Disclaimer: In Real Life is a platform for everyday people to share their experiences and voices. All articles are personal stories and do not necessarily echo In Real Life’s sentiments.
Content Warning/Trigger Warning: suicide and mental health. Kindly read at your own discretion.
When I was 15, my best friend and uncle passed away within the span of three months of each other. They were two people that I was very close to and before I could grieve one’s death, another one happened, just like that.
I know it was illogical, but I blamed myself for their deaths. I thought I was some kind of curse and that people shouldn’t get close to me unless they wished death upon themselves.
That’s when I started having suicidal thoughts. I formed the mentality that it would be better for everyone if I didn’t exist.
I remember once, I was waiting for the train and the thought popped into my head that I should jump onto the rails in front of the oncoming train.
But the fleeting moment passed, and I got on the train. I mentally filed that moment away as just one of those crazy thoughts that comes and goes. I didn’t think it was anything worth getting worked up about.
There were many other times that the thought of ending my life would randomly pop up in my head. Each time, it would pass really quick too. It would always disappear within the snap of my fingers.
I always thought it something everyone goes through. Hence, why I never thought I actually had an issue.
A text message was all it took to change my mind
When I turned 18, at the start of my college days, I had a bad breakup with a high school boyfriend. We had a big fight that I don’t even remember what it was about, but we started sending chains of texts back and forth angrily.
There was one specific message that I remember really hurt me. The text said, “You’d be better off dead.”
It took me off guard, because I’d never expected him to say that. Reading that, I was enveloped with a feeling of pure hopelessness. That text brought up all the suicidal thoughts I was suppressing, and I felt like I had been lying to myself the whole time about people actually caring about me.
Up to that point, I had often told myself that there are people who care about me and if I was gone, they would be devastated. This text seemed to confirm my biggest fears — that people didn’t care about my well-being after all.
I was hit with the ‘realisation’ that no one would actually care or notice if I died. And I believed it.
After a week or so, I actually attempted suicide
During the week, I contacted my friends and family to see them and hang out with them as much as possible. I just wanted to see them one last time.
I think deep down, I was trying to convince myself that they did care about me, but it didn’t work.
Hanging out with them was fun! But the whole time I felt out of place. I was smiling and laughing on the outside, but in my head I just wanted someone to notice something was wrong and ask me how I feel. Yet no one did.
That’s all it took for me to convince myself that they didn’t care – if they did, they would have realised something was off, but they didn’t. So if no one cares about me, why am I here?
Now, I realise it was unfair for me to have thought that. My friends and family aren’t mind readers, I shouldn’t expect them to know what’s wrong if I don’t tell them what’s wrong.
But at 18, I didn’t understand that. I had a destructive mindset, and it made me feel isolated and alone. I was just feeling sorry for myself.
One day, I was at home alone with my brother
We decided to steal my parents’ alcohol and drink even though it was still early in the evening.
As we were drinking, my brother and I started bantering about something I can’t even remember, but I did recall he said something along the lines of, “you’re useless. Who needs you?”
I know he probably meant it as a joke, but it really hit me hard. I remember just going silent and continuing to drink.
After that, my recollection of the day’s events was a blur. I have a vague memory of being in the balcony and thinking, what will happen if I jump down now?
The next thing I knew, I woke up in the hospital.
My brother filled the gaps in memories
According to him, I suddenly got quiet and just started drinking. I eventually got really drunk and started crying.
This worried him and he kept asking me if I am okay, but I wouldn’t say anything.
The next thing he knew, I had stumbled to the balcony. He probably thought I was just going to have a smoke or something.
“Everything happened within a second. I looked at the balcony and you were standing there, I looked away and back again, you disappeared followed by a loud thud,” my brother described to me later.
He says I looked broken and was covered in blood.
“I immediately called our parents before I could even process what happened,” he continued, “your leg was in a weird position, I could tell something was wrong with it.”
Even the neighbours came out. One of the neighbors called the ambulance. Everyone was worried about me but no one dared to touch me or move me except my brother who knelt down next to me crying.
“The only thing I cared about was that you’re still breathing. The ambulance took about 15 mins to arrive but at that time, it felt like it took hours,” my brother concluded.
I had to learn to do the basics of living again
When I was taken to the hospital, I was immediately sent for surgery, because my left femur was broken.
I just remember being connected to all the wires. I was on a lot of medication which made me doze off. I know I had blood transfusions and was attached to a lot of tubes. One of them being a ventilator because I could not breathe on my own.
A little bit of my face was scraped off. Fortunately for me, there was no nerve damage that made me paralyzed. I was lucky.
I was in the hospital for 4 months. I had to go for physiotherapy, to learn how to walk again. I went from moving around in a wheelchair to a walker and then a cane before being able to walk normally.
I couldn’t shower on my own, I could not wash my hair or use the toilet on my own.
After getting discharged, my mother quit work to take care of me until I recovered. My friends visited me almost every day trying to lift my mood.
Luckily, I fully recovered with no long-term effects. The only thing I have is a small scar near my eyebrow.
I think that’s when I realised that I do matter.
Of course, it was not like a switch. The frustration of not being able to do it on my own got the better of me sometimes – I got into a lot of fights with my mother about it.
But as time went on, the more my friends came and visited me, the more my mother took care of me, it gradually started changing.
I felt so loved by everyone around me during this time, I realised I was wrong. I realised people did care if something happened to me.
According to everyone, it was just a drunk incident
No one knows that I jumped down because I wanted to, everyone just thinks I was being an irresponsible drunk.
Due to that incident, alcohol is a taboo topic in my family. I am never planning to tell them the truth, it will just be a secret that I take to the grave. The truth will break them.
It hurts knowing my brother has that memory of me because I’m not traumatised by it as much as they are. I don’t watch movies and wince when someone jumps down a building, but he does.
I do think deep down my brother has a feeling it was a suicide attempt, but he has never brought it up. I also suspect he feels like he is responsible for it, which of course he was not. No one was except me.
Suicide is never the solution
Think before you speak, be careful of what you’re saying to someone. Words can hurt and leave a long-term impact on someone. Always check in with your friends, make sure they are okay.
Many people think about suicide without ever making an attempt. And if you ever do, get help even if you don’t act on it. It’s something that I regret until today.
It’s hard fighting with your own brain. It’s like when you have a headache, all you can do is think about the pain, that’s how the suicidal thoughts were. It’s all I could think about and it seemed never ending.
But the pain does end. Really, it will. Suicide is never an option.
For more stories like this, read: Attempted Suicide: How Three Days in the Intensive Care Unit Changed My Life ForeverI was bullied in school and Here’s why child suicides aren’t as uncommon as people think.
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