In her new drama Your World In Mine, veteran actress Xiang Yun plays a woman who has both schizophrenia and dementia, and one scene in particular left her depleted.
Recounting the scene, the 60-year-old told AsiaOne in a recent interview: "My character's conditions were set off and (actor) Zhu Houren and many other actors had to hold me back.
"Having to finish that one scene in a shot without cuts was difficult. We took so many takes — maybe four or five — and I was very tired. We acted until we were exhausted. I had to use all of my strength!"
Xiang Yun added: "After that day's filming, I was so tired, I went back home and slept very well."
Your World in Mine is a new Mediacorp 20-episode drama where she plays Wang Jinhui, a mother of two. Her son Hong Maodan (Desmond Ng) left her following an argument and he returns five years later to find Jinhui with both schizophrenia and dementia.
In order to portray her character accurately, Xiang Yun said she put a lot of thought and preparation into her performance.
She said: "I went online to learn more about them (dementia and schizophrenia). I have encountered people with them before but I needed more material and wanted to know how patients would react to certain problems."
"But people with dementia and schizophrenia aren't always in a state of instability — there are times when they are alright and sweet," she added.
"When Jinhui's ailments are triggered, we need to figure out, 'Did this incident trigger her schizophrenia or did it trigger her dementia?'"
Having to distinguish between the two and define their scope made fleshing out Jinhui exceptionally challenging, Xiang Yun added, but she hopes the drama and her character will raise more awareness of the conditions.
"I feel we should be more tolerant and loving towards people with mental conditions," she said.
Xiang Yun also expressed her worries about ageing, and as a certified nutritionist, she shared some general tips on maintaining good mental health.
She advised against consuming too much sugary foods as they are not good for mental health, and stressed on getting enough sleep.
Xiang Yun stated. "There are times at night when I'm swiping on my phone for Xiaohongshu stories, but I will quickly put it down and tell myself, 'It's already so late, hurry up and sleep!'"
Another tip that she shared is doing mindfulness meditation.
She explained: "Every day, an app will instruct me to do 10 to 15 minutes of meditation, and I would do that every night before going to sleep. It calms me down and relaxes my mind and body."
Your World in Mine premiered on July 18 and is telecast on weekdays at 9pm on Channel 8. It is also available on demand for free on meWATCH. The drama also stars Huang Biren, Yao Wenlong, Hong Ling and Richie Koh.