Letter To Doctor, For Mental Health

Hey, Dr. Cherla.

After our appointment last week, I made another appointment with you for this Friday at 10am. I will prepare notes on what happened in my appointment with Dr. Kao and my further thoughts and experiences & situations after the appointment, for when we meet on Friday morning. But there are some things I want your input and/or thoughts/insights on what just happened after the appointment before our appointment on Friday.

I talked with Dr. Kao for half the appointment and the other half, Dr. Kao spoke with my mom alone. And I previously sent him an email the day after our last appointment last month (August 10th) about some facts, symptoms and such around my mental health issues (but still left out many others, to talk and discuss with both him and you. And below is his reply.

Your thoughts from reading his email?

I also have one email you sent me over the summer when we were communicating about my mental health issues and concerns. And I really appreciate what you said in our appointment last week and in your email below.

Even now, I’ve been taking even more care for my mental health issues. Below is a list of them:

  • moisturizing legs, arms (body) with ecalyptus spearmint body cream and foot cream on my feet, ecalyptus spearmint body mist, and using ecalyptus spearmint shampoo and conditioner on my hair – to help with anxiety and stress, feel more calm, less anxious (the best results to its extent).
  • still currently taking my medication “Concerta” (2x27mg) along with taking Biotin since the beginning of my previous period (August 31) every morning.
  • washing my face with face wash, then face scrub (The Body Shop, Tea Tree face collection, products) in the shower, then putting the Tea Tree oil (from The Body Shop) after and wear makeup when I go out places, at night, wash face with face scrub, then toner and then the typical gel (Tactuo). I first started using the topical gel both morning and at night, but within 2 weeks I noticed my skin started feeling dry and also wasn’t seeing any improvements. And so then I decided to only apply the topical gel at night. And I have been doing that since August 22. I also sleep on pillow with pillow cases on one side, one night and 2nd night other side, then I take off and put fresh, clean ones on to prevent germs from the pillow cases from causing improvements of my complexion. I also use a Tea Tree face mask twice weekly as instructed by an employee at The Body Shop. I also make sure to use face cloths/towels once (one side to wash off makeup/foundation/coverup and the other side to wash/rinse off the water after scrubbing off the face scrub.
  • when I feel anxious or any emotion that can get out of control, I try my best by listening to calming, relaxing music, taking time to myself to think, analyse, talk to myself (in positive, and healthy ways).
  • since been home from college at the end of April last year, I’ve been in recovery from my depressive episode in 2nd semester of college and it went great, learned and gained a lot. But also have come to realise that I wasn’t doing so great. Slowly enough, I noticed I was losing control of spending time on electronic devices, stopped feeling like myself, lack of appetite, racing thoughts, unable/trouble thinking clearly, constant worries, numb feeling (can’t speak, try my hardest but no words come out, I’m lucky if I get a couple sentences out), headaches, daydreaming a lot when I doze off during conversations with family, thoughts of self harm/self mutilation, thoughts of suicide (planned and was so close to writing a suicide note on my white board and running away, but never got further than that, in result, I never actually acted on the suicide plan, never actually attempted suicide (but many/most things parents and sister respond to when it comes to how I’m not remembering to write down info for interviews, etc; how they think I’m not trying hard enough, but honestly, my memory isn’t as good as it used to be; try telling them but there’s no good outcome, aka: family affair, stigma and possibly the discrimination shows up in these kinds of situations), dizziness occurrs more frequently, all symptoms and signs I notice and experience within myself from the stigma and discrimination along with the family affair too.
  • I’ve also been doing more research other than the education I got from experiences with mental illness, the stigma, discrimination around it and posting on Twitter with hashtags (#imnotashamed #endthestigma #sicknotweak #mentalhealthmatters #selflove #selfesteem #loveyourself #selfworth #selfconfidence #selfcare #mentalhealthawarenessweek #mentalhealthawarenessmonth these last two during May this year) – research includes viewing many webpages, articles, documentaries, videos, and more – also learned about the self stigma attached with the stigma itself around mental illness, here’s the article below:
  • out of my family, I’m the best at being healthy physically with both diet and exercise (although I haven’t had any motivation with getting daily exercise since early June); I’m Italian which has made it hard yet challenging for me to manage/cope with my cravings and such, but 2 weeks after coming home from march break vacation to Punta Cana, I slowly started gaining more control and lost less of that urge, and constant cravings for unhealthy foods (fast food: Timmies, McDonald’s, Wendy’s, etc), then over a month ago, I noticed I was lacking appetite, {I tried to eat lunch but when it (food) touched my tongue (tastebuds) no reaction, no feeling, like I wasn’t hungry, I didn’t feel hungry in my stomach nor any other way of telling when I need to eat; hunger, I completely forget what hunger is like} sometimes I just don’t bother eating because of my emotions, how I’m feeling causes me to refuse to eat as for I don’t feel hungry and my mood convinces me not to for I’m not in the mood in those moments).
  • I own a few pairs of clothing (green tops that I feel are important to me and also help with mental health for green is for mental health, pink is for breast cancer, etc), jewelry with green colour, two bracelets (reads mental health awareness & “our story isn’t over yet;” and two necklaces with the semicolon and the other with the semicolon and reads “my story isn’t over yet”), own green nail polish which helps me remember that my mental health is important for green represents mental health, and also own a pair of green sunglasses.
  • confirmed with Erin to sign me up for the “Taking Control” support group (October 6-November 24, Thursday’s from 3–4:30pm) – believing myself that it’s a good thing to also pursue as for its a decision I decided for myself but on my own – meaning I’ve been making many decisions on my own like an adult, I want to be more like an adult at my age being almost 20 years old. Even though my parents and sister aren’t seeing/noticing it the way they should: caused by the stigma. It feels really good when I make my own decisions for myself. Especially the ones I’ve made for my mental health! And I’m so proud of myself for all that and everything I’ve attached here in this long email.
  • I’ve been thinking lately this week and want to start doing bigger projects for mental health. I’ve been contributing with helping those who are working on their own projects to help remove the stigma around mental illness and part of that is sharing our stories of our own mental health struggles along with our illnesses: how we cope with them, how we eventually decided not to let our illness define us, and also not being ashamed of it either, and everything else that comes with the contributions of ending this stigma around mental illness. In which I’m so happy and proud to be part of. And so I’ve been writing my own posts, tweets, happier moments (on Happier.com, in the Happier app, Apple app) and I even have my mental health story (short version) on two platforms: Teamnotashamed & Conquer Worry and I’ve wrote my own posted on my Medium account.

http://www.conquerworry.org/blog/7–15–2016

  • loving oneself: for most of my life I’ve never actually loved myself, being comfortable in my own skin, resulting in healthy confidence (thinking about Demi Lovato’s “Confident” music video (in link below), up until a certain point in my recovery after returning home from college I started loving myself for the first time and it was quite an experience, which was caused from my face being in contact with both chlorine from the pool and salt water from the beach in Punta Cana resort, result of clear complexion, clearer than I’ve ever seen since acne first started for me in grade 8. Also brings up another one; the movie: Penelope (I bought it on eBay and I intend to watch it with my family {Emily, mom and dad} and one quote from the movie I’m truly at; “I like myself the way I am”.
  • mental care – taking care of my brain: becoming aware of unhealthy, negative symptoms (anxiety, stress, panic, worry, etc) and finding healthy and positive solutions to cope, not beating myself up when I make mistakes, (that includes constant worring), {I’ve always been hard on myself/constantly beating myself up, mentally for how my parents perceive myself, my mistakes and my past: never able to be positive that I will change, become a better human being, more responsible, the list goes on and improve in areas they have been wanting me to improve but they never see it because they aren’t thinking differently, creatively to see them}, but through my recovery, I’ve learned not to and found new, healthier and positive ways to talk to myself: no self hate, self doubt, or anything else; only positive solutions that equal in positive emotions, results, etc, like I am aware that I made this mistake but I know and believe that I cannot go back and change/fix them, and I just have to accept it, learn from it, keep it for future reference but without any dwelling or constant focusing like my parents have been and still do and lastly move on. It helps me to start a new chapter when I’ve achieved these kind of healthy and positive habits.
  • over so many years (unsure of when I started getting into a bad habit of picking my nails) and tried many solutions to get out of the habit, yet I still had hope that I’d find a method that wold would and stick. And finally when I started working at my job at Fraser Direct as a temp from an agency, I slowly started becoming more busy from the job and other things and decided to start moisturizing daily, wearing coloured nail polish (my nails in the beginning looked so bad, but what motivated me to actually dedicate myself to trying it was imagining my nails looking healthy with a nice coloured polish on them) and from being busy at my job with my responsibilities there, I slowly noticed I was losing that urge to pick my nails and my nails weren’t looking terrible nor in pain from picking them too much) and later along that process, I really became proud of myself for what I dedicated myself to achieve leading to great result of good looking and healthy nails. As long as I had the bad habit, I stil continue to believe that it was all worth so many years to get my nails looking the way they do (which you can notice when we meet on Friday) and I’m still so proud of myself for it, I love seeing my nails looking so good and healthy. Yet after noticing the new change, I would like to also share that I have had some slip-ups along the way as for I know and believe no recovery (including mental illnesses and addictions) is perfect or smooth. Recovery does not take a day off nor is perfect therfore your gonna have a relapse and some slip ups and I’m completely fine with that. My parents don’t see it in this perspective but I know they will.
  • my mom later after we came home from our appointment with Dr. Kao, she told me it’s not easy for her to understand what it’s like for me and even anyone with any mental health or physical health issue or any issue out there. But she said she’s wiling to try to. She apologized and I definitely told her that I appreciate it. She said if I can’t do it for my daughter, then who can I do it for?… Great thinking I believe myself. Anyway, I’m glad she’s finally taking some initiative to start supporting me by the beginning steps of it: trying to understand what I’m going through, without judgments, arguments, and everything else she’s responded with when I bring up my mental health issues.

Overall my mental health is so important to me and for every decision I make, I always have my mental health in the decision making. I’m done putting my mental health at risk for being the person that my family and anyone else (that especially includes society with their expectations and standards of who they think I should be). I’m not gonna sacrifice my own mental health for a perfect body or anything else. Like Demi Lovato quotes along with many other quotes that I truly have been following and living up to throughout my recovery! Which I’m so truly grateful, happy, and proud to have accomplished everything inside the recovery.