Editor’s Note: A story of hope, resilience and self-reflection, contributed by one of our Tapestry readers, Celab, who is recovering from bipolar disorder.
The pearl is such an apt metaphor for the recovering mental health sufferer. Indeed, we are all works in progress. And like a precious pearl, we are of intrinsic value and worth. Here is Celab’s story:
One of the things I admire most are pearls. So much so that I can even liken my whole life to one. Therefore, I would like to tell my life story using the parable of a pearl.
Born a pearl, it was so pure and white. Yet it is particularly vulnerable to dust. People around me at that time, I felt, were quite accumulated with “dust”. I had to endure an environment that was dust-filled and polluted.
I came to a stage where I can no longer tolerate this pollution and negative influence. Before that, in order to fit in with these people, I had made myself as part of their silliness. I then was also rebellious and pretentious in a lot of the ways. I was so unhappy then… I felt like I was already a pearl who had lost its purity and clarity.
Finally, as I grew older, I got the chance to become resilient, mature and perhaps more enlightened.
Being given a chance; an opportunity — that was one of the best moments of life.
I also became more resilient. Like a pearl being nurtured in the oyster, I am able to coat myself with a transparent protection which does not make me any less sensitive but in fact, more aware of people’s pain and how best to resolve it.
That is when I realised becoming a mental health peer specialist can possibly become my vocation. I now see everyone’s dust as future pearls in a clam. Thanks for listening to my parable.
Celab Tai Siang Chiat fell ill and was diagnosed with Bi-Polar Disorder in NUH during his mid-teens. He continues treatment with IMH (Institute of Mental Health) and is happy now. Being stable and under good balance of medicinal dosage, he continues tapping on his giftings and aspires to maximise his potential. Spirited to become a good creative writer and a Mental Health Peer Specialist, he has high hopes towards life and his future.