Songs that communicate my feelings and thoughts

As I spent the day working on my personal projects, interacting with friends and applying for new jobs, I had to navigate through the emotional roller coaster due to certain triggers that led to flashbacks. Below are some songs that best communicate how I am feeling. Antidepressant made things a little easier for me to manage but low mood sometimes do popup.

Linkin Park – Heavy

Kodaline – Brother (Cover by Samuel Di Leo)

Linkin Park – One More Light

Meeting depression 2.0

Depression is a really nasty illness despite it being known as the “common cold of mental illness”. It affects everyone differently. For some, it can be so crippling that they are unable to find the energy to do anything, so much so that their personal hygiene takes a hit. And for some, they are still able to function at a certain level that people would dismiss their claim of being depressed.

I have struggled with it for the last four months. In hindsight, it was the longest depressive episode I have been through.

It has robbed me of my ability to think critically, see things from different perspectives and made me lose interest in things that I once cared about. Motivation was gone for most part, causing me to stop working on any of my personal projects. I just couldn’t bring myself to do them.

The illness made every little setback in life or work felt like it was a failure on my part. There were so many times over the last four months when I felt like everything is hopeless and pointless. Whatever I do wasn’t going to change anything. Sensitivity to people’s comments was at its highest.

It also made me extremely tired. I just wanted to sleep most of the time. The only thing that kept me going was my daily caffeine intake.

And at its worst, I have even contemplated suicide in the most graphical manner possible.

Then I went on antidepressant nearly three weeks ago.

Honestly, I don’t know if it’s helping me. I still feel tired all the time. I do smile or laugh at certain triggers but then I will go back to feeling neutral or numb almost immediately. My body aches from time to time and now I couldn’t tell if it’s because of my daily runs and lack of quality sleep or the side effect of the medication. My work has fallen in terms of quality. There were times when I just couldn’t bring myself to do any work.

But there are also a few changes that I’ve noticed recently.

I have withdrawn socially, keeping a lot of stuff to myself. I don’t really talk to my friends or family anymore. I don’t share a lot of stuff with my colleagues too.

On the positive side of things, I have started playing video games again. I won’t say I feel particularly excited. There were times when I feel awed by what I’m seeing but at the end of it, I do feel like I’m just going through the motion.

I have also started the journey of learning a new programming language. I went with Swift because it is the one language that I want to pick up in addition to my pre-existing knowledge of Java, C#, Javascript and HTML. I do have plans to start documenting my learning journey here (or in another blog meant for software development stuff).

And it’s only today that I decided to write something. There were some ideas in my head several days ago but I still couldn’t bring myself to write. In fact, I started this piece of writing at least a week ago but I gave up on it after finding myself struggling with the content.

Going on antidepressant…

Last Thursday was my appointment with the psychiatrist. I shared with him the feelings and thoughts that I had over the past few weeks .

As it went on, the doctor first concluded that it was my job that’s making me depressed. And that I should quit first, develop the skills I need for the next phase of my career and move on.

Yes, my intuition is telling me that. But another part of my mind is demanding that I don’t be so stupid and focus on securing some kind of safety net before I do it. This back and forth between what I desire and what I fear is holding me in place and I couldn’t find a way out.

And as the session went on, it became clear that I’m also feeling anxious constantly especially when I have to do something new or when there’s something new in my life. And that anxiousness can get so overwhelming that it also hold me in place.

Towards the end, the doctor asked me what I think of my current depression. I told him that it was much more severe than before. I even had suicidal thoughts with detailed plans. He agreed after reviewing the notes he had written. This is when he asked if I want to go on medication to see if it helps with my mood. I said yes because I really didn’t want to struggle with this constant emotional pain. He gave me a choice between taking meds to help me sleep or taking another to help with the mood.

I chose to stabilise my mood.

So with that, the doctor shared that there are different kinds of antidepressants. I told him about the Fluoxetine prescription a GP gave me days prior to the appointment. I had taken that for a few days without any obvious side effect but I did stop it because I don’t feel like there’s much changes. He shared that it would take at least a month before it start to work and concluded that I should continue with that medication.

And it’s been four days since I started taking it. I will update once I feel like there’s some more changes to my life or mood.

Knowing your why reduce odds of depression

Making goals in life is a very human thing. A goal is something that allows one to live a better life than before or to be happy. It could be as simple as, “I want to make x amount of money by x”

However, what most people failed to realise is that a goal is finite. It’s temporary. Most people don’t ask themselves what would they do next after they reached their goal. As a result, when they finally achieved it, they feel like there’s nothing else in life for them to do. They are lost. This is when the people lose hope and slipped into depression.

But it’s important not to confuse this kind of depression with clinical depression. This is a situational depression. And yes, the symptoms are alike but the point of origin is different. You can get out of situational depression by reevaluating what you are doing with your life and taking actions to redirect yourself without relying on medication.

For me, I have been diagnosed with depression. Now I know it had always been situational and not clinical. I’m grateful that I never went on medication nor was I prescribed any. I managed to get out of those episodes by changing my perspective of things in life with the help of friends and family.

And you know what?

I can’t guarantee that situation depression won’t strike again. What I do know is I can minimise my chances of suffering from it in the future.

It is by knowing my “why”. To know why I exist in the world. To know what’s my purpose and my vision of the world. You may be wondering how does those help with minimising situational depression. Well, you have to know what’s the difference between a vision vs a goal? Having a vision and working towards it is a form of infinite goal. You don’t win the vision because the things you need to do is never one time deal. Sometimes you will fall short in terms of results and sometimes you will achieve better results than previously. But you will always have something to look forward to.

It’s like life. You have a finite lifespan. You probably would die anytime between now and one hundred and twenty-five. But you have to live an infinite life. Life still goes on despite whatever happen. Right? There’s no winning life. And when you lose life? It simply means you are dead. Or in other words, drop out of the game.

So now, do you see?

By playing the infinite game of life and knowing your vision for the world, you reduce the odds of suffering from situational depression. It’s all because there’s always something for you to do to achieve that vision of yours. You don’t lose hope nor purpose of life.

I’m sure you will be wondering how the hell do I know my “why”? Or know what’s your vision. I also didn’t know my why for a very long time. All I know is I was happy when I’m left alone to do my own thing, to create something for another person that make them happy. But I always forget about that specific aspect of myself when life hits me hard. As a result, I’m always making short term goals to feel good.

It wasn’t until I discovered the book called, Start With Why, written by Simon Sinek that I found out what’s my “why” and have been actively to keep it in focus while I navigate life.

Here’s one video that I have watched which I hope can help you to figure out your “why”.

In addition, I would recommend that you check out the book, Find Your Why, written by Simon Sinek, David Mead and Peter Docker, after you are done with the first book.

Wednesday Science News Roundup #27

Below are 10 science news that I found interesting and are related to topics I care about.

Depression linked to reduced arginine levels – People suffering from major depressive disorder, MDD, have reduced arginine levels, a new study from the University of Eastern Finland shows. Arginine is an amino acid which the body uses to produce, e.g., nitric oxide. Nitric oxide, in turn, is a nervous system and immune defence mediator, and it also plays a role in vascular regulation. The global arginine bioavailability ratio, GABR, is an indicator of the body’s arginine levels, and the ratio has previously been used to measure the body’s capacity to produce nitric oxide. Reduced arginine bioavailability is also known to be an independent risk factor of cardiovascular diseases. Science Daily

New stem-cell based stroke treatment repairs damaged brain tissue – A team of researchers at the University of Georgia’s Regenerative Bioscience Center and ArunA Biomedical, a UGA startup company, have developed a new treatment for stroke that reduces brain damage and accelerates the brain’s natural healing tendencies in animal models. They published their findings in the journal Translational Stroke Research. Science Daily

First vaccine in the world developed against grass pollen allergy – Around 400 million people world-wide suffer in some form or other from a grass pollen allergy (rhinitis) — with the usual symptoms such as a runny nose, cough and severe breathing problems. In collaboration with the Viennese firm Biomay AG, MedUni Vienna researchers at the Institute of Pathophysiology and Allergy Research have now shown in a Phase II-b study with 180 patients in 11 European centres, that four injections of the synthetically manufactured vaccine BM32 in the first year and a top-up in the second year of treatment relieve the sufferers’ symptoms by at least 25%. Science Daily

We Might Finally Know Why The Blood of Young People Can Rejuvenate Old Brains – Scientists have been rejuvenating old mice with infusions of not just the blood of younger mice, but even blood from teenage human beings – and we finally have our first clues on why this strange technique works. Science Alert

Here’s Why Matching Your Diet to Your DNA Is a Waste of Time – Diets have always gone through fads. The grapefruit diet, Atkins, paleo, Whole30 – like a many-headed weight-loss hydra, just as soon as one falls out of favor, another rises in its place. Science Alert

Scientists Just Discovered a Never-Before-Seen Structure in Human Sperm – The sperm’s tail is perhaps one of the most iconic structures among all of the cells in the human body, so it’s odd to think there are still some things we don’t know about it. Science Alert

Household products make surprisingly large contributions to air pollution – In urban areas, emissions from consumer goods such as paint, cleaning supplies and personal care products now contribute as much to ozone and fine particulate matter in the atmosphere as do emissions from burning gasoline or diesel fuel. Science News

Babies can recover language skills after a left-side stroke – A stroke on the left side of the brain often damages important language-processing areas. But people who have this stroke just before or after birth recover their language abilities in the mirror image spot on the right side, a study of teens and young adults shows. Those patients all had normal language skills, even though as much as half of their brain had withered away, researchers reported February 17 at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Science News

GM Crops Found To Increase Yields And Reduce Harmful Toxins In 21 Years Of Data – A study looking at 21 years of data on genetically modified crops (GMOs) in the US has found that not only can they increase crop yields, but they can also be good for you. IFLScience

Heavy Drinking Is The Biggest Avoidable Risk Factor In The Onset Of Dementia – An analysis of more than a million dementia patients has found that chronic heavy drinking puts you at serious risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, alcohol use disorders were found to be the biggest avoidable risk factor in the onset of dementia. IFLScience