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bullying - Singapore Mental Health Film Festival

It’s not as easy as you think it is

I am currently 18 turning 19 and I’m going through Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) to treat my Major Depressive Disorder and Severe Anxiety Disorder. I’m really scared and if there’s anyone who’s going through the same thing as me, I hope you can reach out, to tell me it’s going to get better because I feel myself giving up, day by day. Every time I wake up after an ECT session I still cry because I can’t remember anything.
Mental illness is real and it’s like walking through tar in a marathon. It sucks, I just really hope society can step up and understand that it is an illness, we can’t control it. It’s not made up for attention.
I attempted suicide because my friends bullied me by telling me I was an attention seeker and my generalised anxiety disorder was a hoax. So please, if you’re telling your friend to man up or grow some balls while they’re having a mental illness, please think twice. It’s not as easy as you think it is.

I’m so glad I didn’t go through with my attempts

I was 16, fresh out of secondary school, when I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and dysthymia. I was bullied by my seniors and people whom I used to call friends, simply because of my weight. Because I was also often on my own, I was an easy target. Throughout my life I was also subjected to my father’s snide insults in public and he was always unreasonably cold to me, and I knew he was embarrassed to call me his daughter.

I realised after getting help that a lot of my self-esteem issues stemmed from home. And I knew I brought that low self-esteem out into the world, making myself an even easier target for everyone to pick on. After my diagnosis and a chat with my psychotherapist, Dad still had trouble accepting that he had a part to play. You know how dads are. It has been 5 years now. In those 5 years, I tried to kill myself twice. But as I sit here typing this, I’m so glad I didn’t go through with my attempts.

I sat on a ledge at 16, and again at 18. Today I’m blessed to no end with an amazing support system. I found a wonderful group of friends who remind me every day that they wouldn’t be who they are without me, and my family is stronger than ever. My father still slips up every now and then but I’ve gained the courage to call him out whenever he does. For anyone diagnosed with GAD, I can promise you that it will get better. For depression, hell if I know.

I’ve only learned that grief comes in waves and it never fully goes away. Some days are harder than others, and those are the days you’ll need to put yourself first. Surround yourself with good people, and only good people. Have a good support system — ultimately you really fight alone, but with the right people cheering you on, it’s a little easier. Please reach out, tell the truth, and find a community that’s good for you. I’ve seen how ugly things can get and I’ve met some of the cruellest people. But no matter what, they aren’t worth your life. I promise you this — you will fall in love with life again.

Thankfully I found a way to seek help without my parents consent

When I was 10, I started hating going to school and would pretend that I was sick so my parents would bring me back home and I didn’t have to face ‘him’ anymore. All I knew, that ‘him’ was my older sister’s classmate and that he and his group of friends would always laugh and joke about the rabbit tooth that was sticking out of my mouth and that was something I felt really upset about.

I told my parents about how I felt, I was really really upset, I was embarrassed when I was made fun of in front of everyone else, I was scared to go to school. I didn’t know what I was thinking, but occasionally, the thought of suicide came once in awhile as I questioned my worth. Neither my parents nor my friends stood up for me. I was sad. But my parents brushed it off, I felt worthless.

One day, I told my form teacher in primary school about my ideations, she highlighted it to the discipline master and he called my dad. When I spoke to my dad over the phone, he immediately dismissed my feelings and told me to tell the teachers that I was just kidding and was saying things I didn’t mean.

At 11, I felt lost. It then started to become somewhat like a falling into a dark hole where nobody could see or hear me. I don’t know if I wanted to be heard, I gave up on myself. I was approached by the school counsellor, but my parents again found out that I was creating these issues again and told me that I should stop and never see her again. They felt like I didn’t need to see her. They said I had “no issues”.

Then I entered secondary school, I was happy and carefree till I met this guy that was new to my class, and I started to fall back again. That guy was mean, he commented on the way I looked and questioned about my weight almost everyday. He would use vulgarities and mean words that was never supposed to be said to another human being. He made me feel stupid. I hated him and I went back hating myself.

Due to the exposure of social media and the internet, I taught myself how to hurt myself and found harmful ways to deal with the internal pain that I was feeling. I started from metal rulers, then to staple bullets then to penknives where I eventually found the thrill when looking at blood. I knew I wasn’t myself but my parents told me I was. I got confused. I really felt like I was at the closest edge of suicide.

Again, I was alerted to the school counsellor and again, my parents were brought down to see the teachers to talk about my case and how to move forward. And again, my parents rejected and restricted my access to help. I was in their control, I didn’t know who I could go to. My parents told me I’m okay. Eventually, with them constantly telling me that I was okay and there’s nothing wrong with me, I believed them.

It came to a point where I could not recognise what pain was and everything seemed painless to me. When I hurt myself, it’s not pain. When I see blood, when I bruise, I don’t feel pain. I got confused so often that it gets very difficult for me to know what pain actually was. And if I am causing pain to other people.
I’m 18 now, and I feel okay but still broken at times.

Thankfully I found a way to seek help without my parents consent, and hope that I am getting better. It wasn’t easy and was definitely a long wait to get this far.

I’m still alive and am proud of myself.