*Trigger Warning: suicide, self harm*
A couple of nights ago, I was going through blog posts on WordPress and listening to music. A little before midnight, my grandma came to my room asking if I could hear someone yelling. I couldn’t hear anything over the music on my laptop, but once I had paused it, I could hear faint yelling coming from outside. Because it was late, all the doors and windows in our house were already shut, so it was difficult to tell where the yelling was coming from. However, once we had opened our door, boisterous shouting could be heard coming from our neighbor’s house.
Crying out and lots of indecipherable yelling was spewed – an outcome most likely due to being drunk. Things were being thrown around as items could be heard crashing onto the ground. One of our neighbors went into the house to try to comfort him. Another neighbor had called 911 according to my mom. Out of everything that was happening, though, one moment had struck a nerve with me. In the midst of all his yelling, we could all clearly hear him cry out, “God, take me now! Please, please, take me now!”
I was on the brink of tears when I heard him cry out to God like that. My heart was beating out of my chest as I tried not to let the tears fall.
Once upon a time, that used to be me.
If you were to see me in public, you wouldn’t suspect such a bubbly, energetic girl to be someone who’d wish she wasn’t on this Earth anymore. How could someone who’s always smiling and laughing – someone always so positive and cheerful – could be in such a dark place that she’d want to take her own life away?
Well…1. I had gotten to be a pro at hiding behind a facade during those rough moments, and 2. Shit happened. (apologies for the profanity!)
For those who know what it’s like to be at such a low place in your life understands just how terrifying it feels. While I was younger, I would hear stories of people losing their lives to suicide and kind of brushing it off to the side. “I wouldn’t try to harm myself in any way!” I would think to myself. “I’m okay! I wouldn’t want to kill myself!”
Fast forward to my senior year of college. That school year felt like a whirlwind of problems and pain rushing my way. The school year began with my relationship ending and the trials and tribulations of trying to fix things and keeping the break up a secret from our families (something I don’t fully want to go into right now). As the year continued, the stresses of graduating college and passing my classes intertwined with my parents treading on rocky grounds in their marriage, my family stressing about my (late) aunty with her sicknesses, my brother recovering from his break up, and my dog fighting for her life. My graduation was the only beacon of light in my family and in my own life. I didn’t want my family worrying about me. I wanted to be the reason for my family’s joy that year. After talking about it with my ex, we had agreed not to let our families know about our break up until after our graduation.
Once graduation had ended, the transition between school life and “adulting” was pretty rocky. Once my then-boyfriend and I had let both our families know that we weren’t together anymore, life was pretty rough. I hate to admit how vulnerable I was during the summer of 2017, especially once I had found out that my ex had moved on to someone else so quickly. It didn’t help that most of my time was just spent by myself with all this pain and emotions. I’m so used to being strong, even if it means putting on a brave face and hiding behind a fake facade. That’s just how I was raised. If I was feeling anything else other than happy, that was definitely not allowed to be shown or felt. Because of this, when it comes to moments of weakness and pain, I tend to bottle everything up inside.
In a sense, I feel ashamed to turn to others for help. I’m so used to being that strong person. Showing others, even my close friends and family, that I can be vulnerable is my weakness. Maybe that’s where my “I’m a bother” mentality stems from?
The summer of 2017 was terrifying. In front of people, I seemed fine. I was laughing and smiling. Every time my ex was mentioned in a conversation, I would laugh everything off and say that things were okay. Deep down inside, though, I had no will to eat or drink anything. If I had to eat in front of people (i.e.: my grandma while at home), I would barely put any food in a small paper bowl, but I would barely touch my food, instead sneaking it in the trash can while no one was looking. I spent most of my time curled in bed, overwhelmed in pain and emotion. If I wasn’t crying in bed, tears would fall any time something would remind me of my ex. The loneliness and emotions kept lingering within me. There was no one to turn to anymore. There was no purpose in life. I couldn’t take it anymore.
Then the thoughts came to mind.
Life would be so much better without you in the picture. No one cares about you. No one would even notice if you disappeared forever. No one would mourn for you. No one would shed any tears for you. Everyone would be so happy!
I began to self harm myself…but honestly, I’m not even sure if I can even consider what I did as “self harm”. I was too chicken to harm myself with sharp knives or scissors…I guess a part of me didn’t really want to die (or I’m just not a fan of seeing blood after hurting myself). My means of harm were not as drastic, instead scratching my arms with fingernails that I had purposely grown out and covering my face with bags or blankets to restrict my air. I guess there was a small part in me that had some hope. After all, if I truly did want to end my life, I could’ve done so in a snap.
I barely cried out for help during that time. The most I did was via the Internet, which most people just brushed off to the side. It was extremely difficult to actually reach out to someone to talk to when I really needed someone. I can literally count on one hand those who I actually ended up having the courage to talk to – two people. I’m so appreciative of them. They didn’t judge me and my emotions. They listened to what I had to say, yet they sternly kept reminding me to stop lingering onto the past and my emotions. One friend even dealt with me crying on the phone while he was drunk. I may have felt so weak and vulnerable during that time, but they kept reminding me of those same values that I kept thinking was a fake facade – I am strong. I am worthy. I don’t need someone who was only tearing me down in my life.
I don’t think everything fully hit me, though, until I had slept over at my friend’s place with some friends. Before we went to sleep, I was laying on a mattress with my friend, Nicole. She knew of my break up, and she shared her story of her break up and how she overcame it. The overall message she shared was to keep reminding yourself that you deserve better. Karma will do its duty, but you shouldn’t keep lingering and holding onto pain. You won’t move on quicker. You won’t find someone new like that. You won’t grow like that. Just because that relationship is over doesn’t mean you aren’t worthy of being happy and loved.
Her message had hit me. Holding that pain wouldn’t help me recover, and I didn’t want to be stuck in that loop forever. I had decided then to live for myself. I started reaching out to friends that I haven’t talked to in a while just to catch up. I went out with friends more, especially when more of my friends began returning home from college. I started working and volunteering during that time, and working with my students really helped distract my mind from those scary thoughts I used to have. I started eating and drinking again without feeling guilty. I also began going to physical therapy during that time for a neck and spine injury from a car accident, and the constant exercising truly helped me feel good! (I understand now why people work out after a break up)
If you’re ever feeling like you’re alone…if you ever feel like you are not worthy of living…I just want you to know that you are NOT alone. You are worthy of life! You are worthy of every breath you take. You are worthy of every beautiful sight your eyes gaze upon. You are worthy of every delicious scent your nose smells. You are worthy of every spoken word, every dazzling smile, every boisterous laugh, and every yummy meal. You are worthy of every song stuck in your head, every whistling wind in the trees, every bird chirping, and all the beautiful melodies of life heard in your ears. And you are worthy of every warm hug, every passing handshake, every soft animal to pet, every smooth sand between your toes, and all the unique textures that will bless your skin.
You are worthy of happiness. You are worthy of being loved, even if that love comes from yourself. Don’t be afraid to reach out when you need someone, even if it’s to a stranger. There are people who love you and are concerned about your well being. There are reasons to be alive, even if it’s just the smallest of reasons. Live to hug your mom and dad. Live to joke around with your siblings. Live so you can feed your pet the next morning. Live to listen to a new song your favorite band released. Live because you made plans to watch the sunrise.
But in the end, live for you.
Me ke aloha,