A Chance To Live: Amanda’s Story

Editor’s Note: Our reader, Amanda, battles with schizophrenia, and shares her experiences and what treatment was like. She urges others like her to seek help early. Thank you for sharing your story with us, Amanda. We are rooting for your success.

I was deep in slumber as soon as I touched down. I was so exhausted and drained of energy I couldn’t wake up to anything. Until there was this menacing threatening noise that terrorized me from my deep slumber. The threatening noise was so deafening, I asked my Dad why they were doing this to me, threatening me. And he said if I dun put down the penknife he would fly back to Singapore and leave me there.

So he left while I was crying there.

The threatening voice said unless I die, they will not leave me alone. I was in tears and fearful, still holding that penknife. I was desperate but my Dad walked out. Then alone, in my attempt to stop the terrifying noise, I hurt myself, but the noise did not leave me! Then amidst the terror, a calm soothing voice urged, “Take the medicine that was given to you.”

Down to my last means, I resorted to the last attempt and I got through the next few months on my own, battling the noises and relying on the prescribed psychiatric medication my parents had given me when they visited, before I resumed university.

I was in a daze and on “auto-pilot” mostly. I can never imagine how I could have finished my course. But I had to forgo my Masters eventually because I was battling with my mental condition alone in a foreign place.

So I came home and continued treatment with my medication. But I was always battling the ups and downs. It was hard to stay focused on my paths in life.

And I was always afraid how people will judge me for having attempted suicide before. So I shied away from speaking about my experience.

Then I think it was around 2010, I had a major meltdown; a breakdown that opened my eyes while finding myself on a hospital bed.

When I first awoke, there was a man leaning against the bed beside me, facing me. I asked him “What happened?” And he told me I was suicidal. Then I think the drugs were so potent that I just slipped back into sleep.

I subsequently underwent several treatments of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). For the ECT, there first was an anesthesiologist who would inject a sedative into you to ease you into sleep. I have always been afraid of needles, and my threshold of pain has always been very low. The experience was scary. But after a few treatments, the fear lessened, although it was still very evident.

So earlier on in treatment, I would be in and out of hospital. And then my doctor and family took a firm stand and warded me at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH), where I came into contact with people with differing challenges from a low to severe spectrum.

The stay was challenging and awakening. You realize that there were other people suffering from mental conditions that were more severe than yours.

And you understand that seeking help is essential and something that you must reconcile with.

You realise that there are others going through the same thing (or somewhat similar condition by “label”) as you.

Coming forward to admit and seek help mentally, emotionally, was something that I never had the courage to do… Until treatment was forced on to me because it’s the last resort.

Gradually, I found my liberation when I came to terms with my condition – walking with God with a purpose in my path. I’ve found my freedom in helping others in their struggles.

Having been through these challenges, I can now empower others to seek treatment, hopefully earlier than I did.

Amanda is now training as a therapist and is working towards the goal of empowering others in managing their symptoms of mental illness and in responding to treatment as early as possible. 

5 thoughts on “A Chance To Live: Amanda’s Story

  • February 28, 2014 at 3:58 AM

    Did you feel that ECT was beneficial to you? Our daughter may have come to the end of the road with antipsychotics (illness possibly breaking through clozapine now). ECT is a possible next option.

  • February 28, 2014 at 3:45 PM

    Hi your daughter is blessed that you have her better interests at heart. i have heard that clozapine is an effective medication and that ECT, combined with treatment, medication and therapy can provide a better effective living. From the time I followed intensive treatment, I am now coping better with the irrational thoughts and overcoming negative thoughts. It may or may not be a long process depending on your expectations and the severity of the condition. Having supportive family members is also very important. It would help if you could discuss with your psychiatrist how the support system could help alleviate your daughter’s symptoms together with treatment. i believe that it would be most effective with a good doctor that you trust to advise on the treatment plan. I hope that your daughter can overcome the symptoms and gain better control over her life and live effectively. May God bless her, you and your family. Take care, do consult your daughter’s psychiatrist

  • February 28, 2014 at 10:50 PM

    Thank you so much for your thoughtful response. It was very helpful. Our daughter’s psychiatrist is involved with the process and, together, we are exploring other psychiatrist’s opinions.

  • March 1, 2014 at 4:33 PM

    You are most welcome, I wish you and daughter all the best! God bless!
    If you wanted to clarify more on my personal experience, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me regarding your queries, through Nicole. She is a very dear friend of mine and we do keep in touch regularly when we can. You all take good care, and All The Best!

  • January 29, 2015 at 9:50 PM

    I was diagnosed with schizophrenia, but besides the thoughts that people were criticising me for being a bad child, that I did not respect my parents. I was having problems adapting to life in JC, and before in secondary school I was having a lot of self criticism, due to a low self esteem partly because my family environment is not very conducive.

    At first the self criticism was you are stupid, you know nothing except studying and if you do not do well in study, your life will be miserable. Thinking back it may be the stress to do well in study as a mean to get out of my family situation. My parents did not really pay much attention to my sisters and my development.

    My father would like to preach values and said things like you will regret if you do not study hard, or he will say things like he did not accomplish anything in life.

    My father did not earn a lot and he will give all his salary to my mother who will gamble away. My mother knows an uncle who would pay for our expenses and he would criticise my father, NY sisters and me.

    I developed a phobia of my sister, afraid to get near her, and would scream when she came near me. I had the thoughts she would contaminate my brain. I think it is probably because my sister had some hygiene problem.

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