Editor’s Note: Our social interactions and significant relationships can contribute to our sense of self and self-worth.
In Sam’s story, she shares what led to her suicide attempt and how she found peace today through owning her personal coping methods.
Her story also highlights the need for mental health professionals to be more sensitive and empathetic, and to treat each person not as a subject, or a “guinea pig” as described by Sam, but as a real person with legitimate feelings and dignity.
The behaviour of healthcare professionals can make or break a patient’s decision with regards to treatment.
However, we do not advise that you stop taking medication for this reason, as medication has been proven effective in most cases and has often aided many individuals in their recovery.
I am the youngest of my family, I have three older siblings. I was an accident because of the huge age gap. People say that I’ve grown up to be a rather precocious child.
Secondary school was horrible for me. I didn’t fit in any group at school, neither interest group nor with the girls in general.
The Chinese pop groups were childish to me and I just didn’t understand why girls have to apply make up, look pretty and try to get boys’ attention.
I had a different mindset from most of my classmates as I preferred people who were different, treating everyone equally regardless of their status or gender.
Even my interests were different. I liked philosophy, arts and dance. Yet growing up in a stressful society did not benefit me as there is too much pressure on what you should do and what you shouldn’t do. And it seems the things that I like to do are the wrong ones.
I did try to blend in. But even if I were successful, I felt I didn’t look like the part since I was overweight.
Perhaps this was why I was bullied in class often.
I was constantly called “fat”. Nobody wanted to play Captain’s Ball with me during PE lessons. I would get pushed around and shoved to the ground from time to time. My classmates even conspired together and wrote what they thought of me on a piece of paper. Name calling was a common deal that I have to put up with everyday. It was the norm finding my classroom seat filled with ice or rubbish.
All these got stuck in my head and I started hearing voices one day. I just wanted a day of not hearing my name being called out. I wanted to pain to stop, everything to stop. So, I started to cut myself. All the pain was released momentarily.
I was soon caught and was sent to a school counsellor. They swopped me around with different counsellors, and then later different doctors. I had to repeat my stories again and again.
I hated my life then, which was seemingly on replay mode. That was when I decided that I had had enough — I don’t want this life. I tried committing suicide by pills but it did not work and was stopped in time.
10 years has passed since then. And by some miracle, I made it.
I felt I was treated like a guinea pig when it came to medication. I discharged myself from the hospital because my mother was paying for a treatment that I felt was just not useful for me. This, plus the added burden of her having to raise four children. It just pained me.
On a positive note, I have a best friend who is studying psychology now. So I confide in him, sometimes ranting, other times engaging in intellectual discussions.
I have also embarked on a personal spiritual journey. Sometimes… through meditation, I am able to find peace.
What helped me was finding an outlet and a coping method.
My message to someone who might be feeling low or demoralized — if you’re feeling like you’re being knocked down to the ground, ask yourself these three questions:
1. Can I breathe? Breathing is the essence of you living, being alive.
2. Can I see or hear? Seeing or hearing proves that your senses are working.
3. Can I think? Having thoughts means that your brain is intact and functional.
These might help you to appreciate life for the things we often take for granted, and perhaps direct you towards a path of gratitude.
Your mind is powerful enough to trap you or free you as a person. You can decide.
With a background in television broadcast to communications studies, Sam is currently in the midst of adjusting to a new job in the media industry. She loves traveling alone, talking to strangers and has a knack for poetry.
Image Source: FCSN.org