On February 2022, I was diagnosed with major depressive disorder. When the psychiatrist gave me the diagnosis, I felt a lot of feelings. Relief, for finally having a name for this intense feeling I’ve been experiencing everyday for the past few months. Confusion, because I grew up always being the cheerful kid – I don’t understand what happened. Anxious, of what will happen next.


I took a semester off, and had the next few months for myself. I went to my counseling and psychiatrist appointments. My anxiety got so bad that I turned off all notifications on my phone because it made me so anxious. Relapsed multiple times, stayed in bed for days without sleep or food, just accompanied by the bad voices in my head. 


There were the occasional good days. I would wake up early to walk around the neighbourhood. Help with the house chores. Took my medicine on time. Even had some short talk with my friends. Eventually, 14 weeks passed by. I was yet again angry at myself, feeling like I wasted so much time yet I still don’t feel any better.


At the end of July, I joined my Kakak’s trip with her friends. It was my first time going out ever since my diagnosis. Because it has been so long since I last socialized, I was so nervous and even thought of cancelling the trip multiple times but I’m glad I didn’t.


Afterwards, it happened gradually – I started reaching out to my friends again. I don’t feel so anxious when I get a text message anymore. I made plans with my friends again, and actually look forward to them.


I struggle a lot with being vulnerable, that it took me so long to get diagnosed and even longer to actually open up. But eventually I opened up about my situation for the past few months to my friends and family, and fortunately they were all very understanding and never blamed me for it. Though it was a long and challenging journey, I got to truly understand and experience the love and support from my family and friends. From my mother who would drive me to every appointment without fail, to my father who silently supports me by showing up and accepting my decisions without question. To my friends who despite not knowing what happened to me, still supported and loved me regardless.


My intention with this MonStar Awards application is to shed light on depression and other forms of mental illness, through sharing my own experience. When we share our story, we liberate ourselves and the people around us.


Lastly, if you’re dealing with mental illness yourself – I understand that for any reason, you may not feel safe seeking help. I hope you can find a place that you feel safe in, to get the help and support you need. If you know anyone that is battling with mental illness, be kind to them. Your kindness and grace means so much to us.