Borderline Personality Disorder

Student draws on pain to help children

Student Chia Xun An’s book, The Black Box, features his sketches. He hopes it will start conversations on depression.

“It got so bad that it aggravated the illness to the point where I had a mental breakdown in class,” he said. Two years ago, he was diagnosed with an accompanying borderline personality disorder.

Student draws on pain to help children

Saturday, Mar 28, 2015
The Straits Times
By Calvin Yang

Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP) student Chia Xun An, 23, was diagnosed with clinical depression when he was just 10.

He had low moods, erratic behaviour and struggled to get out of bed. “I used to take five hours to get out of bed and go to school. School started at 7.30am, but I usually reached (school) around lunchtime,” said Mr Chia, who attended Loyang Primary School and, later, Hai Sing Catholic School.

“I was constantly crying and felt like I was on edge,” he said.

In 2001, his mother took him to the National University Hospital to see a child psychiatrist. He has been receiving treatment for major depressive disorder since.

To cope with his struggles, Mr Chia, who will graduate with a diploma in hotel and leisure facilities management this May, turned to simple sketches.

“As I had no idea what was going on, I took to drawing to express my emotions and move away from negative thoughts.”

His 78-page book, The Black Box, features a pudgy penguin named Penn, which goes around bearing a black box, later revealed to be a case of “sad flu”.

“Depression is a difficult subject to broach but it can happen to children. Many parents are uncomfortable with the thought and do not seek help,” said Mr Chia, who hopes the book can start conversations on depression. “Children may not know depression, but they know flu is bad and darkness is not good.”


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