Category Archives: Anxiety Disorder

Documentary: Take your pills: Xanax (2022)

Watch Take Your Pills: Xanax | Netflix Official Site
Netflix Documentary: Take your pills: Xanax

Xanax, an anti-anxiety that I’m very familiar with from the 7 year working in a psychiatric clinic. I was excited to see this title showing up in the list of recommended shows as I was trying to find something to watch over the weekend, after waking up really late from watching the World Cup (Qatar 2022).

It consists of most things I already know, and many things that I’ve explained to many laypersons over the years, I definitely recommend this to everyone who experiences anxiety, who knows someone who’s taking anti-anxiety to watch this (essentially everyone), and think about it… Unfortunately it’s not the most “interesting” documentary with a twisting story-line, but it’s important to learn how we are often fed certain drugs (and nicely called medicine) when there are many things else we can do to cope with it, might be harder and sometimes more costly, but without any side effects, dependence, tolerance and withdrawal symptoms.

My stance is clear, I don’t mean to not take any pills for anxiety, because sometimes the anxiety can be so strong that it’s almost impossible for anyone to deal with, leave alone function, so this is when pills like Xanax can play a role, but when you’re feeling better, definitely do not just believe that you can just keep popping the pill into your mouth the next time when it happens, instead, learn about anxiety, your triggers, how you can cope with it the next time it happens, and practise those coping techniques. It takes a while, but you can ultimately depend on yourself and nothing else…

Feel free to read about my older writings on medication.


几年前,我从马克那里听说,英国大学的一位同事专长治疗“生态焦虑症”患者,那至少有 3 或 4 年前了。当时我有点惊讶,然后我只是耸了耸肩,没有继续深思。 (注意:我不会对很多事情耸肩……)


就在 12 或 13 年前,我有一个德国朋友会因为其包装方式,不在 Tesco 购买 Kinder Bueno 巧克力威化棒,用上太多塑料了!即使她喜欢 Kinder Bueno,但她也只会买一块 100 克简单包装的巧克力。

从那时开始,我渐渐发现自己对塑料非常敏感,尤其任何一次性丢弃的东西。当我来到新加坡生活时,我遇到了困难。作为一个自豪的马来西亚雪兰莪州人,我们的杂货店和购物商场在 5 年或更早以前就停止提供塑料袋,保丽龙(聚苯乙烯)也被禁止使用,我在日常生活中几乎看不到它们。但是塑料袋和聚苯乙烯在新加坡随处可见(没有记错的话,一个新加坡人平均每年制造四十几吨的垃圾)。



这篇文章是为了认可我们心理学家和治疗师了解这件事的一个时代的开始,因为在过去的两个月里,我看到有两个患者因为生态焦虑相关问题和症状来找我,他们在 Hogg 生态焦虑量表上的得分都偏高。然而,重要的是,我们不应该将正常的担忧或顾虑病态化。目前 DSM-5 中没有特别列出生态焦虑,我也认为它不应该被列其中。当焦虑变得持续性和压倒压迫性,而且开始影响正常运作和日常生活时,那就应该寻求专业的帮助。问题是,当然,如果它以积极的方式影响你(例如,意识到碳足迹和塑料无所不在然后决定停止乘搭飞机或购买塑料包装的巧克力和蔬菜等),那么我们需要考虑的是,这个人过这样的生活时的情绪状态和感知幸福感。我记得我曾经工作过的大学国际办公室女士不坐飞机,她会坐火车去任何她想去的地方,不管它有多远。我会说她喜欢这么做,这样做可以增强她的整体幸福感,她也以此为傲。



Is being a perfectionist good/bad?

She’s only 15, and has been doing great academically in all the subjects all her life. It’s probably not wrong to say that she is one of the top students in her country, that’s also why she received a scholarship to receive better education in a different country.

Now being in one of the top colleges in the world, she is struggling to still be the best. But she doesn’t give up. She sacrifices her sleep just so she can catch up. After all this is a very different education system from the ones she was in.

After 6 months of persistent trying, she still doesn’t see much of any results. She cries. She feels like a zombie. She wants her family to be proud of her. She needs to be the best. She wants to be perfect, in all subjects, in her writing, in her presentation, in every piece of work that she produces. But it’s not happening…

She told me “I never see perfectionism a bad thing. I always thought it’s good. Why is it bad?” She believes she’s where she is today thanks to her perfectionist trait, or she wouldn’t have worked so hard and strived so hard.

But over time she starts to see that this trait is pulling her down, is creating a lot of self-doubts and criticisms in her mind, is affecting her work, is stopping her from functioning properly, is preventing her from enjoying studying that she always loves, is making her depressed and feeling hopeless.

I guess for many of us, we were all once there, weren’t we? I remember how I was like in high school, the lucky thing is I managed, and that’s mainly because I wasn’t studying in the top school in the world. But many students who do very well but come from an underprivileged background struggle when they receive scholarship and get into a top school. It’s hard for them to see that being top in their country might not mean anything once they are here. Some people give up, some people try persistently; some people see some results, some never.

Most people are usually rewarded as a perfectionist, at least initially, like in the first one or two decades of their life. So it’s natural that we see and experience the benefits and sense of achievement being one. But it’s either now, or later in the university, or when we are in the society, that we see how academic results don’t matter, how being a perfectionist alters your worldview and reduces how you could have enjoyed life and things along the way.

For the perfectionists, only the results matter. But life isn’t like that, because the ending of life is always the same, life is about the processes. Still, you can strive to be excellent, strive to become better than yourself yesterday, but not to be flawless…

But, will young students see that?

Eco-Anxiety / Climate Change Anxiety

A few years ago, I’ve heard from Mark that a colleague from the college in the UK works with people who suffer from “eco-anxiety”. It’s at least been 3 or 4 years. Back then, I was a little surprised and then I just shrugged. (Note: I don’t shrug at many things…)

I know a family member who wouldn’t have kids because they think the kids are going to suffer on this planet, again this was quite a few years back, yes they still don’t have kids today. I personally consider this aspect too whenever I think about having children.

As far as 12 or 13 years ago, I have a German friend who wouldn’t purchase the Kinder Bueno chocolate wafer bar at Tesco due to the wrapping, how each of them is wrapped, and then a pair of them is wrapped in yet another plastic. She would just get the bar of chocolate, all 100g in one wrap, even if she likes the Kinder Bueno.

I find myself being very conscious about plastics, anything that’s single use and disposable. I had my struggle when I came to live in Singapore. As a proud Selangorian, our grocery stores stopped giving out plastic bags 5 or more years ago, polystyrene has also been banned, I hardly see them in my daily life. But plastic bags and polystyrene are here everywhere in Singapore.

Fast forward one year living here, I realised that the climate and environmental related issues have crossed my mind much less than before. When I watch news of disasters, especially due to extreme weather, I still think about it, but then I consciously distract myself. Perhaps I’m denying it. I’m not sure if I will become quite anxious too if I go deeper to contemplate it.

Eco-anxiety. When is it becoming a problem? (Image from

But this post is to acknowledge the start of an era for us psychologists and therapists to learn about the matter, because I have seen two clients who came to me due to eco-anxiety in the past two months, both scored relatively high on the Hogg Eco-Anxiety Scale. However, it’s important to note that we shouldn’t be pathologising a normal concern or worry. At the moment eco-anxiety is not listed in the DSM-5, and I don’t think that it should. The reason people should seek help is when the anxiety gets persistent and overwhelming, and that it starts to affect their normal functioning and daily lives. The thing is, of course, if it’s affecting them in a positive way (e.g. being conscious about carbon footprint and plastic uses that the person stops flying on a plane or buying chocolate in a plastic wrap), then we would need to reconsider the person’s emotional state and perceived wellbeing when leading such a life. I remember my university international office lady that I used to work for doesn’t take flights, she would take trains to go anywhere she wants, however far it is. And I’d say she enjoys it, and it enhances her general wellbeing doing so.

However, here is some countries, it’s quite a struggle for the people who are environmentally conscious to live in a first world country who isn’t doing much, yet. Even the people and small business-owners are doing much more than the government I’d say.

Anyway, it’s a long journey. Any step is a step. I might write more about my clients when I have their permission to do so.





  • 生活所有事都能肯定确定吗?有可能吗?
  • 对“确定性”的需要其实有多重要呢?有什么好处与坏处?
  • 你是否常常因为事情的不确定性而总是预测坏事会发生?这样合理吗?坏事以外的事发生的可能性不大吗?
  • 你所预测的事,发生的机率有多高呢?如果发生的机率很低,这样一直担心下去对你好吗?生活会快乐吗?
  • 你能尝试接受“不确定性”吗?能怎样做到船到桥头自然直的态度呢?
  • 问问你周围的人,他们怎么接受“不确定性”呢?


何活在当下,对当下警觉注意,并接受这个“不确定性” -三个步骤:

  1. 警觉:清楚自己目前的思维与感受。用呼吸的步伐来让自己感受当下。当你总是想要确定性时,它给你带来了什么感受或问题?
  2. 放手:放弃这个对确定性的需要,告诉自己“这不过是个需要确定性的想法,我可以放手让它走”
  3. 不批判性:让想法在脑海里走过,不要批判它,或尝试改变它。然后把注意力放回当下,体验现在,注意你周围的声音,身体的感觉,或你的呼吸,或专注于你现在需要做的事。

What’s good about Covid-19?

Really, if you have to come up with some positive points about Covid-19, what can you think of?

It’s an exercise I have done with two of my support group members, initially most of them were like.. “Huh? Positive thing about Covid?”, “I can’t think of any”, and after squeezing their brain juices, “Ok, maybe xxx…” reluctantly. But I collected a rather long list in the end, there were more and more coming out:

  • spending more quality time with family
  • spending more time with the self (some people never get the chance to do so)
  • developing some new habits and routine (e.g. work out, cooking their own meals)
  • developing some new interests (e.g. baking, cooking, growing plant, DIY this and that)
  • learning new skills online (e.g. yoga, taekwando, cooking, coding)
  • rediscovering some old passions
  • working from home, saving time on traffic and money on petrol/toll
  • more things go online, becoming more accessible (not just clothes, now you can get fresh seafood and physiotherapy online too)
  • people are more accepting anything online (e.g. psychotherapy, university courses, ballet classes)
  • better problem solving skills facing difficulties, how a lot of people transformed their business and work and career creatively
  • becoming more resilient, more able to cope with stress and challenges
  • spending less on unnecessary items (working from home, no longer need to buy office outfits)
  • started finance planning (due to pay cut, less income generated during this period)
  • better for the earth, animals, plants when humans are all staying home
  • contemplating what humans have done to the mother earth and natural environment
  • contemplating what a tiny virus can lead to and how we should change
  • developing much better hygiene related habits, like washing hands after coming home, wearing masks
  • having more personal space in the public areas! (many people with and without anxiety related issues love this)
  • watching live concert online (being very close without paying for the expensive tickets and worrying about parking, traffic etc)
  • not going home for Chinese New Year celebration, meaning they don’t have to face the relatives and answer their questions (“Why are you still single? Why aren’t you getting married? Why aren’t you having children? Why aren’t you having another baby?” etc) (Happy Chinese New Year, by the way!)

Can you come up with more?