Disclaimer: This is a personal recount of a suicide survivor.
[By Monica Haque]
“I’m sorry Thomas, this is just something I have to do.”
These were the last words I sent to my best friend before I wanted to drown myself.
Nothing felt good enough. There was this abyss of void I felt consistently in me. My sister would try every strategy under the sun to motivate me to get out of bed and face the day. There was absolutely nothing that helped me want to live. I felt hollow and numb. That was what severe clinical depression felt like. The activities and people who once made me jovial, slowly meant nothing to me. Everything felt overwhelming and my efforts to overcome the ill feelings were futile.
In 2016, I was supposedly living my best life. I had a loving family; a boyfriend who treated me well; friends who cherished me; a job and co-workers I got along with. So why was I perpetually depressed? What could possibly be so arduous in my life to make me have this ‘disease’ causing me to be bitter and dark, and feel as though nothing was worthwhile? My parents too questioned my depression and would brush it off as just a phase of me being unable to cope with studies.
Till this day, stigmas behind depression still exist. People equate depression to someone not having basic needs. They cannot make sense of why and how someone could be depressed when they ‘have everything in life’. In fact, depression can also be situational; It is often short-term until the situation is resolved. Depression can also arisen from abuse, harassment and neglect especially if such harm have been experienced over a period of time.
For me, having depression and PTSD manifested resentment, guilt and self-loathing for over a decade. This catapulted me to want to take my own life. I wanted to drown myself. I felt worthless and knew the world would be a better place without me. I felt like a burden to my family and to everyone else who had to deal with me. Nothing was worth living for and nothing could change my mind.
I wrote a letter to my Dad asking for his forgiveness on September 16th, and said farewell to my closest friends. I turned my phone off so that no one could reach me. I was on a mission of my own. This was it—I was finally going to set myself free.
I took off my jacket, put away my belongings on the sand, and started walking towards the water. No one could see me. The night was still and black, that even the lighthouses would not be able to spot me—I had this all planned out. My walk towards the water was a flounder, as I found myself faltering. It was like a rapid fire round in my mind of “Why am I doing this?”, and then it all came crashing like a wave— “What about all the people who did love me? What about the ones who counted on me? What about my sister who was like my mother? What about my best friend who always had unfaltering faith in me…”
“What about me?”
If I ended my life that is it. My story would be over. I would be unable to accomplish anything else in life. I would be unable to change the stigmas surrounding mental health. I cannot be the person the children of our future turn to when days become cloudy. I would not be able to make a positive difference in anyone else’s life.
I kept talking to myself, somehow convincing my own that tomorrow would be another day. It may not be better, but it will be another day of my survival. I could be that person someone needed. Seven billion people in the world, there is always someone who may need me. Someone who needed my help, guidance and perspective— I can absolutely be that someone.
All these thoughts bombarded inside my mind. I was so close. So close to jumping into the waters.
But I didn’t do it.
Instead, I chose to save myself.
Two and a half years passed and I am still standing. I feel healthier. I feel better. Surviving through that ordeal was my Mount Everest, and I demolished the rough terrain. Every day was a new day to start afresh. Upon coming down my quest, I asked for help in all kinds of forms. I went through umpteen counselling sessions and was open-minded to cognitive behaviour therapy. I wanted to change my perspective on life. I did not want to feel bad about myself. It was not smooth-sailing nor was it easy but I did it for me. My story is, in fact, far from over, for I am my own author and my chapters are still running. And you should write your happy ending too.
If you find yourself or someone you may know facing the same or a similar issue, please know that help is always available.
You can reach out to Taylor’s counsellors at the Counselling and Psychological Services Centre located on Level 2, Block A.