Whenever I’m upset or feeling too many extreme emotions all at once, I stay away from social media. A lot of people are comfortable about venting their feelings, sharing their thoughts and ranting on social media. But I don’t. I don’t generally tweet much about myself— most of my tweets are about books, my blog and the things/ fandoms that I love. I can’t remember the last time I uploaded my own picture on Facebook. My Instagram is now dead. In short, I’m not so social on social media.
But today I’m making an exception. I will share exactly what is on my mind.
On July 7 a certain 15 year-old girl committed suicide. The news wouldn’t have blown if she weren’t an actress and the daughter of prominent actors in the Philippines. I personally don’t know her nor have I seen her shows. But I’ve seen a lot of articles written about her on my Facebook feed and in social media in general. And just now, I read an article about her alleged suicide note which she posted on Tumblr.
When I scrolled down to the comment section, I noticed a lot of people are talking about how “dumb” and “selfish” her decision was, and how much of an “idiot” she was. I felt really angry when I read those comments. And my tears started to fall. For days I watched the news of her death with the detached curiosity of a stranger. I thought it was really sad and tragic that she took her life but I felt nothing beyond that.
Mostly I am angry that there are some people who would judge her without really knowing her. We tend to glorify a person when they die, more so when they choose to commit suicide. But that’s not what I’m doing here. I’m sure she had her reasons and we’re not supposed to judge her.
The topic of suicide always hits close to home for me. I’ve never openly admitted this but I’ve thought of killing myself before. It seems really dumb, idiotic and selfish to kill yourself but when you are in a situation where you feel trapped and suffocated, you don’t see suicide as your end, but rather, a way out. For reasons only known to her, I think this girl saw suicide as her way out.
I admit I once thought it was cowardly to choose death over facing your problems. But when you are standing on the ledge that is life and you are left with the choice of jumping and falling or stepping back and facing your demons. It’s hard to see what the right decision is. There is bravery in stepping back from the ledge and facing your monster, but for me, there’s also bravery in jumping into the unknown.
I am shit-scared of dying. I often wonder what it’s like to die. Is it like falling asleep where you don’t feel you exist, that you’re alive until you wake up? Is there an afterlife? What’s heaven like? Will I simply vanish when I die? But when a crisis hit our family, I was too afraid to deal with my problems. I would cry myself to sleep. I found myself wishing I would just vanish into thin air. I hated every molecule in my body. It even came to a point where I started thinking about the best way to kill myself. Razor blade? Poison? Sleeping pills? Jumping off a tall building?
I was so depressed, I felt so wronged by the universe. I was so angry. I kept thinking “why me?” I wanted to die.
But in truth, I didn’t. And ultimately, I grew strong enough to deal with my situation.
And I think I was pretty damn brave for choosing to live.
But facing the unknown that is death is also brave. For people you left behind it might be selfish and cowardly, but I think it’s more than that.
My point is, we shouldn’t be so quick in judging someone because we don’t know them. We weren’t there when they took the pill, kicked the chair or cut themselves. They say we should be grateful for our life, but it’s hard to do so when everything is fucked up. So let’s just cut each other some slack, okay?
Looking back, I couldn’t believe I ever thought of killing myself. My life isn’t perfect but I love it.
I remember reading This Song Will Save Your Life and it moved me like no book had moved me before.
In this novel I realized I am not the only one with these thoughts. In a way I am relieved that I am not alone, it makes the pain more bearable. Because if they can endure the pain of living, how can I not? Indeed there is strength in number and I found a friend in Elise.
Above is a quote from my review of This Song Will Save your Life.
Colleen Hoover’s Losing Hope also tackles this topic, although it was in the point of view of a brother left behind.
13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher also talks about it and here’s what I had to say about the book:
After finishing the book did I only realize that maybe Thirteen Reasons Why wasn’t so bad a book after all, okay maybe I hated Hannah for killing herself but I also think that it’s only natural to be angry and confused when someone you care for takes her own life. You struggle to understand that person, but in the end you can never really place yourself in their shoes and understand their decision. But you don’t always have to understand, sometimes you only have to accept it.
Anna Akana also talks about what it’s like to lose a sister to suicide.
I’m so sad that this girl of fifteen took her own life. She had her whole life ahead of her. But unlike other people, I’m not going to judge her for her choice because I know how hard it is to choose between life and death.
If you’re thinking about killing yourself, please don’t do it. Think of all the people who would be really sad when you’re gone. I’m here if you want to talk. Seriously, just shoot me an email or something. I know everything may seem fucked up now, but it won’t always be like this.
There’s always hope.