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addiction - Singapore Mental Health Film Festival

I want to live even if it’s so painful

Break ups can be painful, had been painful. Especially for a person like me who grew so attached to someone else that I wasn’t even yet married to and saw him literally as my world and only affirmer before. It was toxic I know, toxic love because I just didn’t know how to love myself enough to love another person without drowning in my own insecurities and doubts.

When we broke up, I was happy at first. For a month I felt I have released my own chains and his. But the nightmare came after – for a total of 3 plus years I endured constant flashbacks and rumination on ‘what ifs’ and anxiety heightening whenever he was nearby (even in the midst of a crowd).

The first 3 months was pleading and relentless chasing to get back the lost attachment figure whom I thought would never leave me. I was also in therapy at that time, and stressors prior to the breakup already included confronting childhood abuse, family violence, and possible addictive behaviours. Didn’t actually need one more event to push me over tipping point and consider all ways of suicide, so yeah… OD and starvation were my least painful choices that I also wanted to use in front of my ex-boyfriend with an elaborate plan – shan’t elaborate.

I then told my counsellor that I was too mad at God after I heard that He abhors suicide. I wanted to force my ex-boyfriend to care for me and take me back by silent lethal protests. My counsellor however, did not waiver and told me she will have to ward me at NUH if I can’t contract to keep safe. I thank her for her firmness to this day because if I attempted anything more deadly then, I will likely not be able to meet my present fiancé, a wonderful God-fearing man that aligned with my prayers.

Afterwards it was a tough journey to learn how to self-sooth and depend solely on God and my eventual promise to Him that I will continue living only because of Him and his love for me. The toughest part was not being able to really share with anyone my loss and loneliness – I wanted to protect my family from my meltdown, and I completely got off social media. I did call Samaritans of Singapore (SOS) once, and I remember it to this day – a concerned Indian lady listener – appreciate her listening ear.

God is sovereign and good and He never lets me or you down if we continue to have faith. And for that alone, I find myself having the courage again to keep on living. Because of that promise to live for someone other than myself, I was saved. I then came to know how to say ‘I want to live even if it’s so painful’.

If you are in doubt and thinking of suicide or harming yourself, allow this post to be your #hopethroughthenight. Believe in the ability of time and kind persons to come into your life and do not give up on the possibility of being able to heal, or if not, be capable of managing your own turmoils with renewed strength.

Allow this year’s #SuicidePreventionWeek be a powerful instrument to spread vivid memories and advice from those who care and want to share.

I try to fight every single day

Since I was young I’ve had pains and aches, which turned into periods of crying and extreme worrying. At 21, I was admitted to A&E after several consecutive panic attacks, diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder and Panic Disorder, and later, Agoraphobia as well. It’s hard, having to relearn how to do basic things such as getting out of the house, and taking public transport – things we often take for granted. 

 

It’s hard battling suicidal thoughts and tendencies and self-harm that slowly grows into an addiction. Feelings of worthlessness and emptiness, of never being good enough. It’s hard when you don’t know who you can count on or turn to, being socially isolated in class and feeling as though you have to beg to find a group for group work. 

 

I’ve been advised to take a medical leave of absence, and am considering it, to take a break from school and focus on recovery. It’s amazing how just 4 months since my diagnosis can cause such a drastic change in my life, but through it I’ve found the rare few who stick by me without judgement. For them, I try to fight every single day.

You can regain your life

I suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) while I was undergoing divorce with my narcissistic, addicted husband, suffering from depression. 

 

We were married for 2 years, but it was the most hellish period of my life. He was the master of manipulation, knowing what buttons to press, making me seem like the crazy one. His addiction mattered more to him than his own wife. The constant lying, cheating, betrayal, gaslighting, projection took a toll on my mental health. I always felt inadequate as he often made me like it was my fault for everything. Despite that, I didn’t realise what I was doing to myself. I was compromising my sanity at the expense of this “love” with this abusive man. I was in a continual state of cognitive dissonance, with the sweet and mean treatments from him. Little did I know that I was all part of his sick, twisted, selfish game. Little did I know that the flip-flopping between sweet and mean treatments are actually the hallmark of abuse. 

 

I went through the whole abusive life cycle – from the love bombing (making me feel like the most loved woman in the world), to the devaluation, and the eventual discard. It was so so painful. So surreal that the man that I once called my husband is now this cold-hearted monster, treating me like I mean nothing to him.

 

He turned into this monster, one I could barely recognise anymore. What I’ve learnt is that even though he is going through a mental issue, everyone has a choice for change. No amount of my love could help him if he didn’t want the change to happen. 

 

That was when I realised I had to fight for myself, and take accountability for my well being. That was when I stopped making excuses for his bad behavior. 

 

The divorce is a painful but necessary path. Man’s rejection is God’s protection.

 

I am still dealing with this trauma bond, trying to break free from codependency issues, and manage my anxiety attacks. It is going to be a long process and a lot of hard work, but I am committed to loving and taking care of myself. 

 

PTSD is something not to be taken lightly. With proper education and professional guidance from therapists, you can regain your power and control back.

 

You can regain your life, and create that dream life of yours.