This is not about telling you how life can be beautiful or how a life is so hard to get like most Burmese people say. This is about telling you my story of how I keep surviving.
I’m 25 years old, and since I was 16, all I look forward to is death to come. I have many failed suicide attempts, and nearly successful one. I don’t want anything more from life. But I have to continue for the people I love. I do not have the fiery desire on anything or have never found the purpose of life. But until the time come, I keep trying to appreciate what I have, the moments of laughter and the beauty of nature, culture and heritage, history, other living beings.
Life is messy, and the day-to-day demands of work, family and making ends meet can be terrible and crushing. The added burdens of poor health, financial difficulty, and loneliness do not simply add to your pain, they also magnify it. I have lost hope in darker days of my past. I know how exhausting it can be just to keep going. Maybe it will be of worth to you, maybe it won’t, but I’ll tell you how I managed to go on.
When I was at my lowest point, I often asked the question – Why should I go on? I figured it was my life, I could do with it as I pleased, even give it up. I thought about how difficult everything was for me, how miserable and alone I felt. I have done a lot of research on easy ways of getting overdosed. I have stopped at the pharmacy and stare at the pills I needed, sometimes I buy them, sometimes I just left.
There were nights where I stood on the brink… long, silent, sleepless nights where I had pills, knives beside my bed, and I would spend the night staring at them, picking some up, dropping them again. Then repeating it all again. Eventually, the sun would rise… I’d put everything away, and then it’d be for just one more day…
Looking back at it now. That’s it. That’s the thought that stopped me. Or, to be more precise, the thought that allowed me to stop myself… “Just one more day…” Sometimes, during those long nights, it shrank down to “Just one more hour,” or “Just a few more minutes…”.
As the eldest child of the family, I was always responsible for many things. Everyone could come to me and share me their problems, and sometimes it’s hard for me to solve because my family type is a typical Burmese family who is not usually open to each other and afraid to talk out the problems. You can say I come from a broken family where the word divorce, leaving is something we always hear, and fights and physical assaults are what we used to see and face.
I knew objectively that my death would be hard on for my family, especially my mom, so I resigned myself to living through the pain for as long as I could take it. Even if it was just one more day.
That’s all it takes, just deciding to stay for a few minutes, an hour, a day… and when that’s up, deciding again, just another day.
During one of those days, I heard something funny and I laughed. I remember thinking “How can I be laughing? If everything is so bad, I shouldn’t be laughing…” And it didn’t last very long, but a few days after that it happened again. A few weeks later, I was able to forget about my pain, and see beauty in the world around me, and it didn’t make me sad, I just felt grateful to see it. A small moment of something that wasn’t just misery, and I asked myself, “If these small moments happened while I was at my lowest, without my seeking them out, is it possible this could happen again?” And little by little, the days added up to weeks, the weeks to months, and so on.
This isn’t some miraculous “cure” story. Those days, even after I started saying “Just one more day…” they were Hell. I was still miserable, and none of my problems had gone away, but something was happening while I just focused on making it one more day… Time was passing. It didn’t happen all at once, and it certainly wasn’t easy… But time passed and some of those problems I had got better. Work improved, not great, but… better. Some good friends and some of my family reminded me that although I had felt that way, I was never really alone. Eventually I was able to sleep a whole night through, and that helped a lot — both my general health and my overall outlook.
I still had lots of work to do, but the next big help was learning to ask for help. When you’re deep in Depression, you blind yourself to the idea that you can get help, you even believe that there is no help for you, that no one would even want to help you. You don’t blind yourself on purpose, it just happens because it’s a disease.
Unlike most of you reading this, I’ve never been in a proper relationship, and I’ve come to realize that it’s very unlikely that I ever will (because of my emotional insecurities stemming from past traumas). That’s been a very painful thought to carry, but slowly over time, I’ve learned to make my peace with it. Feeling alone and unloved is very painful, but I’ve learned that I have value apart from being part of a couple. I learned the strength to stand on my own, and I think you will too.
Your physical health is also coloring all your perceptions of the world right now. I’ve also had problems that left me with mild but constant stress, and you’ll be surprised how much your outlook will improve if you can just get that treated. Getting physically better will give you a big boost, and you might be able to gather momentum from that which you can apply to the other areas of your life that need improvement.
It’s small things…a day, an hour, a minute… but if you pile enough minutes together, they make up your whole life. And although I’m sure it’s been said, the reason you should go on is because things can get better. I won’t promise you that they will, but just the chance that it COULD is worth the pain of staying. If you make the other choice…there is no chance that anything will improve.
I may never meet you, or laugh with you, or cry with you, but I will say to you the most powerful thing I think anyone has ever said to me –
You Are Not Alone.