Al the events in my life that I’m experiencing now, joblessness, stuck in the rut with nothing much to do and literally waiting things out, numerous health issues, last but not least my current hearing impairment are the nasty consequences of a culmination of events which occurred in my teenagehood.
I have finally come to this point in life where I unflinchingly say I have PTSD due to multiple incidences of sexual assault which was compounded further by the lack of support and care I received. Once upon a time, I used to be embarrassed when sharing about what caused PTSD in the first place, until my mom tried to change my own story in front of my own relatives (not worth mentioning). Ever since then, I’ve decided to OWN my own story. And tell it like it is.
Singapore may be a rapidly progressing society, but as far as mental health stigma is concerned people who have diagnoses often find trouble getting good jobs no matter how qualified they are. I have a bachelor’s honours degree in mass communications and PR, but it seems I will be stuck doing part time blue collar jobs for some time in my near future, even with job placement assistance. It’s quite common a reality for graduates, even for neurotypicals. The supply of graduates outweighs the demand. However, with a diagnosis, employers often pause and pass over you as they think you are unpredictable or any of those adjectives. Once during an interview, I saw the company founder making a face when I simply said I blog about mental health as a form of advocacy. A recruitment agency paused when I had to tell them I did not work when I studied when they hounded me for reasons because I was battling health issues, and even then sometimes I claimed it was physical health. On some level, I do regret taking my degree. Although everyone’s underemployed to some degree and even though studying for a degree does expand your view of the world and make you more of a critical thinker, what use does it do for you when society does not believe in you because of a label and you cannot make a sustainable living, let alone move on with the rest of your life and being 20k in debt?
Due to this, mental health advocacy has become something that is integral to me. Not just for myself but other peers of mine with mental health conditions too. Here, OCD, depression and addictions are what get the most coverage. PTSD? An under-ratedly covered one.
Grass is always greener on the other side as they say, and this is when I start envying the United States in their programs and coverage of PTSD, though partly because of their numbers of war vets. It’s for this reason I often tell people whom I do not openly share about my PTSD to think of me as a soldier who came back shell shocked from war. On many levels and symptomatology, I do have a lot in common with the rest of those. As far as it’s worth it’s a good enough allusion.
And what about my current hearing impairment? I’m so much happier being deaf about half of the time, literally living life with just four senses whenever I go to crowded noisy environments and picking up sign language than I ever was being a psychiatric case.
That’s saying a lot about personal lived experiences and society.