I remembered that it was one fateful night in December – I could not sleep despite my exhaustion.
At the back of my mind, I kept thinking about work for no apparent reason.
I wasn’t doing too badly at work but there was this tension within me and the persistent worry about how I performed at work.
I kept wondering about my probation and whether I would be confirmed.
This was my first full time job after graduation and I wouldn’t want to blow it.
Before that, I have been freelancing or working on contracts. I did not want to quit easily as it took me a while to find the full time job.
Later on, I started to hear comments about my work performance from my colleagues.
I ignored them as I don’t treat comments seriously, however, the comments started to escalate as the days went by.
It was also difficult to distinguish whether the comments were actually made by them or that they originated from my head!
Naturally, I got stressed and distracted from my job. I was also frightened…
My brain started to freeze and I repeatedly forgot to do things. My supervisor and colleagues took notice of my performance and strange behavior.
I reckoned they knew something was wrong about me and I hope this was a passing phase as my mind had told me so.
I was removed from my work tasks quietly as my work performance was affected by the battle I had with myself.
I subsequently withdrew from my lunch group and ate silently on my own.
I could sense that the battle was really inside me than at the work place.
I wanted the commentary game to end because the voices had followed me for twenty four hours every day. It was pure torture to say the least.
I am scared but I do not tell anybody because I expected people around me to know that I was been stalked.
I also started to throw tantrums in the office because of the mood swings.
Surprisingly, my supervisor asked me to see a doctor because she said I was careless and needed to have a medical checkup. Later on, they even arranged a psychologist for me to consult.
Still, I thought there was nothing wrong with me.
The voice later asked me to quit my job and to stop the game.
I did it out of compliance. Everybody thought something was wrong with me by now.
My father shook his head repeatedly as he knew that I was simply not the rash type to quit a job hastily.
Fortunately, over time, the voice grew weaker after I quit my job but it did not end.
Suddenly, I took note of what my supervisor had said which confirmed my suspicion – those voices I heard were actually mine!!!
But still, I really hoped that it was just only a game and all this madness will vanish suddenly…and I will be well again.
Finally, I told my family members about my illness. They were upset as if I have borne the family curse.
For me, I have to make a lot of adjustments and lower down my career expectations. There is also the fear that my illness will be a hindrance to my job search.
I realised that employers here do not take kindly to jobseekers with mental illness. Sometimes, they shun them like the plague.
I was subsequently treated at the costly Gleneagles before moving over to Alexandra hospital for treatment. I was detected with psychosis – a common kind of mental illness.
The medical dictionary defines psychosis as:
Psychosis is a symptom or feature of mental illness typically characterized by radical changes in personality, impaired functioning, and a distorted or nonexistent sense of objective reality.
The hospital visits were bi-weekly because the side effects of the medication were strong- stiffness in my movement and restlessness.
It took many weeks for the voice to fade away and right now I can resume my normal activities again.
However, I feel worthless every day because I depended on the medication to get well and more importantly I have no job.
I do not know what to do with my own life right now.
Nevertheless, my illness has actually helped me to realize the important things in life – health and family - things that money can’t buy.
I just hope that I have the courage to move on after all these dark clouds…and hopefully there is an employer out there who is kind enough to offer me a job despite my illness.
Written by: Emily
Editor’s Note: I have met up with the writer and if there is a kind employer out there who is willing to interview Emily for a job vacancy please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Mental illness is curable through medication and many people have led normal lives after that. If you are currently suffering from some mental illness, do write to me and share your experiences. All mails received will be treated with strictest confidentiality.