Archive for May, 2010

I’ve been wanting to write a series on mental illness for some time coming now. You can say it’s one of my pet topics apart from youth issues and I’m oddly passionate about educating people with regards to mental illness. Maybe it’s because there are so many misconceptions surrounding mental illness and there’s still so much stigmatization pervasive in our society that the closet Martin Luther King in me just wants to leap out and speak out. I remember 2 years ago I even joined the inaugural World Mental Health Day walk-for-a-cause down Orchard Road wearing T-shirts emblazoned with Charlie Chaplin’s face with a tagline that read ‘people with mental illness enrich our lives’.

So in the next couple of weeks, I would write a series on Mental Illness covering some basic stuff on common ailments such as depression, anxiety and early psychosis etc. I hope with greater knowledge and awareness that people would let go of their stigmas and biases so we could all aspire towards a community marked by compassion and equanimity. I would also write about destigmatization and bring up a few examples of famous people who have struggled with mental illness some of whom I think would come as a surprise to some of us. Please feel free to comment. I think bringing questions out into open dialogue is yet another way to demystify issues surrounding mental illness. 🙂

I can’t believe it’s already May! I’m chooing to write about my mum in this post because in the recent stress management sessions I had with JC2 CTGs, I talked briefly about my relationship with my mother. Some students found it helpful in thinking about their own relationships with their family and suggested that I should write about it on the blog. The 2nd reason is that Mother’s Day is coming in 4 days (yikes!) and I’ve always had this love-hate thing about Mother’s Day. I think there are students who might feel the same way and so I guess I’m hoping this post would be helpful for them in some weird sort of way.

My relationship with my mum has always been one of the biggest stressors in my life. I think it came as a surprise to some students when I said I have a less-than-peachy relationship with my mum because some people may have expected counsellors to have a ‘problem-free’ life…haha. I won’t go into details about why and how our relationship is at the place that it’s at cos that would make this blog post too long, but suffice it to say that Mother’s Day has always been a stressful day for me. It is on this day, and the days leading up to it, that we’re constantly bombarded by messages of the loving relationship a mother and child should have, on this earth only mothers are good (literal translation of ‘shi shang zhi you ma ma hao’), how we need to be giving thanks for our mothers and how we need to show our gratitude by buying her this and that. So I was always left feeling guilty that I don’t really feel all of the above and it was a constant struggle for me. Mother’s Day then served only as a reminder of the relationship that I do not have with my mum and a certain creeping sense of loneliness that came along with that.

I think life hands us lemons sometimes. I’ve had my fair share of feeling bitter and wondering why life is so unfair. But when I came to the point when I could begin to accept and stop trying to control the uncontrollable, or change the unchangeable, then that was when I could exchange it for a greater sense of peace. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that we should give up on the difficult relationships in our lives and just stop trying. But sometimes the reality is that we may try very hard, but things might still not work out. Then what do we do? Do we sulk and lament and feel that the world is unfair? Or could we learn to accept and move on? I’ve tried many different ways to try to mend things with my mum and where it is now it can only be best described as a ‘dormant volcano’…hahaha…It’s not the best place I want to be at, but it’s something I think I could live with…. 🙂