Editor’s Note: Depression and anxiety often feel like the rug has been pulled from under you. It could be precipitated by anything ranging from work stress to relationship issues. But it doesn’t really matter what it was or how you were knocked down—what matters is that you get back up. Sam’s story shows just that and may her story inspire us all.
To others, I appear a tough, strong, and independent girl: life’s hard knocks will not keep me down; I have a solid goal in life, a good career, and a partner.
Little did I expect, I hit the rock bottom last April.
It began when I felt lost all of a sudden. I couldn’t be left alone on my own. Stress from work was mainly the issue. I thought my partner back then was the pillar I could lean on.
Then, depression came knocking at my door. My partner left me.
I hated myself and blamed God for these. That terrifying moment of feeling lost, fearful, endless tears and thoughts of suicide—these were all I had. I didn’t know what else to do except put up a smile at work in the day, and cried at night as I sleep. It was hell.
Life was so bad that I wanted to call an end to it all. But my mum needed me.
I consulted a GP and shared what happened. I was given antidepressants. It didn’t do much for me. I still cried all day long.
I was later referred to a psychiatrist, but I was advised by others not to do so; that people would look at you differently; that you would have career difficulties.
Hearing the negativity, I put seeing the psychiatrist on hold. I grit my teeth telling myself eventually everything will just fall in place. But it didn’t.
I stumbled on and on and even signed up for a meditation class. Nothing worked. I gave up. I often pretended I was fine—I didn’t want to worry people. I know I’m not the tough and strong girl anymore.
I was in denial, thinking it will automatically get better from day to day.
What happened next was a full-blown panic attack during a loved one’s birthday.
I was hyperventilating, screaming and crying. The ambulance came; the paramedics tried calming me down. But I was beyond control. I was taken to a hospital and later discharged with a follow up appointment to a psychiatrist and counsellor.
Tears never stopped flowing even during the follow up. I was prescribed medication to manage my emotions. The medication side effect was a weight gain.
In the midst of this recovery process, I found the courage to step out of my comfort zone.
I had trouble being alone outside, especially in a crowd. Cold feet used to hold me back from everything I wanted to do. I fought through it and mustered the courage to go for a jog despite the intense fear.
I told myself—life is a journey not a destination; that God will not give you something you can’t handle.
The period between April and December was the toughest I’d been through.
With support from my family, friends and a conscious choice to step out, I’m glad I made it through.
The journey continues. On and off I still, feel the anxiety but I am able to control it better.
I recently left my job, and went for a few interviews but to no avail.
There is a familiar sense of loss and fear of not knowing what’s next. Fear of not finding a job, becoming a burden to the family, fear of how my peers see me, that I would disappoint them and be despised by them. So much fear that I even thought of giving up again. It’s hard to bear. But I do not want to fall back into depression.
I started reading to keep myself occupied, researching on what I can do next. Right now I’m venturing out in setting up my own business. I don’t want to let people down; those who are always there for me. I want to be that ambitious, tough and strong girl they used to know.
I decided to share my story and help others who are going through what I have gone through. Life is full of hope and love. Life is a journey not a destination. Don’t give up! Seek the necessary help. Don’t be afraid of how others see you. One day, you will be proud of who you are and how far you have come.
Sam is a 32-year-old who is seeking her next vocation. She enjoyed great progression in her career path as store supervisor and later store manager.