Making Lemonade through Peer Support

Elizabeth was a student in the first cohort of Tip Labs. Read on to learn about her story and about this community’s impact on her story moving forward.


 

To be honest, it is really hard for me to look back now. I do not want to remember the old times when I was struggling with my anxiety disorder and depression, although it was actually not that long ago. The times when I often cried desperately in the middle of the nights while waiting for the doctors to see me. The times when I felt there was nothing more for me to live for anymore, and I believed it could be better off for everyone if I just disappeared.

 

Gladly I did not kill myself. Part of me still wanted to find a purpose for life and live for it. Being a very resourceful person, I reached out for help. After almost a year of struggles, I could say at least for now, these days are behind me, and I feel happy again for the most of the time. I should thank a lot of people for this. My family, for being so understanding and supportive, especially my mother who would fly across the globe to see me whenever I need her. My boyfriend, for being the most loving and caring boyfriend far beyond my imaginations. And my friends, for always being there for me. Among these friends, Ji Youn, Giulio and Louna, Tip Labs cohort #1 is one of the most wonderful bunch of friends that I am very lucky to have. I knew Ji Youn before joining Tip Labs, I trusted her. I knew I needed to learn some useful skills for combating mental health issues and for my personal development. That was also my expectation for Tip Labs.

 

It turned out I made a great choice. I appreciate all things we learned and exercise we did in the Sunday sessions. Things like ikigai, non-violent communication skills, and vulnerability helped me a lot with finding life purpose and dealing with people. Other things like mindfulness, nutrition, and networking skills are also great to know for living a better life. By the end of it, not only did I learn a lot of useful skills, concepts, ways to look at and think about things from different directions, but also the most important thing was I had someone who truly understands me to give me peer support. I had some pretty rough days during the eight-week journey, and so did everyone. We faced these challenges together, and things just did not seem too terrible anymore. We talked about our past, present and future. We shared the happiest moments and saddest moments to each other without being judged, but getting support and understanding. These precious memories mean a lot to me.

 

I missed the second session for I had a huge break down and an accident that week. Later when Ji Youn came to see me, she said, “Life is always going to throw lemons at you. At first you have to dodge and hide from them. But later you can start catching the lemons, and eventually you will be able to make lemonade from them. Life does not get better, but you will.”

 

Thanks to Tip Labs, now I am more capable to deal with the lemons. There is still much space for me to improve myself, and occasionally the depression devil will sneak out to bother me a little, but now that I have the skills and confidence, I will only get better and better.  

 

- Elizabeth