- Self Employedpresent
Though some are clearer than others, most memories of my childhood remain difficult to dwell on or even recount. I was a fearful, nervous child who struggled to overcome my dread of social settings, especially those involving school. Crippled by my fears, I would spend my school days keeping to myself, fighting tears and the constant threat of nausea, as the other children participated in lives that seemed to me both normal and so far out of reach.
I clearly remember an instance where a class activity required us to paint our hands and place them on a classroom wall; a creative exercise typical for our age group, but also one that paralyzed me with fear and dismay. The threat of intermingling with others, coupled with my own dread of being singled out, proved too much for me and I fainted straight away.
Like crying, pinching, hitting or rocking myself, fainting wasn’t exactly an uncommon reaction for me. If anything, it at least deafened me to the taunts and mocking of my classmates, who enjoyed in me a constant target. No matter what the reaction, though, one thing was certain: I felt crippled by my condition.
And I was only five years old.
Throughout my adolescence, I was tormented by what I would eventually understand to be serious social anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder, which proved as paralysing as it was isolating. I did everything I could to conceal my angst from those around me, even becoming dependent on sour plums (a packet of which I always carried with me) in an effort to curb the constant threat of nausea and vomiting. Despite my efforts, however, there would be tremendous lows, and I was unable to leave the house for months at a time.
My father, whose frustration and misunderstanding were often misplaced with anger and intolerance, struggled to find an answer for my disabling condition. As for my Mum, she remained a constant source of support and reassurance, while also suffering in quiet despair. There is no doubt that my parents loved me; they just didn’t understand me. By the age of 14, it became apparent that I was not going through some phase, and real help was needed.
Of course, real help came in the form of psychiatrists and a wide spectrum of antidepressants and panic suppressants. Some helped. Some made matters worse. However, with the passage of time and through some much needed maturation, life and all its anxieties became more manageable. I began to conquer my fears and excel in the very place that used to torment me: school. I also began to enjoy exercise and bodybuilding, a wonderful stress reliever and confidence booster at a time when I needed it most. And though I was never completely free of my internal struggles, I was finally beginning to live a life that felt normal. And then things got better.
Based on my early obstacles, I felt compelled to put my IT experience to work in a way that would enhance people’s lives. From this desire came the birth of TriumphPoint, a goal setting, goal tracking and donation website for achieving life's greatest dreams. It was born from my empathy for others, and bred with my belief that such empathy exists in all of us. Secondly, my love of bodybuilding (and my belief that I can create something better than the equipment found in the average gym) inspired my second business venture, Flexalong.
Though eventually both ventures didn't work out, I took comfort that I tried and moved on to something that I was talented in doing, Graphic Design. And now, I am having a blast day trading the US stock market. Ultimately, much of my journey was influenced by what I felt I couldn't do; but now, I am directing my own course, which is unencumbered by doubt or anxiety and with the belief that in life, as Chaucer so accurately scribed, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained”.
- Singapore PolytechnicDiploma in IT, 2000 - 2003