Growing up in a dysfunctional home, Cheralyn Tay Meiqi struggled with a painful childhood marred by physical and emotional abuse, leading to depression, social phobia and anxiety. Here, her story testifies of how love overcomes all.
Contributed By Yong Yung Shin
As a child, Cheralyn Tay Meiqi was extremely sick, and often teased by relatives who called her hurtful names such as “ugly” or “skeleton.” It was not a conducive home for a child to grow up in, as she was exposed to many adult issues beyond her age of innocence such as sickness and death of relatives. Coupled with being subjected to physical abuse, Tay developed a negative outlook toward life and suffered from low self-esteem since the tender age of four.
Constantly feeling insecure, unloved and fearful, she tried to cover up her insecurity by being a high achiever in school but the higher she climbed, the emptier she felt. By age 15, she was diagnosed with depression, social phobia, anxiety and eating disorders. She was constantly battling suicidal thoughts. With her good academic results, Tay was accepted into a top junior college in Singapore in 2002 but was expelled after a major suicide attempt that landed her in hospital.
For two months, she stayed at a psychiatric ward, constantly crying herself to sleep. “I was full of grief, hopelessness, self-hatred and tormenting fears. I thought my future was over and that life was meaningless,” said Tay. “By God’s grace, in Dec. 2003, I decided to give Pastor (Goh) Yock Kiang a call. I had met him when I was an irregular church-goer to City Harvest Church in 2001, and I asked him for help as I did not know who else to turn to anymore.”
Goh then introduced her to John and Mei Liew (who later became her godparents) as well as her psychiatrist, Dr. Ang Yong Guan. “With their love and encouragement, I went back to school in April 2004 after being out of school for nine months. I found love, acceptance and support through my cell group members and leaders, Kelvin and Boon Kiat, as well as Pastor Yock Kiang and my godparents. I also found comfort and strength in God’s love and His Word, and started overcoming my issues slowly.”
But it was not an entirely smooth journey to recovery. As she was sitting for her A-level Biology paper, she collapsed from anxiety and food poisoning. “It was by God’s grace and the love from my godparents and Dr. Ang that saw me through; I did well and was accepted into the National University of Singapore to study pharmacy,” said Tay.
Then, four months down the road, her father was diagnosed with liver cancer. He passed away three months later. “It was an extremely painful time for me but the Lord was so close to me every single moment. He helped me to forgive my dad, who accepted Christ before he passed away.”
Since 2004, upon joining CHC, Tay has never had a relapse of depression. Having graduated with second upper class honors in pharmacy, she is currently working as a pharmacist at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital, and is also actively serving as a grassroots leader in her community to meet the needs of residents and mentoring youth going through similar issues. “God has truly redeemed my broken past and given me a brand new hope. Now, I have a lasting hope and joy and a specific purpose and direction in life.”
If you know of anyone who needs help, contact City Harvest Community Services Association at +65 6835 9916 or Samaritans of Singapore at 1800-221 4444.