August 25, 2012

Pink rosesI'm married with 3 young kids aged 8, 5 and 3 and come from an Asian background. Now a full-time stay-at-home mum after being made redundant a year after having our second child, I'm a college graduate with an Honours degree in Teaching English as a Second Language.

My husband is a fellow countryman. He has a very traditional view about 'the place of the wife'. Hence talking to him is almost impossible, let alone seeking support with clinical depression.

Being a full-time mother after working in an office environment for ten years proved to be overwhelming, to say the least, but to admit I had difficulty coping was even harder.

My husband to this day doesn't fully comprehend mental illness and how I'm affected by it. My parents are still unaware of my illness. I couldn't tell them as I felt it would be hard for them to take it in and they'd be worrying about me constantly. My sister's reaction to it was: "How did that happen?" I wasn't surprised by her reaction but I didn't know what to say then.

In my experience depression isn't an illness that is acknowledged within our culture

In my experience depression isn't an illness that is acknowledged in our culture. In fact it's almost non-existent. It seems to be never talked about.

When I tried to talk to a friend about suicide and depression, all she said was how could I even think of suicide and that I should think about the children. All I ever do is think about the children and not about me.

I was physically and mentally exhausted

I was physically and mentally exhausted, tired of being pulled in all directions all the time. And the only way out I could see was to take my own life. I just wanted to be left in peace, not be called on every minute of the day. I didn't have new clothes, trips to the hairdresser had stopped for years and I was totally unkempt. Every night I just crashed into bed and sex was out the window. And that of course didn't help matters. Arguments were commonplace and they didn't go unnoticed by our eldest child.

By the time I took myself to my GP, I was in such bad shape I could barely speak to her. I was sobbing uncontrollably and could only nod or shake my head. She rang my husband to collect me from her surgery and instructed him to watch me closely in case I committed suicide.

Even at that moment I couldn't take time out for myself

Now, you would have thought I'd be admitted to hospital and be kept on suicide watch, which was exactly what my GP suggested. But my dear husband decided it wasn't necessary. Besides, who would look after the children? Even at that moment I couldn't take time out for myself. And yet I'm still here, alive and kicking. My faith in God and voice of sanity stopped me from taking my own life everytime. I'm smart enough to recognise my own symptoms and seek medical help. But it's an ongoing battle.

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