Hikikomori in Singapore: Recluses hidden from view and at a loss

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Hikikomori in Singapore: Recluses hidden from view and at a loss

Post by whitecorp » Fri Jul 12, 2019 7:32 pm

https://www.todayonline.com/singapore/h ... -loss-help

SINGAPORE — She was 27 and suffering from depression in 2015. Instead of seeking help, Jane (not her real name) decided to shut herself off from the outside world, spending most of her time alone at home.

For more than two years she lived like a hermit. On some days, she would listen to music, watch videos, play the guitar or read. But there were days when her mind slipped into an abyss.

“I couldn’t do anything other than compulsively overthink and self-harm,” she said, declining to elaborate.

She became reclusive when she decided to shut down her café, which she opened after graduating from university with a degree in advertising.

Asked whether something had triggered her to become a recluse, she replied: “It just naturally happened and I never thought I needed a reason for that because staying alone in my own world was just so much better than anything else.”

During the time she lived in isolation, Jane – who is now 31 and requested anonymity – largely relied on her savings. Grocery shopping was done online. When ill, she turned to home medication.

It was only recently that she was told by a psychologist that her situation was a case of hikikomori – a term coined by Japanese psychiatrist Tamaki Saito to describe adolescents or adults who withdraw from society, isolating and confining themselves to the walls of their homes for six months or longer.

In Singapore, however, it remains unclear as to how many individuals have the condition. The Institute of Mental Health has not seen any cases of hikikomori and there are no published local studies on the issue.

That does not mean there are no cases at all. Social workers and private psychologists and psychiatrists told TODAY that they see up to five cases a year, with most of them teens and young adults aged between 10 and 39.

But the number of people experiencing hikikomori could be bigger. It’s just that they go largely unreported because they are not coming forward to seek help, said social workers and psychologists.

Primarily, it’s because they refuse to make contact with professionals offering help either due to denial or the stigma attached. There is also a fear of meeting others aside from family.

As a result, parents too are at a loss as to whether they should seek help and how to go about doing it. The lack of intervention though could only make matters worse.

Ms Cindy Ng, the director of professional standards at Methodist Welfare Services, said: “It is like a downward spiral where the youth sinks deeper and deeper with time. The more isolated the youth is, the more fearful he is of interacting with others.”

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Re: Hikikomori in Singapore: Recluses hidden from view and at a loss

Post by kimberlyleeforever » Sun Jul 21, 2019 1:36 pm

Hikikomori In S’pore And Why Young People Are ‘Imprisoning’ Themselves In Their Rooms

“Secretly, I was ashamed of how I was living. I couldn’t even go out or face relatives during Chinese New Year because I [think that they would] think of me as a leech, a parasite.”

Having been made fun of in school for her background and the way she spoke, Andrea* started becoming wary of people. She kept them at arm’s length and although that prevented her from forming any close friendships, it was to protect herself. At least, that was how it began.

“I developed a paranoia that people would laugh at or pity my pathetic lack of friends.”

As she grew out of adolescence, this fear of social situations manifested into an extreme level of social isolation.

Can you imagine yourself being cooped up at home for months on end? Never heading out for lunch with friends, not going to work or school and just idling away in bed?

For people like Andrea, that’s their life as hikikomori.


For the uninitiated, hikikomori is a term used to describe those who rarely leave their house, and seek extreme degrees of isolation. Some never set foot outside their homes. Others occasionally do, heading out to buy food or even to the cinemas for the latest blockbuster, but all of them are completely, socially isolated. They would even limit their interaction with their own family members.

Although this social phenomenon is predominantly widespread in Japan, I recently stumbled upon a Reddit thread that tells me that we too, have our share of social recluses hidden in their rooms somewhere, unseen by society.

Through a local forum, I stumbled upon Andrea’s story.

Back then, Andrea cooped herself up at home for eight consecutive months. Waking up at five every morning, she spends her time browsing Reddit, reading and binging on TV series, only leaving her room for lunch and dinner, which her parents would prepare for her. At around 11 pm, she will head to bed and the same routine repeats for months, and in those months, she did not step out of her house once.

More at https://www.domainofexperts.com/2019/03 ... young.html

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Re: Hikikomori in Singapore: Recluses hidden from view and at a loss

Post by Michy79 » Tue Jul 23, 2019 11:03 am

We have to take care of our mental health just like how we take care our physical health. Mental health is way too important to be neglected by many.. spreading more awareness can help too. :(

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