"While waiting for my O-Level results, I was so fearful, stressed and anxious about failing to live up to other people’s expectations, I couldn’t sleep for seven days and seven nights. My nerves started hurting and I felt body pains. In just one week, I lost 10kg. Some of my extended family members thought I was possessed or had a spiritual issue. Finally, my uncle pushed for me to go to the hospital, where I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder.
I sleep very little. On a normal day, if I sleep for six to eight hours, my mum will be very happy. If I sleep at 3 o'clock, she’ll be like, 'What's going on?' The other thing is racing thoughts. If you don’t sleep, your brain gets all hyperactive. There’s an adrenaline rush. I’ll start talking too much or do more than is necessary for my job. Then I’ll end up really exhausted.
But now, I've learnt how my brain works and what my relapse triggers are. I know this is my circuit board and these are my trigger buttons. I don't press them myself, nor do I let others press them. If I'm already affected, I’d know how to draw back and recharge myself, so I don’t crash and burn. My family is a really great gatekeeper for that.
I was also afraid that by disclosing my condition, nobody would want to work with me. But that turned out to be untrue. My co-workers were all highly supportive.That made me realise that I had self-sabotaged myself with self-stigmatisation.
Sometimes, we're guilty of complicating things for ourselves. With a mental health condition, you have so many skeletons in your closet. To start your recovery, you need to cleanse it out."
- Siti Noor Baizura Rahmatullah, clinically diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder