Studies show that the number of stressed-out youngsters in Singapore is on the rise, as illustrated by a recent story from the Straits Times. A young girl got into fights with classmates, bullied her peers, threw things at teachers, and conflicted with her parents. Her actions resulted in several significant injuries to her classmates. Discover the inner turmoil that drove this girl to such dramatic acts.

Violent Episodes

The Straits Times report conceals the young girl’s true identity, calling her Olivia instead of using her real name. As a Primary 5 student, Olivia began to act out. She started bullying the children in her class. She threw chairs at the teachers and fought with her parents. Once, she got into a fight with a classmate and grew so angry that she hurt the other child’s back. A different incident with another classmate ended in Olivia breaking the other child’s tailbone and nose.

A Lack of Intervention

Her parents were surprised by her violence, since she had been a gentle child. However, they did not seek psychiatric help for their daughter. Her father, a senior manager in Singapore, brushed off the behavioural issues, saying that he used to get into fights at that age, too. He addressed the chain of events with Olivia, but never realised that her emotions were already completely beyond her ability to control.

Self-Hatred and Anger

As she moved through school, Olivia continued to struggle with feelings of uncontrollable anger. She wasn’t struggling in school or suffering undue pressure at home; yet she often felt rage or despair that drove her to think about suicide. Her schoolmates disliked her because of the earlier fighting incidents. Olivia herself says, “They ran away whenever I was near. I hated myself because everyone hated me.”

A Pattern of Self-Harm

At age fourteen, Olivia began to cut herself. She would hide the cuts on her wrists by wearing bands, bracelets, or long-sleeved shirts. “I started to hear voices in my head that told me I was worthless, useless, disrespectful, irresponsible and not worthy to be alive,” says Olivia.

Professional Help

Finally, Olivia went to a Singapore psychiatrist. She had been to see the school counsellor before, but she threw a chair at the woman and walked out during the session. This time, her interaction with a mental health professional was more helpful. She was diagnosed with major depressive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and anxiety; and she was given a treatment plan that included medication and counselling. Because of her suicidal tendencies, Olivia also stayed at the hospital a few times.

Misunderstanding and Social Stigma

After sitting out of school for a year, Olivia returned, only to find that classmates were “spreading rumours that depression was contagious.” One teacher even told Olivia, “Mental illness is just an excuse for bad behaviour.”

This type of misinformation and false perception still exists in the Singaporean society. At Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic, we strive to improve awareness and understanding of mental illness and its effects. Through modern holistic therapies and effective treatments, we work to help our patients recover their mental health and integrate successfully into society. If you or someone you know needs treatment or support for poor mental health in Singapore, contact us today!

News Feed from Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic

Source: Straits Times, March 14, 2017