By Boon Kee //
I was diagnosed with psychosis in April 2014 and was hospitalised at the Institute of Mental Health (Singapore) for more than a month. After I was prescribed with medication I was discharged and placed under the Early Psychosis Intervention Programme (EPIP).
Included in this care model are case management services and provide various group activities for outpatients who have stabilised in their conditions. The activities range from sports to discussion groups.
I found a purpose in my life after the psychosis episode by attending a particular discussion group that runs on every Wednesday afternoons.
I was always looking forward to it as I could meet with peers, learn new things and discuss topics within this group. The facilitators were Occupational Therapists whom I think they had something to do with my motivation to attend these sessions and get more involved with the group.
EPIP runs for 3 years and I officially graduated from the programme in June 2017. I was referred to other groups and branches of the mental health support but it just isn’t the same. The group activities and facilitators were just not right for me. How I wish EPIP could consider this aspect and perhaps be empathetic enough to give their clients the option of staying with the care programme after the 3-year period.
I am currently volunteering as a befriender, and foresee a couple more volunteering opportunities coming my way. One in particular is in counselling seniors, their caregivers and family members. Training would be provided and I hope I can complete it and start contributing to lives by working with people who are distressed or simply need someone who are not biased and is willing to listen to them with an open mind.
A support group and the right facilitators for me are hard to come by, and it works differently for everyone.
The new volunteering activities are a hope for me yet it can be filled with uncertainties. I envision that with the hard work, dedication and time I shall be putting into it, it would be reap the seeds of satisfaction, fulfilment and knowledge.
I hope this would fill that post-EPIP void.
Boon Kee is an active volunteer and his areas of interest are befriending, cyber IT help and counselling. A cat lover and freelance photographer, he feeds community cats and takes up photography assignments in his free time.
Editor’s Note: There is life after psychosis. Boon Kee shares his candid experience with IMH’s EPIP programme and aspires to live a full, meaningful life upon graduating from the programme. He highlights the importance of having good practitioners, care transitions, as well as a firm sense of purpose.