"Thank you Ms Yan! I am much happier now." said the 16-year old girl with beaming eyes and a grin that revealed the whites of her teeth.
I smiled, feeling proud of this young girl before me and how much she has grown and change since half a year ago after our conversation.
6 months before...
After a 2-days Groomed for Success training and teambuilding workshop had concluded, i sat with the group of 15 to 16-year old students and had them reflect on their learning.
It was this girl's turn. She had not been in the session three quarters of the time as she was unwell.
"urm..i learnt that..the class can bond without me."
oh oh..i thought to myself. I would need to give this girl personal attention. After dismissing the class, I invited the girl to sit with me to review the parts of the lesson she had missed.
"If life was ideal for you, how would you describe it?" I asked.
At the sound of her own voice, huge tears rolled down her cheeks as she began to shake uncontrollably.
"What makes you happy?"
"I don't remember."
"When was the last time you were happy?"
"8 years ago, when everyone came.."
After her parents parted ways, this girl's life changed. To support the family, her mother took on two jobs and hardly had time for her. And she had to also help to care of her grandmother and two siblings. Emotionally, she had no one to turn to and she had bottled up everything for too long.
"Do you remember yourself?"
This question left the girl silent as it slowly dawn upon her that she had been so busy caring for everyone but herself.
"The only person who is in control of your time is yourself. You need to make sure you put time aside for yourself otherwise you will go into a downward spiral."
With that, a much happier looking girl nodded her head with a new resolution to make amendments in her life and to try and find a time to have a conversation with her mother.
As I walked out of the school compound, I sighed and wondered how many youths out there have bottled up all their emotions. No wonder depression rates are on the rise. If we can reach out to more youths early on, we would be able to prevent depression.
by Shane Yan Shiyan & Shamantha Yan Shiya