Founder and mental health counsellor specialising in cultural values.
From where it began
My upbringing revolved around one goal:
As I grew up in a traditional Asian household, mental health was not a topic of conversation over family dinner. We never talked about feelings or asked, "are you okay?". I remember overcoming my fear and telling my parents I was not being myself and struggling to focus at work. Instead of receiving emotional comfort, my parents responded, "What do you mean? You have a job, house, education, food, car, why are you complaining? Are you changing jobs again?". I questioned myself and asked, what reason do I have not to be happy? What my parents said made sense. After that, I suppressed my feelings, hoping it would all go away because my parents were right. What reason do I have not to be happy?
Years went by; a series of events were building up, leading me to a dark place. I felt pushed into a corner where I found myself blaming everyone and everything. It ultimately affected my health, relationships with family, friends, and work.
I continued to ignore the warning signs: 3-4 hours of sleep, stomach aches, headaches, skin flare-ups, constant mistakes made at work, not concentrating, and dropping things while doing simple daily tasks. I even felt feel nervous speaking in front of a group of people. I also preferred to spend money on other people because it gave me satisfaction and joy, but I didn't feel I was worth it when it came to money and me.
It wasn't until someone close to me reached out as they noticed changes in my behaviour and became concerned for my mental health. They shared their experience and suggested I try and speak to a mental health professional because it made a positive difference for them.
I was so nervous and skeptical about speaking to a professional because mental health is taboo growing up. It is something you don't talk about because it simply doesn't exist, and I certainly did not want to bring shame to the family. I felt I had to give counselling a chance because I was burnt out and had not been coping for a long time.
From personal breakdowns and breakthroughs to a local counsellor
Turned into profession
I knew there was only one way to change – overcoming shame and asking for help. For so long, I was managing my stress and anxiety without realising other resources were available to me. I consistently showed up as a perfectionist pretending everything was bright and happy, but behind closed doors, I was still the same person who was overwhelmed, frustrated and stuck. I no longer enjoyed social activities or hobbies that kept me busy. I was tired, and I started to withdraw from family and friends because it was easy that way.
As an Asian-Australian, the cultural upbringing and inter-generational conflict played a significant role in how I think and feel about life, which led to me not being aware of the signs and symptoms affecting my mental health.
The benefits of seeking professional counseling have helped change my perspective and attitude toward life and make my mental health a priority. From personal breakdowns to personal breakthroughs, the experience has led to my passion for turning lived experience into helping second generations like you understand how your cultural upbringing has influenced your mental health and create a care system that best serves you.
What do I do?
I help second generations like you learn and understand how your cultural upbringing has influenced your mental health and how you can create a support system of care that best serves you!
My experience in the corporate industry and personal challenges from a cultural upbringing to volunteering for a national crisis hotline has provided me with skills and capabilities to be a counsellor specialising in cultural values. Also, as part of my ongoing learning and development, I enjoy collaborating with local mental health professionals and businesses who share the same values and are determined to find ways to normalise stigma in the cultural community. From presenting interactive workshops to promoting self-care boxes, we create awareness and accessibility to a range of resources so that people know they are not alone and know there is support.