I was too familiar with silence. It was my only companion. It never left my side and I never asked for it to leave. I was lonely and I wasn’t too picky. My shyness prevented me from making real friends. I didn’t have to ask silence to join me in my room, in my inner sanctuary.
There was one problem with silence. I could tell it all of my pain and suffering but it won’t ever respond. It never seemed to even acknowledge what I was saying. After some time, I gave up telling silence what was on my mind. I kept my thoughts bottled up inside me.
The pressure built up day by day. It didn’t seem like much at the time but it was heading towards a critical level. Normally, there’s a way to vent the pressure to prevent it from reaching that level. I had no such safety measure. The pressure climbed and climbed until I had it.
I made a terrifying decision one night. This decision terrified the current me because I didn’t know I had the courage to attempt it. Some people might believe that only cowards take their own lives. I doubt cowards could find the courage to end it all. That night, I attempted.
That’s why I’m writing this now. I no longer want to return to those dark times where only silence is my companion. I had no one to turn to because I trusted no one to take me seriously. I had all this pain and suffering and those around me think it’s merely my imagination. If they didn’t believe me, then I have no one to turn to. Am I destined to repeat the process until the pressure is too overwhelming again?
I’m still a loner today. Though, it’s more of a choice now. I was a very shy person in the past and struggled to make friends, let alone real friends. Now, I’m very picky with who I call friends. I prefer loneliness over fair-weathered friend who would abandon me at the first sight of rain. Unlike in the past, I do have a safety measure to prevent the pressure being overwhelming.
I am not a great writer but I do like the feeling of getting words on a page or a screen. I write about how I feel and, if it gets too personal, it goes into an archive for my eyes only. I do believe we all need a way to rant and get our frustrations out. Our world can be a cruel place and, for life in general, things don’t always go our way. During those rough patches in life, we need to relieve our inner pressure.
Yet, I discovered that writing isn’t enough. It’s a good first step but I always felt I can do so much more. I’m 25 and currently in university. I know there’s more to my life than what I have now. There have been some setbacks recently and I’m still in the process of getting back on track. During this process, I had time to think about life in general.
I am one of the fortunate people who did not complete his suicide attempt. However, there are so many other people who have. Their story ended the moment they were completely overwhelmed by the pressure within them. They, like me at a time, had no one to talk to. They felt lonely despite being surrounded by people. I wanted to know what I can do for those people before they even make their first attempt.
The biggest challenge we face is the mental illness stigma. Many people don’t think issues like anxiety and depression are problems. They think it’s merely something in the head and that the sufferer can just stop thinking about it to make it go away. If it was that easy, I wouldn’t have even attempted suicide. It’s far more than a change of perspective to make it disappear.
I do believe that there are similarities between me and those facing similar struggles. We want a community where we belong to. We want a place where we won’t be judged for what we think or feel. Mostly important, this place will feel like our home until we’re ready to tackle the cruel world we live in. Yet, no one will be holding our hands either because we must learn to stand on our own two feet.
Does this place exist? Or is it merely a utopia only written in books? If this place exists, it’s either too small or too scattered to help the millions of people desperately needing help. If it doesn’t exist, then we can all work together to make it a reality.
About The Author:
Rick Chen is a 25 year old attending university. Anxiety and depression have been two major issues he's faced since a young age and, to this day, he's still finding ways to overcome them. Currently, Rick wishes to find ways to help people struggling with mental illnesses.