I have tried writing about suicide innumerable times and I always ended up deleting it. It was always tragic, triggering and I wouldn’t want anyone to feel that way even in my nightmares. But with the recent news of such a young talented actor passing away because of suicide and all the mess social media has made I think it’s time not only for the sake of writing but for awareness.
I’ve dealt with depression and anxiety half of my life. It started when I was too young to even understand what it was. The stigma around mental illness was so strong around that time that the only way out was to hide it. It was as if I’m living a double life, I wish it was something as cool as 007, but no, it involved continuous sobbing, never getting out of bed and hating everything. The people who saw me everyday saw me as shy, quiet, weird, lazy, irresponsible, awkward, trying way to hard but always smiling, and laughing and ready to help. No one would ever imagine who I was when I was alone. I don’t know how to sugar-coat this, but self-harm and suicidal thoughts were a norm in my day to day life. I’ve seen all the highs and the lows. I’ve been to that particular low where I never wanted to come back, it was enough of life for me. I’m not going to lie, I’d never in my life imagined myself to be old, to be even of 30 years of age, I never thought I would survive.
Gradually, things changed for me. I was fortunate enough to have my family and friends there for me, I was privileged enough to find the right resources. It did completely change me who I am today. I’m in such a better place, I’m the healthiest I’ve ever been – physically and mentally. It was one of the hardest thing I had to do in my life, but it was all worth it. If I had to do it thousand times over I’ll do it all over again. To see my family and friends smiling when I’m around them, to see every sunrise and sunset, to be able to go to places and experience each emotion as it comes, it all feels a blessing now. And even though this is the happiest I’ve ever been there is no denying that ghosts from the past come and go capriciously.
One of those time is when I come across news of celebrities dying of suicide. It deeply triggers me, it makes me feel all the work I’ve done is useless, and it’s impossible to overcome something like this. It breaks my heart to even imagine the pain they might have been through. It reminds me of my pain, how crippling it was and how everything seemed worthless. It doesn’t only bring back all the memories but the thoughts starts clouding my future- what if it happens again, what if I couldn’t survive it then. It’s tough because I’ve been in their shoes, I know what it’s like, that’s why seeing someone lose this battle is the most difficult to take in.
Today, even though we are aware of variety of mental illnesses and how severely they can affect a person, I still don’t think majority of people understand what it’s like. I see everywhere on social media people saying “why would he do that” and I don’t think you really have to know the intricate details of a persons life to know why they did something like this. I hope this quote helps you understand it better –
The so-called ‘psychotically depressed’ person who tries to kill himself doesn’t do so out of quote ‘hopelessness’ or any abstract conviction that life’s assets and debits do not square. And surely not because death seems suddenly appealing. The person in whom its invisible agony reaches a certain unendurable level will kill himself the same way a trapped person will eventually jump from the window of a burning high-rise. Make no mistake about people who leap from burning windows. Their terror of falling from a great height is still just as great as it would be for you or me standing speculatively at the same window just checking out the view; i.e. the fear of falling remains a constant. The variable here is the other terror, the fire’s flames: when the flames get close enough, falling to death becomes the slightly less terrible of two terrors. It’s not desiring the fall; it’s terror of the flames. And yet nobody down on the sidewalk, looking up and yelling ‘Don’t!’ and ‘Hang on!’, can understand the jump. Not really. You’d have to have personally been trapped and felt flames to really understand a terror way beyond falling.
– David Foster Wallace
I feel like the one thing missing from this description is the amount of time: it isn’t minutes of trying to avoid or put out the fire. It’s months or years. Part of it is you can only fight that fire for so long before your lungs are choked with smoke and your limbs are limp with fatigue. And imagine people not believing there is a fire, or saying the fire isn’t bad enough for an extinguisher. Or that you’re weak/ a crybaby for having a fire or needing fire extinguisher. And if that isn’t enough imagine thousands of people talking about you, discussing your life in open as they have every right to do it. It’s inhuman, but we can change this with a little compassion and awareness. I don’t think I need to tell anyone how to do it, we all have it in ourselves.
So if you, or someone you know have these constant thoughts then I want you to know there’s help available, its never too late. I don’t know why some people get what they get and some people don’t, but that doesn’t mean you cannot change those things. You deserve everything you dream of. All you have to do is take the first step and ask for help. Death and change are the only certain thing in our life, so why rush? Who knows if you wait for the next wave of change something beautiful might be waiting for you.
Here is a video that saved my life. I hope it does the same for you:
Anna Akana is a comedian and a Youtuber. Her sister committed suicide when she was a teenager. Anna her self has suffered from depression, anxiety, self harm and suicidal thoughts. Her content is humorous, creates awareness about mental illness and never fails to help me when life gets darker.
PS: In case you need help or want someone to talk to please DM me on Instagram- @theclumsyvixen