Mental Depression Can Kill You - Koon Yew Yin

 Recently the famous food connoisseur, Anthony Bourdain and celebrity fashion designer Kate Spade committed suicide which prompted me to write this piece to share my experience with you. Everyone should know about mental depression problem.

Let me tell you my experience. I come from a poor family. I have 11 siblings and you can imagine how we used to rush for food during meal time. My father was an undertaker and sold coffins.

Among all my siblings, I have a younger brother called Mark who was 9 years younger. I took care of him and took him to St John Institution K.L. on my bicycle. At that time, we were allowed to carry someone on our bicycle. He was quite clever in school.

Fortunately, I got a Government scholarship to study civil engineering at KL Technical College which is now known as UTM. 

I supported him to study dentistry in Singapore University with my small pay as a young Engineer, working for the Public Works Department which is currently known as Jabatan Kerja Raya. My monthly salary was only Rm 760.

Mark passed his dental degree with flying colours and the University selected him to teach in the medical department. Even the dean of medicine liked him so much that he allowed his daughter, an arts graduate, to marry him.

After about 20 years of marriage, he divorced his wife to marry a young dentist who was about half his age. Soon the young dentist left him for another younger man.

He felt so down hearted and he wanted to prove that he could make more money from the stock market. He invested all his saving in the stock market to show that he could be rich quickly. But he failed and lost all his saving.

He asked me for financial help and I ignore him. He lost his young wife and all his saving. As a result, he went into deep depression.

When he repeatedly asked for my help, I just ignored him. Instead of helping him, I would criticise him and I told him that he must be holding the record for being the worst graduate from Singapore University. As a result, he went into deeper depression.  

All the people know about physical health but very few people know about the importance of mental health. I must admit that I also did not know about mental depression.

On day about 25 years ago, I took him to see the psychiatrist at the Ipoh Fatimah Hospital. The doctor told me that anti pression drugs would take about 2 weeks to take effect but if he applied electrical shock treatment he could get well almost instantly.

On Monday morning, the doctor gave him an electric shock treatment. After about 1 hour, he felt better. On Wednesday morning the doctor gave him the 2nd electric shock treatment. While waiting for me, his friend, Father Rudy Wong, a Catholic priest took him to buy a package of noodle for breakfast and left him in his house. When I went to the hospital, I was told that Father Rudy had taken him home. I rushed to my brother’s house to apologise for being late. I was shocked to see that he used the wire from his fan to hang himself. Mark committed suicide at the age of 50.

I regret that I was so foolish and ignorant.

In fact, the psychiatrist should know that mental depression patients had suicidal tendency and he should keep his patients under 24 hours supervision. He should not allow his patient to leave the hospital until his patient was completely stabilized.

I rang my daughter who was the psychiatrist of the Durham mental hospital in UK. She told me that if a similar case happened in UK, the psychiatrist would be suspended immediately and a board inquiry would investigate the matter.

Most of us see depression as a phenomenon caused mainly by various negative events we have experienced and unfortunate circumstances that make us feel down and gloomy. However, there are a variety of everyday causes of depression that most people ignore and that actually affect the quality of our lives in a significant way.

So, if you feel unexplained sadness, are overwhelmed with constant negative thoughts, and have a host of other symptoms that indicate that you may be depressed, it is time to see a psychiatrist.