A Letter to My Suicidal Self
A Letter to My Suicidal Self
I remember you around this time of 2018, you almost didn’t make it…
You woke up with a determination to kill yourself where previously you only flirted with the idea. You were deciding on a place to jump from, ready to change your clothes when God intervened and knocked you out cold. And then you slept for 12-14 hours like a baby where previously you struggled to sleep without medications.
I’m so grateful you didn’t succeed in taking your own life because I write to you now from the future to tell you this: Things do get better. 2018 has been rough, I know. You feel like a failure, a burden. You think you’re useless, crazy, weird, and ugly. You think you’re wasting your parents’ resources by being alive. I know all these thoughts because I am you and I have come out from the dark to the other side. But I write to you now from the future with so much tenderness to tell you that you won’t think this way forever. You will realize that you are NOT a waste of space and you are NOT a burden and circumstances are NOT going to suck forever.
You have been hearing voices and it’s so scary. They call you ‘sick’, ‘psychopath’, ‘sociopath’, ‘weird’, ‘crazy’, ‘ugly’ and all sorts of names. You break down in tears thinking that others are talking about you behind your back when you hear these voices. And you do it so often, even at work. You keep thinking you’ve been hacked and that people are spying on you and because of that you haven’t rested well without medications in a long time.
Because of your failing mental health, you’ve struggled to find and hold down a stable job. I know this is a huge blow to your pride having enjoyed academic success all your life and having been viewed as extremely capable at work. I know you are burnt out from holding two part time jobs. I know you hate yourself for not performing. I know you struggle with feeling worthy. I know.
And on top of all of this, losing popo (grandma) and now yeye (grandpa) has dragged you straight to the depths of despair. You think you’ll never see them again and you deeply regret being angry with yeye for not visiting popo before she died. I know that the grief is real but complicated. You love yeye so much and are torn up that he died, but you are also angry with him and you also feel immense guilt for feeling this way.
I know this was the tipping point of all your struggles. The guilt over saying unkind things to him and not apologizing in time makes you want to take your own life. You keep thinking, what with work and their deaths – ‘there’s no point in living’.
But please trust me when I say things will get better. The cheesy sayings sound ironic and cruel when you are in despair but the night is truly darkest before dawn. When you wake up today, I cannot guarantee that things will get better straight away, but you will feel different. The determination to take your life dissipates as much as passive suicide ideation remains. I believe God will and can give grace for this because He loves you. One of your employers will show grace to you to tide you over. Your family will embrace you with love to help you.
But the year will continue to be trying. You will lose more jobs. You will lose one more grandparent. You will be diagnosed with schizophrenia on top of the pre-existing bipolar 2 disorder. And you will continue to hate God and isolate yourself from people.
Yet, know this. God and the people around you will never stop caring for you. There is always someone who cares. Even strangers want to help when they volunteer at suicide hotlines. Your friends go out of their way to accommodate your fears and paranoia of voice hearing. And your family is going to lengths to be there to support you. You think you have to keep it altogether, to keep up a front for them. But you really don’t. You can open up to them and share with them your struggles, they care for you enough to listen and be present.
So don’t stop fighting. I read this somewhere before. There are two birthdays for each person. One when they are born and the second when they decide to fight to live.
Your tattoo of a semicolon is a personal symbol of a promise you make to yourself never to take your own life. Tattooed on your ankle, the semicolon marks a continuation of the chapter of your story and a determination to walk this journey with God no matter what happens. This promise you make is the first step to changing the way you think and feel about yourself.
You will begin to think, slowly but surely in a few years from now, that there is life after the death of your loved ones. That God has grace enough to make up for the regrets and love enough to take care of everyone you lost far better than you can here and in heaven. That mental illness is not a life sentence. That you can still work and earn a good living with mental illness. That hearing voices doesn’t mean believing the lies they say. You will begin to realize your worth is not tied up in your work or in your mistakes or regrets or what people think or say of you or anything else other than how much God loves you. And you will be free.
Trust me on this.
With so much love and kindness,
Gwen, from 2020
Published on 20/10/2020