Pooja

Mind HK Ambassador

I AM... a mental health advocate. I AM... a listener. I AM... a dancer.







“People can surprise you — you learn who is worth being in your life and who wants to be in your life. ”






Where is a place/object that has been important to you in your mental health journey and/or recovery and why?

The harbour. Long walks and dance sessions took place by the harbour during my recovery. Taking walks by the harbour brought me a sense of calmness, especially after experiencing a panic attack. Feeling the breeze off the water instantly made me feel better.


How has mental health affected your day to day life?

Having anxiety impacted my concentration at work and my level of confidence. It is difficult to complete day-to-day tasks when you feel exhausted. When I experienced panic attacks, I would break out into a sweat, and go from feeling angry to crying uncontrollably. Through my recovery, I have learnt ways to manage my anxiety and now my work has improved significantly. My confidence has increased and I feel empowered to help others on their journey to recovery. I am now doing more for myself and managing my routine better - I have established healthier boundaries. I feel like I have a “new and better” life.


How has the stigma around mental health affected your life?

The stigma has impacted my friendships. I have lost friends who described my anxiety as me “being dramatic” and did not take the time to try to understand what I was going through. It’s hard to lose relationships initially, but perhaps it could be more beneficial in the long run to be surrounded by people who could truly support you.


How would you describe yourself? What are your labels?

Anxiety - my diagnosis.

A friend for life - whenever you need me I’ll be there no matter what.

Positive - I’m all about good vibes.

Passionate - I do everything from the heart.

Dancer - music, and the moves make me smile and excited.

Bubbly - I love talking to people.

Approachable - just come speak to me.

Determined - I will get through the hard times.

Annoying - so my family says (haha)


What gave you hope during your recovery?

Counselling and behavioural therapy helped me set healthy boundaries, change my routine and improve my insomnia. I learnt how to manage interpersonal relationships better and what to do when I sense a panic attack coming. I am equipped with a mental health tool kit.

Dancing was the second thing — having an activity I love and enjoy taught by a supportive and inspirational teacher makes me so happy. It makes me feel energised and more confident in who I am.


What has your mental health experience taught you?

Our diagnosis doesn’t define us.

People can surprise you — you learn who is worth being in your life and who wants to be in your life.

You need boundaries and you need time for you.

You need to prioritise yourself. Having a routine is important — making time for sleep, rest, and exercise is key.


 

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/