Showing posts with label My relapse of depression in July 2007. Show all posts
Showing posts with label My relapse of depression in July 2007. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Jehovah Jireh - The Lord will provide

Thank God that my short stint at the temporary job ended well as my superior, Jack, was very understanding. He turned out to be a Christian and shared of his faith with me just before I left the job.

At the time I stopped this temporary job, my depression was still bad. Thank God for His mercies and faithfulness to me. Ever since end August when my church came to know of my situation, they have been very prayerful and most encouraging. Some brethren also gave of their substance anonymously and very generously. Thank God that though I was not able to work, the love gifts I received were able to cover all my expenses plus enable me to continue to contribute towards my mother’s expenses too. Thank God too that my brother who is overseas continue to contribute his portion towards caring for my mother.

Truly the Lord is Jehovah Jireh - He is our provider. Through the kind love gifts I received on the Lord’s day, I decided to seek better medical help so that I can be more functional. Thank God for making it possible for me to return to seek the help of Dr Pauline Sim who first helped me in December 2006. Dr Sim was most sympathetic and kind when she saw me again. She immediately up my dosage of anti-depressant ie Fluoxetine to 20mg daily.

Thank God that after 1 week, I began to feel better. But the next day, I felt compel to starting looking for a job again. Without realizing that I was not ready to start on a new job and not even ready to consider deeper into this issue, I began to actively seek a new job. But 2 days later, I found my depression worsened again. When I consulted Dr Sim, she advised me to take a good break for 3 months and not to think about work at all. She felt that it is better for me to give time for my mind and body to recover before attempting a new job as that may only worsen my condition.

Dr Sim encouraged me to learn how to recognize early signs of worsening symptoms, possible causes of worsening symptoms and what to do at such time. She taught me how to manage the dosage of my medications in view of my mood swings. She also taught me how to be more aware of my mood changes, and to learn to find out why or what causes them. She told me that some of her patients keep a mood diary and monitor the fluctuations in their moods before they worsen. She also encouraged me to spend some time to do things that I enjoy and just let my body and mind relax and recover.

I am still learning to manage my illness. Thank God for strengthening me day by day. Thank God for making available various means for me to learn to manage my illness. I find much strength and joy in the Lord as I look to Him daily. I know that He is with me and He is working all things for His glory and my good.

I have benefitted from a combinations of various means and coping strategies. I have shared about them under the category “My Coping Strategies”.

I am thankful to God for providing for my every need during this period of recuperation. I am greatly encouraged by the prayers, encouragements and kindness of many of my church friends. I am deeply indebted to our Lord and to them for their prayers and kindness. I am not able to repay them all. I can only pray that God will bless them and their family with rich spiritual blessings and provide for their every needs too. I am also striving to live for our Lord and to serve Him, to the best of my ability as He enables me.

I thank God that during this period of recuperation I can develop this blog to share with others about God’s goodness and mercies to me in this illness. And also to share some resources and materials I have found useful with the hope that they will benefit others.

To God be the glory.

I will never leave you nor forsake you

In my previous sharing, I had to resign from my temp job as I was too ill and exhausted to continue on.

When I called my superior, Jack to inform him, Jack asked me to wait for him in the meeting room. He came over shortly and sat down on a chair opposite me. He looked very concerned. He started to express his concerns. He apologized for his inability to spend much time to explain about the work to me. He asked whether I was leaving because he has neglected me. I assured him that I was leaving because of my poor health and not for any other reason.

I had to reveal to Jack that I was recovering from a relapse of clinical depression. I didn’t know what to expect on how Jack will react. But to my surprise, he took it very well. He said he has 2 friends who suffered from clinical depression. One of them recovered after leaving his job and found something less stressful while another left for overseas for a change of environment. The second friend also found peace after she trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ as her Saviour.

Jack told me that he himself had gone through very low period in his life. But he was providentially led to seek and know the Lord Jesus Christ as his Saviour, and he found peace in trusting in Him. Jack asked whether I have consider becoming a Christian. I told Jack that I am a Christian and that the Lord has been sustaining me in this difficult trial. Jack listened most sympathetically. He concluded that it was a wise decision for me to leave at that point of time as the workload will begin to build up soon and I will not be able to cope based on my poor mental health.

Jack was very kind and understanding. He encouraged me to look to the Lord. He said the Lord is dealing with each one of us in every situation we are going through. He shared with me of how the Lord was dealing with him too. He had been working very long hours daily and hardly has time to spend with his wife and young infant son. He also stopped regular exercise. He could feel his body getting weaker but he didn’t do anything about it. He continued to work long hours. But for some weeks now, he has been nursing a persistent cough. And just the day before, he went to the Doctor and was told he has bronchitis. He knew that God is sending him a warning sign. He needs to slow down and re-prioritize his time and commitment. He hopes to spend more time with his wife and son, and also to take better care of his health. He knows that work is just a part of his life and not all of it. He also desires a closer walk with God and more time to spend in prayers and reading of God’s Words.

Jack encouraged me that God cares for us and work is only a portion of our life. He believes God will provide something suitable for me in His time. He encouraged me to do some volunteer work and wait upon God. He shared of how he did some volunteer work in China when he was working there for a year and he had opportunity to reach out to the people with the Gospel. It was a very spiritually refreshing experience for him.

He asked me to take care and promised to ask one of his friends who is in non-profit organizations to check out on suitable vacancies for me.

That was the first and only time Jack sat down to chit-chat with me as he was extremely busy with work. I am grateful to get to know him a little better through that short time. I thank God and thank Jack for his all kindness to me. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work with Jack and his teams, and I thank all of them for their kindness to me when I was working there. I thank God especially for Jack’s friendship, and to know that he too know something of God’s saving grace and care is very heartening.

I am thankful to God that my short stint with this temp job ended well despite my inability to continue on. Surely the Lord never leaves us nor forsake us. He provide encouragement at every stage.

(On 5th of January 2008, I received a sms from Jack. I was pleasantly surprised to hear from him and encouraged that he still remembers me despite our short acquaintance. I saved his sms message because it is precious to me - a reminder to me of God’s mercies and faithfulness in my very difficult time. His short, simple and kind message reads “Hi Nancie. Happy New Year to u! How have u been?”)

A difficult decision

In my previous post I shared with you of the Lord’s mercies and faithfulness in providing a new temporary job. By His kind providence, my new superior is a very kind young engineer. The Lord also provided a special meeting room as my office and so spared me from having to work in a big office with many staff.

I was still depressed as the anti-depressant was working very slowly, due to the low dosage. The next day, I took half day leave to bring my mother for her medical appointment. As I just started work, the HR department managed to secure 1/2 day leave for me. But that turned out to be a very stressful event. Usually, in my previous job, my employer allows me a day-off whenever I need to bring my mother for her medical appointments. Usually the wait in the Hospital or Polyclinic is very long and I will be able to take my tired mother home after that. But on this day, it was different. Since I just started work, I was grateful for the 1/2 day leave.

However, the wait at the Polyclinic was very long as usual. By the time my mother got to see the Doctor, it was very late. I had to rush to work and left her there to wait for her medications. The wait there was very long for her, almost an hour. After that she took a bus home as she is very thrifty and will not take a cab. I was very worried for her on my way to work as I feel bad leaving her there to wait for the medication and then find her own way home. I fear that she may be too tired. She suffers from rather severe hypertension and diabetes, and sometimes she feels giddy and weak. That was the first time I had to leave her to wait for her medication and then find her way home. But I didn’t have a choice. I had to report for work after lunch time. So I rushed to work and grabbed a sandwich along the way as a quick lunch.

Due to the depression, it was very hard for me to concentrate at work and do very much. But thank God that as the computer program was still very new and the data for the project has yet to really flow in, my workload was very light. My colleagues who shared the meeting room also were not always there. So I have a lot of privacy and quietness to work quietly. It was hard for me to talk to people but my colleagues were very nice. I was able to speak a little to them whenever necessary.

Depression has a way slowing a person down and caused extreme exhaustion. I was very exhausted by the third day at work. Though the nature of the work was simple, I was still very exhausted. Thankfully the next day was Saturday and I was able to rest. On Sunday, I went to church but I left quickly after that. It was still hard for me to talk to people. When I am at home, I sleep most of the time. It was still hard to face each day. The anti-depressant was working very slowly.

The second week had many challenges. More and more of the staff in that special projects began to appear in the meeting room. I found myself having to greet many strangers but they are very nice. But they are all men! I was not used to work in a majority of men environment. I used to work with women employer and colleagues with minimum male colleagues. So I was a little uneasy to be in a meeting room with many men, all very chatty and jovial. I was still down and not able to laugh or smile much at their jokes. But they bear patiently and kindly with me and left me to work quietly. One of the engineer teased me and said he doesn’t like people who works very hard. He told me to try and enjoy the work (what he meant was don’t work so hard, sit around and chit chat sometimes, etc…) I was quite taken aback by his comments as I was very used to working hard !

Sadly by the third day, I was again very exhausted. I pushed myself to go through the fourth day. But on Friday, I simply could not bring myself to go to work. I felt very ill and exhausted. I had to call my office to apply for a day off as I was so unwell. Thank God that Jack was agreeable to it. He was very kind.

The next week was the same situation. Each day was a struggle. By the third day of the week, I could hardly function. I prayed about it and thought it not appropriate for me to keep applying for leave every week. I also didn’t know how to carry on with my work. I have difficulty facing each day. The workload was also increasing and several important meetings were held. I became rather nervous as to whether I was doing the data-entry correctly. I did attempt to ask Jack but he was always very busy. He had many meetings to attend and hardly had time to explain things to me. I didn’t have confidence to carry on with my work. Finally, I decided after some struggles and prayers, that it may be better for me to discontinue the work before the work gets more complicated. It is better to hand over to someone else who can manage the job on the longer basis. It was a very very difficult decision but one that I had to make.

So I called my mother to explain my situation to her and to inform her that I was unwell and needed a break. I then called Jack and inform him of my inability to continue with my job.

Jack asked me to wait for him in the meeting room……..

Grace Abounding

Thank God for providing me a very unique opening in my very difficult job hunt. In my new job, I was assigned to work with a very kind engineer, Jack and his team.

By God’s merciful providence, due to the nature of the special project and the special team working on it, some of them were using one of the meeting rooms as their workplace. So I was asked to work on a laptop that was in that meeting room. I was so relieved that I need not work in the big office with the many staff! Thank God for knowing my needs and providing for it so wonderfully!

Thank God that my first day at work was a very pleasant one. I shared the room with a few other colleagues who are all very nice. I was taught how to use the special computer program. I was still depressed, and felt very tired and my concentration very limited. But thank God that as it was my first day, not much was expected of me and much time was spend on explaining the project, how I was to do data-entry, etc etc.

I was very tired at the end of the day but very thankful to God for grace and strength. I had to join the off office hour rush in the public transport on my way back. This is something I have not done for many years as I used to work only 5 to 6 hours a day and my hours are during mid morning to mid afternoon so that I missed the office hour rush. This is due to the kind consideration of my previous employer. Now I realized how blessed I was to have such a kind and considerate employer.

I was really thankful to God for seeing me through my first day. That evening, I wrote to my church’s Pastor to share with him the good news of God’s mercies, faithfulness and provisions. Once again, Pastor JJ’s was very encouraging and supportive. I thank God for him always.


My email to my Pastor on 12 September 2007 evening:

Dear Pastor,

Greetings to you in our Lord Jesus Christ Whose mercies and faithfulness endureth forever!

Thank God for His faithfulness in answering our prayers for my work. Thanks for praying for me.

I am thrilled to share with you that our Lord in His mercies has provided me a temporary admin job in town. I have started work today. Thank God that the nature of my work is manageable as it involves mainly doing data-entry for an engineer in his projects. As my mental health is still in the process of recovering, I do need a job which I can manage without compromising my mental and physical health. So although this is a temporary job with no benefits (such as CPF, annual leave, MC, PH, etc), not sure for how long, not high salary, the location is rather far ie near Bugis and it is a full day work, I am nevertheless very grateful that the Lord has provided such a unique opening that exactly fitted my constitution and ability at this specific point of time! Though the hours are longer but because the nature of the work is less complicated, the Lord has granted me strength to cope today! I trust He will continue to do so in the days ahead. How good of the Lord to answer our prayers so specifically as what you printed in the Bulletin!

Please joint me in praise and thanksgiving to our faithful and loving God. Please help me to thank our brethren for their prayers and share this joy with them. I will continue to look to our Lord for strength and grace daily to serve Him in this new job.

Thank you once again for all your prayers and encouragements. May the joy of our Lord be your strength each day.

Yours humbly in His grace,


Pastor JJ’s kind reply :

Dear sister,

Greetings to you too!

I am sorry for the late reply to your kind email. I have been caught up with a number of things in the last few days. In any case, I am very happy to hear that the Lord has provided a job for you in answer to our prayer. The Lord’s arms are not too short to see to the needs of those who would seek His Kingdom and righteousness.

He will give you grace and strength through this period of adjustment and continue to provide for you what is good and necessary.

Keep me updated.

May the Lord continue to bless you richly,

Yours in His Bond of Love,

P.S. I am sorry that this week’s bulletin is not updated in regard to your job situation as I had sent it to Grace earlier and forgot to update her until it is too late. I will let the church know at prayer meeting, though. (Grace helps my Pastor with the preparation of the church bulletin for printing)

Unique Opening

Thank God that at a time when I was most discouraged over looking for a new job, God miraculously provide a very unique opening.

On 11 of September 2007, I received a call from a Consultant of a job agency. I have applied for a half-day job which she advertised. She told me that the position is not available. But she said there is a temporary data-entry position that needed a staff urgently. She said the nature of the work was very simple, just keying in data into a computer system. But it was a full-day job and the location was rather far away from my home. She asked whether I would be interested. If I was interested, I was to start work the next day! There will not be any interview or form filling. Just based on my Resume, they are willing to take me in!

I was shocked at the offer! I didn’t expect that there is possibility of obtaining a job without going for an interview or filling up the application form. I took a little time to pray over it. This seems like God’s answer to my prayers and that of my church friends! I thought to myself that the nature of the work seems simple as it is purely data-entry. I enjoyed typing very much and thought then data-entry should be ok despite my depression. My apprehension was that it is a full day job. I have been working only half-day, or to be specific 5 to 6 hours a day, in the last 4 years plus. I was not sure whether I could cope physically. After some consideration, I decided to give it a try as it is the only opening so far. It seems so unbelievable that I was offered the job without an interview. If I need to attend an interview, I will be required to fill up the application form. And when I declare my health condition in the application forms, I do not hear from them anymore. So this seems to be a very unique opening, which must surely be the kind providence of God :-)

I decided to take on that job and was to report for work the next day. It was a temporary position, just for a few months. The only problem was 2 days later, my mother has got a medical appointment. I asked the Consultant whether she can check with my potential employer on the possibility of me taking leave on that day to bring my mother for her medical appointment. Thank God that my potential employer agreed to let me take 1/2 day leave in the morning to bring my mother for her appointment.

On 12 September 2007, I reported for work at 8.30am. I was not familiar with that area but it took me about 1.5 hours to travel there and find the place. When I found the building and went up to the office, I was kind of having second thoughts. I wondered whether I should call the Consultant and let her know that I don’t think I am suitable for that position. The reason why I reacted that way when I saw the office was because it turned up to be a very huge company and I was greatly intimidated. I feared that the work there will be very stressful :-(

The waiting area was very huge. 2 ladies sat at 2 corners, busy answering phone calls and passing keys to some people who were wanting to use the meeting rooms. I saw many staff started to arrive and enter into their office using a security staff card. As I wait there, my heart dropped. I was so tempted to leave :-( I prayed to the Lord for strength and direction.

Thank God I didn’t leave. A few minutes later, a kind lady from the HR department came and took me around. We entered a huge office using her staff card. There were many cubicles with many people working at different stations. I was introduced to my immediate superior, an engineer by the name of Jack.

Jack turned out to be a very kind young man who was soft-spoken and friendly, and he immediately took away all my fears and apprehensions.

Jack told me that he was glad I came. Another lady who was offered the position before me, didn’t turn up. He said I came at a right time. They are very very busy and needed someone’s help urgently.

Jack and some of his colleagues are in charge of a special project in which they need to make use of a computer software that was customized for that project. I was to help Jack, his assistant engineer James, and a few other engineers who work together in this project. They are all engineers with teams of site-clerks and other staff under them. I will be doing mainly data-entry. Every week they will receive reports from the various ground staff on the site of their projects with the data for me to do the data-entry into the special program. A lot of data-entry work is expected as time goes by. The project will last for another year or so. But they are trying me out as a temp staff for a few months, if possible.

Want to know how I manage on the first day of my new job ? See my next post, for God’s mercies and kindness :-)

Disappearing Act

In my second post, I have shared about how I was so severely depressed that I had to stop work despite being on anti-depressant. As the Doctor started the anti-depressant on a very low dosage, I didn’t get well. My employer also providentially decided to scale down her business and was not able to keep me due to financial limitations.

In order not to be a financial strain on my employer who has been very kind to me over my 4 years plus of part-time work with her, I decided to leave my job in end August 2007 to look for a new job. I have been working between 5 to 6 hours for her daily.

I was rather discouraged when I first left my job. I was still severely depressed and could not think properly. I was not sure what I can handle as I was very slowed down. I have difficulty getting up every morning and to do anything require lots of effort on me. I couldn’t concentrate much and have great difficulties making decision. I didn’t know how to carry on…

But God is with me always and continue to uphold and preserve me. I could not really sense His presence at times as depression has a terrible effect of numbing a person’s senses. But I called upon God daily in prayers. I have no one else to turn to………

In July when I had the relapse of depression, I started to disappear from church immediately after the morning worship. I could not bring myself to talk to people. I couldn’t smile or try to pretend that nothing has happened. But it was also very difficult for me to try and explain what I was going through. I had no choice but to leave before anyone can catch hold of me. I know they care… so all the more it’s hard for me to show them how terrible I really feel, how much I am hurting or how terrible I look when depressed.

A friend ever commented once when he saw me at a bus-stop just after my work when I was going through a relapse of depression. He was in a bus that happened to pass by then. He said “You are not joyful anymore” :-(

How to explain to others why I am not joyful anymore? Very hard to expect others to understand. Most people have experienced time of down or discouragement or disappointment and they said they are depressed for a few days but they got out of it. Clinical depression is very different. The down and almost hopeless misery and pain is day in, day out, night in, night out, almost every hour, sometimes minutes even and definitely every day for at least a few months if without medical or other interventions.

I know I may appear unfriendly to some people or indifferent to others. But I had no other choice. That was how much I could handle. Sometimes I am so exhausted, or so slowed down, or so depressed that I could not get up from my bed, or so sick because of the stress and fear of meeting people, that I could not even go to church. I trust that when I am better and able to explain to my friends, they will understand and forgive me……

When I left my job, I wrote to my church’s Pastor to inform him. As always, Pastor JJ is very encouraging and supportive. Below are my correspondences with him (with minimal editings).


My email to my Pastor on 5th September 2007:

Dear Pastor,

Thank you for all your prayers and encouragements. Thank God for His mercies.

Do covet your prayers as I continue to look for a new job. Last week was my last week at work as my employer needs to cut down cost and we decided that it is better for me to look for a new job. She has been very kind to me and I am grateful for all her kindness.

I have applied for some jobs but have yet to hear from them. Do covet your prayers for God’s direction and provision as finding a new job seems more difficult now as I am above 40 years old and with mental illness (have to declare this in application forms).

Trust that our good Lord will provide in His time.

Thanks for your prayers support. May our Lord continue to bless you and your family as you serve Him together.

In His grace,


Pastor JJ’s kind reply to me:

Dear sister,

Thank you very much for sharing. I did not realise that last week was your last week at work.

I’ll be remembering you in prayer; and will also look out for you.

The Lord has promised to add unto such as seek first His Kingdom and righteousness (Mt 6:33). I believe He will hear our cries on the basis of His promise.

Take care, dear sister. Take the time to rest your body and mind. Do not be too anxious about tomorrow (Mt 6:34).

Kind regards in the Lord,

Almost Impossible

In my last post, I shared of how discouraged I was when I left my job during my recent relapse of depression in July 2007. I also began to disappear from church after the morning service as I could not talk to people, could not let them see how terrible I look when depressed, or how much I was hurting…… It is difficult to explain about clinical depression. You have to go through it yourself to understand the endless misery, anguish and pain I experienced every day. But God is with me still and it is Him that uphold me. He has His purposes still and He cares deeply, despite my inability to feel all these at that time (Romans 8:28).

Just before I left my job, I have started looking for a new one. I sent out several applications and was finally shortlisted by one of them. After I left my job, I continued to search for a new job actively. As my mother did not know of my illness, I had to put on a strong front and face each day bravely. It was hard…. I was depressed, with little energy and concentration. I was also experiencing anxieties and inability to make decisions.

I was very lost when I applied for jobs. Most of their requirements were very intimidating. As I was doing mostly administrative work in my previous jobs, I looked mainly under administrative job again. Most of the firms preferred younger and energetic, outgoing and good looking women, who are able also to multi-task and work under great pressure and deadlines. These are totally out for me. How can I ever fit into their credentials? And how to cope with their demands? It was a very discouraging time…… I know God can provide and He will open a way for me. But going through the process when I was depressed, was still very difficult.

Sometimes, after I submitted an application, I will experience fear and anxieties. I worried over whether I can bring myself to the interview if they do call me up. I worried over whether they will accept me if they know I am suffering from a mental illness. There is still such a terrible stigma associated with mental illness. I prayed earnestly for grace and strength from the Lord daily.

When I went for the job interview in which I was short-listed, it was a frightening experience. I was fearful of how my interviewers will react when they read in my application form that I am suffering from asthma and bipolar, and on medications for both. It is mandatory to declare a person’s health condition in most job application forms. Most of the other candidates at the job interview were young and definitely more energetic women than me. I thank God for seeing me through the interview. The waiting there seemed forever but it was finally over. I did not too badly at the interview considering my depression at that time. My interviewers told me that they will contact me if they decided to take me on. However, I never heard from them until much later. It was a letter from them telling me that I was not selected.

When my Pastor knows about my situation, he informed the church about it by publishing it in our church bulletin. Many friends became concerned and they started praying for me. Thank God for their prayers.

So my search continued on. For about 2 weeks, I was daily looking out for job vacancies that suits me and applying for them. I hardly hear from any potential employer or job agencies. To me it seemed so impossible to find a job at that point of time. But God is merciful and faithful. Just when I thought it is impossible to find a job in view of my age and mental illness, a miraculous opening appears!

I will share about it in my next post, God willing

The struggles went on

In my previous post, I shared with you how I had a relapse of clinical depression in July 2007. It was very difficult for me to cope each day as I was extremely slowed down, miserable and hardly able to function.

Thank God for my employer and colleagues who continued to deal kindly and graciously with me. They took over some of my work load and encouraged me to take breaks and go for walks. I am very grateful for their support and understanding, without which I would not have been able to cope. My employer also encouraged me to return to my Doctor as soon as possible and explain my relapse to him.

I contacted the hospital and managed to get an earlier appointment to see my psychiatrist. As I turned hypomanic previously when I was put on 20 mg of fluoxetine (or prozac) which is an anti-depressant, my Doctor decided to start me on very low dosage this time and increase very slowly. He advised me to take 10mg of fluoxetine on alternate day and to return for a review in 2 weeks’ time. This was actually 1/4 of what I took previously. My symptoms continue to persist and it took a lot of effort for me to do anything. After 2 weeks, my condition began to improve a little. When I went back to my Doctor after 2 weeks, he advised me to continue with the medication since I was beginning to get better. He was to review me in another 2 weeks’ time.

During the next 2 weeks, my conditions fluctuated. Some days I was better, some days I was worse. As my work was very stressful plus still having struggling to cope with other challenges in life, my condition worsened.

The days became harder and harder to get by. I could hardly endure the stress and anxieties I was experiencing daily. I could not cope with my work any longer. At the same time, providentially my employer decided to scale down her businesses in order to attend to some family matters. It was not possible for her to keep me due to financial constraint. So we agreed that I should look for a new job. In order not to be a further financial strain to my employer, I left the job in end August 2007.

How was I going to go through each day now that I am without a job?…. Stay tune to my next post for more sharings of my struggles and God’s mercies to me

The beginning of another relapse of depression

In July 2007, I suffered a relapse of clinical depression due to various reasons. I am still in the midst of recovering from this relapse. Thank God that I am much better now.

After my diagnosis in April 2007, I was put on a mood-stabiliser (lamotrigine, brand name Lamictal) and anti-psychotic medication (quetiapine, brand name Seroquel). My condition was improving at that time. But my work became rather stressful and so was my family situation as the months go by.

My mother was suddenly diagnosed with having stones in her bile duct and may require an urgent surgery. As her heart ECG revealed abnormality, she was required to see her heart specialist as soon as possible to determine whether her heart is strong enough to undergo the surgery. The Doctor told us that as my mother suffers from diabetes, if without the surgery, she will die of complication of the stones causing infection in her bile duct. But even if she undergoes the surgery, there is also a risk of her dying on the surgical table. Either way, her life seems to be in danger. Thank God for the prayers of my church friends. But I still have to face many difficult and important decisions in very short time. As all of my siblings are overseas, I have to undertake the responsibilities of taking my mother for her various medical appointments plus sometimes making those important and urgent decisions without time for consulting my siblings. Thank God for giving me grace to cope.

At the same time, my work was getting rather stressful. I struggled to cope with the various demands at work. I was often physically and mentally very tired.

Besides these, I was also still adapting to my medications and my illness. I was under the false presumptions that once on medications, my condition will improve and stabilise. I didn’t realize that it will take time for my condition to stabilise and that I do still need to understand what will trigger off my illness and how best to handle it. I failed to recognize early symptoms of relapse of my illness.

By July 2007, I began to find my mood going down. I tried hard to cope with my work and family situations, and tried to prevent my mood from getting worse by taking walks whenever I can. But due to the stresses I was facing each day and my lack of ability to handle them well, and my failure to notice the deteriorating symptoms of my illness, by beginning of August 2007 I was down in depression again. This happened despite being on medications.

The same symptoms which I have experienced in the past relapses began to set in. Every morning I felt so tired that I could hardly get up from my bed. I felt very exhausted throughout the day. My mind was so slowed down that I could hardly think. My feeling was either flat most of the time or absolutely miserable. I couldn’t feel anything right. Most of my thoughts were negative. My mind turned against me. I was tormented by my past failures, my current weaknesses and the thoughts that nothing will ever make me feel better.

I had no desire to wake up and face each day. I dreaded waking up. Each night when I went to sleep, I prayed that God will take me home and that I will not wake up the next morning. I dreaded going to work. I didn’t want to go to work but I had no choice. My mother didn’t know of my illness. So I could not stay at home and I had to go to work. I had to go to work partly also because I had to keep my job as I needed the income. Partly because it was the only way to keep me a little sane. Being on my own, isolating myself from people, was worse though that was what I wanted to do most of those time.

I dreaded meeting people. I put up a strong front when I had to meet people. I tried to hide how terrible I really feel inside. Whether it was at home, at work, in the street or in church, I put on a front. I tried to appear as normal as possible or I tried to cover up by excusing myself or leaving as soon as possible so that no one will find out what I was going through. No one will understand, so why bother to talk about it. No one will understand, so why risk letting them know what I am going through.

I got very nervous and anxious without reasons. I couldn’t think properly or make decisions. I had difficulties making decision on which dress to put on. I didn’t know what to eat during lunch time as I couldn’t make up my mind. I dreaded facing each day.

I called unto God for help each day and He upheld me day by day though I could not feel His presence with me. I could not derive any comfort from reading God’s Words like the way I used to do when I was well. I have very little concentration and I could hardly read. Even if I read, I could digest very little of it. My mind seemed incapable of deriving any encouragement or comfort even from the most encouraging Bible verses or articles I have read before in the past. Now they all mean meaningless to me. I sometimes mistakenly think that God has forsaken me, He has turned a deaf ear to my prayers or He has no mercy for me. I questioned whether I am a true Christian. I could not sense God’s love for me nor my love for Him. I wonder whether I am a hypocrite, destined forever to eternal condemnation. I thought that I have deceived myself all these whiles and that I really was no Christian but just a hypocrite. This was frightening. Life seems meaningless with God…. What is the point of going on?

The thought of death kept recurring. Life is meaningless. Without God, without meaningful things to do for God daily, without the ability to enjoy God and anything in this world, life became meaningless. How am I going to face another day… or even another hour… another minute….or another second….

To know what happened next, following this dark and painful period of time, tune in to my next mail coming up soon :-)