As I am writing this, RUOK day is over and I am glad. Not because I am being cynical about this campaign raising depression awareness but it is to the point that a viral campaign becomes repetitive and you feel like being brainwashed, this time not from mainstream media but from every little stream you turn. And you cannot hide from it, just like Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
I have to remind myself that I still am climbing out from the hole of worth depression myself and genuine concerns from people around you play a very important role to get through it. A simple question “Are you OK?” is a powerful step to make people with depression realise that there are someone out there who cares. I have made that in my short film Memory of You | Reflection of Me.
The next short film—EXiST—as a part of DASS (Depression Anxiety Stress Scale) trilogy, tackles on anxiety. It is fascinating how our minds affect our physical body, not just our behaviours. And I have experienced it myself.
While I was rewriting the script on breakfast at my favourite café near the work, there was a feeling like a punch in my chest and my palm were sweaty. I stopped, took deep breathes and it went away. At lunchtime, the tightness in my chest was back and lasted longer. I knew it was heart palpitations. In the afternoon, I could feel my heart pounding on the fabric of my shirt. After work, I decided to check myself in and tried to stay calm on the train to the hospital.
When I got Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, the heart rate was about 100 bpm with irregular frequency. They put me on ECG monitor, traced the heart rate, had my blood tested and my chest x-rayed. The doctor examined my medical history including the depression breakdown, which I got the last major one on April-May, and told me she did not see what caused the palpitation, “You are a perfectly healthy young man.”
It was six hours in Emergency Department until I got discharged with a letter to my GP. It pinpointed to the stress I had and the only concern physically was my high blood pressure. By that time, I had enough of watching other patients, their relatives, nurses, doctors and other medical staff in the ward.
Even though the script was not finished and the project was not updated as planned, I felt energetic when I left the hospital for a number reasons. The first hand experience of the stress effect to the body was an invaluable material that could inspire the conclusion of the trilogy. It was good to find that there was nothing wrong with the test result. And most of all, I did not get carried away with panic or struggle with the attack that my own mind created.