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Jo's Letter

To the brave you,

These past few years, some friends found that you have changed; you are happier. I think you are more optimistic and confident than before. You are not lashing out at your family anymore, you listen to others' opinions, and you have become more proactive and self-disciplined. I know that it is through countless struggles, that you have gained this resilience.

In 2020, your mental state worsened. You were crying for no reason and you were in pain. Besides work, you didn’t want to do much of anything. You tried to fill the endless void with food. You were worried that it would become even worse, so you sought help from a social worker and a clinical psychologist (CP) in order to face all the confusing thoughts, feelings and angst that appeared that year. After a few sessions of therapy, all the traumatic experiences resurfaced, and what you buried inside your heart was released, so that the traumatic memories were once again connected with the emotions you experienced. Turns out these experiences were symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

You started to understand your emotions, and the physical and mental reactions you were experiencing. You started to find appropriate coping mechanisms. You experienced less rage, less depression and less binge eating, but more states of anxiety, flashbacks and sound sensitivity. You decided to take a long holiday to rest your body and mind. You went ahead and resigned from your job to search for a new direction.

There were two very touching moments during the holiday:

  • Being able to focus and read news and novels. It was my ability to read that had been lost for months!

  • Rock climbing alone on the mountain, lying on the crash pad, listening to the birds, looking at the blue sky, and seeing the sunbeams through the leaves and suddenly feeling how good it is to be alive.

You continued to receive therapy, and most symptoms slowly disappeared, and only “panic attacks” stayed. The first time was April 2020. You would unusually panic after falling during outdoor sport climbing; you couldn’t focus on climbing. It kept happening and it was really frustrating when your favorite hobby became your biggest fear. It took a long time to accept this reality and you were full of doubts and struggles. You understood that everything is a process and decided to perform a hard reboot. You learned how to settle down and how to communicate with others well. You are now able to take the initiative to practice falling and try lead climbing! Although I can’t tell you that the panic attacks have disappeared, I can tell you that you now have the confidence to face them and your friends will support you. You also gained lots of experience in bouldering as you switched your focus from sport climbing, and you gained another kind of joy.

I believe that everyone has a unique inner strength, and we will eventually find our path. The world is filled with suffering and suppression, you have to take care of your body and mind, learn more, drink more water, and try your best to voice out just like you did one year ago when you bravely shared your story through Mind HK. I am grateful for my CP, my friends, my family and everyone I met at Mind HK, they make it easier for us to walk through our journey.

Some lyrics for you:

“What do you overwatch at night

For what do you fear, for tomorrow you despair

There is still light

Riding the breeze

All that I feel

How vast is it, how wide

The tearing rainclouds, the edge of the sky is bright

Nothing is wrong or right”


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