Tiffany is well on her way in her healing process, and this short film will hopefully inspire you to seek help too. This video was made possible by the generous support of Milestone Foundation and creative inspiration from EdenArts Club. Chinese subtitles are available. 中文字幕可用.
Made possible by the generous support of Milestone Foundation, this four-part series showcases the journeys of people who have lived experience of anxiety, family and friends as supporters, education about anxiety and ideas on how to increase resilience and wellbeing.
Transcript of video:
"I think people definitely underestimate the severity of anxiety and just how debilitating it could be. Anxiety could cause you to drop out of school, to run away from a home. It could cause you unsurmounted disruption in your daily life.
My name is Tiffany and I've experienced anxiety. I really love cooking and I feel it's helped quite a lot with my anxiety. When I'm in the kitchen it's just me and my ingredients! It's just me and my wok. I'll try and cook dishes that have been passed down in my family or dishes that remind me of home. That knowledge is really really important to me in terms of my anxiety because it makes me feel that I'm part of something bigger.
My symptoms first started to show when I was 15 after my dad passed away. I would get a lot of anxiety around what was gonna happen in the future how I was going to live my life without my Dad. You get really anxious because you're really scared that someone else is gonna pass away in that same manner.
I was always panicking about little small minute details. If I saw that something was a little bit off centre I would panic. ‘Did someone break into my room? Did someone move it?’ If I cut my finger I’d think ‘Am I gonna die of an infection?’
My hands were constantly shaking and I would have trouble falling asleep. I would feel really nauseous. I would make myself not eat because I just felt that I just didn't deserve it, because I was so anxious all the time. I kind of withdrew from social activities, I just didn't want to talk to anybody and I didn't want to reach out to anybody.
I did eventually seek help to make that first step. It was just a huge burden off my shoulders and just a huge relief. It was really good to be able to talk to a professional that's trained to understand what you're going through.
I think seeking help was definitely more difficult as someone with an Asian background because I'm Chinese and we are a very very proud people and it's kind of seen as something that you have to deal with internally and within your own family. It's not seen as something you would want to go and tell other people about because we just don't have a culture of being open to talk about this stuff.
I think if I didn't seek help I would be exactly where I was when I was 15, still being severely anxious every single day. Still not wanting to socialise, just wanting to be isolated. I probably wouldn't even be here to be honest.
If you are struggling with mental health issues and you are Chinese, I would say it's definitely okay to come forward there's a lot more help out there than you realise and there's help that's targeted towards people like you.
There have been people who have been super super supportive people who have said to me “I also struggle with this and you know thank you for talking about this.”
I think it would be absolutely fantastic in the future for us as a community to be able to come together and support one another when we do suffer from mental health issues.
I really like to cook dishes that I've kind of invented myself. Also my dad was a chef so it runs in the family! Food is definitely a big part of Chinese culture. We use food as a method to show our joy, show emotions, show our love.
I definitely say that cooking is a confidence-building thing. The more that you enforce positive emotions, the more confident you feel to battle your anxiety."