#letitsync is a series where we feature real stories of youths braving through their psychological adversities. Meet Lukas!
“Boarding school.” When most of us hear these words, we think of Harry Potter: magic, untrammelled growth, and the many joys of youth. But reality often runs in a different direction, and this was especially the case for Lukas. From the young age of 11, he found himself in serious familial conflict, and was consequently shipped off to a boarding school in Indonesia. Instead of “magic”, he was met with the sort of unflinching rigidity that forces square pegs into round holes; instead of “untrammelled growth”, he was met with loneliness and stagnation; and instead of “the many joys of youth”, the harsh disciplinarian conditions of his boarding school locked him away from friends back home and interactions with the outside world.
7 years on, Lukas tried regaining a sense of normalcy through a Polytechnic Foundation Programme back in Singapore, only to be met with further setbacks. Financial constraints caused him to drop out of school –– this hurt all the more as he knew he possessed the academic ability for progress, but none of the enabling circumstances to make progress a reality. Hope deferred makes the heart sick, and he turned to various substances to cope with the weight of loneliness and disappointment.
Thankfully, his time spent lurking around in online communities also created a special sort of trust for his online friends. One such helping hand directed him to SYNC, our mental health care arm, which sparked his road to mental health recovery. He was placed in a job with Bettr Coffee, connected to further educational development with Impart Education, and supported through his mental health journey with our Youth Advocates. A longing fulfilled is a tree of life, and he gradually found the motivation to pursue meaning and purpose in his everyday engagements.
This new breath of life was not without its challenges. Lukas experienced a mental breakdown at work owing to the stress of juggling a full-time job and examination preparations, but he found strength in the form of supervisors and coworkers at Bettr who took him off to understand his situation and prioritise his wellbeing. At risk of sounding sappy, he now considers himself in good company with a new family at work. The road ahead is best walked with the care of community, and Lukas presses on towards his future self with newfound determination.
We asked Lukas for his reflections on his journey thus far, and he leaves us with these words,
“Everyone deals with their problems differently. Some may seem minute to you but it’s a big deal to them – know that we cannot disregard their emotions just because we assume that we can handle it better.”