For the past two years, he felt hopeless and alone.
His father died, he stopped talking to his mother and lost friends. He was unemployed and broke.
He sank into a depression and sought solace in bad habits.
He almost did something reckless. Then, he put a plea up on Reddit Singapore.
“Having the roughest time of my life, what do I do now?”
In a heartfelt Reddit post, user wsjh wrote: “Having the roughest time of my life.”
“I haven’t felt hopeful for a good two years now,” he continued. “I don’t know how I ended up like this.”
He added that while he used to be a positive person, years of hardship and financial difficulty has turned him bitter.
wsjh continued: “I feel like I’ve given up hope of [getting] out of poverty. It is really depressing to be poor with no way out after trying for so long.”
In his post, he added how his feelings of hopelessness were compounded by his struggles: “I lost my dad before graduating, stopped interacting with my mother totally, struggled to survive school with constant part-time jobs, was mocked by group mates who never understood the pain of juggling school and work. Home became a hotel.”
His savings took a hit three years ago, when he had to stop working due to National Service (NS) obligations.
Now, after completing his NS, the diploma-holder said he can’t find a stable job.
The challenges took a toll. “I sank into a horrible depression,” he wrote.
Alone and feeling hopeless, he started drinking.
However, that came with its own problems. “I squandered all my [savings] on alcohol,” he confessed. “I should never have gone there in the first place.”
This eventually led to self-harm, confessed wsjh.
He continued: “It’s so sad to remember my past self and compare him to [my current state].”
At a loss as to what to do, he ended his post with a plea: “What should I do?”
Sympathetic Redditors quick to offer kindness and advice
Many offered kind words. “Hang in there,” one user wrote. “Please don’t do anything you will regret,” said another. “The most important part is ‘keep moving’,” wrote another user.
Some users, like JonGranger22, took the time to craft a lengthy and helpful response. “I was in your boat once,” he wrote. “I was severely depressed and had no motivation to even go out of the house to meet my friends and family because I had no money.”
He added that he dropped out of polytechnic and did odd jobs for five years as no one would hire him. “I had no skills. No experience. No specific specialty,” he wrote.
Worse, his peers were more successful than he was. “I was so far behind,” he recalled.
However, JonGranger22 turned his life around by changing his perspective. “I found a different perspective on this rat race,” he wrote. He stopped comparing himself with his peers, and suggested the original Redditor do the same. “I told myself I needed to get started, somewhere, somehow,” he added.
“Pick up a skill. No matter what skill. Find a job where you can train on the job and [learn] a skill,” he instructed. “That is your stepping stone. Opportunities will eventually [come], just be ready.”
Another Redditor empathised with wsjh. “I’ve been in your position [before],” wrote VarunSG.
He offered some simple advice: “Start off with a minimum wage job, create a schedule, sleep on time, balance your circadian rhythm to elevate your mood, create a friend circle for support, and watch everything spiral upwards from there.”
“You won’t believe how far a little push can take you,” VarunSG concluded.
Many users suggest organisations to reach out to
Several users also suggested organisations that could help the original Redditor.
One user, Curioustraveller1985, suggested approaching social service agencies such as ComChest. “Take care too. Please don’t give up, no matter what,” he added.
Another user, Catbear83, agreed: “Go to your nearest social service office. Apply for Comcare SMTA for short to medium-term assistance. During this period of time, do part-time jobs and use any available free time you have to look for a full-time job.”
Catbear83 added: “Stay clear of any unhealthy habits, smoking, drinking, self-harm, gambling and the likes. Life can get better no matter how bad it is for you right now.”
“Drop me a private message if you need someone to talk to,” he added.
Several users advised wsjh to see a doctor for his depression. “Taking care of your mental health is so important. If you’re really faced with depressed thoughts, seek treatment for it,” user fatgreycat wrote.
Given that netizens have at times lacked graciousness and consideration towards others online, it’s heartwarming that many Redditors were able to empathise with a stranger on the Internet in this instance, and take time to pen words of encouragement and support.
Instead of being overly harsh or critical to others online, we should remember that our words of kindness can actually make a big difference to someone, especially in their moment of need.
So the next time you see someone lamenting on social media, take a moment to empathise and be compassionate. Your kind words are a simple way to Be Greater, and it will also go some way to encourage others to make the online space more positive and civil.
Helplines for those in need:
Samaritans of Singapore: 1800-221-4444
Singapore Association for Mental Health: 1800-283-7019
Institute of Mental Health’s Mobile Crisis Service: 6389-2222
Care Corner Counselling Centre (Mandarin): 1800-353-5800
Tinkle Friend: 1800-274-4788