We collaborate with schools and other partners to offer programmes to youth between the ages of 14 and 24 around our 3 core focus areas.

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Lived Experience of Happy

A young Gemini struggling with mental health

Key Takeaways from Happy

1. The response from parents is very important.

Growing up, youth want autonomy and to be in control, giving parents and teachers the impression that they are being rebellious. However, when they ask about something, they actually value adults’ opinions. If we focus on the negatives and start putting blame without fully understanding the situation, youth may feel belittled and become less likely to open up in the future. 

2. Be non-judgmental when you listen.

Due to the stigma that society has created around mental health, someone struggling will also create self-stigma and label their own selves. Normalising conversations and being non-judgmental provides acceptance, empowering those who need support to seek help.

3. The past will become the past.

No matter what difficulties you are facing, they will be overcame and turn into part of your past.

Text-only Version

My name is Happy. I am a Gemini, but my understanding and definition of being a Gemini greatly depend on my emotions. I have studied other things before, and now I study psychology. I want to get into social work in the future. I didn’t know all these before. It was only when I grew older and started taking various personality tests, having more awareness of mental health, that I began to truly know and learn about myself.

In the past, I didn't take good care of myself. I believed that sacrificing or compromising physically was the way to get the love, care, and relationships I desired. I remember when I was in F.2, one day, during home economics class, I was called into the school social worker’s office and was kept there the whole day. I remember feeling helpless, angry, and overwhelmed while I was there.

That evening, my parents and older brother came into the office. The school told me I had been temporarily suspended from my studies, that the police had been involved, and that I had to go and give police statements at designated times. When I got home that night, my family took my phone away and grounded me. I started crying, because I didn't even have the chance to explain myself. Locked inside the four walls, my fear grew, and time crawled. I couldn't eat or sleep properly, and I felt powerless. At one point I thought about ending it all. I didn’t think there was a difference between me existing and me erased... But I didn't have the courage to take that step, and I blamed myself for being so useless at the time.

When I resumed my studies, I found it difficult to interact with other people. Inside I was overwhelmed with fear that someone might ask about the incident. I was afraid no one would accept me. Every day, I pretended to be happy and positive, but eventually I still lost all my friends. I became very intimidated by group projects and activities. I started hating school. I started hating myself.

I was terrified of loneliness. I started dating everyone and anyone, in and out of relationships, hoping that I could find someone who would accept me and love me during my secondary school years, but all the while, deep down, I knew I was lonely. I knew and believed that it would affect my future. I thought with what happened, I am never gonna be crowned at a beauty pageant. I felt like the one in the shadows who would never see the light of day, like I would never ever shine again – forever. 

I started to give up on myself – no one liked me anyway, why should I please any of them? I argued with my family, scolded people in class, and shouted at everything that I disliked. I went to school late intentionally so I won’t have to eat lunch alone. I thought since I am a Gemini, it made sense that I am more emotional than others. I became very aggressive, but at the same time I didn’t want to be a burden to anyone anymore. I hated every person who promised that they’ll stay, because they all left me in the end.

You might want to ask why didn't I seek help or find an outlet for myself. 

The first time I sought help was from my parents. They said their only regret was not intervening earlier, cause if they had, I wouldn't have been so difficult. They didn’t understand that all I wanted was their care and concern. I was the victim here – I was hurt, threatened, attacked – I told myself to tough it out. My parents didn’t say anything, that meant everything was fine. After that, I just decided to deal with it on my own.

I wanted to know how others would think of me, but at the same time, I was afraid of getting hurt again. What I did in the end was mention bits and pieces of my past experience, so they will know some of my past. Each time I shared, I felt a sense of accomplishment. One time, a friend actually told me that, "If only I had known you earlier, I could have been there for you." I remember this very well because it made me realise that there are people who can accept my past, and that the past will pass.

I am seeing a counsellor now, which started about six months ago. I wanted to know if there's a cure for my "complex issues." I want to understand who I truly am and make peace with my past. Last time my counsellor asked me a question, “You have heard a lot of opinion about you, and you have been very obsessed with their opinions, but how much of those did you actually took in?” And this question is stuck with me. It’s a hard question to answer. Although I still can’t answer it, it did make me realise that I will be exhausted if I had taken them all in; but if I don’t take in any of it, I would be stuck in the same place I believe I need more time to find the answer, and the way towards the truth would be a good start.

Lastly, I want to tell my past self and everyone here that no matter what you have experienced or are currently going through, each experience is unique. The most important thing is to love and respect yourself. Self-love is not about making excuses for your behaviour or saying, "That's just how I am," or "It's just my personality," or "I have a bad temper." It's about respecting yourself and treating every part of yourself with kindness and gentleness. No matter what difficulties you are facing, they will be overcame and turn into part of your past.

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