Five years ago, the term ‘mental health’ was absent from my vocabulary. ‘Health’ as I knew, was purely physical. Pushing myself to meet the unrelenting high standards I set for myself was okay, as long as I did not fall ‘ill’.
Unknowingly, pressure from all areas: academic, athletic and social, was slowly making me ‘ill’. Mentally ill.
In late 2017, I was diagnosed with major depressive disorder. I remember looking up my psychology textbook for the diagnostic criteria: Low moods, check. Loss of interest and motivation, check. Insomnia, check. Thoughts of wanting to sleep and not wake up, check…
Am I depressed? Do I really have a mental illness? No, it can’t be. “I don’t have a mental illness.” That was the lie I kept telling myself.
Until one day, I broke.
Looking back, it is clear to me now – a life full of vigour, optimism and enthusiasm had slowly turned a gloomy shade of grey. Life became meaningless and in the wake of a failed relationship, I lost hope. Thankfully, my school counsellor brought me to the A&E on the morning that I decided that I could not go on with life anymore.
The following months were not easy. I struggled with daily routine. But thanks to medication, therapy, and support from my family, mentors, friends and fellow peers, thoughts of wanting to end my life eventually went away, and I saw light again.
Today, I can say with absolute certainty that I am not only living, but thriving in recovery. Depression was my blessing in disguise. By emerging from it, I have found my purpose in life – to share my recovery story and help others to overcome similar struggles.
To those out there who are struggling, please know that it is not the end of the road; help is out there. Reaching out is not a sign of weakness, but an act of bravery and strength. Life can be better than you imagine if you learn to accept your condition and accept help. Trust me – for I am, among many others, a living testament of these words.
Sharing by Amos, a client of Clarity Singapore