“I Can’t Take It Anymore!”

My name is Jane, and I’m 20 years old. I’m currently recuperating from a mental breakdown. Since 2018, I have been dealing with depression where the feelings of sadness are constant. I have dealt with suicidal ideas before but have since progressed with mental health support from my doctor and case manager at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH). Without their constant care as well as care from my family and friends, I would not have been able to make it through in life thus far. 

If the world sees 2019 as the start of a tragedy, my personal hell started one year earlier. I was facing a high level of stress and had numerous responsibilities. I also had difficulties adapting to a new school environment and having to mix with a new bunch of people. What did not help was the rising need for independence as I progressed into another significant phase of my life which was entering into university. 

Back then, I was a complete wreck and I could not bring myself to go to school. Often being on medical leave and feeling highly drowsy due to the new medication I was consuming, I was constantly sleeping and was completely exhausted from that period of arduous time which was immensely filled with stress and sadness. 

But what exactly was I sad or depressed about? Was it the lack of familiarity in my environment? Or was it the self-imposed stress on the things and status I had and wanted to accomplish? In fact, I would say it was a combination of all these components. Of all, the worst thing was that I did not know what I should do to help myself. I was lost in my direction of life and every single day just felt like it was a kind of suffering that I had to either endure or try to escape from. 

My parents figured out that I needed help given my constant state of depression and hence they decided to bring me to the nearest hospital for medical assistance. Initially, I was really hesitant to listen to their advice and to visit the doctor as I felt that I was completely alright and was just trying to cope with another phase in life. I never thought I would be diagnosed with a mental medical condition that would be in my health records for life. It was devastating to be having this illness. Furthermore, it would be needed for me to declare my mental health for stuff like insurance and this definitely leads to a higher premium. 

Needless to say the social stigma that people would have of my medical condition. I was really scared that people would judge me and treat me as a patient with mental illness. Although it was something that could be recovered from, it had definitely negatively impacted my life as it was deemed as something socially undesirable. 

Despite it, I am sincerely thankful for my parents’ decision to bring me to the hospital. If not for this decision, I might still be in the midst of struggling to cope all by myself. I am also very grateful for the doctors and medical officers who gave me a lot of aid in my mental health recovery. In my doctor’s words, while I may be backtracking in life and may be facing hiccups, I would still be able to rise up better and stronger against life. 

I recognised that the road ahead to recovery is tough and I would have a lot of things I would need to do ahead of me. I had to focus on my recovery and keeping my mood peaceful and unaffected by the things happening around me. The constant strive for excellence in my studies also had to be put to one side as I had to start fighting my inner demons. To be honest, I was really uncertain about how my life would progress from there on. 

I spent my days doing calming and mindful activities like meditating, yoga and exercising. I realised that I needed to focus more on my mental well-being which was something that I had neglected for too long. With constant checking in from my doctor and my case manager, I was able to ensure that I eliminated most of my negative thoughts and tried my best to keep calm in situations that would cause my mental condition to relapse. 

I also found out that there are numerous benefits to meditation.

Benefits What conditions it can help with 
-Gaining a new perspective on stressful situations
-Building skills to manage your stress
-Increasing self-awareness
-Focusing on the present
-Reducing negative emotions
-Increasing imagination and creativity
-Increasing patience and tolerance
-Chronic pain
-Heart disease
-High blood pressure
-Irritable bowel syndrome
-Sleep problems
-Tension headaches

My case manager and doctor also encouraged me to join mental health support groups which I eventually did. There were numerous benefits to joining a support group: 

  • Feeling less lonely, isolated or judged
  • Reducing distress, depression, anxiety or fatigue
  • Talking openly and honestly about your feelings
  • Improving skills to cope with challenges
  • Staying motivated to manage chronic conditions or stick to treatment plans
  • Gaining a sense of empowerment, control or hope
  • Improving understanding of a disease and your own experience with it
  • Getting practical feedback about treatment options
  • Learning about health, economic or social resources

Most importantly to me, it was about getting practical feedback about treatment options. What mattered to me was how I was going to progress from here on and how to prevent the symptoms from coming back. I certainly would not want a relapse where all my efforts are wasted. 

In addition, through these mental health support groups, I realised that I am not alone in this journey and many people were in the same state as what I was in. I also learnt how to deal with the social stigma that people have of mental conditions and mental illnesses. It is not important what others think but more important of how you perceive yourself. 

‘Tough times don’t last, tough people do’ was certainly my motto as it constantly reminded me that difficult times would pass and life would still move on. Just like how the sun would rise every morning, my life would still move on after every setback and obstacle. Only the strongest would be able to overcome whatever life throws at her. Also, I am immensely grateful for my mental health support that has been provided for me throughout this difficult time. 

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