I feel like I’ve lost a lot of things to depression: time, energy, motivation. But none of these compares with the feeling that I lose myself and my identity when I’m depressed.
I’ve always been an over-achiever and a perfectionist. I would go above and beyond to help people. I rarely missed a day at my job. I was the responsible one and the one other people could count on. Except when I was depressed.
When my very much wanted and precious daughter was born two years ago, after a difficult pregnancy, we both suffered from an infection and were in hospital for a week.
As overjoyed as I was to have my dear little girl, I felt numb and overwhelmed. I did not have a family support network, as my mum was ill with vascular dementia and my father was bedbound from a stroke.
I was a six-year-old, no different from my classmates I thought. I cried when my ice cream fell to the ground, I couldn't sleep a week before my birthday and I always tried to stay awake until my eyes betrayed me.
As a professional boxer, most people around me only see the finale – me stepping into the ring, in great physical shape and performing well under the lights and cameras. Amidst the occasion, it is easy to assume that everything is fine.
As my family and friends watch me compete, my true state of mind is not really questioned. And so, I continue to war with my 'lower thoughts' just as I do in the ring, alone.
Due to wrongful media portrayals, schizophrenia patients are often perceived as unseen monsters that are safely locked away in militarized institutions. As long as we don’t have to see them, we don’t have to deal with them, right? This manner of thinking couldn’t be more damaging. The reality is, mental illness can affect anyone.