I first hit myself with a rock against my head when I was 14. Didn't pass out or anything. It hurt, and it stopped me there. And I'm glad it did. I have so much to live for now. Cause life in itself is beautiful and it is precious to have life and be able to function. I believe everyone's struggles make themselves stronger as a person and it's up to them to decide whether they want to make positive changes in their life. Though in saying that, when I was really depressed and suicidal, I had reasons why I wanted to die:
1. Life is hard. Life isn't worth living for anymore
When I'm in this state, I don't have any clear views of what I want to achieve in life anymore. There is an emptiness that overwhelms and overcomes me. It lasts for a long time. Sure, I do think of my family, friends, or even pets I may have that are there for me. But sometimes people don't understand that it's easier to end it all. You feel like a burden to all your loved ones, for putting them through what you've done to them or so.
2. I feel like a big burden
This is a big one. Being a burden is normal for those who are depressed to feel this way about their health conditions. Some may even run away from their loved ones, away from their homes when they would be better off staying with their loved ones. I haven't personally run away yet, mainly cause I'm not too game enough to.
3. I am worthless, I am hopeless
Negative thoughts play a big part in my problems. The voices in my head are really important and what I tell myself each day is very vital to my mental health. Feeling worthless and hopeless in life just made me wanted to commit/attempt suicide even more. But of course some people don't understand this. They just want you to snap out of it which is ridiculous.
The 400 Co. promised in the facebook event that it will be an extremely well-coordinated event tonight, and I must say I don't disagree with that statement. It was simply amazing. Here I am sharing my experiences with you with this fantastic event that took place in the fancy Soleil Pool Bar even though I should be resting from my flu but this blogpost is too good to share. There were delicious canapés, welcome cocktail drinks (well - I don't drink so I got a mocktail instead), live entertainment and "one hell of a fashion show". I loved the setup. It was a runway shaped out with flower pots, it was just so beautiful...so beautiful I ended up asking Laura if I could take the flowers home for grandma! I enjoyed this lovely evening seeing familiar faces again. Laura Chong's fashion events never disappoints me, and I look forward to seeing her outfits again on the runway at the Ubermen launch tomorrow night too:
Above: The signature 400 cocktails on arrival
Above: But nothing beats my mocktails (mwaha)
Above: The beautiful runway setup! Amazing real flowers, aren't they?
Above: VIP seating
Above: Up close of the flower pots
Above: Amazing media wall!
Above: Guests start arriving to this exclusive fashion show
Above: That cut-out <3 - Austen Dress
Above: Rachel Fulton models in the Elanor Dress
Above: Lucy Mae looking gorgeous
Above: That print <3
Above: Rosie Luik wears this stunning The O Dress looks great on her
Above: Lucy Mae wears the Mayer Shirt
Above: Rachel Fulton models the Chancellor Suit and Ita Cami Blouse
Above: Rachel again models the Mia Crop Blouse
Photography by Suzanne Dang
I feel I haven't written and been keeping up to date with my mental health blogposts/videos lately. So I'm trying my best tonight to squeeze out a story for you guys. I want to say that my experiences in the psychiatric/mental health ward was definitely different to everyone else's. Everyone goes through different experiences each day and respond to it differently. There were some ways I regret of doing/thinking while I was down in the ward:
1) I thought I was the worse patient
This could be interpreted in different ways. I thought I was the patient with the worse condition and everyone should feel sorry for me. I don't feel that way anymore though. I believe at the beginning I was a stubborn, and bitchy patient. I didn't want to listen to what anyone said to me at the time. But of course there's more to that, I just wanted to be understood at the time. With having new diagnoses at the time years ago, I had feelings of guilt and shame and more in me.
2) I always over-exaggerated the situation
The patient who pushed me into the wall deserved to be put in the HDU (High Dependecy Unit - believe me, you don't want to go there) I felt. I cried so much after the patient pushed me into the wall. I didn't want the patient to get away with it. I was glad the patient was moved to HDU after the patient attacked one of the head nurse. On another note, I remember I didn't want stop washing my hands cause I wanted a new diagnosis of OCD. I was then quickly caught by one of the nurses who physically stopped me and I shrieked and yelled back at him for touching me and getting into my personal space. I was bizarre. I was not my usual self.
3) I seeked constant attention
My first month of my first psychiatric hospitalisation, I was put on something called "Constance" where a nurse was there to care for me, watch me eat, drink, use the bathroom etc. Everywhere I go I basically had a nurse following me around. After I was put off it, I felt the urge or/and the need for my life to have that constant attention/care again from the nurses.