Depression can seriously affect your studies

By Nataliannnn

I'd like to state upfront I had earlier sought actual psychiatric treatment from IMH and subsequently been diagnosed with depression. This was written with the intention to educate those who are delaying the help they really need, or simply for those who are curious.

Growing up, my folks were somewhat dysfunctional; mum constantly battled her own mental issues while dad was often away at work. I'm not seeking sympathy, I'm still very grateful that I have a roof over my head, that I don't have to worry about food and that I was always given sufficient allowance to live life as a normal teenager. Unfortunately this in turn engineered a facade, one that portrayed my life as being "okay" - hence there was no need to seek treatment for my, how should I say, lack of motivation ever since I was in secondary 3. It didn't help my exceptionally traditional Asian family was strongly prejudiced against mental illness, opining that those with issues are not religious enough blah blah blah (yes, ironically my mom included).

As far as my studies were concerned, I fared pretty decently for the most part, grades were nothing out of this world but they enabled me to advance like everyone else. In secondary school however, a spark got lit within me - soon I was scoring A1s left and right, boy was that feeling really addictive. Next thing I knew, I found myself often glued to my textbooks and revising at least 7+ hours every single day. In secondary 3 I suffered my first burnt-out; meanwhile things at home were rapidly deteriorating, what with my parents constantly screaming and slamming doors like nobody's business. My teachers started to cast me aside because I simply. could. not. focus. I possessed absolutely no motivation to attend school and would rather just lock myself in the bedroom. Welcome to my very first real encounter with depression.

I did seek help from the school counsellor, regrettably she ratted me out to my teachers.....oh well. I felt so defeated, alone; my siblings and I weren't talking to each other anymore because we were just so busy with our own stuff. Then came the 'O' Level examinations which I completely flunked (read: ended up with a plethora of D7s and F9s). I wasn't ready to take it lying down, hence I resat them as a private candidate the following year and gained acceptance into my dream polytechnic course. There, it's downhill all the way as my mind kept inventing fresh crap to ensnare itself.

I eventually signed up for a sports CCA to keep myself healthy and busy, but in hindsight it probably only made me worse. I never saw this as an opportunity to rebuild myself, instead it felt just like another burden to shoulder. Also, with regards to my classmates, we never clicked; they would constantly tease me when I'm around, sometimes even spouting very insensitive remarks. I attempted to shake off such episodes as their attempt at wry humour, nevertheless it still stung read bad, especially since I don't bother them at all. The real tipping point came after one of my team mates bullied the helluva me (not gonna mention specifics here though); I completely stopped going to school because I was genuinely scared of them. When I started to entertain self-harming thoughts, I quickly rushed to IMH Emergency Services lest I did something I might come to regret.

After much counselling and back-and-forth, my psychiatrist reckoned it's best for me to temporarily defer my studies, given I had gone through depression for so damn long (close to 5 years now). Consequently, my graduation date has been delayed by 6 months - truth be told I can't be angry at myself because I truly needed help and time to properly recover.

I felt ashamed at first, gradually I realised I can't rush life and should always take a pause whenever I needed one. Sure, my friends are graduating before me, but I'd rather rest and return thereafter, than to monumentally screw up my studies yet again.

What I'm trying to convey is, never be afraid to reach out for help. Seek professional help as early as possible, else it might ripple through other parts of your life and possibly wreak far greater damage. Be kind to yourself.

Thank you so so much for reading my account, god bless.


I am experiencing depressive episodes and having suicidal thoughts

We need to seriously relook at how we treat mental illness

Hypothetical: What happens if you end your life dear gal?