Recently, I've posted an excerpt of a story of my junior; on how she was battling her mental health. She's now willing to share her full story and trying to reach out to others that couldn't or afraid to seek help.
This is written by Sofea herself.
Hi there, I'm Sofea. I'd like to share my story regarding my mental health and I hope you would do something more about it to create awareness on it. Thank you. An NGO (Relate Malaysia) has actually shared this and it has made a huge impact to a lot of people.
I've been suffering from depression for quite sometime. I'm diagnosed with mixed anxiety-major depressive disorder. I attempted suicide countless times to the point that I was actually rushed to the ER. I overdosed three times on my antidepressants, drank chemical and I've been cutting myself. It's a long story as to why i got depressed. To make it short, I've had a bad childhood past until now. Parents got divorced when I was 10. I have 10 siblings and my mum single handedly took care of us. I used to be physically, mentally and sexually abused. But I choose not to point names.
Despite the sufferings I've been through as a kid, I was actually a very good student. I excelled in both academic and curricular activities. I even held a lot of important posts. I was that active. People always call me as the girl who always smiles, who's never angry and mean to anyone. But little did they know that I've been masking my sadness all along. No one ever knew about it.
After SPM, my father decided to take care of me and so I went to JB and studied there for my foundation. My father works in JB. When I was in JB that I started suffering from depression. I'd like to keep the details as to why I got depressed. At that time I also just got a boyfriend who is now my fiancé. He's the first boyfriend I've ever had and I hope he'd be the last as well haha. He was the one who noticed that I've gotten gloomier and always crying. We've always skyped. Since he lives in KL and I was in JB at that time. He tried to help me by talking to my parents about it. And guess what? He got lashed out by mother. My mum scolded me too and said that he's a just a stranger and nobody needs to know about our family problems. I felt even worse after something happened. Again I can't tell you what it was. But it scarred me so badly. My family didn't believe and neglected that I was depressed and condemned me. They said "tu lah tak ingat tuhan, sebabtu takda arah. Sofea belajar je. Takyah nak depress. You have to score. You have to be a doctor". I was broken by then. Again, I repeat. I was abused physically, mentally and sexually.
So after my foundation, I came back to KL to live with my mum again. Things were already awkward and I was always given the 'mean' treatment. I started to work at Petrosains then. Because I truly am passionate in science and my ambition is to be a doctor. I kinda healed a bit when I was working there because I was surrounded by positive people and I enjoyed what I did.
Later on I furthered my study in Russia, doing medicine. Things happened in Russia that broke me even more. My fiancé's father passed away, my friends became distant towards me, I fell sick with an erosion and bleeding stomach. Just imagine I was already depressed at that time. That's when I truly felt empty. At that point of time, all I think of was death. I just wanted to die. I told my fiancé that every single day. Every single day I got very bad panic attacks which no one knew about it. I was all alone and empty.
Then it was our summer break, I was so happy that I got to be back in Malaysia with my fiancé. He brought me to see a psychiatrist and from there I got some medications. During the session with the psychiatrist, the psychiatrist said I wasn't stable and unfit to go back to Russia in the meantime m. The doctor was afraid that I'd be worse and might not even heal. So whether I liked it or not, my fiancé and I had to tell my parents about it. About differing my studies, about me seeing a psychiatrist. My dad was calm but he insisted that I still had to go to Russia. My mum on the other hand went berserk.
On the day of my flight, my mum created a scene and called everyone and said that I mengada and tak bersyukur and that my fiancé was the one who's influencing me. She didn't even want to salam me when I wanted to say goodbye. My fiancé was the one who was supposed to bring me to the airport. I was so empty and broken. That's when I overdosed on my antidepressants. My fiancé rushed me to the ER in PPUM. And you know what hurt me even more? One of the doctors said "you're a medical student but you're a mess". Wow. How kind of her. I want everyone to know that I'm not giving up on my dreams. I just need to take a break and heal first. Tu je yang orang tak faham.
After I was discharged, my dad decided to take care of me and bring me back to JB. I actually didn't want to because it'd remind me of the past that happened in JB. Then, I decided to attempt suicide by overdosing again. I was then rushed to the hospital in JB. In the ward I overdosed again because I was really agitated by the environment and I just felt empty. I suffered from bad side effects. My vision became blurry, I couldn't walk, I fell unconsciously in the toilet. After that I was sent to the psychiatric ward.
Being in a psychiatric ward for almost a week makes me realise a lot of things. When I was first admitted here, I was so scared and alone. Other patients suffer from schizophrenia, BMD, A.C psychosis and etc. Some are aggressive, some are 'crazy', some talk to themselves. Some are over friendly to the point i felt uncomfortable,some pestered me for my phone,some cried to me that they wanna go home.I was afraid. I witnessed some patients kena ikat, menjerit meraung. Some even managed to get out and bled all over the bed coz she took out her needles. My days had been filled with screaming from some patients. I feel afraid and pity at the same time.At first I didn't open up to anyone of them. But since I'm the youngest here, they all treat me like I'm their younger sister.Despite their troubled issues, mental illness and childish attitude, kena ikat dengan police and all, they're actually very kind deep within. I realised that when I had my first panic attack here in the ward, some of the 'crazy' patients came to me and tried to calm me down. They held me and helped me to lie down on my bed. They tucked me into bed. Then they called the nurse that I'm hurt. I felt so touched. Ever since that, whenever i had panic attacks, they'd do the same exact thing to me. And I then told myself to not call them crazy. I opened up to them as they opened up to me. Kesian sangat dengar cerita dorg. Yes I've gone through shit. But they have no one.
Eventhough I still do feel scared & get panic attacks whenever i hear a sudden scream and all the gaduh between the patients, police & doctors, I now feel very sympathetic towards them. They have been kind to me.They gave me sweets, snacks everytime I breakdown.They'd stroke my hair. Everyday I pray to God that He will ease things for them. They deserve to be happy too. Eventho they're 'crazy', they never once hurt me. As a matter of fact, I feel like I've grown to love them. And when I'm discharged, I'm truly gonna miss them. As a matter of fact, I feel like I've grown to love them. And when I'm discharged, I'm truly gonna miss them.
When I was having my session with some psychiatrists, one of the doctors said he sees and believes that one day I'll be an amazing person, a good doctor based on the session we had. I was so happy and touched. The doctors told me that I'm not at fault and I'm not a burden. They understand the struggles that I've been through. I want to emphasise, never underestimate the power of kind words.Some patients pleaded to me with so much tears, you have no idea how it broke my heart.
From someone who is suffering and is actually diagnosed with mixed anxiety-major depressive disorder, here's an advice : Please be kind and considerate. Be gentle with your words. Never condemn. Listen and understand. Help. Be nice. Be loving. No, I'm not seeking for attention. I just need this issue regarding mental illness to not be taken lightly. It could cost someone's lives. Remember, healing is a PROCESS.
No one heals in a nick of time. Some people heal and THEN FALL DOWN, get back up and fall again. It might even be on repeat. But then finally they get back up, STRONGER as ever.
Being in this psychiatric ward makes me realise that i want to make a change. I want mental illness to stop being stigmatised. The experience that I'm currently going through now makes me feel more motivated to be a help to others eventhough I myself am suffering. It took me a lot of guts to share this. I feel so happy that a lot of people have come to me and share their stories. Some even are already trying to seek help after knowing my story. You have no idea how happy I feel to make an impact to others.
After my story has been spread widely on Twitter (my account is @eilyasofea), I've been getting a lot of response from people. Some are even seeking for professional help now. I'm happy that I made an impact in people's lives. I was from Convent Bukit Nanas and I held a lot of important posts. One of them is i was the International Understanding (IU) Director in interact club. I hosted an IU Day about 'Change' and the event was a huge success. We've got a lot of sponsors (some of them were DBKL, NMIT, CIMB, Nestle, Vitagen etc) and the total profit that we got was more than RM30k. Truly. Then we distributed the money to 5 homes (oku, aids, orang tua etc) and the balance was given to the school to renovate etc. I was only 17 at that time and I've created a huge success. Though I'm struggling with MADD right now, I still aspire to inspire people. I want to be a mental health advocate/doctor one day. I hope you'd read this and give me a response. If there is any voluntary work that I can do, feel free to contact me. I'd love to receive all the positivity that I can get. Thank you so much.
Best regards, Sofea.