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I don’t know what to say

Everyday I wake up in despair and dread. After the anxiety wears off, the deep sadness takes place. I struggle to function and smile. I struggle to feel appreciative and happy. It feels a lot like standing on the shore where sometimes the waves bowl you over, but sometimes retreat before they touch your feet. 

 

I haven’t told anyone because I don’t know what to say, I don’t have the words. I struggle to know how to care for my heart and how to love and laugh even though I am so weighed down and sad and scared all the time. I know I’m in a long and very dark tunnel and it will surely end at some point. I just have to keep trying.

I learnt how to be vulnerable

In my secondary school days, I struggled with low self esteem. I would always beat myself up over my perceived failures; in hindsight, it was an impossible drive for perfection. Coupled with a tendency to internalise my feelings, I found myself turning to self harm to cope with my self-hatred. 

 

It started as a way to punish myself for my inadequacies and not doing things ‘right’. Soon, it became a habit. I self harmed more and more frequently, and the urges were strongest when I felt stressed, anxious and overwhelmed. 

 

Self harm was my coping mechanism; frankly, it brought me relief and was an outlet for all the feelings I keep inside of me. However, I always knew it was wrong and not socially accepted, but because of how useful it was in helping me cope (maladaptively) and its habitual nature, I could not and did not want to stop self harming. 

 

I told no one about this for 3 years and no one knew. On the surface, I was a good student who had my life together, but deep deep down I was craving to just talk to someone about everything that is going on. I could not go on like this. 

 

Eventually, I realised that the help I needed won’t always be as accessible and affordable as that in school. So I plucked up the courage to seek counselling. It was one of the hardest but best decisions I ever made. 

 

I learnt how to be vulnerable with others, how not to let my feelings destroy me and how important it is to talk and express my feelings. I also understood that people need people. 

 

Today, I still struggle with self harm urges every now and then, but I am in a much better place and I’m coping in healthier, more fulfilling ways. 

 

There truly is light at the end of the tunnel, don’t be afraid to seek the help you deserve.

I question my self worth

They say depression can be cured. But I doubt so. I grew up feeling suicidal all the time. Every small little thing that happened, be it to me or others, I question my self worth. I always thought of death but I never really felt the urge to kill myself but at the back of my head was a constant reminder to myself that ‘death is beautiful’. I can’t forget the day that I was scolded because of what they labelled me as ‘attitude problem’ but to me I was feeling so much pain. I was 11, standing next to a ledge, on the 3rd storey, tears rolling down my cheeks – the first time ever in elementary, I knew that the jumping over the ledge was the best escape. That’s when I knew how I could kill myself at Primary 5. Being labelled was the worst. Everyone expects something of you. I went through my teenage years with suicidal thoughts all year. My art was an expression of suicide but teachers did not flag them up because I do not look like one who needs help or is going through depression. Not until the day they saw cuts all over my arms. It was too late. I fell into a deep dark trap of self harming and that was the best relief I could get. Depression never heals. I just learn to cope and hide it better from everybody. But until today Death to me is still the most beautiful escape of living.

Stay, you are needed

I was recently diagnosed with clinical depression, anxiety and OCD. I am still learning to slowly accept my diagnosis because when the doctor said I have these illnesses, it was a confirmation of my deepest fears yet a sense of relief and consolation that what I’m feeling is real. 

 

I grew up in a messed up home where my parents were either not home at all or when they’re home, they would verbally and physically abuse me. They are really successful perfectionists so they expect perfection from me as well. If I don’t live up to their standards, I know I would be in deep trouble. 

 

I didn’t think much of all the abuse that was happening because I thought it was normal. I only came to a realization when I entered a local school where teachers questioned beating marks on my body. This happened throughout middle and high school. I hated myself and I wanted to die. 

 

In the 21 years of my life, I have attempted suicide 3 times, all unsuccessful. I felt worthless and a burden to everyone around me. I felt like I didn’t deserve to be at church because people at that particular church were judgmental and topics about mental illnesses and suicide were all avoided. I felt all alone in this world because I had no one to talk to about feeling down. I lost all my faith in God and I stopped going to church. 

 

Around 2 years ago, a friend of mine invited me to her church near my house. I am so glad I went and got to know the people there. They were so loving and friendly, and they were the family I never had. I found people that have helped me realize that it’s okay not to be okay and that it’s okay to feel my emotions, and not bury them. 

 

I am also very grateful and thankful for the guidance of my therapist and psychiatrist for helping through rough times when I felt like I couldn’t go on, and for bearing with me when I have outbursts in sessions. 

 

Today, I am still in the process of learning how to love and be kind to myself. Even though I am still going through a dark time, I am glad to have people that listen. Their very presence brings comfort to my hurting soul. To those who feel alone, please know that you’re not alone. I am here, please do not give up, I am living proof that you can survive this. Stay, you are needed. 

It takes a village

They say it takes a village to raise a child. It also takes a village to overcome depression. 

 

To all my ex-bosses, kind colleagues, family, friends, counsellors and random strangers who came in the form of angels who encouraged and believed in me (even when I couldn’t believe the light within myself to get up again), thank you so very much from the bottom of my heart. 

 

It wasn’t the job’s condition or situation was bad that made me leave my previous jobs but it was a question of existence I struggled with daily. What do I want to do with my life now after from recovery phase one of being catatonic? (a severe depression state where my doctor told me in layman terms that “it’s like my brain was away on a long vacation”). It was an extremely hard period for me as I was in a disheveled state as I could not move, eat, sleep, bathe, or even groom myself as I was very much unaware of myself and the surroundings around me.

 

When I started having movement in my limbs again, gradually with the help of medication, my neighbour started asking me accompany for Zumba lessons. I remember I would tear when the music started playing and I could actually move my limbs. It felt like a miracle that these feelings actually still exist even after the 4-6 months of existing in what I felt was an empty void. 

 

So fast forward many years since I had catatonia depression in 2012 till now, while the journey has been long and arduous (with some memories I rather forget, sometimes), I’m really thankful for a current stint in my life where I am now able to experience positive feelings daily (mostly!) and live happy to the best I can with a little craft home business I started. I may not be making mega million dollars, but I’m thankful for the daily treasures of simple joy, laughter, love, family, meaningful friendships which has made me rich beyond measure. 

 

If you’re someone who’s going through depression, I just want to say don’t give up. Those layers of scum and gunk will slowly erode away as we take positive steps to allow our hearts, mind and soul to heal. It’s okay.

I feel like I’ve been in a never-ending fall

I’ve been feeling myself slipping away again.

 

I first felt it in 2012. I felt my mind turning dark for no reason while my best friend was talking to me. I snapped not long after. Then three years later in 2015, I was diagnosed with generalised anxiety disorder and chronic depression. Therapy didn’t work as well as I thought it would — mostly because I had a therapist that talked more than I did. I’ve been silenced most of my life and I thought no one would ever want to listen, and those therapy sessions just seemed to prove my point. It was a bad first experience and I never went back to seek help.

 

I was blessed to have met the most supportive friends in my school, and ultimately they are the ones who gave me the confidence and love I needed to be better. I believe having them around me constantly cheering me on and encouraging me is what helped me control my anxiety. They were the best thing that ever happened to me.

 

I’ve had suicidal thoughts and plans. I’ve had one suicide attempt. I’ve had dates scribbled in my planner to take my life, but with each date that passed, I changed my mind. It was usually because someone I loved did something good for me that day, as if they knew what I was thinking. It always seemed to happen at just the right moment. Coincidental nice things save lives.

 

But since mid-2018, I feel like I’ve been in a never-ending fall. I’ve loved (platonically) and lost, and each loss sends me into awful grief. I’ve been having more panic attacks than usual. I get extremely depressed and stressed out, and I lash out at people. I act like I’m fine and I don’t let anyone see beyond the tough facade but inside I am broken. I used to live my life trying to take care of everyone because I knew what it was like to be unhappy and alone. I used to always put people first. I make all my friends laugh and I’m supposed to be the funny one, so I need to keep that up too (or else, who am I?). 

 

I’m deathly afraid of being alone again but these days I’m finding it harder to control my emotions, and it’s getting harder to go out and see my friends. I just come up with weak excuses and hope they believe me. I feel myself becoming more and more selfish. I’m just trying to keep what little happiness I have left for myself. On the rare days I do see them, I make them laugh, and I hope it fixes something inside me too. But it never works that way.

 

I know I need to seek help once and for all. Good help this time. I want to go for therapy again now that I’m a little older, and hopefully a little wiser. 

 

I’ve lost my way but I know I need to pick up the pieces, and start right now, if I’m going to make it.

I felt so pathetic and immature

You would think that life is unbiased. You would think that life is fair. Yet, everything crumbled when I found out that one of my closest friends was diagnosed with generalised anxiety disorder and depression while the other had suicidal tendencies brought on by stress. 

 

I felt so pathetic and immature as I embarked on a journey to study psychology in an attempt to ‘help’ them, but I honestly felt it was nothing but a ruse to lie to myself as if I were truly helping them. Although learning about psychology helped me understand and be more patient towards my friends and supporting them in their recovery, nevertheless a part of me still resents my childish behaviour and I feel nothing but regret and helplessness for my friends. Why couldn’t I be there for them? But yet, them assured me. They broke through their own barriers to help me, someone ‘normal’. Who says the mentally ill are weak? 

 

In my eyes, they are my pillars of support, the strongest people I have ever met, breaking through one obstacle by other, slow, but always steady. I’m so thankful they are part of my life, and if you do have friends or family who are the same, always remember that they are just like us and as humans, they will always pull through, even if there are days that they don’t seem like they will. Each of us have our own struggles, but what makes us human is the power to persevere on.

I feel like I’m a bomb

I wish I could express my struggles to my family. As a trans male with anorexia, OCD and mild anxiety, I tried really hard to distract myself from all those unwanted thoughts, with studies and a part time job, to the brink of exhaustion. Overworking myself seemed to be the only way to seek sanity. My family always, always claimed that I’m emotionless and have a ‘low EQ’. Sometimes I wonder if that’s the case, sometimes I feel so wronged, because they don’t know what I’m going through every single day. I feel like I’m a bomb that’s about to explode any time soon.

You are worthy of love

I had a rocky childhood: My father was abusive and unfaithful, and my parents divorced when I was 9. My mother never fully recovered from that trauma. I grew up believing I was a burden to my mother, and had my first major depressive episode in my teens. 10 years and countless episodes of depression later, I finally ended up at IMH after coming close to completing suicide. Now, after over a year of therapy and trying three different antidepressants, I can finally say I’m stable. There are still awful days when I feel utterly hopeless and the suicidal thoughts return, but I am now better equipped to handle them. My only regret was not seeking help earlier because I was convinced that how I was feeling was my fault, not something to be remedied. To anyone else struggling as I did: you are worthy of help, you are worthy of love! Don’t hesitate to seek help!

I feel alone

I struggle with self esteem issues and irrational fear on a daily basis. It consumes my mind and stresses me out every time. No one knows how much it has affected me because whenever I try to talk about it, the people around me just brush it off like it’s nothing. I’ve always wanted to reach out and seek help but I could never bring myself to be so vulnerable in front of someone else. I feel alone. No one else can hear the things in my mind the same way as I do. I always have a small bit of hope that one day I’ll get help and be better, but it will take time. I just wish people were more open to listen to my problems and worries without judgement.