3-minute read

A Community Gathers to Talk About Childhood Trauma

Haley attended Our Better World’s community event in Singapore on the mental health topic of childhood trauma and shares her reflections on it.



Haley is a Singaporean in recovery from clinical depression. The three things she’s learned in her healing journey: (1) to reach out and don’t be afraid to seek for help and surround yourself with people who care for you, (2) it’s okay not to be okay and feel your feelings and not be ashamed of them, and (3) you are not alone.

I got to know about Our Better World’s community event through a friend of mine. Mental health is an important aspect of my life, especially since I was clinically diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder. The topic of childhood trauma hit close to home as I was also a victim of childhood abuse. So, it was a no-brainer for me to attend the event. 

I was anxious to go to the event as I was concerned it may trigger my unresolved issues. Nonetheless, the idea of being surrounded by like-minded individuals and learning about Sharon, Priyanka, and Edwin’s experiences was my top priority. 

As someone who struggles with mental health, it means a lot to me to be able to gain knowledge and insights from others, particularly on how they overcome their challenges. All in all, I was hoping to gain some reassurance that I was not alone.

(L-R) Priyanka, Edwin and Sharon share their adverse childhood experiences
(L-R) Priyanka, Edwin and Sharon share their adverse childhood experiences

During the event, I was extremely in awe of Sharon, Priyanka and Edwin for their courage and strength to share their stories publicly. It takes a lot to share one’s story, and what more sharing it publicly in front of an audience. 

Each of their stories was painful to me. Particularly, the idea of being hurt and betrayed by the ones who are supposed to love us unconditionally. 

I related to the emotions that the three of them experienced during the hard days. The anger, frustration, resentment, and feeling of abandonment as well as betrayal. I recall experiencing all these emotions when I was abused. At the time, I was not aware of the long-term effects of abuse and assumed that time would eventually heal the past. I have never been so wrong. 

Fortunately, not all their emotions I connected to were negative. I resonated greatly with how Priyanka decided to reconcile with her father and realised the importance of breaking the cycle of generational abuse in her own family. 

Initially in my own healing journey, I was filled with an immense amount of hatred and resentment. However, after a few years of carrying it, I decided to let go of the baggage by forgiving my abusers as best as I could. I realised that it was consuming my life and that it was simply not worth my sanity. Of course, it takes a lot of work. It is still a work in progress. But it is worth it. 

It was a full room at Our Better World’s community event
It was a full room at Our Better World’s community event

Also, the whole painful experience has taught me to work on being a better parent, sibling, cousin and friend. Although it can be lonely and difficult to do things in my customised way, while most of the people around me tend to stick to the norm, I know exactly what I want and what I don’t want to have in my life. Breaking generational trauma is not an easy journey but I know with plenty of therapy and education, it is possible. At least I hope so. 

I genuinely hope that Singapore and the world would be more educated and accepting of mental health. I think Psychology 101 should be a compulsory module for everyone to take in school so that we are more aware of our own and others’ mental health. Additionally, mental health events and talks should be widely available to the public as well. 

The safe space of the event made fast friends of many attendees
The safe space of the event made fast friends of many attendees

I am still struggling with the stigma around mental health, which makes it truly difficult to open up to family members and friends about my diagnosis. No one in my family knows about my condition, apart from my husband, because they are simply too narrow-minded when it comes to mental health. I think the lack of education is to be blamed. I hope there will be more events like Our Better World’s community event on childhood trauma taking place in schools, workplaces, and in public venues. 

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