A few weeks ago, I attempted suicide. And failed. The irony is that… the attempt happened because I felt like a failure.
Before I go on with anything else, I need to talk about suicide. In those moments leading up to the (potential) act, I had blinders on with everything else. Things had gone so bad that leaving this world was the only thought that made me feel better. Once I was in that ‘mode’, it took those blinders and a ton of courage to even make that choice: knowing full well the effect it would have on all of you.
The internalized pain was of such a scale that it dwarfed my fundamental self and familial preservation. Those moments stretched into eternity.
People underestimate how powerful your mind can be over what you perceive is your own will and consciousness. I had additional pressure because of my overwhelming desire to not conform to generic life: get a degree, get a job, buy a car, get married, buy/build a home, have kids and so on. Please note that there is nothing wrong with that, I know that it is just not for me. I am a complex person, but all I ever wanted was a job that allows me to help people, and travel with my significant other.
Selfish? Maybe. But people who think I was being selfish… are ironically selfish too. I just wanted to not live a life of pain anymore.
I also need to highlight, that no one is a coward. It is NOT taking the easy way out. It is proof of how sad and depressed I got, and that suicide was considered the only positive way out. The real cowards are those unwilling to admit that some people’s lives may be never-ending, ever-increasing amounts of suffering and the only end for it all is the offing themselves.
Suicide isn’t something giving up. It’s someone who has battled and fought a hard, MENTAL fight and lost. Nothing cowardly about it. If you can understand that, then you realize that cowardice or selfishness is not really applicable.
The major exception is someone who committed crimes attempting to find a way out of punishment.
Now to peel back the curtains.
Because of early life events, I have always had a strong sense of never giving up on others: but I gave up on myself when it really counted. Despite this, I worked hard enough to get several degrees and have worked in different jobs.
I carried this and a lot of other pain for more than a decade. I pushed myself as hard as I could to put myself in a position where I could better help people. Be it through a non-profit venture or a product/service that added value to people’s lives. Throughout all this, I experienced a significant loss of confidence, accomplishments that always came with caveats, the hopes but not knowing how to use them and then the mood swings. First, hopeful about having a job, traveling, getting married — and then back to not seeing anything. Impostor syndrome became part of the furniture in the room that is my mind. I withheld my dreams because people would often tread on them unknowingly. These dreams were archived slowly and never looked at again.
I kept smiling and laughing...and dying inside. Bit by bit. Things will get better… I told myself. There were moments that really felt like it, but they were false dawns. You all told me how awesome I was, and how much you love me… but I felt like I never deserved your praise or love. Sometimes, I even felt you were lying just to make me feel better. I felt like there were better humans and less fortunate humans who were far more deserving. Self-worth is a bitch. To be honest, I still feel like I don’t deserve it, and I apologize for letting all of you down. It is a work in progress.
Some other events occurred that snowballed in quick succession, and that’s when I hit rock bottom. In my mind, no one believed I could do anything of worth, least of all me. My natural thought process was then to remove the burden from the world.
I crept closer to the blanket of blue, and stared at the intensity of the crashing waves (yes, I was planning to drown myself at a known dangerous location), two people popped into my mind. One, a bit more than the other. That person has had a hard life and a lot of self-doubts. I kept trying to pump myself up to drop my backpack (I had taken a book to finish reading just before I jumped in), and this person kept showing up and I froze. I eased off, broke down and cried and everything went on autopilot after that.
I will be more upfront with you. Right now, I hate myself for not going through with it. But I also hate myself for putting all of you through that. But I am getting better. I have dusted off all my old plans and given them a new life, and I will make sure these WILL happen in some shape or form. I would like for all of you there in different capacities. I would like to have a significant other facepalming at lame jokes while secretly plotting to conquer the world with me.
For the foreseeable future, I will have tiny fractures in my prison wall of bad habits and self-loathing as vectors of attack. My self-awareness of death, and how the world functions are bound to contribute to moments of doubt and despair. But I hope that these cracks grow into something more substantial and their consistent pressure drives me to do better. To see more light and motivate me to dig deeper and faster. I do kindly ask you, to tell me — no, force me to take a break to enjoy life from time to time. Because I know that I have a workaholic and perfectionist bug. I know I need to hold myself to lower standards, but it just doesn’t happen in practice. I know that I hold the people I care about to the same standards, and often, perhaps unrealistically, expect them to learn from my mistakes so I do not see them struggle or suffer in similar ways. I understand that it is a different process for everyone, but it still frustrates me when I see anyone walk into something that could have been easily avoided.
To paraphrase someone: Life and existence are beautiful and that Earth is basically a paradise. Humans, unfortunately, have turned the very simple into the very complicated. Capitalism, colonialism, racism, sexism, patriarchy, etc are ruining it.
Life is about simultaneously enjoying… the gift of life while also devoting your energies and purpose to supporting and protecting that life.
My life motto has always been Per Audacia Ad Astra: From Adversity to the Stars. I may never get what I dream about, but I promise to try my best to face adversity. So please be patient with me, while I relearn some aspects of life that many have taken for granted. And please, walk with me so we can face this adversity together.
I have tackled depression on a public forum in the past. Click here to read that on my old (defunct blog). I posted the same article on Facebook notes. Remy Carreiro, who was a prolific blogger on places such as Bloody Disgusting, wrote a companion piece for the aforementioned blog here.
We stigmatize mental health around the world. My limited life experience has shown that it severely affects the African and Japanese communities. Please remember that this wholly anecdotal evidence. If you form part of one or both communities, please reach out to a family member, friend, or therapist. The change won’t be immediate, but hopefully, it will help in time.