As the daughter of two former refugees of the Khmer Rouge I was often told to be grateful for the life I had. To hear what they went through, the violence and the loss at such a young age always was a reminder of how lucky I am.
Mum had it rough, the stress of not being able to fit into the New Zealand culture often got to her. Her illiteracy preventing her from getting jobs and the stress of trying to be the best mum for us was a lot for her. This was the first time I was faced with depression. The only way my Mum got through it was seeking help. She has been one strong woman I look up to greatly.
But for me, it all started halfway through first year. After a rough relationship breakup, I no longer enjoyed anything I did. I spiralled down into a world of depression. I was far from the girl I once was.
The only time I left my room was to go to class, which felt like the only thing I could actually control about myself. I started to isolate myself, trying to avoid my friends and family. I often skipped dinner because my body was vomiting it back up. I eventually decided to go to the doctors and figure out what was wrong. I was diagnosed with depression and that’s when my world changed. I was put on anti-depressants and told that I should see a psychologist – which only lasted 2 sessions.
One day a friend reached out to me. She had been going through a similar experience. I remember she got me out of the house and I just cried in her car for hours, she had printed out guides to help me and bought a journal for me to write down my thoughts, the good and the bad.
The journal and guides helped for a while but I kept ending up lying in bed doing nothing but cry. A few weeks passed and I had a breakdown outside work. I was at my last straw, I was going to commit suicide. My friend took me to go to the EPS (Emergency Psychiatric Services) unit at the hospital. I was asked questions that at first I thought were ridiculous. But I think that triggered something in me and I knew it was time to take the help I was being given. I was directed to a new psychologist at student health and that’s when things began to get a little better.
I was shown stress free apps and given support from the disability services at the University which helped me so much! My grades began to return to normal and I was taken off the anti-depressants. The life I wanted was finally coming back to me.
It’s important to know that depression can happen to anyone at any time. Everyone experiences it differently. It changes the way you see life, changes the way you live your life, it controls you. It’s important that you seek out the support around you, talk about your feelings and receive the help you are given. Keep trying your options to find the right one, there WILL be one.