Trigger Warning: Suicide Attempt
I tried to kill myself last week after almost three years of battling major depressive disorder and triggered by a massive argument with my partner (now ex and a genuinely dear friend, but we’ll get to that later). The emotional distress and the terrible pain that I was in because I was so terrified of losing her drive myself to the edge of insanity. I only stop after she threatened to call 911 and my friends. The last thing my anxious, self-hating mind wanted is to burden others. I didn’t follow through, but I know that I was a liability to myself and I was so scared for my life and the possible pain that I will inflict upon me and others that I went to see my psychiatrist the next day.
I admitted myself voluntarily to an ER and later to a psychiatric ward – miles and hours away from Boston. I spent three days there – isolated and utterly depressed. Everything that I could use to hurt myself was confiscated, I can’t wear my own coat because it has strings in it and I can’t even use a pen because of its’ sharp point. My cellphone was also confiscated, and I was cut off with the rest of the world. Every now and then I would call one of my closest friend whom I let know about my current condition, but other than that I felt so removed from the world of the living. I was in a unit full of pained strangers who were there each for their own reason, each has attempted to end their life. Suicide is not a normal reaction to common mental health issues or daily stressors and that prevention and recovery are both possible and help is always available.
Everyone stressor is different, mine happened to be a relationship problem. And now though I think how baffling it was to want to kill myself over a relationship, please do not ever downplay or belittle your stressor. Everyone’s triggered differently, everyone’s struggling differently, some struggles are worst than others, but that doesn’t mean your battle, no matter what it is, doesn’t matter.
Why and how do I end up in such a dark place though?
For eight years, I was in a series of relationship marathon. I moved from one person to another person, without a break, sometimes overlapping. All those years, I was putting a considerable amount of trust on my partner(s) to fix me from the mess that I am. I cling to all of them, but myself to try to fix and save me from the mayhem inside my head and from the pain it causes.
When I entered my last relationship in 2016, I was heading towards what would be the worst version of myself – a remnant of who I used to be. I was one year away from being formally diagnosed with depression, and I was exhausted from the draining life of Jakarta and my fuzzy sense of purpose. She and her bubbly, extroverted nature came with such a constant amount of optimism and a profound passion for life. I was longing for an adventure and a significant amount of love and adoration, and she brought me that. I was excited and terrified, we entered our relationship in a tumultuous and unhealthy way. I wasn’t entirely over my previous long-term relationship, and I was afraid to step out of my comfort zone to accept this invitation to venture out and see the world. What makes it even worst was, not long after we started dating, we entered a continuous long-distance relationship that continued until yesterday. All two years and ten months that we were together, she was nothing but loving, caring, selfless, and wholly devoted. A kind of love so big that it terrifies me for deep down in my fucked up little mind, I was in a lot of pain, and I never feel like I deserve to be loved. I was hurtful, mistrustful, condescending, and toxic. She endured that, and yet I still didn’t learn my lessons. I was stubborn and utterly skeptical about the world. I push her away, victimize myself and blamed my mental condition for all the mean things I did. I screamed for help in a language she didn’t understand, and she offered support in a language I don’t want to understand.
I made a terrible mistake when I define my purpose of life around a person, while at the same time doing the complete opposite things of keeping her around. When it becomes quite clear that our path is no longer aligned, and that I wasn’t the person that she needs now, I was thrown into such an acute pain of losing my sense of purpose that I can’t see beyond these circumstances, and I don’t believe this pain of losing her and my sense of purpose will ever end. At that critical time, I made myself think that I am here now, doing my graduate school, with a scholarship, all because I wanted to be with her. I wanted to come home fast because I want to be with her. I can’t see doing anything in life beyond doing it just for her. Now that I’m typing this, I felt like looking into a shadow version of me. I thought to myself now, who was that person?
Yesterday, I bought a round-flight ticket from Boston to Jakarta after another argument and a futile attempt to save what was left of my relationship (thankfully a flexible one because if not I would really fucking hate myself because I would be both dumb and broke). I told her that I will come back home for twelve days and I will try to win her back. She asked me, “What about your class ?”, and my stubborn, egoistic, selfish self-said,“I don’t care anymore.”
But, after I hanged up the phone, went to my backyard and smoke to think, I became afraid. Even more fearful than I was before when I was about to kill myself. I was so scared of looking inwardly and seeing a completely different person, I don’t know who I am, I don’t want to be the kind of person who throws away her dream, everything that she works so hard for, just for someone else. I love my partner, but, precisely because I love her and I know that she cares deeply about me I had to stop myself from sabotaging me, her, and this relationship. It is terribly unfair that I inflict the pain that I am into her and to everyone else.
I stopped to think and decided that I can’t devote myself and love someone when I am having trouble with loving myself and knowing who I am. I need to stop. I need to rest. I need to discover the old me whom I used to love. Depression has robbed me of so many things, but most importantly, it robs me from being the best version of myself – someone that I actually like. Someone who is fun to be around, someone who is not bitter and cynical and makes deprecating jokes about herself all the time.
So yesterday, I let go of the love of my life. I can’t pinpoint the feeling, it’s a mixed emotion of being scared and pained of a possible thought that no one might be able to love me as much as she loves me. But, a thought is just that, a thought, it is not a fact for it hasn’t happened yet. And, maybe just maybe, someone will finally come when I’m ready to fully embrace life again and be at peace at myself. Until then, I’m going to rest and give a life a go.
The title of this post is inspired by a TV series I watched shortly after I made my decision to completely let go. After Life is a Netflix TV series which told a story about Tony, a guy who became increasingly bitter and depressed after he lost her wife to cancer. I, like Tony, is in a lot of pain and we decided that the world has to suffer because of it. We’re in this unimaginable, stigmatized, invisible pain and we cope up by being an asshole. This series paints a brilliant picture inside the mind of people who are struggling with depression without glorifying or justifying the destructive behaviors caused by the condition. For a long time in forever, I feel humanized and understood. I suddenly realized all I wish for now is just for someone like Lisa (Tony’s wife) and all of Tony’s friends who believes in Tony’s goodness even if he doesn’t. to remind me that I am not such a bad person, there’s good and fun in me and I should not beat myself too much about my condition.
The last thing I want in this world is to inflict my pain upon others. I’m learning to love myself and life again. I’m learning to not blame the condition and start feeling sorry all the time about myself. I’m learning to be comfortable with myself. And I hope, whoever’s reading this can take some positive messages out of it – you are loved, you are precious, and this world needs you.