Ever since I was young, I was crippled by social anxiety. Being constantly bullied and made fun of for being clumsy and awkward, I felt like I had to moderate every single one of my conversations in order to fit in. As a result, I never felt like myself and I couldn’t develop a safe identity.
I remember replaying social situations in my head constantly, to the point of sitting at the void deck for 2-3 hours every day ruminating about what I should have said or done better in my interactions. I felt truly alone in a world that didn’t seem to care about me.
This anxiety eventually evolved into OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), in which I was so wracked with anxiety that I couldn’t sleep and had to perform mental and physical rituals to distract me just so I could get a few ounces of relief, but those rituals eventually became compulsions which prevented me from sleeping even more.
I didn’t even realise that what I had could be considered OCD at that time. I only realised it when I saw a post about OCD on my Instagram Explore page which I could relate to. That eventually got me into visiting the therapist, getting a diagnosis and receiving therapy and medication for my anxiety. Having a strong support circle of friends who supported me in university helped so much as well.
This is the reason why I run @mentalhealthceo on Instagram, a page dedicated to mental health advocacy and destigmatization. Always understand that even if you feel isolated and lonely, you are not alone in your struggles and you don’t have to bear this burden by yourself – seeking help can be lifesaving.