HOPE IN DESPAIR
A Memoir by Sharon Khoo
Hope in Despair is Sharon Khoo’s first book and chronicles her biographical journey in overcoming Clinical Depression, CTSD (Complex Traumatic Stress Disorder), deep relational wounds and the stigma and shame of mental illness.
Sharon was especially motivated to write about it as she wanted to do something to help others like her who need a way out of the darkness and pain. To not feel alone. And especially so for Asian women like her. During her journey of healing and writing, she discovered very limited resources to help Asian women in her situation feel like they were represented, recognised, honored or have a way out of mental illness that can relate to them.
As such, she felt truly led by the Lord to share her story so it could be something useful and powerful to help others going through the same or similar thing as her. Sharon went through a complete journey of clinical, emotional and spiritual healing. She has since then also become a certified pastoral counsellor.
While there is not enough out there talking about the struggles of mental and emotional health from a Christian Asian (and female!) perspective, we hope that this book will be able to change things.
There is hope and light at the end of any dark tunnel in Christ, always.
Mental Disorder is a most frightening and confusing entity for the sufferer. To suffer depression is an awful experience. The WHO rates depression the most disabling condition afflicting humanity. The family and loved ones too suffer in its wake. It is however treatable and advances in medication and counselling techniques have improved the outlook for those who suffer this awful malady.
Borderline Personality states are misunderstood and the stuff of Hollywood films. The negative perceptions make it hard for a sufferer to accept this and seek help. I struggled with whether to even talk about this concept to Sharon but I am glad I did and even more glad that she was prepared to listen and process it.
It takes great courage to see a psychologist and perhaps even more to see a psychiatrist. I salute sufferers like Sharon who have taken this huge leap of faith to entrust their care in a professional albeit a relative stranger. It takes even more courage to write about one’s experiences and Sharon has done a tremendous job not only in detailing with candour her journey to wellness but also doing a huge amount of research to provide much needed facts to educate the reader. This is what it takes to reduce the stigma of mental disorders.
Sharon’s journey shows the power of how the psychological, physical and spiritual can come together to bring healing to the broken. It is an inspiration to myself and I hope to others who both treat and endure mental disorders.
Sharon – It has been an honour to be a small part of your journey to recovery!
Dr Ken Ung
Senior Consultant Psychiatrist & Psychotherapist
Adam Road Medical Centre
In this book, Sharon candidly reflects on how her growing up experiences shaped her coping mechanisms that carried into her adulthood. While each of our journeys are unique, I think there is a lot in her story that will resonate for those with Asian upbringing, and her path to freedom may give some hope and ideas to others who may find themselves still dealing with the ghosts of childhood trauma. For those who are giving care to others, this book may provide a behind the scenes understanding of why seemingly ordinary people struggle tremendously with life. Lastly, Sharon’s experience is a highly readable testament to God’s mysterious ways and grace in all of our lives. A recommended read.
Reverend Canon Daniel Wee
Church of Our Saviour
One of my favourite Bible verses is Genesis 50:20 (NKJV)
“But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.”
This book is an outstanding testimony of God’s power to bring healing and blessing out of what was intended for evil by the enemy of men’s souls. As fulfillment of the prophecy that Sharon will be the pen with new ink, I particularly liked the descriptions of ministry processes she went through that brought closure and breakthroughs. These details crystallized truths that set people free. Every people-helper and everyone looking for recovery from abuse must read it.
Good Gifts City Church
I have personally witnessed some of the struggles and victories Sharon describes in this book. It moves me deeply to know that she can now share hope and healing with others! Sharon tells her story plainly and with great compassion, and I know many will relate to her struggles, and find freedom in God.
Director, Safe Place
Author, Walking Out of Secret Shame
We live in a time where dysfunctional families are unfortunately more the norm than the exception. Equally unfortunate is the fact that most children who grew up in such environments end up perpetuating the same dysfunctions when they become parents. In this book is Sharon’s courageous and inspiring journey of her personal healing, and bold stand to end this cycle of pain, abuse, and trauma. May you find healing through her powerful testimony!
Dr Cornelius Quek
Assistant Professor of Ministry
A.W. Tozer Seminary, Simpson University
I still remember the occasion. It was a few years ago. Over lunch, Joshua said something about Sharon embarking on a writing journey. Well, I’m a big fan of young people, especially the writer type. I’ve always admired Sharon as a natural communicator, gifted with words. So, without hesitation, I encouraged her to keep at it until done. Little did I know what a precious piece she would be birthing—for the healing of the nations!
Through mutual friends who love Sharon dearly, I was aware of her battle with depression related to childhood trauma. But I wasn’t privy to the horrifying details until now. Reading her narrative shook me up. I could not stop thinking about children trapped in that same nightmare of pain and powerlessness she had experienced growing up. Somewhere out there, is some little one suffering abuse right now? That recurring thought broke my heart. Every case is one too many. I felt overwhelmed. I felt intercession stirring deep within me. I paused. I prayed. I asked God to step into that child’s space and bring good out of evil.
Thank you, Sharon for being real. For braving it all and telling your story like it is. For revealing the ups and downs of your long road to healing well. Thank you for not giving up! You have blessed us with a classic story of hope for the hopeless. A loud declaration of Jesus’ redeeming love. A compassionate invitation to experience His healing grace and a new beginning. Powerful!
Thank you for loving and forgiving your parents. Thank you for making every effort towards reconciliation. I feel your pastoral heart. I sense your prophetic spirit. There is something missional here.
Truly, Jesus is the star of your story. He will use your memoir to restore lives and rekindle hope for healing and a healthier future. To God be the Glory!
Mrs Lai Kheng Pousson
Special Assistant, Love Singapore
This book is about the timeless story of overcoming depression and being resilient, and, indeed triumphant, in faith, hope and love.
Once I started reading the manuscript, I could not put it down. I am captivated by the author’s transparency and honesty in the words she chooses and the scenarios she painted to express her innermost self and struggles. Turning each page is like treading upon sacred ground, entering into the transactions between the desperate cries of a daughter and her caring Father God and being privy to their intimate encounters.
Sharon shares her pains, struggles and emotional experiences vividly and unashamedly. The voice is authentic and this brings hope to the readers indicating that there is light at the end of the tunnel for depression. She explains counselling and therapy with great insights as one who has gone through it as a beneficiary and this encourages all who are experiencing the turmoil within to seek help to take constructive steps towards recovery.
It is clear that through the tumultuous times, the support of her loving husband, family. counsellors and friends are key strengths for Sharon. As added benefits of this book, her reflections and the information on depression and the various treatments she shared, based on her research, are useful for the readers. Not only did Sharon find herself and her new family and friends in this arduous journey as an overcomer, but most importantly, she found the loving God and drew close to Him who bore all our sins, pains and sorrows.