"You can be having a normal day when suddenly, a flood of emotions just comes over you and drowns you. Like a hand pushing you down underwater. A week later, you’re finally able to catch your breath. But the feeling is like you’ve run the longest marathon in your life.
That’s PTSD. You can’t control it. You don’t know when it comes. In my case, the trigger is a song. It reminds me of the time my mum was very sick in hospital, when she kept saying, ‘Jerry, I want to go home! Jerry, I want to go home!’ But the doctors wouldn’t allow it. Eventually, she passed away.
For years, there would be episodes when I would just cry or shake for no reason. Sometimes on the bus, sometimes in front of friends. My wife Janet would say, ‘C’mon, snap out of it!’
I guess, at the onset, she didn’t understand. But the turning point was when she agreed to meet my counsellor. She learnt there are things you don’t say to a person with depression. Things like ‘Up to you.’ or ‘Snap out of it!’
Somehow, my depression strengthened our relationship. She says, through me, she became more patient and more sensitive to people. In fact, she and I have created our own ministry, listening to others with mental health challenges and encouraging them to seek help. We encourage them to be vulnerable and open up. Because sharing how you feel helps with your healing.
Recently, I joined Resilience Collective, an organisation that supports those with mental health issues. We are in a unique position to help because everyone on staff has struggled with a mental health condition personally.
Now, I’m in 90% recovery, though certain conversations still evoke a lot of emotions. But I believe the more it comes out, the more I will get better."
- Jeremy Chan, peer support group worker clinically diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.