Hilary

Mind HK Ambassador



"Being vulnerable doesn't equate to being weak; it actually takes a lot of courage to show my vulnerabilities to others."



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

The window in my living room. When I look out of the window, there is a huge soccer field next to an elementary school. When I was dealing with panic disorder, I chose to stay at home all the time, because I felt like the apartment was the only safe place. I used to spend a lot of time standing in front of the window, staring at the kids playing soccer and running around with their friends in the playground, and I would ask myself: Why can't I be as happy and carefree as they are? Why do I have to deal with my mental health issues? Why am I so unlucky? Why am I sick?

Now that I am in recovery, I still like to look out the window in my living room, enjoying seeing the kids rushing to school and playing with each other. But now, most importantly, I no longer feel bad about myself.


How has mental health affected your day to day life?

My mental illness stopped me from looking for a job, going out to meet my friends, and even having a meal with my family.


How would you describe yourself? What are your labels?

Cheerful: A lot of my friends think I am a very cheerful person, and I am. I like to smile a lot, I make jokes a lot, and I laugh a lot.

Curious: I ask a lot of questions. I am always excited about learning and trying different things.

Active: I like going to the gym and trying different workouts. Lately, I’m into pilates and Thai-boxing. I also like to play volleyball.

A mental health advocate: I was diagnosed with a panic disorder, anxiety and depression. I am passionate about sharing my mental health experience with others, who may be uncertain about this topic or people who need comfort and support in dealing with similar issues.

Food-lover: I am always down for good food!

What gave you hope during your recovery?

My dad certainly played an important role in my journey. He, too, recovered from a panic disorder and clinical depression. I witnessed his whole mental health journey. He assured me that if I was willing to visit a psychiatrist, that it could help in my recovery. Seeing him go from struggling to recovery from this mental illness, I knew that it was possible for me too. That is what motivated me to visit a psychiatrist. She recommended that I start medication and try cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) with a psychologist. With both treatments, I started seeing progress. I was able to visit my neighbour, and to have a meal with my friends outside my home.


Tell us about your life now

I am in recovery now, even though I still take antidepressants every day. My mental health issues no longer stop me from doing what I like — I am an active gym go-er and I picked up a few new hobbies. This experience influenced me to take care of my well-being. I make sure I don't overwork myself; I have set myself some night time rituals to wind myself down after a busy day.

I understand that we all have days when our mental health isn't up to the mark, but I now have the tools to help myself to get through the difficult times. I treat my mental health issues as an "old friend". When this "old friend" visits me when I am at work or walking in a crowded place, I imagine myself greeting it then slowly letting it go.

What has your mental health experience taught you?

My mental health experiences taught me that it's okay not to be okay. There is nothing wrong with reaching out for help when you need it. Being vulnerable doesn't equate to being weak; it actually takes a lot of courage to show my vulnerabilities to others.


What are you most proud of?

I am proud of having such an understanding family and loving friends, who have been supportive of my mental health journey from the beginning. They helped me see the light when I was stuck in a dark tunnel. Last but not least, I am also proud of myself for my recovery. It wasn't the smoothest ride, but here I am


 

Learn more about depression:

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

Learn more about panic attacks:

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

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/