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  • My Confidence Didn't Happen Overnight


    My confidence didn't happen overnight. As a teenager, like any other, I was trying to find myself and I got lost in the midst of it all. It didn't help that I was good at masking my feelings and emotions. I never shared to people when I was feeling down when I was younger, as I thought it was a weakness. But no - it wasn't that I was weak, but instead, I was strong for far too long.

    Looking back at my first episode of Depression, I was ready to end my life but something didn't seem right. I knew something from my gut feeling that I was doing the wrong thing. So I didn't completed suicide when I was 14 - instead I found hope, and confidence in my recovery till now and each day I hone those coping mechanisms I have made for myself. And of course without the help of family, friends, certain doctors and nurses and other mental health professionals too, I wouldn't be where I am today.

    I believe I am confident the way I am these days cause of my triumphs and mistakes I made as a person. Without it, I wouldn't be able to discover myself like this to this very day.

  • My Weight Loss and Gain Journey pt II


    In reality, I could never be fully happy and satisfied with my body shape and size. When I was "skinny", I would want to eat more and so I can gain weight. This was before I started on antidepressants - I had a really thin physique before I hit 19 -  one of the time I had my first bunch of mental health breakdowns and learnt about Depression and all these mental health illnesses.

    And when I was considered "big" I wanted to be the opposite. It was a neverending battle with myself for the "perfect" body - when really, there is no such thing as the perfect body - only more like perfectly imperfect, right?

    Each day I try to tell myself I am worthy, I am beautiful, I am gorgeous just the way I am (I even wrote and painted these positive affirmations!) - it's not healthy to self-sabotage myself with negative self-talk. Self-talk is just as important as anything but. No matter how much curves I gain or lose, the most important part is to love myself and body as who I am. Love myself for my flaws, and accept the changes as it comes.

  • Dear Psychiatrists, I Wonder If I Still Have Schizophrenia


    Dear Psychiatrists,

    I wonder if I still have schizophrenia.

    I hear voices at times, and I at times hallucinate. See things that aren't there, feel things that may be a 'figment of my imagination'. Or is it just another diagnosis there for me to take medications? Whether I  have been diagnosed with Bipolar or Schizophrenia, I feel some symptoms can overlap in some places. I have been taking medications for almost a decade now. I am a little tired of medications at most points in my life, but I feel now I have the right combination of medications at least.

    I haven't had such a good 6-months-period for so long. This year has been a good year for me, another year of me discovering myself. From discovering my love for art, to changing my diet and exercising almost every day. I wonder if life can get any better than this, cause at the moment everything seems like smooth-sailing and I don't want to fall into a downward of spiral and depression with no control whatsoever.

    I believe I have the right set of coping mechanisms for everything now. I learn about DBT and the skills I could use to deal with the difficult, emotional turmoils that I sometimes have. 

    So I wonder if I still have schizophrenia.

    Cause everything/life seems to be so good right now.

  • 5 Important Things I Learnt At Rehab


    1. Medication Management -

    I learnt the importance of medications and I get educated by doctors and nurses on how having them to help me. I feel like I have tried every single antidepressant and antipsychotic so far, including valium. If I wanted to have a medication withdrawal, this would be the 'best' place to have it I reckon, cause there is support and the doctors and nurses work really hard to be on the same page as me.

    2. Exercising -

    I know this a cliche one, but I have never exercised so much in my lifetime until since coming here for six months now. I feel motivated and I never found exercise was fun until I came here to this mental health rehab. I find it challenging too, in a good way. I never knew I enjoyed doing so many squats!

    3. Reaching Out To My Support Network -

    During the time here at rehab, I must remember this place is only temporary, I won't be staying here all my life, and I need to reach out to the community ultimately for support. I have friends and family who I can reach out for support. It's just important to connect to my friends and family and let them know how I'm going with everything.

    4. Finding New Coping Mechanisms -

    That includes diamond painting (new form of visual art I discovered - it's so much fun!), using my DBT skills for stressful and distressing situations, and also reaching out to my support network. Also importantly, building the trust between my support worker and myself is just as important as reaching out to friends. When I get emotional and feeling distressed, the main person I contact are the nurses here. 

    5. My Safety Plan -

    My safety plan is basically...my safety plan! Self-explanatory...I reach out and look at my safety plan to remind me during distressful situations on what I should do and the step-to-step process I should take to minimize any self-harm and people I can contact if I was running in trouble. I learnt to make this safety plan while being here at this mental health rehabilitation. It's a valuable tool.

  • My First 6 Months At A Mental Health Rehabilitation Place



    I have learnt to have a Safety Plan which includes to see what are my warning signs and symptoms when things 'get out of whack'. Also steps to take when I am feeling distressed. Living in a self-contained one bedroom unit has taught me a lot of things. Things like recognising when you're feeling your symptoms are getting too much of you and you need to contact the nursing staff for help. I go to the exercise programs here, and they really work you hard. I have learnt to enjoy it actually. So far I enjoy the 24/7 hour support and learning to be an independent person like how to do budgeting, learning about healthy food cycles and diet, cooking classes, every week. My favourite part (or one of them) is doing art at the rehab place. There are HEAPS of things to do in my mental health recovery, and this place has given me so many options to help with that. I am so so grateful to have this sort of support.

    What one special thing I enjoy the most out of this place is meeting others who have mental illness/s like me and learning about their story and getting to know them. Some have been diagnosed with Schizophrenia, Depression, Anxiety, OCD etc. Every one is at a different stage of their recovery from me and there's no such thing of "Who's better?" and comparing their skillsets to mine. I respect everyone is at a different place in their recovery than mine. I have made some wonderful friends here, and some of them are the most beautiful people before I've ever met. And I don't mean 'beautiful' by exterior kind.

  • A Letter To My 19 Year Old Self


    Dear Suzanne,
    It wasn't your fault that you chose the wrong man to date. It wasn't your fault you got raped and abused. He was never good to you, but yet you wanted to forgive him but you couldn't. You wish you knew you were strong enough to withstand anything that would come your way. You knew it was not easy to have relapses, and you didn't want to believe something was wrong with you. But there was something wrong with you, and although you didn't see the beauty in your failure with school and university, you came through and now you are a beautiful, resilient woman. I wish you would know that every tear dropped because of a man or an event was worth it till this point - I want to let you know you wouldn't be strong like this without the help of traumatic events - no matter how painful they were. You have grown/and growing to be a resilient, empowered young woman. Every traumatic event happened was meant to be. 

    You believe in God, and that He is the answer to everything in life. You look for guidance and comfort in God, even though you don't do very well at attending church. You know there is more than just attending church on Sunday. You believe He will protect you and shows you guidance. You only wish to see Him as the answer in your life. 

    You have come so far with helping others, if only you knew at 19 years old that you would be advocating for mental health and doing speaking roles later which you would never have imagined when you were younger. People tell you all the time that you are an inspiration, strong-minded and caring. It was just you who didn't always believed it. You didn't believe it you when you were 19. At times you even thought you were a monster, for having some bad thoughts of yourself and other people. 

    I want to let you know that you a warrior, a very strong female warrior who will continue to inspire people. No matter how many bad relationships you've had, you still stand strong. You are empowered through your struggles, every time you fall down, you will get back up. 

    Please remember this.

    From, Suzanne

  • I'm A Fighter. I Won't Give Up To This Mental Illness.



    I ended being in the hospital for mental health issues up until a bit of New Years - and for treatment especially. My doctors have noticed how unwell I have been in the last few weeks, and was concerned about me. No matter how many times I have fallbacks, I tell myself to stay positive and treat myself as much as I need it or even more during these times of hardships. For example, like buying flowers for myself, and smelling and appreciating them every day. I believe to not give up during the hardest of times, and remember the good times I spent with family and friends. My loved ones are the ones that I continue living for. It is really easy to say, harder to do; but I believe I can do it if I put my heart and heart to it. If I believe, I believe it will all be okay. 

  • I Am Stronger Cause Of My Parents' Divorce


    My parents divorced when I was six. And I am stronger because of it. I have learnt to survive for myself, although I am a little rough around the edges, I am still able to live through the year, and will continue to do so. I have found my purpose in life, what I love, what I enjoy. Also, my coping strategies when I am having a rough day such as hearing voices. I still see my parents and I still love them. I don't blame them for what happened, it was meant to happen, and only God knows what should happen or not. 

    I believe some of the most resilient kids grow up with a tough childhood. I wasn't abused as a child, I was given all the love that my parents could give me. They did their best they could, even emotionally and mentally. Who am I to blame my parents, when they did their best? 

    If we talk about beautiful disasters, you could say my grandparents stepped in and took care of me when the divorce happened. They exhibited and showed true care of love and affection. Always believing, always supporting me, and always loving. My grandparents are the true pillars of my life, they taught me valuable lessons of hope, resilience and love.