Cherie

Mind HK Ambassador


“The journey of learning how to take care of one's mental health is special and unique for everyone. Yet in a busy city life, we often don't prioritise this part of ourselves. But hey, it is never too late to treat yourself right and with compassion.”






Where/what has been important to you in your mental health journey? Why?

The Hospital. My mental health issues were first diagnosed when I was admitted into hospital for my sudden brain injury. After my initial psychiatric assessment, I was then diagnosed with depression and anxiety by my psychiatrist. After being hospitalised, I started paying closer attention to my mental health, as well as my physical health. Apart from emotional changes, my body would also react, e.g. I experienced sudden shortness of breath from a panic attack. I realised that my body is carrying a weight beyond what I could imagine. I started to read, learn and consult professionals on how to deal with my mind, body, and soul.



How has the stigma around mental health affected your life?

It has been challenging to share my mental health issues with friends or family, especially when I look “happy” or “normal” on the outside. They are not always able to tell how I am truly feeling. There is certainly a stigma around mental health issues that makes it difficult to discuss it openly.



How has mental health affected your day to day life?

Some days, I would feel like staying home all day, without doing anything creative or productive. Through self-awareness, I've learned that my body would like to rest or move at a slower pace when I am lower in energy. I’ve come to respect that and know to spend time on less physically intensive activities, such as reading, gaming or listening to podcasts. On days when I feel more energised, I participate in various physical and social activities. I also feel more motivated and positive. I think it is natural to swing across the spectrum of mental health when we come across different stimuli or triggers -- the key lies in how we cope with such changes.



How would you describe yourself? What are your labels?

I am a very unique person. I am alive with a scar in my head and having had major spinal cord surgery.

I am resilient and unafraid to admit that I can be weak at times too.

I am a feminist. I like to understand the world from the perspective of gender dynamics.

I am a reader. I enjoy reading and writing as an outlet.

I am an outsider. I like to stay on the outside to observe and feel.

I struggle with my mental health from time to time. I am still recovering from what has happened to me.



What gave you hope during your recovery?

My support system and Christian belief brought me hope during my recovery period. I had strong support from a psychologist and Prince of Wales Hospital chaplains for more than 8 months. They provided me with a safe space to express my emotions, from excitement to absolute hopelessness.



What has your mental health experience taught you?

Listen to your body's “whispers” before they grow into “screams”.



What would you tell someone who is going through something similar to what you have experienced?

Find someone you trust and feel safe to express yourself regularly. My family is my biggest supporter. They have been patient and understanding. Journalling also helps when you find it hard to speak out loud.


 

Learn more about depression:

https://www.mind.org.hk/mental-health-a-to-z/depression/what-is-depression/

Learn more about anxiety:

https://www.mind.org.hk/mental-health-a-to-z/anxiety-and-panic-attacks/about-anxiety/

Seeking help in Hong Kong:

https://www.mind.org.hk/getting-help/

List of mental health services provided by local NGOs:

https://www.mind.org.hk/community-directory/

Find help now:

https://www.mind.org.hk/find-help-now/