*Trigger Warning: Sexual Assault, Abuse, Manipulation.
“Hope is everything for people facing mental illness. Continue believing to survive.”
It took me eight years to understand my mental illness; Panic disorder with severe anxiety, agoraphobia and depression. For that, I underwent numerous draining processes of psychotherapy to solve the mystery of my predicaments. The goal was to find out what were the root underlying issues that had caused these mental illness of mine that had been so challenging to deal with. I had been juggling between surviving daily panic attacks, severe anxiety to do anything and everything that needed to be done, avoiding my agoraphobia of entering Singapore that could trigger panic attacks, and juggling with depression which is a totally different ball game. I am now living in Malaysia for the slower pace of surviving life.
And so, after 8 long years of:
- Consuming prescribed antidepressants on time without being stubborn
- Daily fights for survival from panic attacks
- Being a good patient, son and brother by taking medications regularly and not causing anyone who loves me to worry
- Having an open positive mind and perspective of mental conditions
- Being a good patient by quickly sleeping when suicidal thoughts arise
- Overcoming constant depression
Eventually, one fine day, I found the answer to the root of my underlying issues. The main culprit who triggered all the madness of my anxieties leading to a disorder was non-other than my paternal aunt. I will refer to her as “The Ice Queen”. She used to doll me up as a girl when I was a child. Whatever her actions and reasons were at the time, it did not matter because what she did had messed up my identity of a boy and misled my sexual preferences. I struggled with my sexual identity and had problems accepting it even now as a gay man and I get depressed over it.
I had been lucky and grateful for the fact that I had so much love and support from my direct family and my caregiver. However, I was amazed and very disappointed that when the underlying issue eventually identified and emerged, my direct family went silent, confused and lost. Everything I had to share became silence. Thy preferred to not know because the situation got too tricky. Well, I don’t blame them. They were in shock and they love me at the same time and dealing with the Ice Queen would be a nightmare for them.
I remember vividly the color of my eye shadow was a mix of purple and pink. Perhaps it was trendy in the 80s. The rosy cheeks and a flower clipped next to my ear. I was looking at the mirror and I was amazed by how beautiful I was as a girl. The Ice Queen would rush to wipe my face clean whenever she heard my parents had returned home. It was on several occasions that I was dolled up until I felt and thought I was a girl. I began to admire my mum’s beauty. My mum’s beauty accessories and high heeled shoes never failed to wow me. I would secretly open her drawers, holding her accessories like a gem. Fortunately, my desire to be a girl stopped when I reached puberty. I am comfortable with my male body and not feeling trapped in the wrong body.
Apparently, the Ice Queen had issues herself. She cried a lot when she didn’t win. I suppose that was when a psychopath and a perpetrator was born. My dad worked so hard to raise the family and support her education till she attained a degree level. As such, I missed out on the fatherly attention at that time. I was raised in a solely female environment most times. Even though I was a child, the Ice Queen also had issues with my mum. She used to stay at my parent’s home and she had access to constantly manipulate my chain of thoughts.
One day, the Ice Queen brought along a lesbian best friend she met to live at my parent’s home with the assumption that it was alright that her newly found best friend stayed with my parents. My dad was totally uncomfortable but as the youngest sister, she was quite a spoilt brat. Along the way, she tricked me with untrue facts about my mum day by day, and pretending to cry like a victim. She had so much tears to spare as her weapon. I don’t how my mum survived and was patient with her cranky and unacceptable self-pitying attitude.
I remember her hiding me behind the closet doors programming my mind to hate my parents, especially my mum, where she succeeded. As a child, I believed her constant manipulation. When she thought her wings were strong enough to fly, she was also ready to hurt my dad who was suffering with depression. After all the love from her brother, I remember very clearly what she said to my dad, making him cry so much. She said she was never happy living with my dad, the person who raised and loved her since their father died when she was young.
My dad was repairing a fishing net at that moment. He spent his miserable depression period fishing and repairing long fish nets. My dad broke down and cried like a baby. He was then admitted to a mental institution. That was the beginning of my anxieties. My aunt left the house as if she was being chased and cried like as if she was beaten. She bad mouthed my family big time to the other families till the rest saw us as a pest and disease until they themselves got manipulated.
She made the decision to leave herself. So as everyone does, it is very normal to return the spare keys as I would to my landlords, it was common sense. My mother requested her for the key in my presence and there she was, as a drama queen, she cried and cried making me believe that my mum tortured her mentally because she duplicated the key with her hard-earned money. Such a trivial matter made into such a huge fuss. It is so normal for anyone who would duplicate keys and return to the owner when it’s time to leave. Nobody chased her. It was her own decision with her best friend who deliberately used words like “tame”, which is normally used to describe animals, to describe my siblings and I to spite my parents whenever she had the opportunity.
The Ice Queen was then called by my dad’s doctor and she claimed she was also mentally tortured by the doctor. The words “mentally tortured” were frequently used to manipulate my mind such that she forgot she was mentally torturing me too. I suppose she deserved it for putting my dad in such a situation.
My siblings were all too young to feel the outrage and sadness of both my parents, but I was very disturbed by her behavior then. She made me trusted her so much and then she abandoned me. She made me love her very much, yet she manipulated me time after time. I was so blinded by her manipulative words that I hated my parents which I realized was a huge mistake.
At the same time, during those moments of crisis, I was also silently suffering the anxieties of being constantly tailed by men, who are strangers, during my trips to music lessons at Yamaha Music School at Plaza Singapura. I was constantly being molested by unknown male strangers in the bus and public toilets. Those unattended traumas led to my other sexuality issue which is being gay.
I was always afraid to go to the toilet when I needed to pee. I was bullied in school and the army of guys were constantly eager and curious of my sexuality by rubbing their erect penises on my body in some disturbing occasions to checkout if there are any reactions from me. I always kept a blank face. Even at work, guys were making fun of me assuming my sexuality. These are so called straight men. Married and happily ever after, being accepted by society as being married. But, they have the most disgusting curiosity habits when they gather only to make fun of the weak. Most times, these men can be in the closet themselves, hiding their true sexual identity. By making fun, they become heroes.
I could not share all my troubled moments to any of my family members until I was 34 years of age, especially about my true sexuality issue, as they were too troubled themselves. So, I kept everything to myself and eventually created panic disorder within myself and constant depression throughout my growing up years. There were years I was stronger than other years.
2010 marked the beginning of panic disorder. I had been a constant fighter. 2018 shall be my 8th year fighting. My strengths seemed so apparent with my abilities to produce a music album entitled “Solitude” and self-publishing my book about panic disorder since no publisher wanted to publish my book. My book entitled, “Panic Disorder – The Choice and Willpower to Survive” is just a needle in a haystack. Mental health stigmas did not help either and I have no marketing team for support. It was difficult for me to always be a one man show, especially struggling with my illness. To me, even if it is just a self- publication, perhaps, one day the needle can be discovered from the haystack to help other people with my story and tips I shared in the book. My website for the book is www.sufyanadlisupiani.com.
The music album was another tiny needle hidden in a haystack. My album production process was supported and funded very well only for me to realize that all the desperate support was just a publicity stunt to cover up for some political issue. Whatever I had to say to the media was closely monitored to my face and I felt pressured, not being able to express the truth. I felt disgusted and since 2014, I never had the desire to sing or even look at my music album. Many copies unsold and kept in the storeroom to collect dust. The music album was recorded, and the music video was filmed in Mauritius because at some point of my recovery phase, I did a music video on my own and won a scholarship to study a Diploma in Film Production. After one semester, due to the stress, I had a severe relapse such that I had to be warded in a mental institution. Nevertheless, while schooling, I did make friends with some international students. One of my friends from Mauritius opened a recording studio and since we were on tight budget, I flew to Mauritius, fighting my biggest fear of being in a flight as I was claustrophobic. I even fainted prior to the filming of the music video due to a severe panic attack but because the album was important, I got myself up and the show must go on. Mental health is not all about how many times we fall, but how many times we get up no matter how hard it is.
Same goes for my book. I never reprinted as there was no demand for it. Even if there is a demand when eventually discovered, I shall not have any money to reprint the hardcopies of the book unless the books are purchased online via the amazon website.
Upon identifying that the Ice Queen was the root cause of my underlying issues that triggered chain of reactions to my anxieties, panic attack and depression, I thought it was only fair that I request monetary compensation since my family and caregiver had contributed a massive amount for my treatments over the 8 years. The amount was based on the 8 years of disabilities of unemployment, emotional damages and for me to perhaps start a new life by growing the money to start up a spa business. The amount is nothing compared to how much pain, sufferings and the loss of my pride.
The Ice Queen is a millionaire. Being single, she could afford the compensation requested so that I could make peace and closure with her and start focusing on my other underlying issues. I was hoping to get the compensation transferred to my account by 12 January 2018 on my 41st as a birthday gift to feel reborn.
Unfortunately, I was ignored and totally given a silent treatment despite begging her daily. I was highly suicidal on my birthday having to accept the fact that I could no longer afford anymore treatments. Here I am not in denial with my illness and struggling to get better, there she was, the Ice Queen with a cold heart and as hard as a stone. Due to desperation, I postponed all treatments till April 2018 to give myself 2 months to earn money to pay for my treatments. I even went to the extreme of wanting to be a male prostitute, but I was told that I was too old, fat and ugly. Because I was depressed and desperate, I believed that I was too old, fat and ugly. It took me lots of effort to rise again.
The power of the magnificent Ice Queen to control and manipulate family after family with her self-pity attitude and often feeling victimized by anyone and everyone, paralyzed my family to be unable to assist me further to avoid any mental tortures from her end.
My dad and mum are both aging and not in good enough health to get attacked by the screaming Ice Queen. My siblings have had their fair share of mental tortures and I totally understand their dilemmas. As for the compensation, since I cannot afford a lawyer to sue her, I must let it go and find other options. I strongly believe God has bigger plans for me.
- Sufyan Supiani
You can support Sufyan by contributing towards his medical treatments here.