Abuse is Not Obvious
First off depression is invisible, and anyone can go through it without showing any signs…until it’s too late.
Throughout my life, I have been known as a very private, ultra-tough and super logical woman that can handle anything that came my way. Being a woman, working in a world that are dominated by mostly men (this by no means I’m a feminist or think all men are misogynist), emotion to me is something that would get in the way of my work so it’s something that is suppressed since I started working 17 years ago.
So here’s my story on how psychological abuse is a silent and is an extremely scary thing.
Let’s start with the basics: verbal insults, criticism, negative comments directed to devalue someone don’t carry physical markers and psychological and emotional distress done in a persistent pattern can ultimately lead to depression and pain. This is unfortunately what I went through in the past 4 weeks by my boss.
It would start with a few negative comments few times a day to private criticism and insults a few hours a day to verbal berating in front of others on a daily basis. At first I would give excuses that the abuse was due to insensitivity or wrong choice of words until he self admittedly that his abuse was intentional and the only reasoning is because I’m a subordinate.
I was taught at a very young age to treat others how you want to be treated. However, no matter how hard I tried to kill him with kindness the results would just be the same.
I didn’t understand that what I was going through was abuse, that it was hacking away at my self-esteem, making me doubting my self-worth and ability. Things continue to spiral for weeks until the third week I would start to cry uncontrollably at home. It would be when I’m watching TV, eating, changing or showering. The next phase I went through was the inability to eat, loss of appetite causing the loss of about 10lbs within 3 weeks. The final step was realizing I had no ‘way out’ and wanted to self-harm to get away from it all and it was then I realize what I had was depression.
This depression, that’s in my head is like a black hole that only expands and sucks in all bad feeling or thoughts in it. It could be anything and during any time of the day that something triggers sadness, breakdown and shutdowns. It’s inconceivable to know that someone is able to affect my brain chemicals and being able to brainwash me to make me think that I’m not good enough.
Seeking help in Hong Kong is no easy feat either. Psychological help is rarely covered in any standard health care and paying out of pocket can cost HKD1,200-$3,500 (USD155-450) per session and this doesn’t cover the cost of medications if needed. There are sliding scale doctors available but the cost can still be around $700 each session for better doctors or trainees for $300 per session. Psychological medications are rarely prescribed in Hong Kong and could take up to weeks of seeing a psychologist before the necessary meds are prescribed.
It was with friends and family support that I know I needed to leave the company for my sake and those around me. Since June 15, after 6 weeks of abuse I have left the company!
Even the strongest and toughest people go through mental abuse and it’s nothing something that can be seen and most people can hid it really well.
I hope that with my story it can help raise awareness to mental health and to raise a bit of money for myself to seek treatment and people that are in the same situation.