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school - Singapore Mental Health Film Festival

This is how toxic the human mind can be

My story is just like the rest. I wake up every morning dreading to go to school but school is compulsory so I go anyway. When I’m there I have great friends and wonderful teachers that care for me but I don’t think that way because I feel that I am not good enough for their care and support and for the help they provide. When my friends and I have a little argument I think that I deserve anything that they would say because I’m not good enough. I deserve to die and I deserve nothing at all. At home I have a loving family one that loves me a lot and even though we may not be so well off but we make do. Every time, when my parents or siblings scold me I will accept it but I would not cry. When I am alone the worst thoughts come to mind of how they’re better off with me dead. They do not need to spend money on me if I’m dead. I will cry secretly in the bathroom and in the shower, I will say the meanest things to myself and that is how I spent my life till now. I don’t know why or how I got myself into this mess but this is how toxic the human mind can be.

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.

There are other people out there who care for me

After my Primary School Leaving Examinations (PSLE) in 2015, my mother had a seizure when I was alone at home with her. Everything went downhill for me because that’s when I realised that I am afraid of people leaving me. This fear inside me, it feels as though part of my heart is torn apart. I didn’t dare to tell anyone about it because I thought that people would judge me for thinking that way. Till this day, I’ve been having nightmares of the whole incident as it keeps on replaying and replaying again. And that got me thinking, maybe if i were to end my life, I wouldn’t be in so much pain at all. Another reason why I didn’t want to tell them about my thoughts was because I would just be sent to counselling and that was it. But thanks to my school friends and teacher, who were all super understanding, after sharing my problems with my teacher, neither did she give me a pity speech nor send me to the counsellor. She placed her hand on my shoulder and said that she’ll always be there for me whenever I need help or someone to talk to. She made me feel that there are other people out there who care for me and love me for the way I am. And that’s what I’m super grateful for.

Asking for help is completely okay

I’ve been dealing with depression and anxiety for over 5 years now. I wasn’t diagnosed until I was 13 because my parents didn’t believe in going to see someone for mental illnesses, they thought it was for crazy people.

At that time, I was going through a really, really dark period of my life. I seemed to be stuck in this black hole where I couldn’t get out and I was suffocating. I was dealing with panic attacks almost every day, some with reason but other times they just came out of the blue. No one knew what I was going through because I’ve never been one to express how I felt. So I just painfully went through the motions and attempted to get through school, dealing with family issues and my own mental health deteriorating. I was struggling to cope with everything and it all seemed too much for me. I didn’t want to be in this kind of pain every single day and I started to lose passion in the things I once loved.

Until one day one of my teachers noticed, she knew I wasn’t telling anyone about my issues so she insisted that we talk. She told me, ”you can tell me as much as you’re comfortable with and if you’re okay with talking to me the that’s great I’ll be here to help but if not then you need to find at least one person you can talk to because you can’t keep bottling this up.” It suddenly felt like I could finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. For once in my life I felt like I was being seen. As though someone was actually listening and cared. She helped me through my mental health struggles. She even went out of her way to research ways to help me. My teacher got me to finally muster up the courage to tell my parents and so I could get professional help.

It worked for a while until my teacher left and my parents stopped sending me to see a psychiatrist. I had learnt a few tools to cope and I used my passion – Drama – to help me get through the hard times. However, I started to lose my way again after a traumatic experience and even more family problems that involved the law.

All of this resulted in a lot more self harm than usual. I tried to give subtle hints to friends and teachers but it didn’t work and I knew that if I didn’t speak up to say anything, there’s nothing they can do. By then I had lost motivation to get better. I started to get flashbacks which would result in really bad panic attacks. I felt like I was back at square one. Somehow – with Drama – I was able to push through until I was 16. But there’s only so much you can do without a professional. I kept spiralling down and I didn’t know what to do anymore. It got to a point where even Drama couldn’t save me anymore and I tried to kill myself twice.

After those failed attempts I was admitted into a psychiatric ward where I finally was able to seek professional help. It is a little disheartening that I had to get to that extreme before any proper help was actually given. Especially since some people aren’t that lucky and may not survive a suicide attempt. All these taboos need to be destroyed because things like this happen when it could be prevented.

I’m not gonna lie, I’ve fallen into a lot of relapses since then but I fight that much harder because I’ve overcome these challenges before. Plus I have the resources to help me. I still have a lot to learn and I know this is gonna be a long journey but I beginning to finally understand that asking for help is completely okay and it doesn’t make you weak in fact, it makes you stronger because it takes courage.

I desperately wanted to live

When I was 15 years old, I had my first panic attack in class. I was sent to see the school counsellor and had to meet her for counselling at least twice a week. The counsellor wanted me to go for a full assessment at the Institute of Mental Health, but my mum refused as she was worried how it would impact my future, and because she was embarrassed to do so. I started to talk less and avoided my peers. My ‘daily routine’ would be just going to school, sit at the back of the class and stare out the window or sleep, go for counselling, hide in the toilet during recess time and stare into blank space and then go home when it’s time. On days when I wanted to avoid the school crowd at the bus stop, I would walk by the reservoir nearby my school, and take the bus a few bus stops away. My relationship with some of my close friends worsened overtime as they were not able to understand what I was going through, and I didn’t know how exactly to explain it to them. How do I explain myself when I don’t even understand myself?


One and half years later, I took and thankfully, passed my ‘O’ Levels. As my results were not that good, I wasn’t able to get into any of my 12 choices and had to appeal. I felt like a complete failure.


I was thankfully accepted into a polytechnic after appealing but had to pursue a course that wasn’t of my interest. As part of the school curriculum, I was to be graded daily through class participation and presentations. This would mean that I had to step out of my safe zone; I had to talk to other people, I had to withstand 10 minutes of over 10 pairs of eyes staring at me as I speak every single day.
Eventually in my 3rd month in school, my mind and body gave in. I started to develop a bad case of insomnia. I would jerk awake every hour, or I wouldn’t sleep the entire night. I would skip school. I would be exhausted during class, but I would still try my best. A grade C was enough for me. One day, a lecturer pulled me aside after class and told me that she noticed I wasn’t as ‘active’ as the rest of the class and wasn’t doing well at all. She went on to say that I obviously hated school and I should “just suck it up and move on, because that’s what everyone does”. I felt myself completely shutting down from that day onwards. I didn’t feel the need to try anymore. I was fearful of my negative thoughts that were getting stronger by day. I became fearful of myself.


Upon noticing my worsening insomnia, my mum finally sent me to the polyclinic, where I was referred to a general hospital. After a few appointments, I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression and started treatment and medication. I could tell my family was embarrassed, but I was desperate for that help, I wanted to live, I wanted to get better.


The road to recovery was lonely and was full of ups and downs. I did not have the much-needed family support, and my illness only became my weakness in their eyes. They’d bring up my illness when we have arguments, they’d call me ‘not right in the head’, they’d use it to insult me. But I continued to fight, even though I was all by myself. I prayed to God to give me strength as I desperately wanted to live.
I diligently followed up with my doctors and researched on self-help materials. As years passed, I have found different ways to cope with my negative thoughts. I have started to listen to my body. I am able to identify some of my triggers and know my limits. I have also met many individuals who taught me how to be grateful and appreciate the littlest things around me. These same individuals are the ones who love me for who I am and have stayed by my side till now.


I am now a 23-year-old working adult, and I would say that although I have not fully recovered, I am still happy to have gotten this far. On good days, I can go out to have a simple dinner and chat with friends, but on bad days, I might cry for nights straight and won’t get out of bed. I still can’t look into the mirror without feeling an immense amount of hate towards myself, but I can now order food without breaking down.


To me, no achievement or a step forward is too small. And a step backwards does not mean that we have failed ourselves. It does not mean that we have to stop.
As long as I am breathing, I will keep on fighting and staying strong.
For those of you who are struggling, stay strong and please keep on fighting. I believe in you.

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 just want to end my life now

I took my Primary School Leaving Examination at the age of 12. When the results came back all I saw was failure. Everyone else was doing better. I still got into a school under the Normal Technical stream which most students do not want to end up in since there is only one path – Institute of Technical Education.

 

Well I took my N-Levels and got 9 Points and got into a good course. First year is always hard but at the end of Year 1 I finally broke and crashed apart. I continued on with Year 2 however I broke even more and ended up at the Institute of Mental Health. I was told to take a Leave of Absence as the school thought I couldn’t catch up with my studies. My dreams of going to Polytechnic is now shattered and I just want to end my life now.

Please hold on

At the age of 12, I was so suicidal because of my family and class situation. Then at the age of 15 I finally got help at the Institute of Mental Health but I was so scared that it would affect my career. I stopped going there which was kind of stupid when I think back about it. Then at age 16 which was my first year in applied food science at ITE, my suicidal thoughts got so bad and my cutting got deeper. I got help again and this time I got admitted to the ward. 

 

I thought things were starting to get better but it did not and the medication just kept increasing. Also being gay (which I dare not tell my parents) I felt really left out. It’s as though I am not allowed to be who I am but to be honest I stopped caring about it. I really wanted to get better so I started opening up to my psychiatrist and psychologist which sort of helped but I am still very suicidal. 

 

My point here is to tell any teen or any age group that is never too late to get help, the faster you reach out the faster you could recover although it might take years and many breakdowns it will be worth it. 

 

I know many people have told you it is going to be okay so many times, I want you to know that there are some days that are going to be very hard but you are worth it, every single life counts. 

 

Having depression is like being colourblind so try to find colour in life. Everyone loves you, even I do so please hold on.

Never give up

I have been suffering from Severe Depression, Borderline Personality Disorder and Trichotillomania since I was 11 years old. I envy my friends when they are able to tie their hair so nicely in different types of styles and also let it down without being self conscious like I do.

 

I have a lot of friends, I am very sociable but also extremely introverted. I have come to realise that I am that person that’s actually alone, surrounded with people that I am familiar with. Even at home. It’s not until I met a close friend that I’m comfortable with, only she knows the real me. 

 

She would try to stop me from plucking my hair when I am unconscious or doing it out of anxiety even though I would get angry at her after that. I guess, it’s true when they say that you’re not alone. You’re just not exploring the friend that will be more than willing to be your listening ear, a helping hand and shoulder to cry on.

 

Yes I admit I still do have my psychotic episodes but it is not as bad when you let it out to someone you trust and are comfortable with. It is NOT necessary to be alone all the time and keep it in you to the point where you would think “exploding” ー giving up on the efforts you have put in to be okay. It is okay to fall back down sometimes. But never give up.

 

Try it out, I gambled on trying to lift all the weight I have on my shoulders, it worked. Explore and have someone that would be in the same effort you put in to feel okay. 

I feel like I’m suffocating

I have been feeling down for some time. I never thought I would end up this way. I was a nursing student, I loved what I was doing. I learnt about mental health and I never expected I would go down this route. I was a very confident person. I was never afraid of anything. But then it all changed. I quit school and I lost myself. 

 

It’s tough living with a drunk father. He stole my room key when I was out and barged into my room in the middle of the night when I was sleeping, screaming at the top of his voice. I was determined to kill myself that night but my friend managed to talk me out. I cut all contact from my family and avoided my father. My mother tried to ask me what was wrong but I avoided her question because she was partly the reason I got into this black hole. 

 

The constant stress, the biasness and all the scolding I got from my family for no reasons. When I finally picked up the courage to tell them my feelings, my mother could not accept it and started to compare who was going through worse problems. Why is it so hard for them to understand that I just need to be heard and understood. I could be better if she chose to accept what I said. Even if she could not accept it, she could just pretend to. All I need is to be heard. It hurts so bad when I do not have my family to support me through this stage. I feel like I’m suffocating, I have so much in me that I can not let out. It hurts so bad. I never thought I would go down this route…