Heart palpitations, sweaty palms, sleepless nights, and retching. What was happening to me? My mind felt like it was in a battlefield, thoughts going around in circles, like a broken record on replay. This was an experience so foreign to me, but soon became a constant in the subsequent months.
There were numerous things going on in my life during that period personally, and at work. I had to grapple with many changes and uncertainties that left me on tenterhooks. The Circuit Breaker only made matters worse, as I found myself being stuck with my thoughts with nowhere to go. I felt like I was drowning emotionally, exhausted mentally and drained physically. With insomnia knocking on my door every night for weeks which turned into months, I don’t even know how I managed to function at work––but I did––with none of my colleagues sensing anything different about me. The truth is, numerous people out there put on their bravest fronts, but deep within are bottled up emotions and struggles.
I remember the time when I finally gave in and decided to seek help. After a run one night, I returned home and broke down. The turmoil I felt within was too much to bear, and I didn’t know who I was anymore. It was as though the anxieties within me were just eating me from the inside out, and I knew I needed help.
My journey of healing began. Counselling was something very new to me. I didn’t know what to expect or how I was supposed to share my vulnerabilities with someone I didn’t know. Nonetheless, a safe space was created during each session, to explore, and open up. What followed next was a period of learning more about myself––my past, my emotions, coping strategies, and understanding the root cause of those anxieties. All these didn’t happen overnight. It definitely took time… but recovering my identity and discovering more about myself is a process not to be rushed. In fact, learning more about ourselves is a continuous process which doesn’t stop until we’re laid to rest.
My experience with counselling has reminded me that we were never made to journey through this life by ourselves. In fact, the strongest people are the ones who know when to admit they need help.
In hindsight, I should have seeked help much earlier to spare myself the pain. I guess back then, I didn’t want to admit that I needed help as I always saw myself as a strong person who could overcome any obstacle thrown my way. Perhaps it was a bit of pride, too.
I know what it feels like to have a heart beating so fast, I am conscious of each breath that I take.
I know what it feels like to lie awake at night, physically exhausted yet having an overdrive, chaotic mind.
I know what it feels like to lose my identity gradually, as anxieties overtook my being. .
To you who are struggling with anxiety: You are not alone. It might feel like no one around you understands and you are left to fight this battle alone. That is only true, if you choose to keep to yourself. The fact is that you can, and should reach out. I wish I knew that earlier.
Counselling has changed numerous things for me. I am more aware of my emotions and how to tackle them. Revisiting different areas and seasons of my life during counselling sessions shed light on the anxieties that I was experiencing. Undergoing counselling was one of the best decisions I have ever made; it was a turning point in my life which enabled me to grow in resilience.
While I hope I’ll never meet those anxieties again, I wouldn’t be surprised if it comes knocking on my door in the future. This is life. The only difference is, the person opening the door this time isn’t the same person as the one a year ago, and she is now equipped to face them.
Read inspiring stories from courageous individuals in Singapore about how they've overcome challenges and experienced healing in their lives.Read More
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ThriveSg champions a help-seeking culture through advocating a growth perspective towards counselling, to overcome the stigma of mental illnesses and emotional challenges.
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We are grateful to those who have courageously agreed to be part of our "#thisismystory" movement to help fight the mental health stigma by sharing their journeys on video! Check out these short videos /reels of some of our thrivers and be inspired by their stories of resilience! May their stories encourage you that healing & growing in resilience is possible. We can reach out for the support we need, so that we may be empowered to thrive significantly in life!
As Christians, the topic of mental health is made more complex because of our susceptibility to form biases and assumptions; for instance, that those struggling are “living in defeat” and not walking close with God, or that they can easily recover from their struggles if they “just believe”. The change begins in us...
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