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美国华裔精神健康联盟(MHACC)理事,Irene Wei,曾经是一名躁郁症患者,她在文中分享自己走出抑郁,重新拥抱生活的历程。感谢Irene勇敢地站出来讲述自己的故事,让更多的人了解到躁郁患者的痛苦和挣扎,以及亲人朋友理解和支持的重要性。让我们多多关注身边的人,也许你的一句话,一个举动,就可以给他人送去幸福,甚至挽救他人的性命。


发言文稿得到Irene的授权,翻译成中文发表(英文原稿附后)。感谢她一直以来为社区的努力付出。


正文共:2228字

预计阅读时间:6分钟

撰文:Irene Wei

本文转载自《美国华裔精神健康联盟》公众号


希望就在不远处——一位走出躁郁症的女孩分享的故事

9月26日上午,美国华裔精神健康联盟(MHACC)理事Irene Wei作为患者代表,在加州州府Sacramento的加州精神卫生服务监督和问责委员会会议(MHSOAC-Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission)上发言,讲述她的康复故事。(图片来自MHSOAC的官方推特)


大家好,我叫艾琳(Irene Wei),很荣幸能分享我的康复之旅。


我要讲述的故事,从我高二的时候开始。当时刚刚开学,我选了三门“荣誉”课(honor classes);由于对小提琴的热爱,我选了课后的小提琴,加入了学校乐队;我还在非常喜爱的学校课外活动项目中担任负责人。当时我没有意识到,其实这些对我来说负担太重了。我和我的同伴们一样,一心追求成就而不顾及其他。我们都心怀梦想,要上伯克利大学或去一所常春藤大学。


第一学期开始几周后,我开始感到不堪重负。对于15岁的我来说,承受的压力简直太过分了。然后失眠来袭,起初是一个夜晚,然后是两个,三个……随着不眠之夜的持续,我的思绪变得越来越不稳定。我的注意力已经从担心学习成绩转移到了非常“深刻”的思想上,即使是现在我也很难用语言来形容当时的情形。我清楚地记得自己在房间里呆了几天,试图弄清人生的意义所在,不过这个需要另起篇幅讲述了。


我知道我出了问题,但是很难分辨到底怎么回事。沉醉于狂热梦想中就是我的生活现实。我喜欢将它与梦作比较,因为在梦中事物会变得如此超现实和离奇,但你却非常相信它。失眠的第五天,妈妈打了911紧急电话。当时我与现实世界完全脱节,我依稀记得警察进入我的房间,说服我上了救护车。我被送到急诊室,在那里他们诊断出我患有双向情感障碍,然后决定让我强制住院治疗(又称5150,一种强制住院治疗法案)。随后是可怕的五个月循环重复。我总共住了四次院,并服用了很多药物,药物的副作用都很严重。


出院后,经历了一场异常艰苦的战斗。太多的药物,使我的动作减慢了,思想麻木了,精力消耗了。我每天会有大半天的时间在睡觉,很少下床吃饭和洗澡。在那年剩余的时间里,重返学校是不可能的,尽管情况在逐渐好转,但是直到高三那年,我才尝试回到校园。 


我的个人爱好也被这病严重影响。我喜欢演奏音乐,绘画以及参加各种运动,例如乒乓球和花样滑冰。但是新药的副作用使我几乎无法做自己喜欢做的事情。副作用会使我的手发抖,我几乎无法写字,更不用说画画或拉小提琴了。我不得不从零开始重拾旧好,这在精神上给我造成了巨大创伤。我觉得自己很失败,没用,只是给自己和其他每个人带来负担。那是我一生中最黑暗的时刻,但我始终没有放弃康复的希望。


寻求帮助并不容易。出院后,我妈妈竭尽所能为我寻找和提供所需的护理。但是我在自我否认,我确信自己不是躁郁病人。我曾经好几次拒绝服药,甚至偷偷停药好几个月。我会逃避治疗,不愿在家谈论这个话题。我很少与家人以外的人交谈,也没有争取建立我可以依靠的支援系统。我迷茫,困惑和愤怒,这就是我当时万般无助的生活状况。


但我一定要借此机会谢谢我的妈妈,我很感谢妈妈,因为如果没有妈妈,我今天就不可能在这里谈到我的康复。她很早就意识到了警告信号,并在我住院期间尽一切可能帮助我。即使她自己遭受了巨大的打击和恐惧,她还是拼了命地给我希望和力量。我是如此爱她,每天我都能感受到被爱环绕,我很幸运成为她的女儿。


当我试图回到学校时,我下定决心要追赶上同龄人的脚步,让我的生活恢复“正常”状态。尽管我受到IEP团队(特殊教育)的强烈反对,但我还是上了所有跟同年级人一样的课程。我想要向自己证明我完全没有生病。一两个星期过去了,事实上这显然不是最好的决定。我的缺勤越来越多,我的成绩下降了,GPA从高中一年级的4.17下降到后来的2.20。我最终放弃了一半的课程,但仍然很难去上学。更糟糕的是我比我原来的同学落后一整年,不一起上课,因此很难与他们交流。


我以前的许多朋友也不了解我的处境。在高中第二年的躁狂发作中,我在脸书上发了一些贴子,满是我荒唐的想法和感受,还上传了我在急诊室中的自拍照。这些帖子让很多人担忧,更让他们困惑。我被贴上了“戏剧女王”或“那个疯女孩”的标签,人们并没有试图问或理解我正在经历的事情。我失去了与大部分朋友的联系,并经常为此自责。


希望就在不远处——一位走出躁郁症的女孩分享的故事

Irene Wei在精神健康游行中呐喊口号。(摄影:Jessie)


但是,随着时间一点点过去,我注意到我的康复正在取得进展。起初是很小的一步步,例如每周去看我的治疗师,但逐渐地,我越来越多地相信,我正在逐渐恢复被疾病剥夺了的生活。通过参加同龄人的互助组,我对自己的病情越来越清楚,并全盘接受了它。我想,如果我无法避免,那我应该竭尽全力与之抗争。我开始做笔记并观察症状以及我的早期预警信号和触发点。每次躁狂或抑郁发作时,我都应对得越来越好。在高中快结束时,我已经很好地掌控了自己的疾病,得以通过特殊的高中考试,并开心地与所有同龄人一起毕业。然后,我上了大学,不久后拿到了驾照。现在,我正在朝着GPA4.0,以优秀成绩毕业的轨道迈进。


希望就在不远处——一位走出躁郁症的女孩分享的故事

MHSOAC委员会主席Khatera Tamplen和属下加州青年创新项目计划委员会委员Irene Wei 。( 摄影: Jonell Avellana)


我也开始参与更多的社区倡导计划。我现在是非营利组织美国华裔精神健康联盟的理事会成员。最近,我们在美国加州举办了首届“华裔美国人心理健康宣传日”活动,来自全美各地的演讲者和与会者都参加了这个活动,掀起了一场声势浩大又振奋人心的精神健康资讯传播活动!同时我也没有放弃自己的爱好,2016年秋天我开设了以艺术为主题的youtube频道*,并再次开始在各种社交媒体网站上发布我的艺术创作。自那时起,已经积累了将近一万人的订阅者,这是迄今为止我最自豪的个人成就之一。


如果现在的我,能给过去的自己,给那个躲藏在充满疑问和不确定性的凄凉夜里的自己,写一封信,我会告诉她不要害怕,会没事的;恢复过程是一个缓慢而漫长的过程,但是在隧道尽头总是有一线光明。她应该为自己走过的路而感到自豪,并对自己将要走的路充满希望和信心。翻译:彭一玲;校对:张海云)


*https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcJlau0_gxxdtr7HpcqeNig


希望就在不远处——一位走出躁郁症的女孩分享的故事

Hello everyone, my name is Irene Wei and it is my honor to be here sharing my journey to recovery.


To begin this story, I must first take you all back to when I was a sophomore in high school. My sophomore year of high school, I had taken 3 honor classes, an after school elective class for my continued interest in violin, as well an officer role in a club I was really passionate about. This would prove to be too much for me to handle, but I didn’t know it then. I was blinded by the mantra of overachievement as did all my peers in my circle of friends. We all had big dreams of going to UC Berkeley or an Ivy League University.


A few weeks into the first semester, I started realizing that I had bitten off more than I could chew. The amount of stress I was under was ridiculous for a 15 year old. Then the insomnia hit me. At first it was 1 night, then 2, then 3… and as the sleepless nights continued, my thoughts became more and more erratic. My attention had shifted from worrying about school to these thoughts so deep, it’s hard for me to describe in words even now. I distinctly remember locking myself in my room for a few days trying to figure out the meaning of life, but that’s a story for another time.


I knew something was wrong, but it was hard to tell what. The feverish dream that I was living in was my reality. I like to compare it to a dream because in dreams things can become so surreal and bizarre, but you believe it. On the fifth day of my insomnia, my mom called 911 on me as a psychiatric emergency. I was completely out of touch with the real world and I faintly remember the police officers coming into my room and convincing me to go to the ambulance. I was sent to the ER where they diagnosed me with Bipolar Disorder and then placed on my first 5150. What followed was a hellish 5 months of the cycle repeating over and over. I was hospitalized a total of 4 times and placed on many different medications with awful side effects.


Following my last discharge from the hospital came an uphill battle. I was on so much medication that my movements were slowed, my thoughts numbed, and my energy depleted. I would spend more than half the day sleeping, rarely getting out of bed to eat and shower. Returning to school was out of the question for the remainder of that year and although things would slowly get better, it wasn’t until Junior year that I attempted to go back to high school.


One aspect of my life that this illness had hit particularly hard were my hobbies. I love playing music, drawing, and participating in various sports such as ping pong and figure skating. But the side effects of my new medications made it almost impossible for me to do things that I love to do. The side effects would make my hand so shaky I could barely write, let alone draw or play the violin. I had to relearn my hobbies from scratch and it took a huge toll on me mentally. I felt like a failure, that I was useless and just a burden on myself and everyone else. Those were some of the darkest moments of my life but still, I never gave up on the hope of recovery.


Seeking help wasn’t easy. Following the discharge, my mom did everything in her power for me to receive the care I needed. But I was in self-denial. I was convinced that I wasn’t Bipolar. I refused to take medication several times and even stopped it all together in secret for a few months. I would avoid therapy sessions and talking about the topic at home. I rarely talked to anyone outside of my family and made no effort in building a support system that I could rely on. I was lost, confused, and angry that this was the reality of my life now.


But I do want to take a moment to mention and thank my mom, because without her I may not be here right now giving this speech of recovery. She had recognized the warning signs early on and visited me every opportunity she could while I was hospitalized. She gave me the hope and strength even though she herself was devastated and terrified. I love her so much and everyday I feel lucky and blessed to be her daughter.


At the beginning of my Junior year, I attempted to go back to school. I was determined that I could catch up to my peers and return my life to “normal”. I took on a full load of classes, though strongly opposed by my IEP team, and I wanted to prove to myself that I didn’t have this illness after all. A week or two went by it became obvious that this wasn’t the best decision. I racked up more and more absences and my GPA plummeted, from a 4.17 my freshman year to a low 2.2 for my first semester back. I ended up dropping half my classes but still rarely going to school. It also didn’t help that I was now a year behind my friends. We didn’t have any classes in common so it was hard to start conversations or talk to them. 


Many of my past friends also didn’t understand my situation. During my manic episodes back in sophomore years I made posts of my absurd thoughts and feelings on Facebook, including a selfie I took in the ER. The posts worried a lot of people, but confused even more. I was labeled as a “drama queen” or “that crazy girl” and people didn’t try to ask or comprehend what I was going through. I lost contact with a large portion of my friends and often blamed myself for it. I felt as if I wasn’t trying hard enough.


However as time passed I noticed that I was making progress in my recovery. They were small steps at first, such as going to see my therapist every week, but gradually I was reclaiming more and more of myself that this disease had taken away from me. Through attending peer support groups, I came to terms with my illness and accepted it. I figured that if I couldn’t avoid it, I was gonna do my darn best to fight it. I began taking notes and observing symptoms along with my early warning signs and triggers. With each hypo-manic or depressive episode I got better and better at coping with it. By the end of my senior year, I was managing my disorder well enough to pass a special high school proficiency exam and graduate with all of my peers. Then, I enrolled in college and earned my driver’s license shortly after. Now, I’m on-track for graduation with a 4.0 GPA.


I’ve also started participating in more advocacy programs. I’m now a board member for the non-profit organization MHACC(Mental Health Association for Chinese Communities). Recently we hosted the first Chinese American Mental Health Awareness Day Event in the United States, with speakers and attendees from all over the country. I didn’t give up on my hobbies either, I launched my art-themed youtube channel in the fall of 2016 and began posting art on various social media sites again. Since then I’ve amassed a combined following of almost 10 thousand people and it is one of my proudest personal accomplishments so far.


If I could write a letter to my past self during those bleak nights filled with doubt and uncertainty, I’d tell her that it will be okay. That the recovery process is a slow and lengthy one but there is always a light waiting at the end of the tunnel. That she should be proud of how far she’s come and hopeful for how far she’ll go.


希望就在不远处——一位走出躁郁症的女孩分享的故事


美国华裔精神健康联盟- Mental Health Association for Chinese Communities(MHACC)是美国联邦认可的全国性非营利501(c)(3)公益机构。


美国华裔精神健康联盟致力于建设更美好的生活品质!为那些数以百万计在痛苦挣扎中的精神疾病患者及家人,提供教育、支持、转诊服务、倡导、和协助研究;坚定不移地提高大众对精神健康的认知,共创一个大家所希望的美好康复家园。

               

撰文:Irene Wei

译文修改/编辑:Jing

本文经授权转载自《美国华裔精神健康联盟》(MHACC-USA)公众号


希望就在不远处——一位走出躁郁症的女孩分享的故事


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