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.
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.
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’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.
Break ups can be painful, had been painful. Especially for a person like me who grew so attached to someone else that I wasn’t even yet married to and saw him literally as my world and only affirmer before. It was toxic I know, toxic love because I just didn’t know how to love myself enough to love another person without drowning in my own insecurities and doubts.
When we broke up, I was happy at first. For a month I felt I have released my own chains and his. But the nightmare came after – for a total of 3 plus years I endured constant flashbacks and rumination on ‘what ifs’ and anxiety heightening whenever he was nearby (even in the midst of a crowd).
The first 3 months was pleading and relentless chasing to get back the lost attachment figure whom I thought would never leave me. I was also in therapy at that time, and stressors prior to the breakup already included confronting childhood abuse, family violence, and possible addictive behaviours. Didn’t actually need one more event to push me over tipping point and consider all ways of suicide, so yeah… OD and starvation were my least painful choices that I also wanted to use in front of my ex-boyfriend with an elaborate plan – shan’t elaborate.
I then told my counsellor that I was too mad at God after I heard that He abhors suicide. I wanted to force my ex-boyfriend to care for me and take me back by silent lethal protests. My counsellor however, did not waiver and told me she will have to ward me at NUH if I can’t contract to keep safe. I thank her for her firmness to this day because if I attempted anything more deadly then, I will likely not be able to meet my present fiancé, a wonderful God-fearing man that aligned with my prayers.
Afterwards it was a tough journey to learn how to self-sooth and depend solely on God and my eventual promise to Him that I will continue living only because of Him and his love for me. The toughest part was not being able to really share with anyone my loss and loneliness – I wanted to protect my family from my meltdown, and I completely got off social media. I did call Samaritans of Singapore (SOS) once, and I remember it to this day – a concerned Indian lady listener – appreciate her listening ear.
God is sovereign and good and He never lets me or you down if we continue to have faith. And for that alone, I find myself having the courage again to keep on living. Because of that promise to live for someone other than myself, I was saved. I then came to know how to say ‘I want to live even if it’s so painful’.
If you are in doubt and thinking of suicide or harming yourself, allow this post to be your #hopethroughthenight. Believe in the ability of time and kind persons to come into your life and do not give up on the possibility of being able to heal, or if not, be capable of managing your own turmoils with renewed strength.
Allow this year’s #SuicidePreventionWeek be a powerful instrument to spread vivid memories and advice from those who care and want to share.
Everyday I hoped for a better day but it didn’t seem to come through. I struggled with loving myself ever since I was in Primary 5, I started self-harm in Primary 5 too. I faced trauma when I was 2 as my mother left me which left my heart broken. Because of that, I became disobedient and caused trouble for my family. It’s not easy walking in this journey knowing that mental health isn’t cared for. I told people that cared but slowly to me it seemed like they didn’t. I was clean from self harm for a year or so but recently it came back. Seeing the cuts in my arm reminded me of why I cut and the pain I’m going through. I don’t know how to heal or trust anymore because people in my life are just breaking me apart.
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.
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.
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.