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singapore

“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.

I crashed so badly

I was a national athlete and I guess you can say that I am a coward after reading this. Just last year, our team clinched a spot at the 2nd prestigious competition (1 level down from the Olympic Games). It was what I was working towards and fought hard to be selected for. I wanted to win so badly that I stopped everything and concentrated on just training. I emphasised so much on trying to achieve something that I was left with nothing but disappointment and feeling ashamed that led to having anxiety. It was my first time performing in front of such a huge crowd and for the first time, I crashed so badly in front of both the crowd and on worldwide live telecast. After that competition, I tried so hard to stay sane while playing the game but I was never the same as before. I feel ashamed wearing jerseys with ‘Singapore’ on it and cried every night for two consecutive weeks. I was really scared of participating in any competition to the extent that I used the ‘I have to find a job’ excuse to leave the team. But here’s the thing… I still miss the sport so much and I honestly want to prove to myself that I can do it but when I step into the court, my heart and mind never once fail to remind me of that competition and how it feels like being such a letdown to the nation. Till now I still don’t know if I will ever be able to don the jersey without letting anyone down.

A little kindness and understanding goes a long way

I have been having anxiety since I was a child but I only realised what it was when I was older. I always thought I was just a child that was afraid of everything. If my mom came back 5 minutes late from work, I’d assume the worst. Growing up I had to be pretty independent. After getting into my first relationship and experiencing how it feels to be loved, I became dependent. So when it ended, I spiralled. My anxiety got worse and depression joined the party too. It took me a year before I went to the Institute of Mental Health to get myself the help I needed. With therapy and medication I was able to experience life like my ‘normal’ peers. I stopped therapy and medication once I was confident that I could handle life on my own.

I recently met someone and got into a relationship. This individual knows of my past and how my anxiety is still in my life. As a partner, one would expect or appreciate support. That however isn’t the case. With emotional bullying, I am once again face to face with my demons.

I just hope that people who get into relationships with individuals who have mental health issues try and exercise some sympathy. You might not understand how a small action might cause the other party pain. A little kindness and understanding goes a long way.

I know I’m not the only one. You’re trying too

On the outside I’m not supposed to be broken but on the inside I’m constantly trying to hold everything together every day. I’m still trying every day. My fondest and happiest moment was the day I woke up from a dream where I found out I was going to die. Ecstatic is the word I would use to describe that feeling, I’ve never felt that way before nor have I felt that way since then. If feelings had a sound, everything negative would sound like nails scratching a chalkboard, overwhelming and disturbing. I can’t sleep without music, the quiet amplifies the noises in my head. They aren’t there but they are. They’re not supposed to be there but they are. Quiet. Be quiet, breathe but my heartbeat is too loud and the urge to shut it up is always tempting. Life is worth living, every pain and sadness you feel now will make happiness taste so much sweeter. I’ll tell this to you and smile, I’ll encourage you to find the little sweetness in everyday. I’ll hold you close and listen to your story, to help you find a stable ground to put your feet. I do that for others because I’m constantly having to tie my feet to the ground. Life is worth living because if you’re still here, then try. Even when you’re tired, try because you might just be able to help someone plant their feet. Try because you’re still here. I’m still trying every day, and when there are days when I’m a flight risk, I know I’m not the only one. You’re trying too.

Everyone else thinks it’s easy

I was diagnosed with clinical depression and up till today I’m still fighting against depression. Everyday is a struggle, fighting against my life and to end this pain. I wish people around me took my words and struggle seriously. Everyone else thinks it’s easy unless they have been there. They say as if it’s so easy not to think about it, if it was so easy, people would not have committed suicide. I don’t want to end my life, just want to end this suffering, hatred and pain. I wish it was as easy to remove this mental illness.

Do I have anyone that needs me?

I wonder if I’m needed or am I just existing. There’s just this thought that comes into my head when I look at happy families, groups of friends laughing and even a couple just smiling to themselves: do I have anyone who needs me?

They seem so content with life, they are living in the best way they can. Being alone the way I am, even with a family, even with friends who treat me like their blood, even with a partner who tries his best to shower love all that he can, are they doing it because it’s their duty or are they doing it because they want to? I have demons in my head, demons that are chasing me in the day, demons desperate to see me crumble, can you see it?

No one will miss me

My mother left me when I was 2, which caused a big gap in my life. My childhood wasn’t perfect nor great. Because of the gap, I became a troubled child. I created trouble and started to go astray. This period of my life was the darkest because that was when I started to self-harm. As the years went by, my thoughts worsened. From the age of 10 to 12, I started to cut myself. From the age of 12 till now (17), I still cut myself but it has gotten worse. I have bitten myself and even wanted to overdose on pills at home.

The thing is. I’m afraid to die but I feel that no one will miss me and everyone will be happier without me. Because of the gap I had when I was 2, it has caused so much trauma in my life. I haven’t been myself for the past months and I really don’t know if I can be myself…

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.

They just see me as a lazy person

When you feel that you’ve contributed a lot at work — only for people to tell you that you’re not good enough — you’ll be both physically and mentally drained. During the weekend, I can just lie on my bed without doing anything and still feel exhausted afterwards. My family won’t understand, they just see me as a lazy person. And I’m just too tired to explain to them because they will just say that my faith is not strong enough.

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.