Mental Health – A Dark Period

On Saturday evening, I came home from work and found out on social media that an iconic British presenter had killed herself. Although I didn’t know her personally, I’ve been a huge fan of hers for almost a decade. Her funny, down-to-earth, humourous and beautiful personality made me feel like I already knew her the very first time I saw her on TV. Since then, I have watched and followed her programs. I’ve always wanted to meet her in person and tell her what a uniquely humourous personality she had. Call me a dork, but when I was based in London Soho, an area in central London where many celebrities chill and hangout, for work, I would always have a pen and paper in my handbag just in case I bumped into her and wanted her autograph (I am old-fashioned). She was definitely one of a kind. Then I found out about the tragic news. I had to blink my eyes hard several times as I stared at the headlines before understanding what it meant. She was gone. Apparently, she had taken her own life to escape all the causes that had affected her mental health. Then it made me think about my own experience.

Almost a year ago, I had my own experience of a mental breakdown. I never thought it would happen to me. I would often read about others on social media, TV and magazines about their mental health, but never really understood what it was really like. To my understanding then, mental health was about feeling sad and crying. Little did I know what I was in for. It all began during one afternoon when I was taking a short nap. I don’t usually take naps as I constantly work around the clock. But on that particular day, work took its toll on me. When I woke up, I had an uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach. Something was telling me to look back on a project I had done a few years back. Feeling uneasy and confused, I turned on my computer and opened up the files to the project. It wasn’t long until I saw what could have been a huge problem that could have costed me my life. I began to panic. I didn’t know what to do or who to turn to. For a whole month, I wasn’t myself. I didn’t know who I was. I couldn’t eat or sleep properly. Thinking back, I don’t even know how I had managed to survive without food and water in my system. I felt no hunger or thirst. My mental breakdown had emotionally blocked it all away. My stomach wasn’t even making hunger noises. I spent most of my time crying on and off. If I wasn’t crying, I would just stare into space. The feeling inside me was unbearable. It felt uneasy and out of control. Everything around me felt emotionally dark, like I was in my own hell. I even thought about my parents and prayed for their presence. I needed them. I tried to be strong in the presence of my then eleven year old boy. But he too knew something was wrong. Death even came to mind. But it was the thought of leaving my family behind that stopped me, especially my boy. He is my muffin, my life. I was also afraid to see my doctor or talk to my friends. I was afraid to seek help.

It wasn’t until a ‘professional’ friend’ came to my aid. He had a look into my problem and finally convinced me that there wasn’t a problem. He then went on to tell me that sometimes when we think that there is a problem when there is not, our minds will begin to create one without us even knowing it. After our deep conversation, things slowly began going back to normal. I tried to focus more on my wellbeing. I didn’t work for six months, which would explain my long absence from this blog. I did a lot of working out. I tried to live positively and not think about what happened. I would be lying if I didn’t say there were a few times when I thought about the problem. But I managed to force myself to shake those dangerously toxic thoughts away.

After six months, things went back to normal. And in order to test that theory, I faced what I thought was the problem during those past months. I looked back at the project…and felt nothing. There was no problem. There was none to begin with. I couldn’t believe how I thought there was one to begin with.

So you see, mental health can affect anyone at any time, sometimes without their knowledge. After my experience with mental health, I saw life a little differently. I no longer question anything in life, because you’ll never know what might happen. I never expected to go through a mental health scare. I am also careful with my thoughts. Deep down, I am afraid to experience what I’d experienced. Therefore, I try to have a clear, positive mind. I’ve even started to chat with two of my best friends, *Coco and *Winnie (who I have mentioned before in another post) more than usual. The three of us may be in different parts of the world, with Coco being in Malaysia, Winnie in Australia, and I myself in London-town, but our friendship have always remained intact.

I hadn’t planned on sharing my experience on mental health until only a few days ago after the death of my idol. Her death has really hit me to the core. By sharing my experience, I hope to let my follow bloggers and those reading my blog know that I am here if you ever need to reach out. We may not know each other in person, but I am here. I always love to hear from you guys. Don’t be shy, don’t be awkward and don’t be a stranger. Sometimes a simple word ‘hello’ can make a huge difference. We are human beings at the end of the day, so let’s be kind to one another.

Much love and hugs always,

Puiyin W.L.

smiley-drawing-on-sand-698899