I was afraid of telling others

I have been diagnosed with depression and anxiety for over a year. Throughout the year, I was afraid of telling others about my condition as I am aware of how people around me viewed mental illnesses. Now that I have found people who support me in my journey, I sincerely hope that others who suffer from mental illnesses would not have to feel as afraid, or even more than I did. The world and people around them should help in their recovery, & not make it tougher for them.

Good things come to those who wait

I was 15 and suicidal. Depression had taken away my ability to communicate and anxiety had gotten the best of me.
I hadn’t been able to go to school for the past semester because I just couldn’t function. I’d received special permission to stay home and be homeschooled, but after a single day of attempting to follow a measly study schedule that I’d drawn up, I gave up and resigned myself to lying in bed and crying all day.

I felt so incredibly useless and pathetic. My girlfriend had broken up with me because I was “too troublesome to handle”.
My friends stayed away because I was too negative, and though I knew it was the better for both them and me, it hurt. It just hurt. I was all alone.

My parents called me a burden, telling me I had made life difficult for myself and had no one else to blame. I was the one who decided to be a lesbian, to be depressed, they said. I was the one who could just choose to stop at any time. And so I took their advice and decided to stop living. My very being was toxic. What was a little more poison inside my body?

But then I survived. I cried and cried, but to no avail.

I wanted kindness. My parents screamed at me, hit me and offered to drive me to a cliff if I wanted to die so badly. I wanted warmth. My helper sat by me and tried to pray the devil away from me. I wanted acceptance. My brother shrugged, saying, “well, you’re the one who brought this upon yourself.” It was the worst night of my life.

The fourth anniversary of that day passed recently. I’m still horribly anxious. I can’t do a lot of things myself and hate myself every day for it. I’m negative and slow and wish I could be someone else, anyone else. But I’m doing my best. I can go to school now, even if I have to take days off sometimes. It’s hard to bring myself to do things, but I can at least start every now and then.

My relationship with my family has improved, and they’ve learned to be more understanding and accepting with the help of my therapist. I have kind friends who are open and I am so, so grateful for them.

Some people see those with mental illness as ‘freaks’. But they’re not. Sometimes some people need a little more help than others, and sometimes they need a little more effort. Nobody chooses to have health issues and nobody asks to be born a certain way.

If you don’t understand, try and make the effort to learn. See things from different perspectives and help one another. And if you’re suffering from a mental illness, or are in a dark place right now…..know that you’re not alone. I believe in you! You can do it!
Improvement will always take time.

Good things come to those who wait, so hang in there, lovely reader, and do your best to wait a little more.

I fell back into depression

I was like you many years ago when I was trying to survive through university.
I was bent on getting no less than first class honours, determined that it would be the only way I can get a better-paying job to get away from my family, to live independently from them. Instead I sunk into depression. To be more precise, I fell back into depression – deeper than before.

It was different this time round because I was more conscious of my mental state but I didn’t have the strength or will to fight it. I spent most of my university terms shuttling between my room and the library, completely isolated from society. I spent more hours of the night on the cold hard seats of the library than I did in bed.

It was not long before I started having insomnia. Too much time indoors and sunlight was scarce even if I did get outdoors. There is nothing worse than not being able to sleep. I contemplated suicide.

I was desperate for rest, for understanding, for hope, for it all to end.
But instead of mustering the courage to do it, I called the Samaritan hotline.

I sobbed and talked till I was calmer. I felt bad for the social worker because it was just a one way conversation from me, but hey – I was thankful to just have a person I can call to.

If you need a person to call, don’t hesitate, you don’t have to feel bad. That person wants, to be there for you. That person wants to hear you out, that person wants to know what you are feeling. The hotline is organized for you to call. You deserve the help, deserve the attention, deserve to have someone looking out for you.

I made the mistake of turning myself into a hermit, doing nothing else with my life other than securing a first class honours degree. But it is okay to make mistakes, it is okay to feel the pain, it is okay to feel hopeless, it is okay to feel numb, it is all part of what it means to be alive.

To me:
I am happy that you are still well and alive to be reading this.
I am happy that you mustered the courage and strength to try again for another day.
As long as you keep trying, you are making recovery. Recovery is not hard and fast, it is a process. Because to be stronger, you have to first be weak.
Pain is part of the healing process, just like how your blisters hurt before they get better.

I eventually went for professional counseling service that was provided at the university because the lack of sleep and depression was affecting my ability to write or speak coherently. I knew then that if I wanted to graduate with the first class honours I was striving so hard for, I needed to get better.

I went through what therapists call – cognitive therapy. Healing through speaking. Weekly sessions helped me understand my past, the source, to open the secret vaults of suppressed anger and sadness, to allow healing to begin. It was embarrassing at first for someone to know my inner demons, but I continued with the sessions because I felt the positive effects. My recovery was not overnight but I felt so much better; it helped me to clear my mind, to see things in a much greater perspective and it gave me the courage to face my pain. Facing your inner demons is the first step to taming them, instead of letting them to overwhelm you.

I know counseling in Singapore isn’t free but there are affordable services that you can find online.
You don’t have to be embarrassed about your pain, we all experience pain in one form of another, no matter how perfect our Instagram feed is.

Don’t mask that pain, because it is a part of you and one day it will be the reason that you are stronger.
Letting go is hard, you don’t have to do it on your own – you can reach out to get help.
Getting help is the first light. Keep going and soon all that darkness will be left behind, you will be able to see and enjoy that light again. Let go to let the light in. Help is near, light is here.