You may or may not know this, but from personal experience, I know that there are better days even when you’re depressed. When I was sick, there were a few troughs during that period. I wasn’t down for the entire year but there were periods of time where it was worse than the others. During those periods, it was extremely difficult for me to do anything or maintain a positive outlook on life. It wasn’t until I was constantly pushed (in a good way) by my boyfriend and family to be positive that I started to get better.
In my case, my depression was mostly caused by the stress built up throughout my entire life leading up to the breaking point. It was due to a combination of pressure placed on myself by myself and others. In the end, I completely lost confidence in everything I did, even in things that I was good at – for example, studying.
Looking back, I feel that what helped me a lot was this piece of paper.
This isn’t any ordinary piece of paper, it was something that I found difficult to even write down at the time. My dad found an article in a Malaysian Chinese newspaper back around April/May 2014 on this matter, and the content of this piece of paper pretty much sums up the main points of the article. (At the time of writing, I could no longer find the article where these statements were from – I apologise for not being able to link you to it).
With the help of my family and boyfriend, finally I came to realise the importance of these 3 statements.
不要怕，要有自信，不要担心犯错 (Don’t be afraid, be confident, don’t be afraid of making mistakes)
Mistakes are essential in making progress in life – whether at work or with relationships – you will need to accept the fact that mistakes are important in helping us improve. Confidence is not something that can be found, but it has to be built through making lots of mistakes. After mistakes come experience, once you have experience, you would have improved and will be doing a lot better than your first try.
This was difficult for me to digest at first. I was so scared of making mistakes that I just completely stopped doing anything altogether. Prior to one of the troughs of my depression, I could cook fine, I could shop for groceries fine, I could do my Chinese homework fine and I could interact with people just fine. However, because my confidence was completely lost during that period, I stopped doing all of those things and started to doubt every single thing that I did.
It was when I started to accept that mistakes had to be made for me to learn and become a better person that I started to become better. The more I did those things again, the more confident I got and the better I got at doing them. At the end of my Shanghai trip, I was able to regain my confidence and I felt better as a whole.
少想多试，克服过度分析 (Think less, do more, overcome over analysing)
You’d be surprised at the things you can achieve once you stop over analysing everything, and just do things.
Remember how I helped out Kirsten and Manfred in Shanghai? I had so much doubt in my abilities prior and wanted to just pull out and not go at all. My role there was just an assistant, and if they’ve asked me to help, surely they have some trust in my abilities, right? However, that wasn’t what was in my head, all I could think about was “What if I screw up? What if I am not good enough? What if I can’t even do the simplest tasks? What if they don’t like me? What if… what if… what if…”
If I had let those doubts stop me from getting hold of those opportunities, I wouldn’t have (re)discovered my passion for patisserie. It was when I let go (after some healthy pushing from my boyfriend), and started to just go with the flow while remaining positive, that I realise that I could do a lot more than I originally thought.
每天要活得开开心心 (Be happy everyday)
This is the most important point of the three. At the end of the day, you have a choice to look at the brighter side of things and be happier, everyday. There might be bad days, but there will always be something positive, even if it is a small thing. Happiness is, in my opinion, an attitude you take in life. All you need to do is change your mindset, and you will be a slightly happier person.