Having suicidal thoughts? If you are please, read through about my experience and how I got out from it. The rest of you wondering how it feels like to have such thoughts, do read as well. It is a long post but bear with me.
After I finished my SPM in high school, I received pretty good results and manage to secure a scholarship for both my foundation and my degree. I went off quite far away overseas to further my degree. I was able to adapt very well and everything felt alright during my first year and my results were decent. Then I went through this phase of uncertainty in what I really wanted to do in life. I started to slowly lose interest in the course that I was taking and I spent most of my time playing sports and learning things that was not part of my course. My grades were slowly degrading but I was still able to maintain it at a safe level to keep my scholarship.
At the same time, I was also involved in a very complicated relationship which I would not elaborate here. But it was just really terrible to the point where I hardly could get even 3 hours of sleep a day. As time passed, everything just turned chaotic. First, I started losing interest in everything that I liked. Food, reading & etc. My grades slumped drastically. There was one semester in which I failed all three subjects that I took. I wanted to change my course but I couldn’t because I was restricted by my scholarship. I couldn’t change my major. I hated studying what I did not like. I gave up. I failed because during my final exams I could not even bring myself to sit for the three papers. I stayed home. The cold winter did not help. Everything around me felt ice cold. I was in a state of depression.
It became worse. I started to lose myself. When I was awake, all I could feel was numbness. I know my body was moving but I could not feel anything else. It was just so empty. I received a warning letter from my sponsor about my grades. I was advised to retake it and improve my CGPA. I took the advise. I only took one subject to repeat during my summer break. It was only one subject, a mathematics subject which was the only subject in the entire course that I actually enjoyed doing. Yet, I failed. Again. This time around, I knew that I can’t go on anymore. I had to go back home.
I needed to start from scratch. Choose something that I like. Then I realized, how am I going to tell my parents about it? I come from a poor family. We live paycheck-to-paycheck. There were no savings. Nothing at all. Not even for any emergencies. Without the scholarship I would just be stranded and go anywhere at all. My parents were so proud of me that I was able to further my studies overseas and there I was shattering their very dream. I was supposed to be that one person in the family to help bring the family out of poverty. All I could think of was “what have I done? what happened to me? I was not like this.”
I couldn’t go back and I couldn’t move forward. I was extremely lost. My mind was flooded with regret and pain. I felt very hopeless. I just wanted to end of my life right there and then. I was very reckless on the road just wanting to get hit my something and lose my life. But it didn’t happen. I even thought of just cycling into a half frozen lake to just freeze to death. My life just felt really cold. Every single hour that I spent time sleeping, I dreamt. I dreamt of dying. It was both “calming” and terrifying at the same time.
I had friends. Many of them too. I was not alone but yet I felt extremely alone. I only shared about my problems to one of them who was the closest to me. It helped but not much. The pain would not go away. But I was finally able to make a tough decision. A decision to tell my parents what was going on, the fact that I can no longer continue studying. The fact that I have failed so much that I can no longer recover. I was supposed to go home that month to attend my sister’s wedding, it was supposed to be all joyful and cheerful. But there I was giving them such a heavy news. I cried on the phone cause I couldn’t continue talking to my mum.
All her hard work in raising me up so well, I felt it. I felt how it all went to the drains because of me. None of my family members could understand what happened to me and neither did I. I did not die. I went home safe. But it was not over. Things only got worse. I couldn’t look at my parents when I talked to them because I felt so ashamed of myself. Everyday my mum would ask me what happened. I couldn’t open my mouth to say anything. I stayed in my room almost all day trying to figure out what I should do next. I cried almost every single night because I couldn’t sleep. The disappointment that I brought to my family was just too much for me to handle. Then, to make things worse, I received a letter from my sponsor that I had to payback all the expenses of my education that they have invested. It was part of the agreement. It was almost 400K. If I can’t pay it in that year itself, it said that my guarantor (my dad) would have to be declared bankrupt and go to prison or that I have to go to prison.
When I read that letter, I really couldn’t think rationally. I thought that it was just a bad dream and that I would wake up if I just die in my dream. I did not know what to do except to seek for death. For a few days I took the LRT and sat there just from one end of the station to the other end of the station thinking of what I can do to either die or to save myself. There were just three small triggers that helped me get out from thinking about suicide. First, each time I see my parents going to work and coming back home even during the weekends I knew that if I just die what would happen to my family? How could I have the heart to just escape and dump all my problems to my family? How could they survive?
The second trigger was an advice from a friend who told me that “when you feel like you are really at the bottom most of your life, you should rejoice because you can’t go down any further than that. You can only move forward.” Her words still ring in my ears each time I feel I was going down a roller coaster in life. The third one came from my best friend. He told me something simple that gave me back my confidence. He said “You are the smartest person that I know of who can get out of any shit. You have been through all kinds of shit to come so far you can get through this one too.”
Thinking about my family and friends helped me to boost my confidence slowly but surely. I got back on my feet. I wrote a letter to my sponsor to explain my situation and they surprisingly helped me to cut down the collateral payment by a very very very huge amount and that I could pay by instalments without any interests whenever I had the money. I was so damn thankful. I went for a job hunt. I worked multiple jobs. I had some savings from doing odd jobs back in the country i was studying at. In a few months I was able to save enough to start my degree again. I came to Sunway. I went to public universities before that but they rejected me because I did not have matriculation or STPM. At Sunway I was told that I could get a bursary once the semester begins because of my good result from foundation. I was happy. I forked in all my savings to pay my first semester fees of 12K.
The semester started and I was still in depression. I spent every single day working part time and studying. I scored really well and that brought back my confidence even more. But things don’t always go well. I realized that I did not get my bursary. I went to check and they told me that I can’t get it because my foundation results were more than 2 years old. I was devastated. I cannot afford paying the fees every semester. I cannot at all. Again I felt like all the bad things were returning just to kill me. This time I did not give up as easily as before. I managed to secure PTPTN and I worked my ass off to be able to support myself (daily expenses and all and to pay leftover fees every semester (PTPTN does not cover everything).
I must say that I survived. And now I am almost done with my degree. I was in depression for 2 years almost. I came out alive.
What I want to say is that, whatever it is that you are feeling, no matter how terrible things turn out to be, don’t give up. Never give up. There is always always a way out. If you are regretting about some mistakes that you have done. It is okay to regret or to feel guilty but don’t ever let it consume you. People often say that you need to be forgiving and learn to forgive others. To me, what is even more important is to learn how to forgive yourself. If you can’t forgive yourself, you can never move on.
If you are having suicidal thoughts, talk. Talk. Talk to friends whom you really really trust. Talk to your family. If family is the source of the problem, talk to anyone else. Talk to your pets if that helps. But TALK. Even talking to a complete stranger can help. Seek therapy. Seek a counsellor. Seek anyone at all but don’t seek for death, because death can’t solve your problems it will only make things worse for your loved ones when you are gone.