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When I was growing up (and even now) I struggled with self-confidence. I was never the pretty one nor the smart one in my circle of friends – I was larger than others and puberty was not kind to me. Boys would tease me and those that I had crushes on did not reciprocate my feelings because I wasn’t sporty and pretty like other girls.

On top of that, I’ve had several family issues. My parents are divorced. I live with mum in a one room rented flat and my dad’s a drunk and a gambler so I have always felt like I had to be the one to take care of and put up with him because my brother left to live overseas. It was really tiring but all I could do was to try to stay positive.

I’ve always felt down about myself and even when I went to my polytechnic, I always thought there was something wrong but I could not place it. I studied really hard and I practiced meditating on gratefulness but there were times I would get so low that I could not get up from bed or be bothered to do anything.

During university, my boyfriend at the time encouraged me to see the school counsellor. She eventually diagnosed me with mild depression. What didn’t really help my situation was when my boyfriend broke up with me during my final year at university, so the stress and darkness was twofold.

What got me through that period was the support of my friends, the counsellor and my professors who were so understanding about my situation. I didn’t tell my mum what was going on because I did not want to worry her. I thought I was going to drop out too but the encouragement, my will and exercise kept me going.

Now, my heart does not hurt anymore and I’ve found an amazing person who accepts me for who I am. My mum now knows about my condition and she has been the sweetest person. She shows her love by cooking me meals. I would not say that I am fully recovered as there are still dark days once in while but I have a strong support system and I want to live my best life.

There are just so many things left to experience and I do not want to miss any of them.

This is just a short summary about what I’ve been through. It honestly felt like death going through a break up with a person that I thought was the love of my life, plus having to write my 8000 word dissertation paper. Motivation was so difficult, but I opened myself up to taking antidepressants to help with my focus and school (I didn’t want to fail my exams!). It certainly helped a lot.

Exercise, eating well and most importantly, self-motivation is also an important way to get out of the darkness. People can only say and help you so much – in the end you have to help yourself to get better.

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