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.
I’ve always had a pessimistic outlook in life ever since I was a teen due to my family circumstances. My father was plagued by various addictions and depression followed him and my mum.
The negative thoughts and feelings I had became worse and was at the peak last year when I experienced anxiety attacks for a week and thereafter regular meltdowns that comprised of screaming, crying and punching my fists into the wall.
I was shaken but not surprised since mental illness is a part of my family history. My grandparents, my parents and my sibling have been sucked up in the cycle of depression, never able to escape it.
It seems inevitable that I myself will never be able to break the cycle of depression but there is something that has set me apart from my family. While they have been in constant denial of the mental issues they face and have refused to seek help, I’ve chosen to acknowledge my anxiety, my fears, my anger. I’ve taken the step to share it with my husband and my closest friends. And I promised them that I will seek help from a counsellor.
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 say it takes a village to raise a child. It also takes a village to overcome depression.
To all my ex-bosses, kind colleagues, family, friends, counsellors and random strangers who came in the form of angels who encouraged and believed in me (even when I couldn’t believe the light within myself to get up again), thank you so very much from the bottom of my heart.
It wasn’t the job’s condition or situation was bad that made me leave my previous jobs but it was a question of existence I struggled with daily. What do I want to do with my life now after from recovery phase one of being catatonic? (a severe depression state where my doctor told me in layman terms that “it’s like my brain was away on a long vacation”). It was an extremely hard period for me as I was in a disheveled state as I could not move, eat, sleep, bathe, or even groom myself as I was very much unaware of myself and the surroundings around me.
When I started having movement in my limbs again, gradually with the help of medication, my neighbour started asking me accompany for Zumba lessons. I remember I would tear when the music started playing and I could actually move my limbs. It felt like a miracle that these feelings actually still exist even after the 4-6 months of existing in what I felt was an empty void.
So fast forward many years since I had catatonia depression in 2012 till now, while the journey has been long and arduous (with some memories I rather forget, sometimes), I’m really thankful for a current stint in my life where I am now able to experience positive feelings daily (mostly!) and live happy to the best I can with a little craft home business I started. I may not be making mega million dollars, but I’m thankful for the daily treasures of simple joy, laughter, love, family, meaningful friendships which has made me rich beyond measure.
If you’re someone who’s going through depression, I just want to say don’t give up. Those layers of scum and gunk will slowly erode away as we take positive steps to allow our hearts, mind and soul to heal. It’s okay.