Two women use their experiences to uplift those in mental anguish
These two women use their difficult experiences to empower those going through similar struggles and help them heal
Her world was upended when her primary caregiver, her great-grandmother, died. Sent to live with her biological mother and stepfather, the nine-year-old was given a new name.
Living in a new home and attending a new school, it was all too much for the young Ling Anne Hsieh.
Within a year, she had run away from home more than 10 times. At 14, she had been in and out of hostels and girls' homes.
A year later, she was pregnant with her then-boyfriend's child.
When her mother made her give up her baby for adoption, the teenager's world "fell back into darkness".
Today, Ms Hsieh, 29, an entrepreneur who is married with three children, is in a far better place and helping others through Project Green Ribbon (PGR), a non-profit organisation she and her husband launched in February.
The healing process for Ms Hsieh started nine years ago when she met her husband, Mr Iskandar Mahadi.
The idea to do something came up last year.
Speaking to The New Paper recently, the entrepreneur said: "I was live streaming while playing video games when someone asked me how I was. I shared my feelings and they told me they understood.
"Those two simple words, 'I understand', made me realise that I could also understand and empathise with others, and I realised it was time to do something more with my life."
One of PGR's key initiatives is a series of webinars called The Unheard, where speakers share their struggles with the aim of impacting and empowering others who are struggling.
Next month, PGR will run the Mental Health Community Responders Programme, which aims to educate the public on responding to those with mental health issues.
Ms Hsieh said: "Every story is unique and personal. With just one story, we can already create an impact and a presence. Together, we can normalise conversations about mental health."
Ms Zai Miztiq's perspective on life changed after she was involved in a serious car accident in 2005. She was nearly paralysed after breaking her spine.
With eight screws and two metal rods in her back, Ms Miztiq cannot walk for long stretches and she recalled how she initially struggled to come to terms with it.
"I used to think, 'Why me? Why didn't I die in the accident?' But a year later, I woke up one day and decided I didn't want to be a victim any more," she said.
The 40-year-old turned her attention to her Facebook business, where she taught henna art and sold hijabs.
In 2014, someone with suicidal thoughts who had reached out to her for help thanked her for giving her strength and changing her mind, and Ms Miztiq found her calling and became a motivational speaker.
Today, she is an award-winning author and life coach whose work has reached thousands across Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Amid the pandemic, Ms Miztiq started a series of workshops and programmes called Step-Up Journey, which seeks to empower youth, parents and women.
"The core of Step-Up Journey is really about accelerating humans and humanity.
"I want to help people turn their pain into power and help them understand that healing and transformation are the keys to moving forward," she said.