Growing up in the 80s and 90s in Asia is not much different than living inside an old TV set. There is a lot of background noise coming everywhere, glitzy bright colored clothes, and proud faces of people owning chunky mobile phones. Wealth and prestige mattered more than anything. This was the community I grew up in.
Being unproductive and slow had no place. It was the gold rush of economic growth where there is no time for mental health issues. Let alone mental health, nut allergy was nearly unheard of. It was after I moved to Europe that I learned about mental health and the wide spectrum of allergies. It was new to me. Let me explain why it was new.
First of all, where I grew up if one is not performing well at work/school or has a certain health condition, the blame was always on that person’s coping mechanism but never on other factors. We never had the chance to question the system. We were all programmed to excel in school, get into a good university, graduate and get a job…just like what is portrayed on our chunky television sets at home. We were enslaved in many ways despite having full freedom. Therefore, right now, I am very thankful for the internet and the way we can access information. We no longer have to blindly follow what used to be the norm and most importantly we can freely access health information.
One of the things that have not changed since then is what was taught at school. Sadly, we were still not taught how to survive in the real world. We were not taught how to get back up after a heartbreak. We were not taught how to get out of debt. We were not taught how to balance life.
I became one of the “privileged” ones who started working at a young age. This has brought me both financial luxury and suffering at a very young age. I was forced to skip my Lalaland (dreamy childhood) directly into the brutal rat-race. To make matters worse, I was studying at the same time. So much for being both young and gung-ho at the same time. But mental health meant nothing to me at that time. I could not detect that this weird sad feeling; this thing called depression.
Those days, I would cry when I see older people crossing the street, I would tear up watching cartoons, and I would constantly cry during my long-haul flights because of certain in-flight songs or movies. I knew something was not right. I suffered from depression without knowing that I had one. I began to spend more time alone, not doing anything productive but spending most of the time overthinking and crying. I felt useless. I felt that my friends were advancing in life but I am not. They were getting married, buying a house, and getting pregnant with their second child. I felt insecure every single day. I cried so much that I had no more tears to cry. Then, I developed a peculiar attitude of not speaking to anyone and avoiding people. For someone who has always been a social butterfly, my close friends would ask about me, but I would just shrug it off with work reasons.
My journey towards healing started with a meditation session in Germany. It was very refreshing for the very first time in many years. I started to attend more sessions and as I do so, many of my life’s questions were answered. It was my first introduction to spirituality. It set my mind freely without being tied down to religious dogmas. Meditation has installed new lenses for me in the way I see life. I need not be so rigid nor follow a certain belief system that was created during my formative years. I began to read a lot on spirituality and learned how different spirituality and religion are but still intertwined in many ways. I began reading about Buddhism, Sufism, Hinduism and other books on religion and spirituality. They all made sense and taught me to be selfless. In serving others, I found contentment and I spent less time drowning in my own thoughts about myself. There was so much joy in helping others, and it gave me a sense of purpose that I can create change.
I thought by having meditation and spirituality as my tool, I could at least conquer 1% of the world. Nope, I was wrong. I was not strong enough. I understood certain logic but I was still not strong enough mentally because I was indoctrinated with a lot of limiting beliefs. They were still there. I lacked the courage to leap because parts of my brain is trying to protect me. I had a lot of self-doubts.
Moving on, my journey as an entrepreneur amplified everything about business, life, human, business, etc even more. Did anyone try Entrepreneurship? Anyone on this ship? A close friend of mine nicknamed this Entrepreneurshit. I totally agree.
I came to a stage where I lost everything. No one could understand me. So this is my second wave of depression. But this time, it was depression with a huge awareness still in mind. Honestly, it was hard to be sane. I have had thoughts of ending my life because I could not understand many things and the vicious cycle kept repeating itself. I have lost a man I love, I have lost a big sum of money and I have lost relationships with my family members.
I had thoughts of ending my life and the universe has its unique way of warning me. A glass shattered and a loose piece stabbed my middle finger. It did not stop bleeding (but it finally did after tonnes of ice cubes and bandages) and my kitchen looked like a crime scene. I cried not out of pain but because of the lesson behind this. I was also aware that I could not be in peace and sit peacefully for a meditation session. This was when I knew I needed a third party intervention to solve this conflict between my mind and myself but at the same time, I did not want any medication or chemical substances in my body. This was the major reason why I opted for hypnotherapy and not a psychiatrist. I knew I needed a drug-free solution as I do not want to depend on a drug for life. I still have the resolve to be drug-free.
I booked an appointment to learn more about hypnotherapy. My first hypnotherapy session was so powerful, I felt so empowered, alive and that effect was not temporary. I was really happy with the result. Digging further, along with other life events, I found my calling in learning more about clinical hypnotherapy and have decided to continue the journey to become a specialist in this field.
I guess the biggest difference between me and the other therapists is that I was involved in Entrepreneurship (both academically and professionally) so I can really relate to fellow entrepreneurs and provide healing to my clients.
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