School

Bullied in school, I struggled with self-worth

By Terence Chia , 16 September 2021

Being told that I had been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) wasn’t something I was proud of.

When others found out about it, people said things to me like “You’ll just be another guy who fails his O-Levels” and “You’re wasting your parents’ money by being in school”.

That made me lose all confidence in myself, beginning from Primary 3 until I was studying at the Institute of Technical Education (ITE). 

While other students would diligently dedicate a few hours to do their assignments and still have the time to hang out with their friends, this was not the case for me.

Classroom lessons tired me out, while tuition emotionally and mentally drained me after a long day at school, leaving me unmotivated to get my homework done. I would make excuses for not completing my homework and get it half done at most.

As a hyperactive child and kinaesthetic learner, physical education and my co-curricular activity (The Boys’ Brigade) were my main forms of energy release in secondary school. 

My toughest season was during my O-Levels year when I would find myself in situations where I was bullied on a daily basis. Once, someone even urinated into my bottle to make feel inferior. That worked. 

From that point on, I disliked school and my grades started to drop.

Terence not only has a soft spot for the vulnerable – he also loves dogs!

Doubts entered my mind, and the thought of quitting school hit me often enough that my Discipline Mistress even did one-on-one mentoring with me.

Despite her efforts, the bullying created such insecurity that I felt I was never going to be good enough for society’s standard. 

My parents brought me to see the psychiatrist regularly, but the medication often made me feel dazed and emotionless.

This dragged on until my ITE days.

I was a bully, but my own battles were tearing me apart. This is how my life was turned around

During my second year of studies, I sustained an injury through judo, which God used to reveal my love for sports and rehabilitation.

During the course of my first ACL reconstruction recovery, I was motivated to understand more about rehabilitation methods and techniques.

I also started building my interest in musculoskeletal and neuromuscular injuries and disorders through reading research papers and observing how people walk and lift weights.

In addition, this was the time I saw God’s hand of protection over me. Despite being in the midst of my exam period, He gave me the strength to study with minimal pain or discomfort.

God also gave me supportive lecturers who set aside extra time for consultations and made special arrangements for me to be exempted from physical activity.

Terence with Kitson, his NS buddy and bunkmate who stood by him when he was injured.

Along the way, I realised that I have a soft spot for the elderly and the underprivileged too.

It saddens me that many of them don’t get the adequate social, psychological and emotional support they need. They’re afraid of burdening their family members who have to pay for their therapy sessions.

As I aspired to use this passion to treat the vulnerable, I was led to pursue my Diploma in Sports and Exercise Science, and I’m now doing a Bachelor’s Degree in Sports and Exercise Science at PSB Academy.

Terence with his schoolmates from PSB Academy.

The first year of my academic journey was a struggle due to the theoretical aspects of a few modules, but I surrendered my worries to God and told Him that I would do my best for His glory.

I expected to be constantly stressed out, but He has blessed me with church mentors and my family who have loved me and been so supportive.

I often questioned why I had to go through such a long route and unfair life, but I realised that it’s by the grace of God that I am where I am today!

Terence with his church friends, who have also been a great support to him.

Despite being baptised as a baby, I had always taken my faith lightly.

However, one year ago, I told God that I don’t want to live as a “half-past-six” Christian anymore. Instead, I want to know His will more and more.

I trust that God will continue steering me towards where He wants me to be of use.

As a freelance trainer, I’m currently providing affordable treatment to all age groups, including the elderly, children and pregnant women. Although I don’t earn a lot, I feel that God wants me to focus on the few clients who have been part of my journey.

I’m grateful and I don’t want anything more. God has kept me financially and spiritually filled! 

After finishing my degree, I also desire to be a rehabilitation and sports specialist to help those whom God has placed on my heart.

I still struggle a bit with my self-confidence and self-image, but I’m always reminded that the Lord takes my brokenness and makes me whole. His love never ceases!

God has given me what I have now, and I will always be sustained by His abundant grace and provision.

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