This is extremely difficult to write. Several times in the past I have started writing and then scrapped it many times. But I need to do this for myself. While I am being myself. Something happened today and I don’t want to forget it. I want to remember it. Treasure it.
I have been suffering from depression for quite some time now, the first time I thought of committing suicide was at the age of 14. Since then I have spent many years thinking, planning ways to end my life. I also spent some time seeking various counselling services, asking my close friends for help and taking anti-depressants. All of them worked intermittently but eventually the feelings of worthlessness would come back and taunt me.
I spent so much time thinking about why I hate myself and feel so worthless. And I think it is due to the combination of reasons:
- I was sexually assaulted by a family member when I was 8. No one knows about this except me and this person… maybe. I sometimes wonder if he even remembers what he did. I never confronted him about it and I never will. He has a wife and a kid now. I know I didn’t dream this up (because it is too sick to be a dream by an 8-year-old) although sometimes I wish I did because it wouldn’t be real then. Sometimes I get flashbacks and I feel sick to the stomach and I feel gross. This makes me feel worthless
- My father verbally and physically abused me up until I was 21. It stopped once I moved out. Now he has “mellowed out” and I am back home again. While I forgive him for what he has done, I struggle to forget the hurt I suffered. Sometimes I remember the things he has said in the past and this makes me feel worthless.
- Both my parents wanted me to study medicine, particularly my mother. This is despite I told her when I was 5 that I wanted to be an artist. This is despite I spent so much of my free time drawing and painting, winning competitions and having a strong interest in animated films. I failed to achieve her dream. Then she wanted me to pursue academia and that didn’t happen. Then she wanted me to be a teacher as it is a good career for a woman. I did that and I suffered massively from the experience and quit. This “failure” to achieve my mother’s expectations makes me feel worthless.
- During my time working as a teacher I was mistreated by some of my colleagues. I was isolated, bullied and used. I spent four years focussing on my students because they were the only reason I could keep working hard and stay in that job. They were the only reason I could smile at work. Even that was not enough as my health took a toll and I was hospitalised. However, failing to fix this problem and failing to stay being a teacher makes me feel worthless.
- The person I thought I would spend the rest of my life with stopped loving me. In fact, in all of my past relationships the significant-other fell out of love with me while I was still in love with them. Failure to keep a relationship makes me feel worthless.
The thing is though, I still think this is nothing compared to what some people have suffered or are currently suffering. I still have relatively healthy body. I still have a job that pay for things. I still have a room I can stay in and sleep safely. I still have food in my system. I should be grateful for what I have.
So when I came across this photograph of this little girl (Jessica Whelan) suffering from cancer, I was lost for words.
She still fought hard to live even if she was fighting a losing battle. Yet, here I was, up until this morning, reminding myself that I can only end my life once I complete my bucket list (I have seriously constructed one as a desperate attempt to save myself). How could I think of giving up my life when there are so many trying to live and fighting hard for it? Why am I not grateful for the gift of life? I realised that I was being extremely selfish. Yes life can be hard, but there are enough good to be worth it. Life is precious.
I also realised that I need to give myself a genuine break. My suffering might not be much compared to this girl (and many others out there), but I did suffer. I need to give myself time to heal. I need to love myself and treat myself with respect because I know I deserve it. No one else will unless I do it first. I need to give myself credit for still smiling and actually taking a step into reaching my dream (of being an artist/animator). I need to give myself credit for not going through with suicide. I need to give myself a hug for being strong.
The reason I am writing this is because I need a reminder. The reason I am writing this on a public blog is because I am hoping that when I feel so depressed again, someone will kindly remind me of this post. I am also hoping that maybe someone will read this and give themselves a break as well.