An Introduction to Jasmin Chew
I think my life flipped upside down when I turned 16. When people think of change, people usually think it’s good. For me, I have a fear of change. I have a routine. I wake up everyday, eat breakfast, brush my teeth and begin my day. The scariest part of living for me is not knowing what will happen every day. “Will I get hurt?” “Who will be mean to me today?” Those are the two questions I ask myself each morning. I don’t recommend doing that.
A few things you should understand about me before I continue. I’ve had separation anxiety since I was 5 and I was a suicidal child from the ages of 9-18, and I was a victim of self harm for 3 years of my life (ages 15-18). I don’t like therapists. In fact I am quite against them. I don’t believe in a complete stranger talking to me, training my brain to be someone it’s not meant to be. I was bullied from kindergarten until grade 8 by a group of 7 boys, but only one boy out of those seven truly stand out to me. This created a very large fear of people for me. And the last thing you must know is that I do not blame myself for my illnesses. I don’t blame anyone. But I do believe that it stemmed from one person. And that person is the boy that bullied me for 9 years of my life.
My life completely changed when I turned 16. I was just going into grade 11, and my anxiety was rising rapidly at a pace where I just couldn’t keep up with it anymore. I have a very hard time controlling my thoughts. I allow the negative thoughts to overflow me with fear and I just freeze. I think if there was a stronger word than “depressed” to explain how the combination of depression and anxiety felt, I’d use that word. I recall going to my mother first to tell her I wanted to try medication. I remember I couldn’t even tell her that without wanting to throw up and cry everywhere. I think she knew what was going on with me so she quickly called my father over. I told them I needed help, and I wanted medication. My parents were always against using antidepressants to help “cure” illnesses. They told me they didn’t want me to rely on medication to help me and they didn’t think it was a good idea. But my parents were always supportive of me and always helped me when I needed it most.
March 6th 2016 my doctor officially diagnosed me with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). She put me on 10mg of Escitalopram, and as the months went by she increased the dosage until I reached 20mg. Escitalopram is a pill that is supposed to decrease anxiety and panic attacks and hopefully help control your thoughts.
My 16th year was my worst year (or so I thought) until I turned 17. When I turned 17, my anxiety was lower, however my depression was much much higher than it was last year. My relationship with my dad was pretty rocky. I was not accepted by him. In his eyes I was damaged. My dad could not and would not accept the fact that I was mentally ill. We would never talk to each other, and when we did we would scream at each other. My 17th year was basically just filled with screaming matches with my dad, and a line of depression skyrocketing while all this was happening at once.
Once my 18th year came along, I didn’t care. I was never one to be excited about my birthday because there would be unwanted attention on me, and I hated attention. I hadn’t thought of committing suicide since I was 14 until the day I turned 18. “Who will miss me?” Don’t ever think that. Because if you want to know the answer, I can tell you now. Everyone will miss you. Don’t go. I became minorly suicidal when I was 18 until I had a conversation with my dad in our backyard a few months after my 18th birthday. He asked what I wanted from him as a father and I told him all I wanted was for him to say he would accept me for who I was. He told me he will one day, just not today. I remember how hurt I felt, but at the same time I needed to hear that. I realised I couldn’t even accept myself, so before my dad can accept me, I have to accept myself first.
Today, I am a 19 year old woman turning 20 in October. I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder, and last year I was diagnosed with Major Mood Fluctuations. I have seen a total of 4 doctors. 3 of those 4 do not think I have Type Two Bipolar, but one does. It has been exactly one year since I went to my first psychiatric appointment and to this day, doctors still don’t know if I have Type Two Bipolar. My relationship with my father is better than ever and I am no longer suicidal. I have a boyfriend of over a year and he has been the joy I have been in need of my entire life. I found my true passion for photography and poetry through my own self-expression and I have grown rapidly within these past four years.
All I can say is thank you. Thank you to my bullies who made me cry every night before I went to bed. Thank you to my father who made me realise self love is the most important thing but who also taught me to be proud of who I am. Thank you to the friends I have lost along the way, the ones who told me I was damaged and the ones who told me I am dramatic and aggressive. Thank you for making my life lighter, brighter, and more worthwhile. You are all the reason I am who I am today. A strong, confident woman. I have had my heart broken a thousand times, and I would do it over and over again if it meant I’d still be here today. Thank you.
- Jasmin Chew @majestical_jasmin
visit her photography and travel blog at www.jasminchew.com