For those of us who have reason to not celebrate our birthday and don’t want a fuss on this day, we might not shout from the rooftops about turning a year older. We might even go to great lengths to avoid drawing attention to our birthday in a time where many think you should be entitled to some special treat.
Mention metal illness in Asia and chances are you’ll get odd looks. It’s a topic usually unspoken here and within many Asian cultures, it’s a topic shunned and hushed.
I was born in Australia to stereotypical Chinese-Malaysian parents. No one in my household brought up the subject of mental health when I grew up. For a long time, I thought it couldn’t exist in the family. But earlier this year, I was diagnosed with both social anxiety and panic disorders.
Anxiety is feeling stressed or worried on an ongoing basis. There are many forms of it, just as there are many kinds of mental illnesses – depression, anorexia, substance addiction and bipolar disorder for instance. Mental illness can affect anyone, and support towards overcoming it is all around today. But for someone from an Asian background, reaching out for that support doesn’t always come easy.
The past three months have been rough for me. Juggling a full time office job and being a writer and a blogger hasn’t been easy: clueless as to why I’m doing the job I’m doing, emails waiting to be answered in my inbox, unhappy with articles I’m working on as deadlines loom, five hours of sleep at most each night. Being sick with the winter flu hasn’t helped either.