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parents - Singapore Mental Health Film Festival

It’s been 2 years, and I’m still on the road to recovery

1 year passed and I still didn’t know what was wrong with me. I carried this burden on my shoulder, cried myself to sleep every night, thinking “why am I like this”. I thought that this was normal. Until my exam results dropped from As to Fs. Not 1, but all. No one noticed anything until this happened.

I was 13, turning 14 then. 2 days before my 14th birthday, I tried to kill myself. I was on the ledge, and for the first time I felt the coolness of the air, the wind, and how beautiful the night sky looked. I never felt so close to wanting to be in the air, flying like the birds, being free from everything. I got dragged into the Child Guidance Clinic and got diagnosed with major depressive disorder, generalised anxiety, social anxiety, and depersonalisation.

My parents didn’t want to believe what I was going through. They became mad. Everyday they vent their anger on me through verbal abuse, it was tiring and it didn’t make anything better. Every night was a torture, and every night was a chance for me to escape this. I never wanted this, did I?

I’m 16 now, the suicidal thoughts hasn’t stopped, but I’m sitting here, alive today, still fighting against everything I have. Still, my parents “hate” me. They say that I’ve wasted every single day thinking of negative thoughts and wanting to die.

But no. I haven’t wasted my time, if i have survived the day.
To everyone out there, to me, the road to recovery is to believe in yourself first. Even if the world doesn’t believe in you, you have to believe in yourself.

It’s been 2 years, and I’m still on the road to recovery.

“Not trying hard enough”

I’m thinking of reaching out for help for the 6th/7th time now out of desperation. Helping professionals sometimes view me as “resistant”. Perhaps it’s because I’m not extremely open during sessions, or because I’m always so quick to say no to the possibility of sharing my mental health concerns with my family. This however makes me wonder if there will ever be a helping professional who tries to see things from my perspective, without jumping to the conclusion that I’m being “resistant”, or “not trying hard enough”. It is a very gutting feeling to hear someone tell you that she is trying harder than you are to solve your own problems, especially when you have been trying your best to stay alive for nearly a decade. I’m in the midst of trying my best not to be disillusioned by the entire helping profession, and to try to seek help one more time.

My parents are against me seeking professional help

I was diagnosed with ADHD but not with severe depression and social anxiety because my parents did not allow for that diagnosis. They said it would affect my career in the future although my psychiatrist, who diagnosed me with ADHD, strongly suggested for me to be diagnosed with severe depression and social anxiety.

My parents are against me seeking professional help, so I took the initiative to seek help without them knowing.

The journey to healing is tough for me as I don’t have any medications or any medical help. At the same time, my parents aren’t very understanding. I don’t have any income and I’m under the age of 21, so I can’t seek medical help without my parents’ consent.

Thus, I believe I can recover with the help of my few close friends and school counsellor.

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.

I’m going to seek help

I was so desperate. I thought I found a confidant. We once said we would tell each other if there was anything bothering us. I was going through parental, marriage and health issues. I thought I was going to leave my kids behind. I broke down in my doctor’s room. I thought my family was breaking. I couldn’t talk to my parents. I didn’t want to worry them. I felt my world was collapsing. I stood by my window looking down, thinking if I will ever do it. I broke down and I confided my deepest hurts and secrets to someone whom I thought I could trust. It takes so much guts to pour it all out to someone. What a terrible move it was. The responses I received – “I’m superb because I’ve a big heart!”, “You’re like that because you focused on your kids”, “Others have it worse than you”, “I’ll go a long way with people who believe in themselves”. Ouch! It hurts so bad to hear those words. Made me feel even lower, pathetic, worthless. What happened to the trust and respect? It was suddenly all gone. I avoided that person. How does one continue to stand next to someone who feels it’s alright to say those words? I couldn’t do it. So I treated her like a stranger. Those around us who don’t know exactly what happened probably assume she’s the victim. I get curt remarks from others too. I don’t go near those people anymore. I’ve no energy nor wish to defend myself in front of them. I’m on my own trying to heal. It’s a daily struggle but I will do it. I must. I want to watch my children grow up to be empathetic, respectful and trustworthy people. I will continue to be the Mum they love, the Mum I’ve always wanted to be. I get chest pains, nausea, insomnia whenever I hear those hurtful words in my head. It’s even harder to overcome those words from someone I trusted. At times, I still break down crying. I’m mentally so exhausted but I smile as much as I can. I’m going to take the next step to help myself. I’m going to seek help. “We’re not trained counsellors”. That’s what another person told me, defending the one with hurtful comments. My take – “If you can’t show empathy, don’t say a word. Your words can destroy a person.” For those who are caregivers to the elderly and the young, I hope you’re able to share your struggles with people who are empathetic. For what it’s worth, my heart is always with you.