Faith

The national swimmer who was drowning: Joscelin Yeo’s journey out of depression

Joscelin Yeo // April 22, 2019, 4:41 pm

I first started swimming at about 5 years old.

My parents wanted us to be water-safe so they put us in swimming lessons. Then at about 8, I joined a club to do a little bit more. By the time I was 11, I was the fastest breaststroker at the time and so I made the national team. And that began a career of 17 years of swimming on the national team.

While it was really fun, I was also exposed to a lot more than I would otherwise have experienced at that age. I had to face the media constantly, and I just felt so pressured from everyone around me.

I couldn’t go anywhere without being seen or being asked to do something. I just had no privacy. And it was especially hard because I was going through my teenage years. It just got worse and worse and worse each year: I did every kind of vice that you could ever think of.

I spiralled into depression. I cut myself. I was trying to get away from the internal turmoil. But there was no way to escape.

And I felt like my life was a complete toilet bowl.

And then one day, my brother asked me to go to church.

Even though I went, I fell asleep very early on because I was completely hungover. But towards the end of the service, I just felt compelled to raise my hand up during the altar call.

I think it was when I felt the compulsion to raise my hand that I felt that hope. That maybe, maybe if I accepted Christ, my life could turn around. I didn’t know for sure. But at that point, my life was so bad that I was willing to try anything.

I wanted to end it all: Ah Boys to Men actor Charlie Goh

And this is the beautiful part: God had already provided a way out for me.

I had actually been getting calls from coaches in the States offering me full scholarships to go over there to swim. And right about that time my coach in Australia had suddenly left. So I figured, why not take that scholarship up in the States now? It would also provide me with a fresh start, a new beginning.

There’s no way it could be so coincidental how everything came together at that point. It had to be the Lord.

Today, I’m happily married. I’ve got 4 kids who I absolutely adore. I am working in a job that’s like a dream job to me. Life is good.

I don’t ever regret being a swimmer or taking the path that I did. It’s like the Bible says: He turns your ashes into beauty. 

If you ever feel like your life has no more meaning, if you ever feel like you’re in a hole that you can’t get out of, if you ever feel like there’s darkness all around you – know that the Lord loves you. He’s there for you.

He’s the Saviour. And whatever you need saving from, He will save you in the most amazing way.

Don’t lose hope because God really loves you.


This article is adapted from Joscelin Yeo’s testimony video, published on the Celebration of Hope’s Facebook page. Have you been searching for hope or are you looking for opportunities to share your hope with family and friends? Come and hear stories of hope at the Celebration of Hope, running from May 17 to 19, 2019 at the National Stadium. 

Tickets for some of the rallies are still available. Book them via the Celebration of Hope app or website before they’re all snapped up! If you’ve booked your tickets, remember to confirm your tickets before April 30, 2019.

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