Nisha was diagnosed with depression when she was 17, and she is still plagued by the monster. This is her story of her daily battle.
Secondary school was the hardest time of my life. I lost my father to lung cancer at 15, and got teased and bullied very badly. Everything happened at the same time. I’d often get harassed and physically, verbally and cyber bullied. They would approach me in a big group and shove me in corners. I would spend recess hiding in the toilet, and even after school, there was no escape because of the cyber bullying. I once tried to talk to my teacher about it, and the only advice she gave me was to avoid them. I really felt that I had no one to talk about my problems, so I stopped caring about myself and started cutting myself as a coping mechanism. There were many times I wished that it was me that had cancer, and not my father. I had to pretend to be strong but I was broken inside.
After a tough battle, my dad passed on. I started seeing a counsellor, but I didn’t share as much as I wanted to – the bullying, the self-harming and the suicidal thoughts. I was scared, tired and I just didn’t want to seem hopeless. I thought I had to be strong and shake these feelings off.
Things seemed to get a lot better when I started polytechnic. It was a new environment and I didn’t see my bullies. I worked hard, received my first ever award for topping the semester, and maintained a high GPA. I enjoyed school until I became pressured by my teachers and parents to do even better to clinch a scholarship.
I became worn out, tired and I was trying hard to juggle everything until one day, I just stopped caring. I didn’t bother coming to school on time, didn’t submit assignments and I just didn’t want to do anything. I started cutting myself again. No one knew except for my best friend, Siti. One thing led to another and the next thing I knew, I was in the psychiatric ward in NUH due to a drug overdose. That was the first time I was diagnosed with depression.
I am 21 now, and I still have depression. I’ve realised that depression is an illness and I must face it. I hit rock bottom this year, and I was at my worst for about 7 months. Most nights, the voices in my head tell me that everything I’m doing seems pointless and it feels like they hold me back both mentally and physically. The negativity can consume me up to a point where I don’t recognise myself. Suicide doesn’t seem like “giving up” but “giving in” because I feel so lonely in this journey of mental self-abuse. The saddest part about depression? I can’t explain why I feel the way I do because there’s no one specific reason for it.
But with time, professional help and support from the people around me, I’ve been doing well now. Some days are better than the others. And that’s okay because with baby steps, I know that I’ll be back on my feet eventually. Now, I have dreams and things I feel like I want to achieve. There are places I want to travel to. I long to feel happiness again and I hope to get to that place again, one day.
For anyone out there who is suffering from depression; I want you to know that help is out there. No matter how lost you feel, or how exhausted you are, tell yourself to never give up. Try again tomorrow. You will eventually find yourself, and that’s something worth being hopeful for!