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Conversations with Pam

Pam is one of my closest friends. I met her at a leadership training organized by A.Y. Foundation for its National Discipline awardees back in 2008. Pam and I were one of the funniest and makukulit members of our batch. We never ran out of jokes to share. Even until now, we never run out of hilarious comments. It is always fun talking to her.

But later on, we both realized that we have another thing in common. We both deal with a mental illness.

Ever since we came out on our blogs about our respective mental health issues in 2015, Pam and I became each other's hotline friend. When something is wrong, we text or message or each other on Facebook immediately--no matter what time of the day it is. I get in touch with her especially when I have the urge to hurt myself (or when I just finished doing so).

For someone battling with mental illness, it is extremely important to have at least one person he or she can trust. Someone who will not judge. Someone who will not say, "It's all in your mind." Someone who will not say, "Just let it go." Someone who is open to listen and comfort even in the middle of a hectic day.

I consider myself lucky because I have two of those hotline people: Pam and my fiance PM. I have received nothing but love and understanding from them. And when I am hurt, I run to them immediately.

Yesterday, Pam and I talked about being okay. Lately, our depressive episodes have become less frequent. We haven't had the urge to cut ourselves. We are doing great. But still, something is amiss. It sounds ironic to say that we're not wholly okay with being okay. And we wonder why.

One reason we came up with is that maybe because we are not used to it. That heavy feeling inside us have become a part of us for so long that when it is not there, we feel there's a void. We have been used to the dark cloud surrounding us that we feel we are floating aimlessly without it. Depression has been our normal--now that we're fine, we feel there's something wrong with us.

Pam's therapist texted her yesterday to ask how she is. Upon hearing that she is doing great, her therapist told her that there's no need for them to meet today. Dr. G, my psychiatrist, has the same assessment. On my session with her last June 17, she told me that we'll see each other again in August. We're skipping a month, but if there's a problem and I need to see her, she told me to just call her secretary to schedule an appointment.

This is good news for me and Pam. Even our respective therapists are happy for us. However, as I've said earlier, we are not used to this. In fact, this sounds crazy, but I feel that my mind is looking for something wrong in order to bring me back to the familiar scene of being down and depressed.

I don't know how to go about this, honestly. Therapy has helped me deal with my negative thoughts. But how do I process positive ones? How do I process positive events? How do I adjust to a new normal? Adjusting to my post-treatment self makes me anxious and restless. How do I deal with this?

This is something I should discuss with Dr. G when I see her in August. I hope by then, I have already adjusted, so I could just recap everything and then tell her that everything is fine. I do not want her to bring back Lamotrigine (I've been off that medicine since last month). In fact, our goal is to reduce my dosage of Quetiapine and eventually remove it. I hope my anxiety and my restlessness won't be reasons for us not to achieve that goal.

In the meantime, Pam and I would continue to talk, laugh, and celebrate our being different.

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