My name is Joanne and I am a passionate advocate of mental health. This comes from my own life experiences of struggling with a burnout that triggered my depression and anxiety. Due to severe chronic neck pain, I started having suicidal ideations that led to my hospitalization.

I’d like to ask you…

Have you ever had to switch environments and news when you weren’t ready for it? Have you ever had to force yourself to act like everything is okay when it wasn’t? 

Have you ever had to tell people that you are happy when you weren’t?

There are always moments in life where we feel that it is extremely tough because we’re encountering a series of unfortunate events. YES, I say events because these are things that happened to you and they do not define your worth. Life is not always being happy or being strong. It is about accepting what you are going through and understanding that it is normal and it definitely will not last forever.  

I would like to highlight that our mental and physical health is interrelated. Your health is on a sliding scale. It does not mean that you are “sick” or “healthy”. Sometimes, you feel good and other days not so much. For instance, when people contract COVID, some experience more severe symptoms than others. It affects each person differently. 

Looking back, I realized that I didn’t want to hurt myself; I just wanted the pain to stop. Through my recovery, I felt alone and misunderstood which has motivated me to share my struggles with mental health in public. I am glad I was given a second chance at life, knowing that I can use my story and provide hope to others; to keep fighting for yourself even if both internal and external forces say give up. 

It is important to do things you enjoy and for me, that is taking photos, reading, spending time with loved ones and doing outdoor activities. The most effective method that aided in my recovery was exercise. I enjoy keeping a balance and thus, go to the gym to do Thai boxing, yoga and weight training. This allows me to relieve stress, feel good about myself with the dopamine released in my brain and stay healthy overall. Remember, no one can help you as much as you can for yourself! Find your own methods to relax and stay healthy because each body is different and yourself the best. Stay healthy, stay safe. 

I started my own channel “Bubble Talks” to share daily habits, inspiration and my journey. To further help the community, I am creating a platform called “Humble Bubble” which will provide different resources within the Hong Kong community of events, workshops and talks of taking care of our own health mentally, emotionally and physically. My purpose is to break stigmas one sharing at a time. Prevention is always better than intervention. I still work on myself continuously, especially my mindset and how I treat myself and others, because that is something I can control. My main motivation is becoming the version of myself that I would want my younger self to meet in both the lowest and highest of times. 

The more we talk about our struggles and hardest times, the more we realise that we are not alone. Being vulnerable is not a sign of weakness. Vulnerability is courage that takes a lot of strength to show others for who we really are. We are humans with a powerful voice to impact and make this world a better place. Because the more we talk about it, the more we realise we are all just humans and we’re all in this together. 

My name is Joanne and yes I have attempted suicide, been hospitalized twice, diagnosed with depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder. But, that does NOT stop me from becoming the person I choose to be.