Its okay to not be okay | Mental health Singapore

A lot of people tend to think that those who dress in loud, colourful, flamboyant, bohemian style are just plain arrogant, showoffs with an insatiable appetite for attention. Or, is it an expression of their art, after finally coming terms with themselves and accepting themselves for who they are? I think no one can say for sure, with absolute certainty.

Over the years, I have seen, many people from many walks of live using different means to protect themselves, protect their vulnerable inner souls. And yes, I am sharing my subjective opinion here. So we agree to disagree because no one can read another person’s mind. No one.

Today I shall discuss 3 of my fav talented, rockstars who i ADMIRE and RESPECT a great deal.

Freddie Mercury, (1946-1991), the flamboyant, amazingly talented lead singer of Queen, was the creative genius of his era. No one came close to him, and I think no one ever will. But beneath that life of success and achievement lies a lonely heart.

“In fact, my kind of loneliness is the hardest to bear. Loneliness doesn’t mean being shut away in a room by yourself.”

Freddie M

Take Lady Gaga, the bohemian vocalist. She has an incredible dress sense. And she is one of my fav singers of this decade. She is also a mental health advocate who spoke out bravely about her struggles with anxiety and depression thruout her life. I respect her for that.

Depression doesn’t take away your talents — it just makes them harder to find. But I always find it.

Lady Gaga

Patch Adams star Robin Williams, widely regarded as the greatest comedian that ever lived. I luv Patch Adams and I watched it growing up. who dedicated his life to bringing laughter, helping others find joy… He battled with decades of depression.

“I think the saddest people always try their hardest to make people happy because they know what it’s like to feel absolutely worthless and they don’t want anyone else to feel like that.” – Robin Williams

In my mind, underlying all this is emotional neglect… Childhood experiences growing up…

Growing up, I was a lonely, shy, insecure child who lacked confidence in myself. My only achievement was academic, so i buried myself in books lol. Oh well, thats our screwed up Asian culture I guess haha. In Asia, when we speak about mental health, it is often met with judgey stares. It doesnt have to be that way. We need to bring mental health into the light, into the open. During this covidy times, it is all the more important as a lot of us are hurting inside.

I’ve suffered through emotional neglect, depression and anxiety for a good part of my life. So I want sufferers out there to know that the emotions they feel as being inadequate, not good enough human beings is COMPLETELY normal. We were born this way. This aint an illness. It is a result of unmet emotional needs growing up. And we can right this. Lets be kind to one another, for everyone is fighting a battle we do not know. #Itsokaytobenotokay

If this resonates with u, pls pass it on to those who will benefit from this. Together lets build an inclusive open, and non judgey community. 🤗

Comments from a reader and fellow sufferers||

Not everyone can understand Asian mental health stigmas and problems.

We beat our kids, cane them for disobedience or talking back. In the US you get arrested. In Asia, we don’t hug, don’t say I love you, these aren’t issues most Westerners grow up with. The West has a host of others, some more severe, like rape, molestation, etc so it’s impossible to pinpoint a single factor for a certain group of persons because everyone else has a different reason to spiral downwards.

Reader: If you don’t mind me saying, the sentiment is good, but the first 2 paragraphs seem to suggest that dressing loudly equates to covering an insecurity of some sort, which I don’t agree with.

Freddie Mercury’s depression isn’t hidden by his clothes. He was an artist, and an insanely great one at that. Artists choose their style not to be different from other people but because on a much deeper level they have connected emotionally with themselves and their problems and colours, symbols, among other things mean something to them.

Lady Gaga created a persona that amplified her spirit not just to hide her insecurities. Also, her publicists had a huge role to play in her attention grabbing garments. A lot of this was self expression not hiding behind clothing. It’s radical because inside of the person that we’re all EXPECTED to be, Lady Gaga is able to express her artistry (‘crazy’) through her clothing, and her inner workings are simply a sight to behold when transformed into real life.

Reader: From the perspective of an artiste, I don’t dress to mask, I dress to express. So this article was quite an interesting read from the perspective of a doctor. There are people who do that, but I think what your article is saying is that people dress wild to mask insecurities (or in this case depression), which is really different FROM just insecurities.

Insecurities stem from childhood trauma for sure. Depression can stem from childhood trauma, AND can also stem from a chemical imbalance in the brain. So, while people can be depressed, they can also have depression which to me is an entirely different thing. And then again, mental health is not black or white, but rather a spectrum. It can fall anywhere between reds and yellow or blues and greens, and no 2 cases are exactly the same.

Reader: I think what you’re trying to do is something like quora or reddit. And you are absolutely correct the basis on mental health steams from childhood and it’s from parental, societal, cultural, etc. we are raised to believe we are not enough. Look at the way the media portrays woman. And in asian culture children are often only praised for their achievements and not for themselves which leads to raising a lot of narcissists. The most important inner work we can do is to learn to forgive and love ourselves and give ourselves the emotional support that we lacked from some point and time.

Suggestions from readers||

An Asian Forum: The reason I think it would work is because some people with depression won’t talk about it during the worst of their days. And tapping their problems into a forum anonymously is the best way for them to get their point across without being judged.

Helplines: I think if it is anonymous, with helplines available like Samaritans of Singapore number at the touch of a button, then yes hlepful. || D.C: I feel the issue is, when a person is depressed, they dont wanna talk to anyone.

Apps: Some people feel that an App for Singaporeans is helpful. The reason is the difference in culture and way we were brought up.

Daniel C: Taking myself as an example, I feel that i wont have the energy to type or do anything when i am in the dumps. I would need someone to push content to me, not someone to expect me to be motivated to seek help. And in my mind the app market is saturated. Instead of building another app, resources can be directed to push content directly to the target audience as the lack of motivation to seek help and communicate with others is very real. || However, i dont disagree the Asian Culture is unique and having an app addressing Asian issues would be awesome. Going the next level, I wld suggest AI come into the picture, with bots. Bots have a key role to play, esp in those lonely late nights when we feel alone and need someone to reframe our thinking.

Reader: The quality may be suspect without robust data
And from talking to youth, we learnt they may not want to talk to a bot too, although i think there is a place for bots

Reader: I think the community of people who suffer from mental health issues need to be strengthened. It is not other people’s problem and similarly with ‘privilege’ it will never be a problem for them. And some people in our society lack the empathy altogether to understand this. We can not control what people feel from the outside, so we must therefore create a community for the people on the inside, to run to when they have nowhere else to turn.


Please know you are NOT ALONE. We are here, and we are here for you. You dont need many friends, just one true friend will do. God is with u. |||

Mental Health Helpline
If you are facing a mental health crisis, please call our Mental Health Helpline or seek medical help at our 24-hour Emergency Services located in our hospital. The email boxes on this site are not meant to address crisis situations as we may not be able to attend to your email immediately.

Tel: 6389 2222

24-hour hotline

SOS: 1800 221 4444

National Care Hotline: 1800-202-6868 
(8am-12am daily, from 1 Sep 2020)
 Mental Well-being
– Fei Yue’s Online Counselling Service
– Institute of Mental Health’s Mental Health Helpline (6389-2222)
– Samaritans of Singapore (1800-221-4444)
– Silver Ribbon Singapore (6385-3714)
 Marital and parenting issues
– Community Psychology Hub’s Online Counselling platform
 Violence or abuse
– Big Love Child Protection Specialist Centre (6445-0400)
– HEART @ Fei Yue Child Protection Specialist Centre (6819-9170)
– PAVE Integrated Services for Individual and Family Protection (6555-0390)
– Project StART (6476-1482)
– TRANS SAFE Centre (6449-9088)
– TOUCHline (Counselling) – 1800 377 2252

Calling for support

So a group of us have come together to form a think tank. Details below. We are looking for the following.

  1. AI BOT expertise in mental wellness
  2. Website, Forum designers
  3. Influencers to help us build awareness and spread the word.

Passion Project | Asia Mental Health and Suicide Awareness

Why do we do this? || Our aim is this… To reduce suicide rates in PNETS and eradicate this stigma that being depressed,  being anxious is an illness. This is not an illness, not a disease, but unmet emotional needs growing up.

Suicide rates have risen during covid, and it will climb when more retrenchment kick-in. We are only at the tip of the iceberg. Families cannot lose their breadwinner, because its a domino effect and poor kids will be the ones to suffer…

Hotlines are getting overwhelmed, cases more complex and time consuming. SOS volunteers are stretched and cases are getting more difficult, meaning more man hours are needed, and more people need to be trained, and more sessions for suffers.

So our Mental Health Awareness Forum will help them to filter out easier cases… eg we handle higher functioning patients.

Challenges we face

1. Sufferers often have no motivation to seek help

2. sufferers have no money to seek professional help

3. sufferers dont want to talk to anyone

To learn more about our project, pls DM us.

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