SINGAPORE - SHE made a political splash in the 2011 General Election with a poise and confidence beyond her 24 years, but opposition figure Nicole Seah has candidly revealed her struggles and self-doubt since being propelled into the spotlight.
She has been used for her public profile by others and has suffered rape and death threats.
In the past year, she has lost two jobs and her grandmother was diagnosed with stomach cancer - the news of which caused her to have a physical panic attack.
She also contracted dengue fever, she wrote in a Facebook post last Saturday that has since garnered more than 2,900 likes as of press time on Sunday.
These health issues were part of a "meltdown" and put her in and out of hospital during "the worst year of my life thus far".
Ms Seah, now 27, said being in the political spotlight since 2011, when she contested in Marine Parade GRC on a National Solidarity Party (NSP) ticket, led to her feeling crippled by public expectations and helpless when meeting those in need.
"I felt like a fraud being invited to speak at conferences everywhere. I mean, I do have an opinion on some things, but I'm not an expert on everything or anything as of yet," she wrote.
"I felt extremely self-conscious about the need to appear or look a certain way, just so people wouldn't walk away feeling they've been cheated. I was cheating only myself."
She also dated two to three men who were "obviously more interested in my public profile than who I really was as a person".
Ms Seah, who is NSP's second assistant secretary-general, was on a leave of absence from the party as of last month and did not respond to media queries on Sunday.
In her Facebook note, she also called her endorsement of presidential candidate Tan Jee Say in 2011 a "terrible, irreversible mistake" and something she had been "arm-twisted" into.
She added that she was grateful for the lessons she has learnt. These include learning to let go, realising how little material things matter, not taking shortcuts and realising that "when you have a larger purpose in mind, the road to achieving it is a marathon for life".
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