*Wendy is a client of Clarity Singapore and who is on the road to discover her true self

I am me. And just like everyone else, I want to be loved and accepted exactly the way I am; with my faults, my strengths, and with my joy for the world!

I was 18 when my world slowly turned dark. It was only in hindsight that I was able to see how I had a part in it too. At that time, I was massively involved in my projects in school that I lost sight of my own rest and joy. When I was sent to Institute of Mental Health (IMH), I slept for days. When I awoke, I was faced with a new world I did not understand; a place where I felt that I did not exist anymore.

How can my parents say they love me, and abandon me here? I was distanced from everything I knew: my friends and my schoolmates! Oh my, even my phone. Without my phone, I felt cut off from the world outside. They left me in a world where I felt I just could not exist!

There, I did not feel like me anymore. There, there was only a void in which I received no answers; I only had more questions every day. Why am I left here? How long will I be left here? What’s going to happen to me? All my questions were answered with, “You are sick.” Amid the confusion, I raged against my parents, the doctors, anyone in front of me. I also raged against God. The darkness crept in and swallowed me up.

I realised that God had put me in places that really stretched me, but He was also there with me. He had surrounded me with people who could help me. There was kindness, there was humility. And there was joy!

It took many months of therapy and treatment before I could let go of my anger. I began to see when I needed sleep and rest, and I would step back. And this has made me stronger. This normalcy to ‘my old self’ brought tears to my eyes.

When I spoke with the counsellors at Clarity, I learnt more about myself. I understood how much mental and physical space I need, and also how much I could allow a person to come closer to me and still be me. I also saw how I was neglecting myself when I deserved more for myself. Then, slowly, with the little cracks of realisation, light started to come in.

I realised that God had put me in places that really stretched me, but He was also there with me. He had surrounded me with people who could help me. There was kindness, there was humility. And there was joy! You know, it is nice to love and be loved in return!

Now I participate in some group activities with Clarity. It’s nice to make new friends, and to laugh and share my thoughts and ideas. How wonderful it is to be accepted just the way I am.

Let your Light shine before men! – Matthew 5:16

A person cannot be a true friend or a loved one if they choose to hold a label over another person. Yes, the stigma is real. But it is only damaging if people allow this to cloud how they see a fellow human. Whether a person is rich or poor, whether he has bipolar or depression, he is still a father, son or a friend … with all his dreams and passions. We should have no labels.

So, who am I to complain? I have been given so much: a family who loves me, friends who accept me, and even myself. Yes, I have been given myself to love.

Everyone is so different. We make the world diverse. We do not need to be like each other. If we are exactly like each other, we cannot see how each person is beautiful in his own way.

Remember Dr Seuss: “Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you.

*not her real name
This sharing was first published in Caritas in Mission.
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Clarity Singapore is a Catholic charity that provides services to persons with mental health issues live meaningful lives through support, therapy, acceptance and recovery.
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