by Chantale Roch
My name is Chantale and I am currently 20 years of age. I was born in Singapore and spent 9 years of my life there before making the big move to Perth, Australia. Growing up in Singapore was a whole different experience compared to the lifestyle over here in Australia, things were quite strict and tough back home. My parents decided at that time it was the best thing to do, so that my brother and I could get a better education and a better lifestyle in general.
Life was wonderful for the first couple of years, and then I reached my teenage years- where everything took a turn for the worse. I started experiencing your normal "teenage girl" problems, but it wasn't until year 10 when everything came crumbling down on me. I had always heard about people suffering from depression, anxiety and all other sorts of mental illness but never understood what it felt like until I, myself, was diagnosed with clinical depression. That's when it hit me. I went into my own little world that was just filled with nothing but dark clouds. As if I was caged inside someone else's body and I had no way of getting out. I didn't even recognise myself. I would hate the way I looked, constantly calling myself fat, and I hated the acne marks that formed on both sides of my cheeks.
High school was a nightmare for me even though I had "friends". I had spent most of my year 12 days inside my year coordinator's office doing schoolwork instead of being with the people that I spent the last five years of high school life with. Let's just say it wasn't exactly how I planned, let alone imagined, my last year of high school to be. I never went to the stage of cutting myself but I most definitely had suicidal thoughts. Even though no action was taken, that doesn't mean that it wasn't as serious as anyone else who suffers or has suffered from depression. It took me a long time to break out of that shell and become what society would call a "normal person" again.
High school to me was exactly what you saw in the movies, but without the scripts and cameras. You had all your social cliques- I never really understood why we needed them. High school had insinuated that you needed to be skinny to be considered pretty, and you needed to be liked by everyone to be in the 'popular group'. It wasn't until I left high school that I realised none of that shit matters in the real world.
Soon after, I went to Uni and started studying health science. I quickly lost interest and left uni, I then started working in the car industry. Why the sudden change? Mum was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014 and everything had changed. Never could I have ever imagined what kind of impact it would have on my family, and one thing is for sure- none of us handled it well. It was a major bombshell that no one saw coming. Then again, you can never really be prepared for something like that.
As the eldest child in the family, I knew it was my responsibility to make sure that my family were financially stable, that we still had a roof over our heads and food to eat. I was working 6 days a week, 120 hours a fortnight! My social life went down the drain but I needed to make that sacrifice for my family's sake. Nothing was going my way, and I soon felt like i was being sucked into the world I was living in when I was going through depression. Words can't describe what I went through and truth be told, to this very day I have no idea how to open up to people and tell them exactly how I’m feeling. It's something that I've never really been good at. But in the process of everything, I have learned a lot of valuable lessons that have shaped me into the person I am today.
No matter what we are going through in life, we should always be thankful! There are people out there who won't get to see daylight again, or be able to say I love you to their family and friends. We still get a chance to do that and so much more! Life may be shit at times, but we still have people who love and care about us. We get so caught up in our problems and focus on all the negativity that we forget to take a step back and appreciate the life that we have. People will always come and go, but that's just life and there's nothing we can do about that. Life will also always put obstacles in our way. Obstacles can come in many different ways. It could be general problems that we face daily, or it can be the people around us. I like to tell people to look at every problem they have as a hurdle. If you can't jump over it, knock it down and then walk over it, walk around it or even crawl under the hurdle itself. The main point is, there is always a way to get around your problem; you just have to find what works for you and go with it. Take it coming from a girl who faces obstacles everyday.
Stay humble, stay blessed!
If you or someone you know needs urgent support please contact the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467, the Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.