By Ms Deborah Seah
Qualification : Peer Support Specialist
Wednesday November 29 2017 12:03 PM Comments 0
My name is Deborah and I am a person recovering from bipolar disorder and anxiety disorder. I had extreme mood swings since lower primary as mental illness runs in my paternal family so it is likely genetic. I suffered in silence for more than 20 years and was diagnosed only about 4 years ago after having postnatal depression and eventually suffered a burnt-out due to work stress, which affected my functionality. The turning point came when I finally sought medical help from IMH. Through collaboration with my psychiatrist Dr Poornima, active use of medication has helped to stabilize my mood and she then connected me to a Peer Support Specialist - Mr Julius Chan, as she saw the potential in me to also become a Peer Support Specialist.
My Mentor Julius encouraged me to attend a Recovery Wellness & Sustenance (RWS) workshop that he was conducting and I was greatly inspired by his recovery story. I was hungry to recover and was very determined to stay strong for my family, so I attended his workshop faithfully and eventually graduated from it. It then prepared the ground for me to be enrolled to Peer Support Specialist training conducted by NCSS. The Certified Peer Specialist programme has reinforced my recovery and increased my resilience tremendously. It has equipped me with competencies to perform the role of a Peer Support Specialist and taught me how to abide by the ethical standards.
This course has a practicum component, which allows me to be attached to Caregivers Alliance Ltd as an intern. It has created opportunities for me to share my recovery story with peers, as well as caregivers of loved ones with mental health conditions, to instill hope into them that recovery is possible. My dream is to accompany my peers and empower them on their road to recovery. I am also an active mental health advocate who seeks to stamp out stigma in mental illnesses, so that more people who are suffering in silence will step forward to receive treatment. I believe that there is no shame to have a mental health condition, as it is just a physical disability like any common illness that can be treated. Indeed my speedy recovery is proof that peer support truly works!
To me, Resilience in Recovery requires three things: Courage – to embrace the past Gratitude – for the gifts of the present And Hope – to make the most of your future Recovery from mental illness is possible because I stand as the evidence of recovery myself! I believe that everyone can recover so long as we don’t give up hope!
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