Idk what is going on or what to do

Hii, I’m currently serving my national service and I feel drained on a daily basis. I just want to ORD now but I’m left with 7 months of service.

Idk but sometimes I feel bouts of anxiety overcoming me. At times, I feel alright in camp but sometimes I get overwhelmed with thoughts. Like “am I doing this right?” “am I going to get scolded later” or “will be kena something because of a certain individual” “what if I make a mistake?” etc. Sometimes I feel my heart palpitating quite quickly and such thoughts start to run in my head. At times, I just want to breakdown then and there. I went to go to the MO to talk about this but he just put me down. “This is not anxiety, you are just overthinking. Anxiety is when you cannot go out of your house at all”. That was when I questioned whether am I really anxious or not. Also, when the superiors shout, idk I feel my heart beating faster. idw to reach out to the superiors, scared they would say “man up” “its ns, you are meant to go through it like this” “the previous generation had it harder, you all are the strawberry generation”

I do talk with my family and friends but I feel like I am burdening them with my thoughts when they are busy with work or their studies. I do not talk about this with people in camp as I do not feel comfortable to talk about it with them. I did not get professional help before because I’m scared of what they would say and about the cost of professional help.

Can someone help me?

Hi @Eeyore

What you are going through sounds really challenging! Thank you for reaching out and sharing your thoughts and feelings with us. It takes courage to open up about experiences with anxiety and overthinking, especially when people around you kept putting you down.

I also want to commend you for surviving through for the past 1 year plus and being so brave in telling people how you feel. It sounds like you have reached out but have been made to question the validity of your own feelings. That is really really tough. It makes you doubt yourself, making you feel confused or even frustrated. I want to affirm you that your feelings are real and it is not easy dealing with these feelings when your environment is not supportive.

It can likely be a case of gaslighting in your interactions with your MO. It is a form of manipulation when a person makes you question your own reality and perception by telling you things like that, so that it helps their situation instead of yours.

Here are some suggestions that may be helpful:

  1. Validate your emotions. Do tell yourself that your feelings are real and valid, not to deny your own perception and emotions. Empower yourself more and remind yourself of your strengths.

  2. Journaling. Keep a record of things happening that can help affirm your reality. Think about what was going on at that time, note your thoughts and emotions. Writing these down could help allow you to reflect on them more deeply and trust yourself more.

  3. Self-care. It can be mental and physical actions that promotes your well-being. Try, engaging in hobbies you enjoy or being good to yourself because you deserve to be treated well.

  4. Set boundaries. Think for yourself what behaviours or words are unacceptable, and be firm when voicing your concerns. Being consistent in key to maintaining these boundaries.

  5. Talking to people might be helpful as well, if you have a supportive family or friend. It helps in gaining new insights into the situation and might also help you in seeing things in another perspective. Most importantly, reaching out to people can provide emotional support. It might be something that you are really looking for.

If you are thinking about seeking professional support and concerned about the costs, you may consider seeking counselling services provided by the SAF Counselling Centre, or community services. Here are some platforms you can consider:

  1. SAF Counselling Centre - CMPB | Where to seek help

  2. Limitless - Talk To Someone - Limitless

  3. IMH CHAT - Home - CHAT

  4. Singapore Association for Mental Health (SAMH) - 1800-283 7019

Hope this has been helpful for you. Do take care!

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Dear @Eeyore

Thank you for reaching out and sharing your challenges with us. I’m so sorry to hear that the MO gaslighted your experiences. Your feelings and emotions are valid. Well done on recognising that even though someone of authority told you were ‘fine’, you chose to listen to your inner wisdom and reach out for support! Well done!! :clap:t4: :clap:t4:

Also, you withstood the challenges of NS and have completed almost 70% of it. The last 30% though numerically seems small can still feel like a lot in the body system and it’s okay to acknowledge that you’re feeling overwhelmed and are hoping to have this phase be over. It’s understandable to feel drained and anxious during national service, as it’s a challenging period that demands a lot physically and mentally. Nevertheless, I hope you will join me in taking a few moments to celebrate your wins and your strengths. Going through 17 months of NS is still an achievement. The resilience and grit you have shown thus far should be acknowledged and celebrated. :+1:t4:

Recognising that you have bouts of anxiety is a good sign. You are right, anxiety isn’t just about being unable to leave your house; it can manifest in various ways, including the symptoms you described:

  • Palpitations: Rapid heartbeats when feeling anxious or scared.
  • Overwhelming thoughts: Constant worry about making mistakes or getting scolded.
  • Physical symptoms: Feeling the need to break down or escape the situation.

Everyone experiences anxiety to different degrees. It’s our body’s way of signalling that we’re fearful for our safety and well-being. Feeling anxious is a normal and healthy response to a stressful situation; it’s our body’s protective mechanism in action. However, when anxiety starts to hold us hostage, making it difficult to function or trapping us in an unhelpful spiral, it becomes maladaptive. What was meant to protect us can then hinder our daily lives and overall well-being. Depending on how maladaptive the anxiety than the support required will also vary.

Not wanting to be shouted at, fearing if what you did is good enough, and wanting to avoid punishment for someone else’s mistakes are all reasonable concerns. Given the intense nature of national service, it makes sense that your body might feel like it’s in constant threat. It can be helpful to train your brain to distinguish between the challenges you are facing (getting scolded) and an actual life-threatening (tiger in the room) situation.

When you notice unhelpful thoughts, question their validity: Are they based on facts or assumptions? Try to replace them with more balanced thoughts. For example, instead of thinking, “I will get scolded,” consider, “I will do my best, and if I make a mistake, I can learn from it.” Adopting a growth mindset can help you endure the remaining 7 months of national service and possibly even find aspects to enjoy.

Here are some steps that have helped others manage their anxiety. I hope it will help you too. :slightly_smiling_face:

Deep Breathing: Practice deep breathing exercises. Inhale deeply through your nose for a count of four, hold for four, then exhale through your mouth for a count of four.

5-4-3-2-1 Technique: Identify 5 things you can see, 4 things you can touch, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell, and 1 thing you can taste. This helps ground you in the present moment.

It’s beneficial to practice these techniques outside of triggering moments to enhance their effectiveness. This way, when you first notice sensations like heart palpitations or unhelpful thoughts, it’ll be easier for you to use these skills.

Talk to Someone You Trust:
Even though you might feel like you’re burdening your friends or family, sharing your feelings can provide relief and support. Remember, you are worth their time and energy. If a family member were struggling with a similar situation, would you think they were burdening you? Show yourself the same grace and self-compassion. Connecting with others can make this process feel less lonely. Consider finding a buddy in camp whom you feel comfortable talking to. Sharing experiences can help both of you cope better, and you might be surprised to find that they feel the same way.

Professional Help:
I’ll list some community resources for your consideration at the end. Reaching out to a trained professional counsellor can help you navigate these feelings without judgement. They can also help identify whether these anxiety patterns existed before you joined national service or if they are specific to your NS experience.

Please know that you are not alone, and seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness. National service is a temporary phase, and prioritising your mental health will not only help you get through it but also benefit you in the long run. If you ever feel overwhelmed, don’t hesitate to reach out.

Managing Feelings & Emotions:
Circle Of Control:

Defeating the Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTS) in Your Head:

Box Breathing:
Progressive Muscle Relaxation:

I hope the above has been helpful and if you’d like more resources or if there is anything else you’d like to share with us, please do. We’re here to listen to you, your feelings are valid and you matter! :grinning:

PS: Thank you for serving your nation through your national service. Your contribution is greatly appreciated.

Warm regards,
CoolBreeze =)

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