Nicole Seah reveals depression, meltdown and how she 'felt like a fraud'

Jeanette Tan
Nicole Seah speaks at a rally for presidential candidate Tan Jee Say in this file photograph. (Yahoo file photo)

Opposition politician Nicole Seah opened up on Saturday, revealing for the first time on Facebook that she suffered a meltdown over a series of events that unfolded this year in her life.

In the wee hours of Saturday morning, Seah, now 27, wrote a lengthy status on her personal Facebook page recounting her experience in the time since the 2011 general election — a time where she says she was "derailed" from her larger purpose, taking on opportunities with being elected in 2016 in mind.

"Needless to say, when you start thinking about your life in 5 year blocks, you start to get equally myopic about the way you do things," she wrote, adding she was getting exhausted by her daily routine of work, house visits and walkabouts.

She referred to a "terrible, irreversible mistake" she made during the presidential election two years ago as well, but did not mention it in specifics, only saying she "completely underestimated what (her) lobbying could do". She had thrown her weight behind presidential candidate Tan Jee Say during that time, speaking at his rallies and going on walkabouts with him.

Saying she "felt like a fraud" being invited to speak at conferences when she was not an expert on "everything or anything", Seah said she became self-conscious about her need to look and appear a certain way "so people wouldn't walk away feeling they've been cheated".

"I was only cheating myself," she wrote, revealing also that she was constantly being stalked with threats of rape and death, and the combination of all these things triggered the start of her meltdown.

She shared that she was very stressed and unable to live up to what was expected of her at the digital sales agency she worked at, and suffered a physical panic attack at work in February this year when she learned her grandmother was diagnosed with third-stage stomach cancer.

She then went on two months of medical leave, left her job, and contracted dengue fever. She subsequently took on another job working with companies in India, but said it "didn't work out as well", getting fired without the one-month compensation she was supposed to be entitled to in her contract.

Her health then declined further, when she was hospitalised for slightly more than half a month, and wrote that she "practically subsisted on crackers and water because (she) was too weak to eat anything else".

When contacted by Yahoo Singapore, she declined to speak further or elaborate on what she had written. In her Facebook post, she did, however, add that she was grateful for her experiences, which had taught her several life lessons. She said she would be selling 90 per cent of her clothes to earn a bit of money, and stick to just 10 outfits for work.

"The only way now is to go up," she concluded.

Currently second assistant secretary-general of the National Solidarity Party (NSP), the then-24-year-old Seah shot to social media stardom at Singapore's 2011 General Election as one of its youngest — and most impressive — candidates. The former public relations practitioner, who stood and garnered a respectable 43.36 per cent of the valid vote in Marine Parade GRC, wowed supporters and rally goers with her strongly-worded, heartfelt and honest-to-goodness speeches, and she quickly became the political darling of many Singaporeans online.

Read her reflection in full here.