I was never afraid as a kid. I would always call out anything wrong happening around me and that didn't go well with some of my bullies during school. That's where my anxiety and depression were seeded. This has affected every aspect of my life. I began to believe that it was my fault and felt like I was in this roller coaster that I couldn't get off but I kept fighting and I emerged stronger with each passing day. I decided to become my own hero.
Darkness, which is the only way I can describe it, has followed me like a fog. At times it intensified and overwhelmed me, usually triggered by a situation but now it's less of a physical impediment than a daily reminder of what was done to me. There was a point where my relationship with my mother got very strained, at times I used to ask myself "Is it me who is to be blamed?" I used to feel like a maniac and it manifested itself in hours of eating or staying up for days at a time or sleeping for sixteen hours straight or following a rigorous routine, I knew I had been very hard on myself for a while.
You may wonder why I didn't just talk to a professional about this. I've seen a number of doctors since I was a teenager to talk about other issues, I was diagnosed with clinical depression and anxiety but I was positive that another doctor would not have helped. I was never given one piece of actionable advice, ever. More than that few spent a large part of the session reading their notes to remember who I was.
After five years in a relationship, my boyfriend cheated on me and abused me as well. I was emotionally and physically tortured to the extent that I had almost touched the rock bottom, I was given an open rape threat.
My body shivers when I get flashbacks of any of those incidents. It made me avoid sleep and constantly tired because sleeping with what feels like hours of nightmares is not restful. I used to wake up sweaty and furious but one fine day I realized that I wasn't made for this, I was a bubbly chubby girl, I was way more than what I was at that point of time. I straight away went and told my parents about what I was going through, I screamed and shouted and told them that I needed help, that I wanted to recover. They stood strong beside me during this journey, It was painful, at times I felt like giving up but I kept fighting. And I emerged victoriously, I did not only take a stand for myself but also for other women out there.
I was awarded the Young Researcher Scholarship NUS, thereafter I authored two books, one of which got published globally in nine languages. I founded an organization with one of my colleagues called NAARI which aims to promote menstrual hygiene. I could finally see how my actions were positively affecting the lives of other people and that was the day I realized "I shouldn't give up on my life as it's precious and also because people out there need me".
To all the people going through any kind of mental illness, "Hang in there!! Keep Fighting and one day everything shall pass".
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