It’s been a while. I keep saying that, because blogging, while it is my favorite activity in my business, has had to take a back seat. 2016 passed in a whirlwind, with me not really knowing what happened there. But I’ve since had to let 2016 go, writing it off as just one of those years that were preparing me for what is to come.
I’ve turned 25 recently. Being in my mid-twenties has been rather sobering. My husband and I tried taking on more responsibilities, now that things have settled down money-wise and day-to-day life-wise. So when I adopted the cutest rescue French Bulldog, I really thought I could handle it. We’ve talked for ages about a dog and we’ve done all the research. We’ve visited the shelter multiple times. We’ve prayed about it. We’ve done the homework.
But in just 4 days, I’ve had to return the dog because my husband worked unbearably long hours and also had tons of frivolous, obligatory activities to attend even on his off days. I felt like the world was on my shoulders, and I spent hours trying to clean the house and keep up with the dog. I felt like I was drowning in myself, and had multiple panic attacks when I thought of the various worst-case scenarios when it came to having a dog. I was clearly in a bad state. And I had no one to call for help. It was just me, drowning in my own thoughts in a dark room.
Returning the dog triggered a whole other part of my anxiety. I fell deep into depression yesterday, and at times it seemed like I was outside my body… Looking at myself as I screamed and shouted, and then spent hours quietly sobbing into the pillow, refusing to talk to anyone. There was this deep emptiness and weight in my heart that I couldn’t explain. I couldn’t stop the tears from coming, either.
It’s hard to talk about mental illness in Singapore. Especially when loved ones have specifically told me that only the weak and useless fell into depression and anxiety. When loved ones tell you that you are the one “taking it too hard” and even laughing at you. When your closest confidante feels that he has already tried his best to support you and is also feeling stressed out because of you. It’s hard. I didn’t want to be seen as an anomaly, a freak. I wanted to be the joyful, positive, go-getter me again.
I’ve always worked doubly, triply hard to prove myself. I’ve always needed to do more so people would see me less of a useless dropout but a success story. And it’s tiring trying to chase and keep up with this image. I could never do enough. What is success even, really? I could look “successful” to someone and completely a “failure” to another. Being alone in this dark space, losing the dog I truly loved, faced with the tumultuous task of having a smashing 2017 (which was actually going pretty swimmingly) triggered lots of suicidal thoughts. I went to the horrible, devil-lying space of thinking that I was better off dead. That it would mean less sadness, less judgment, less burdens… just freedom.
Isn’t it funny how it’s so easy to believe satan’s lies and so difficult to remember God’s promises? After all, God has done amazing things in my life. I am a 25-year-old business person doing what I love and earning good money from it. I’ve surpassed a lot of my peers when it came to living a fulfilled and comfortable life. We were the least in-debt people we knew, and I was planning vacations to Europe and Asia. I have a beautiful home and was even recently invited to design for someone else.
I was, in essence, living out my God-given gifts and talents and being blessed prosperously. But yet, when satan knocks on the door when you’re at your most vulnerable, alone and lonely, I believe the lies. I believe that it’ll be easier to die. It’ll be easier to be inactive. It’ll be easier to give up. It’ll be easier to say “I can’t do it anymore.”
It’s become easier to not talk about mental issues and try to conform and “be normal.” I smile, I nod, I get a bajillion things done, I encourage others, I comfort others, I empathize. But inside, I am dying slowly but surely. I can’t complain about how tiring cleaning the house is because, “I’m at home anyway.” I can’t be praised for making dinner many times a week because, “You have more time because you’re at home.” I can’t speak ill of my spouse because people say, “Your husband is already way better than mine.” I cannot talk about my anxiety and depression because others say, “I wish I had the luxury of time and comfort you have because you’re self-employed.”
I feel like I’m fighting a losing battle so after a while, I just stop saying anything. I take my pills and I shut up. I express only about 1/4 of the whole truth. And I believe satan’s lies.
I’m not writing this to garner any attention or pity. I’m not writing this because I am healed. But I know that my God has died to set me free. He has died to set you free. I know that I am not alone when I suffer this way. I know there are other voiceless people who are afraid to share and come out. And I want to hug you. I want to encourage you, friend. I want to tell you that He is here and He has died not only to set you free, but also to heal your mind and body fully and in whole. It doesn’t matter what people say or think. He is here. He has promised.
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
– Romans 8:38-39
Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.– Isaiah 41:10
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.– Psalm 23:4