Spring cleaning starts now

Last time I wrote personally and honestly, it was a suicide note.

Obviously, I’m still alive. I wasn’t even actively looking to kill myself when I wrote the note — no, I wasn’t brave enough to take my own life, what with all the worries I had:

What if I didn’t die instantly and had to suffer for a long time? Worse, what if I ended up surviving with irreparable damage? Or if I did succeed in ending my life, would it scar my roommate, who’s not even a friend of mine, when she inevitably found my dead body? Would my mom, who suffers from a heart condition, be able to cope with her daughter’s death? Could I possibly ruin her life even more?

That last concern was ultimately what kept me going, and that’s still true today. For as long as my mom is alive, I’ve decided, I will do my darnedest to stay that way too.

But of course I knew that it’s one thing to try my best and another for my best to be enough. I also harbored some faint hope that a fatal accident would befall me one day, doing the job that I couldn’t myself. And should that happen, I wanted my mom to know that it’s okay, that it’s probably for the best.

So I started writing that note, thinking about what might give her closure. I talked about how I felt and how I’d always felt, the chronic struggle that I could manage only occasionally after much effort and exhaustion. I apologized profusely for the hurt I knew I’d cause her, the only person in the world to whom my life mattered. I laid out what I wanted done to my body as I knew it wouldn’t be her preference at all: donate whatever’s possible, no funeral, no columbarium, just scatter my ashes over my most favorite place in the world (assuming it’s legal—it just occurred to me that I never looked that up).

I’m describing all this now merely from memory. I know where the note is, but I can’t bear to retrieve it. I remember all the tears that went with its writing and, surprising at the time, the relief that came after its completion. And it’s happening again now as I write this. Because as quiet and robot-like I might appear, I do have feelings too, and there are a lot of thoughts in my head that could use an outlet.

For many years, as I lived with depression, I kept a journal. I was a silent person with a loud mind, finding my voice only in writing, which in turn brought about some life-defining moments. I can’t remember exactly why I stopped, but I do know that the reason it’s taken me so long to start again is less about the lack of time and more about the vulnerability it involves (although time is certainly an issue as well).

There aren’t even that many words in this post, for instance, but it’s demanded so much from me to be able to sit in front of a computer, tell myself it’s okay to think and write these things, and confront the emotional pain concomitant with such an acknowledgement. I allow myself to feel, and I feel devastated. And I don’t always have a couple of hours to spare to go through and recover from this process. But maybe it’ll get better with subsequent releases. One can only hope.

Thank you, Winnie Lim, for inspiring me to finally write again with the post “On being chronically depressed and suicidal.” I suppose it’s true that you shouldn’t be afraid to share your story, because you never know who’ll relate and benefit from it.

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