This is a piece I wrote for World Suicide Prevention Day which falls on the 10th of September of every year.
The common misunderstanding about suicide is that it is an end to suffering which is a collective symptom of mental illness. When it is really about searching for a way to live the truth in a broken world.
We have all felt this in one way or the other. It's similar to feeling lonely in a roomful of people who don't get us. The truths that we hide about ourselves and others, gets the loudest during these moments. Then these moments become a life and that is when we lose meaning and suicide happens.
What if the "truth" the world throws at you never felt right to begin with?
When your parent's dreams aren't yours. When the job is just for money. When success in a marriage is counted by the no. of years only. When you begrudgingly go through life, half dead, hitting the milestones and never feeling truly fulfilled.
When everyone smiles at you and no one wants to tell you honestly what are your blindspots. When you feel guilty for even being dissatisfied, convincing yourself that life is good, when deep inside it isn't. It should be but it isn't.
When you feel shame for being yourself, for not being good enough, for being too smart, too dumb, too large, too small, too loud, too quiet, too girlish, too boyish, too this, too that.
Especially when you feel shame for being yourself.
So people go and find themselves for a reason. Simply by living, we unknowingly and continuously lose bits of ourselves to the expectations of others. That hollow within yourself that remains empty, no matter how successful you are or are not on the outside. It's one and the same.
That silent repression of our pain erodes our authentic self until all that is left is a shell, asking how did I get there?
So how about we hold our own truths and let others hold theirs?
How about we start to understand that pain is universal? That there will be days when you struggle to keep your head above water. That vulnerability is strength because it is the truest of the true.
That we all have something to offer, our worth is innate, no one and nothing takes it away. It is yours to let go, only if you choose to.
That people will not stop being people. Some will break you and some will even abuse you but as long as you continue to hold yourself in truth, live authentically and continue to dream. Others just might find the courage to accept you for you and hold their own truths too.
If you are in need of urgent support, please call SOS (Samaritans of Singapore) at 1800-221 4444 (24-hour hotline) or IMH (Institute of Mental Health) at 6389 2222 (24-hour hotline)
Find surfing image here.