Allow me to quote a quote by Jim Mahoney. “I wish people knew that taking one’s life can feel like sneezing to a severely depressed person, that it can be a mere reaction to the body’s overwhelming message, that after fighting a sneeze for years and years, some people simply can’t sneeze anymore, that they should not be condemned or demonized for sneezing.” – Jim Mahoney
Please call SOS or walk into the nearest emergency room if you feel suicidal. You are beautiful, remember that. You deserve to live and seek help, remember that.
- “Why do you want to take your own life?
There are people fighting for a chance to live, and people who do not have enough food to eat!” Please do not undermine our struggles. I know that there are people fighting for survival, fighting for a chance to live, and people who are in 3rd world countries, who do not have enough food to eat. I acknowledge that. We know that there are people out there struggling, fighting to live, but that does not make our struggle any less, or our pain less painful. It makes me feel even more guilty to be severely depressed, because we do not trivialise the sufferings of people with physical illnesses or those suffering from poverty, but we are still suffering, mentally. It feels like we are being blamed for something not within our control, which makes us even feel worse. There is really a huge stigma against depression and suicide, but it is no joking matter. Depression can lead to suicide, it is life threatening. It is just like any other physical illness.
- “You are weak/you cannot take hardship/you do not have enough mental perseverance/you must learn to be strong.”
Sometimes, it’s not about being strong. Perhaps we have been strong for too long, bottling our emotions up for too long, until we become consumed by pent-up anguish. And they say depression is anger turned inside out. So we end up internalising the anger and harming ourselves. Personally, I do not think I am weak. I have worked in a coffee shop as an assistant for 3 months during my holidays, I have marched under the hot sun during grueling dance practices, repeating the same poses over and over again. I have had 3-4 IV drips to date, 13 blood draws, I have a tattoo, I have a piercing, I never gave up on my studies, no matter how tough it gets.
- “I know how it feels like. I was depressed too. ”
Nowadays, people like to use the word “depression”, when they had a bad day or two. Depression is a real illness, and unless you have experienced depression or suicidal ideation before, you don’t know what it is like. You don’t know what it is like when you think that nobody in the world cares, even if you died. You don’t know how it is like when you think that nobody would turn up for your funeral if you died. Have you experienced being ostracised by the whole class, having to sit in the cafeteria and eat lunch alone, and hiding in the library because you didn’t want to be seen alone? Have you experienced a time where you were sitting in the front row in class for assembly, and nobody wanted to sit next to you? Worse, they left a huge berth/gap between you and them. Do you know how it feels like to be an utter failure? Feeling like you can’t do anything right? Feeling like a failure because you failed your tests and people chastised you for being stupid? Do you know how it feels like to be compared to other children? “Why does my friend’s son does better academically than you? And he has no tuition at all. And he is in a top school. Blah blah blah.” Do you know how it feels like when guys don’t want to be your friend, but they just want a kissing buddy/girlfriend or they want to get into your knickers? I wish people knew that taking one’s life can feel like sneezing to a severely depressed person, that it can be a mere reaction to the body’s overwhelming message, that after fighting a sneeze for years and years, some people simply can’t sneeze anymore, that they should not be condemned or demonized for sneezing. These are the things off the top of my head. It doesn’t constitute all the negativity in my life.
- “Why can’t you study/work/do your household chores or just be a normal person? Why can’t you take care of yourself?”
Sometimes, the desperation and hopelessness hit you like an avalanche, and you are unable to fight back. You are immobilized, paralysed, and assailed by negative thoughts. Everything seems pointless and meaningless. Everything is tinted with a fog of negativity. Every insult, every criticism, feels very personal to you. We want to be normal, but when depression strikes, it’s impossible. We lose our appetite, we lose the motivation to do things, we have insomnia, we have very negative thoughts, we get somatic pain symptoms. When the voices telling you that you are stupid and failure, have taken up residence in your head, tell me if you can still function in life without breaking down. It sucks to lag behind your peers, academically, socially, whatever you call it. We actually feel envious of other people who do not have to struggle through their adolescent/late adolescent lives. But we are like birds with broken wings. We need to heal in order to fly. Sometimes, depression is recurrent, which sucks. Sometimes, people just don’t respond to treatment.
- “Stop thinking about suicide, think about positive things.”
It is easy to say that when you haven’t walked a mile in the shoes of a suicidal person.
Allow me to quote a quote by Jim Mahoney.
I wish people knew that taking one’s life can feel like sneezing to a severely depressed person, that it can be a mere reaction to the body’s overwhelming message, that after fighting a sneeze for years and years, some people simply can’t not sneeze anymore, that they should not be condemned or demonized for sneezing.
First published: 2014
In this case, sneezing is used as an analogy for suicide. Another analogy I found on Reddit, was that suicide is akin to scratching an itch. The urge to scratch the itch comes, you feel very uncomfortable when you can’t scratch it, and you have to scratch it no matter what because the itch is killing you. A lot of people have been hospitalised for suicide attempts. Please don’t judge them, it isn’t funny. When the urge is not so bad, you can still resist it somewhat. But sometimes, the urge becomes overwhelming, and the person might eventually succumb to suicide (unless they seek immediate medical attention). When people are truly and deeply suicidal, the emotional pain is more overwhelming than any potential emotional pain that they may face. It ravages them inside out, leaving a shell of their former self, and leaving a trail of destruction in its wake.
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