On the 10th September, we are reminded that a person dies of suicide every 40 seconds, commemorating World Suicide Prevention Day.
On the 10th October, we will be reminded that mental health issues are a part of reality and we need to be aware of them, not take them lightly. It will be World Mental Health Day.
On the 3rd September, my friends and I, as our school’s Mental Health Ambassadors, attended a Suicide Prevention workshop, organized by Befrienders, a Malaysian NGO and helpline that offers emotional support and promotes psychological well-being.
As a psychology undergrad student, the topics surrounding suicide, depression, anxiety and the likes were nothing new to me. As one trained in mental health first aid, immediate interventions regarding psychological distress were also not novelties. As a current mental health counselling student (taking it as an elective this very semester), the workshop was more of a refreshing aspect than anything else. Yet.
Yet, this workshop still made a significant difference in my perspectives regarding mental health awareness.
*I was thinking about vlogging about this because it is mainly on the changes YouTube has been undergoing lately, but I’m still in exams and blogging about it is much easier and less time consuming. With that said…*
When I first integrated myself in the YouTube community it was for the sole purpose of watching piano tutorials and covers of my favourite songs because at that time I was self-teaching myself how to play the piano. It was in 2009. I was only 13-14 years old then. Afterwards, after one year, I started making video montages with my favourite TV series at that time: Merlin, and as most of you know my vidding channel was born.
I remember how at that time my YouTube channel was so customizable with the transparency option especially, with which I could thankfully put up a favourite wallpaper of mine to serve as my channel’s background image. I remember how a YouTube channel back then was like a… profile page, with friends as well as subscribers and channel groups and more.
But YouTube’s format gradually changed as the years passed… until we came to the current channel format: less customizable, more professional, which led to a kind of a division between the content creators and the viewers… when in truth we are all equal, and creators are viewers as well as vice versa.
This is an article that I had written for my school’s School Magazine 2012/13. Now that the magazine is officially and finally published and out there, I think that it’s then eventually all right to at last share with you what I wrote. Hope you like it! Don’t forget to share your views as well in the comment box below 🙂
“I won’t have a gay son.”
“Then, mom, you don’t have a son.”
In the award-winning television film, Prayers for Bobby, Bobby Griffith decided to end his life because he could not live with the guilt of being homosexual. Although he had gone to live on his own with an understanding cousin and his caring boyfriend, he could no longer bear it. He could not live while knowing that his mother did not accept him as he was.
Back in 2009-2010, I badly wanted to become a clinical psychologist. Of course, the writer was still simmering inside, but I needed something else… I didn’t want to study writing because I don’t want to be compelled of doing something I love and I feared to stop loving it if I was too much forced into it.
Today, I’m reconsidering this.
Because I recently remembered why I actually wanted to meddle with mental illnesses.
The reason wasn’t to be called ‘Doctor’ or to have money or even because I considered myself as being one of the mad people. No. The primary reason that pulled me into psychology and struggling to remember all the possible names of the various mental disorders was that I just wanted to help.
I could have become a doctor, but I didn’t want to study science in high school and had already opted for languages anyway. So the nearest possible career was becoming a psychologist. I remembered that I just felt so excited to be able to cure, or at least counsel, teens like me who suffered depression, bipolar moods…
Really, this should be the main reason for people to engage in medicine: the power to help others.
On the way home the boy was visibly shaking. He drove with one hand on the wheel and the other holding mine in a death grip. My friend and his brother sat in the back. He began to purposely swing the car in and out of the ditch (red flag #6 – reckless disregard for the wellbeing of those around him). Every time I would tell him to stop and every time he would apologize or say he forgot my words. Again, I couldn’t tell if he was joking or seriously trying to kill us. I was terrified. I prayed all the way home begging God not to let me die that night. Later, my friend told me she thought he drove off the road every time she and his brother started cuddling in the back. Perhaps he was jealous and wanted to distract them. I don’t know.
We stopped at his house to change into normal clothes and go to after prom. When he went into his room to change, my friend and I heard an awful racket. It sounded as if someone was taking a hammer and smashing it into everything in sight. When he came out his hand had a big bleeding gash. He claimed he had been trying to kill a spider (red flag #7 – destructive). Terrified, I confessed everything to my friend, including my worry of losing her. She felt obligated to tell her boyfriend who said he was too unstable in that moment for me to officially break up with him. Nonetheless, I felt I had their support to end things within the next few days.
It’s a long guest post – so long that I will cut it in two parts and thus publish it in two posts – but it’s so beautiful and original that I just can’t find myself to cut anything from it! Just take a seat and some of your favourite drink and relax while you are carried away in the story as you scroll down…
I Was in a Mentally Abusive Relationship
Towards the end of my junior year of high school I had my first ‘real’ boyfriend. The relationship was awkward at best and terrifying at worst. If not for the intervention of a few glorious friends, things could have gotten much worse. The actions of my friends helped me realize the horrid situation I was in and gave me the courage to escape. It is important to me that all teenagers, regardless of age, sex or confidence level be aware of the signs that lead to abusive relationships. Even if you don’t get involved in one, your friends may and you need to be prepared.
Before I go further into my story, I’d like to remind you that my words are only part of the story. I cannot say what would have happened if the relationship continued and I cannot comment on the boy’s reasoning for his actions. Things may have appeared different from his point of view. This is the story of how I felt during the three month relationship.