• mr. ikigai

SEMICOLON


“I just wanna die”


If you’re my friend, a co-worker or just somebody who came close to me for sometime, you may have heard it from me. It became an expression whenever I am put to an uncomfortable situation, however shallow. I couldn’t remember exactly when it started but my melancholia has always been with me growing up. I know because it’s the topic of most of my literary and journal back then.


I meant it, I really do. Perhaps, if I had just enough courage before I wouldn’t be here telling you this story now. I can vividly recall the many episodes I had contemplating to end my life. I have even begun planning my daunted “harakiri”, readying for the right moment. I can no longer recount how many times I have tried to suppress breathing the longest I could in all of my solitary moments. Back home, sitting in one of my file cabinets, I still have the heaps of expired pills and tablets that I’ve been keeping for years in case one day I would finally have the courage. My browser history could tell how many times I have checked out online pages about painless and quickest way to end your own life.


I am not the only one whose like this in our family. In at least the last two decades, I have witnessed several suicide attempts already. The first one with our matriarch, my mother. I was still very young then. I remember being in elementary. One afternoon, our entire household was silenced by the shameful news about my mom’s attempt to take her own life. It was then her partner who saw her intoxicated and covered with blood from her slashed wrist. On the wall, she wrote: “in case something bad happened with my family, it is (name of her ex-partner) who is responsible” signed. She also made a bloody suicide note for her ex-boyfriend using her self-lacerated fingertip. We needed not to talk about why. I knew my mom was going through so much that time. She was still grieving over the abandonment of my sister’s father and there came another one from the man whom he chose over her overseas job. She was the only one working for our family then. Perhaps, she was so sick and tired of being strong for us. Perhaps, she wanted to leave us all behind. Perhaps, this was the reason why I always fear and worry about lost of a loved one. The nightmare of that day is crystal clear in my head. I was lying literally by the door guarding it. I thought then that it should be so if something happens again that I could quickly ask for help. I thought that day would never end.


The next one was my sister. She was in Senior High School then. A call from her school alerted us to go to a certain hospital because she was admitted. Later to find out that she overdosed herself with at least 50+ mixes of paracetamol, ibuprofen, vitamins, antibiotics, penicillin and many other kind of pills. She was hospitalised for over 3 days. We learned that what provoked her action was her bullying experiences at school. She couldn’t take it and talk about it even at home because she’s afraid of being ridiculed instead of being supported. It was devastating. At that time, I am faced by the reality that we are a dysfunctional family.


My thoughts of suicide occurs each time I am confronted by life’s challenges. It gets stronger at times when I no longer know what to do. Most especially when I am guilty of being the culprit myself.


Often, with my close friends, I would justify my thought of suicide as non-suicidal because I never get to do them anyway. I would say, hey I am not suicidal. It’s only that I have a different view of life and that I’ve seen life from start to finish and its all the same anyway. But the truth is, I am suicidal. I am. Sure I never was successful in starting the attempts of it but it remains true that the thought of it lingers inside my head. For some reason, I always managed to escape my own suicidal tendencies. A stronger force, inside me, is stopping me from actually doing it. I am certain its God! I knew consciously (and unconsciously) that God is with me always. It wasn’t really me who has been successful to survive those days but it was the watchful eyes of God that preserved me.


So what does semicolon has to do in all of my stories? It was the definition attached to it. According to a website I came across online some years back, Project Semicolon aims to raise awareness about suicide prevention and mental health. It encourages people to draw a semicolon on their body, photograph it, and share it on a given day to encourage love and to inspire. Until it became a trending body tattoo design. The creator said that a semicolon is used when an author could’ve chosen to end their sentence, but chose not to. The author is you, and the sentence is your life.


Please hold on some more for the Lord said Jeremiah 31:3 “I have loved you with an everlasting love.” Isn’t this love is more than enough reason to fight for your life one moment in time.

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