Mind HK Ambassador

Jason’s story

 Research assistant

How has mental health affected your day to day life? 

I was in secondary school, when I noticed that I was in love with a boy. At that time I was conflicted and desperate, since I was born into a Christianain family. I faced a constant battle with myself over my sexuality and my identity. I was even willing to become a monk for Jesus; to give up love, to be alone for eternity. At the time, I would start crying suddenly at school when I was alone. I also experienced a lot of self-deprecating thoughts and a low self-esteem. Adding to my distress was the verbal bullying that I experienced from my classmates. Being overweight and with severe acne fueled much of the bullying, with classmates saying I was ugly, that I was not worthy of anything. My distress, low mood and negative sense of self impacted my grades. 


How has the stigma around mental health affected your life? 

I remember my friends had a big fight with me saying, because I wasn’t good at replying to their messages — they took it as me ignoring them. However, I was not. I was tired and didn’t have the energy to reply to anyone at that time. After I said I had been diagnosed with depression, they didn’t believe in me and thought I was being pretentious. They thought I was just using my depression as an excuse. At church, when they found out about my sexual orientation, I did not receive support. My “situation” was complicated, both my diagnosis of depression and my sexual orientation. I found myself being side-eyed by the parish and ignored by the minister. 


Where/what has been important to you in your mental health journey? Why? 

My counselling clinic. It provided professional help for my depression. My therapist helped me to process the hardships I was experiencing at the time. He helped me learn to communicate with myself. He reminded me to compliment myself at even the smallest accomplishments. He helped me to find a sense of control in my life. The most memorable thing that my therapist said to me was that: “Therapy is only a tool for your recovery. You have to take the step to change your behaviour.” This had become my mantra; it once, that at that time, gave me power to save myself. Recovering from depression was not easy for me, every step was a feat for me. Waking up, going outdoors, self-caring; not to mention, that I still needed to work to support my mental health. The clinic offered me the necessary means and guidance for me to work my way out of my depression. And I am truly grateful for the help and support that my therapist gave me. 


How would you describe yourself? What are your labels?

  1. Diagnosed with Clinical Depression
  2. Survivor: I survived my depression. And I am hoping to provide some survival advice for the people who are experiencing it. 
  3. Healthy: After struggling with my weight and body image, I now aim to be healthy rather than focus on a specific body shape or weight.  
  4. Fashionable: I spent some time studying fashion. I was called a fashion disaster, but now everyone praises my sense of style.
  5. Persistent: If I have a goal, I will use every single ounce of energy to achieve it. I won’t give up easily. 


What gave you hope during your recovery?

My hope is my future self. I have an imprint of my future in my brain. For every step I take, it is closer to my future self. 


Tell us about your life now 

I am now recovered. Those negative thoughts have all but disappeared. Even when they do emerge, I use positive voices in my brain to overpower the negative thoughts. Moreover, I have fostered healthy habits, such as exercising, reading, and playing the flute. I am a more confident person now. When I walk on the street, I am not afraid to look at people, talk to people. Most importantly, I love myself and care for myself now. 


What has your mental health journey taught you? 

I will say that when everyone has abandoned you, even when society has abandoned you, don’t be the one that also abandons yourself.

What would you tell someone who is going through something similar to what you have experienced?
Trust me, it will be hard and difficult, but your future self will be so grateful that you have made the decision to take action. Never give up even in the darkest moment in your life.