For years, I was trapped in a world of delusions – I fancied a man, but my feelings was not reciprocated. I was later diagnosed with schizophrenia and sought help from Simei Care Centre (SCC).
Through the help of the Supported Employment Programme at SCC, I found a job at the Arnold’s Fried Chicken as a waitress. I received great support from my Employment Specialist. She would always encouraged me and help me in my work. My performance at work was consistent. However, sometimes, my supervisor would complained of me being dreamy. I was lost. I had no idea what causes me to be dreamy at work. Could it be my delusions?
Ms. Goh Siao Yen, my case manager, remembered that I mentioned to her previously about my wish to repeat my O’Levels. She linked it to me being dreamy at work. It was not about my delusions. It was because I had an unfulfilled dream buried deep down in my heart – to complete my studies. I had always feel inferiors that my peers from school had moved on and are doing well in their career, while I had not done well in my O’Levels due to my mental health conditions.
Siao Yen was very helpful. She found me an opportunity to repeat my O’Levels at an affordable cost in the then private school, now called the Academies Australasia College. My parents, although divorced, were supportive of me going back to school. With 75% government subsidy, waiver from SCC and contributions from my parents, a big portion of the fees for my residential stay in SCC and the private schooling were being taken care of. All I need to do was to work four evenings a week to pay for the balance of the expenses. I began to see greater hopes in my world.
Siao Yen was very kind to arrange tuitions for me. I was tutored for English by Harris Ng, the famous Singapore mental health advocate and consumer. There was a very kind and diligent volunteer, Mr Ong How Hwee who tutored me General Maths and Additional Maths.
At the end of first year of my studies, I was awarded the “Most Progress Member”. My performance at work had also improved. I was no longer dreamy and got along better with my supervisor and fellow colleagues. We even started hanging out more often after work. My employer appreciated me for my dependability.
However, during my final year of studies, I began to feel discouraged. I was not hitting my targeted grades. I was aiming to pursue a diploma in Pharmacy after my O’Levels and I needed the good grades. Seeing in wallowing in stress and negative emotions, Siao Yen counselled me and made me realised that there are many different opportunities ahead of me. Even if I am unable to become a pharmacist, I can choose other career, e.g. a tutor.
Siao Yen went one step further, and approached help from the centre’s director, Mr. Steven Ting, who in turn help to sought donation to support part of my expanses, so that I could reduce working from four evenings to two evenings and have more time to prepare for my exams.
Their kind act and my hardwork finally paid off. I scored A2 in my Additional Maths and qualified to apply for courses at Republic Polytechnic. Lo and behold, a Diploma in Pharmaceutical Science, which is to become a pharmacy assistant became possible! Although it was not to be a pharmacist, it was close to my dream!
As my dad’s house was nearer to Republic Polytechnic than SCC, I returned to stay with my dad in Boon Lay. I continue to receive support from Singapore Anglican Community Services – Community Rehabilitation and Support Services (CRSS) Bukit Batok this time.
Although I had faced struggles, I never failed a semester, nor did I have a relapse through my time with SCC and CRSS Bukit Batok. The Wellness Management and Recovery psycho-education program I learnt in SCC helped me detect early warning signs. When I was under a lot of stress and the signs began to show, I sought help; and, hence, managed to prevent a relapse. And in all my five years of study, I stopped having delusions too.
In May 2015, I walked up the convocation stage to receive my scroll. I felt elated and triumphant fulfilling my dream of completing a diploma. Many people had helped. The Wellness Management and Recovery program, the tuition, counseling and financial assistance applications were all part of the Supported Education programmes I received from the Singapore Anglican Community Services (SACS). I would definitely recommend studying and Supported Education services so that similar others will have a better future and a sense of purpose in life. To God be the glory for He was my strength and He brought people and SACS to me.
HY – A member of Simei Care Centre