Nov 29, 2015


(note: posted with permission. this past year or so i have become a lot more aware and cautious about what i post, whether i am disclosing things about other people, whether they are okay with it or not, trust issues. i asked for permission before doing this, and she said "can ah i'm fine with anything". so yes. posted with permission.)

I received this text at midnight today, and my heart swelled with relief, gratitude, joy. Love, I remember the night before it happened, I was at the lift lobby in school and you called me crying and I was like what and you said I really want to die....the sky looks so beautiful....... and I was like do you want me to come to your house and I remember very distinctly that you quickly went no, no, you're having your exams, I want to sleep now, I'm going to hang up, goodnight. and I thought,  what if you were to die, and I hadn't done what I could.

The next day you texted me to say that you were going to the hospital because you wanted to die and you thanked me for being a friend. My first thought was "thank God you're going to the hospital; they won't let you do anything to yourself." But you refused to pick up my calls and answer my texts when I asked which hospital you were going to. I even tried a different number, used Peiyun's phone. Peiyun said you were probably going to Alexandra Hospital. I was getting ready to set off, and then thank goodness you replied to say that Alexandra was indeed where you were headed.

I walked in, I saw you sitting in a chair from a distance. Your expression was blank, calm. I held your hand. You started to cry.

I stood with you, hugged you, grasped your hand, prayed with you, waited a long while before the ambulance arrived. I sent an email to my professors from my phone asking for essay deadline extensions. Even took a sombre photo in the ambulance as proof for my profs, lol. We spent the next week at the Institute of Mental Health.

Because we arrived at 10pm, I couldn't stay for long, since visiting hours were over. But even then the atmosphere was overbearing, toxic. When I got back to school I just felt like there was so much poison in me. I went to Daryl's room, sat on his floor and cried and prayed with him. I needed to detox. Let all the terrible energy seep into the floor, leave the stream of my soul, leave through the pores on my skin. Thank God I could even leave the place; I was merely a visitor. You had to stay there, every twenty-four-hour day, day in, day out. How could anyone keep sane in that place. There were double-grills on the windows. It wasn't a place to heal; it was merely a place to prevent people from killing themselves. You said the first time they brought you up from the basement to Level 1, you cried at the sight of trees. I remember the day they allowed me to take you out of the ward for an hour, you were so excited, so excited, the open space and air was life to you. You were released the day your dad returned from Nepal - on your 21st birthday.

I love you, you are so dear to me, and I'm glad that you've become so much better this year. I can't believe it's been a year. You are so much healthier now, you have learnt to appreciate the simple pleasures, to love good food and stuffed animals, to know that you are loved too, just in different ways from what you might expect. You've begun to experiment with makeup, and I'm glad that it boosts your self-confidence, and I'm glad that you also know that you don't need it. You exercise regularly now. You go for swims and bicycle rides. Your new job still has annoying people, but it's tolerable, and you like what you do, you like Chemistry, you like seeing the colours swirl. The day you renovated your room, replaced the too-big bed and got a swing chair, I was so proud of you. You did a thing for yourself, it was good, it was healthy, it was something you were proud of.

To you who are reading this, whoever you are, please don't keep it all in. The black emotions stored within will only make you a pressure cooker and the tension will have to be released somehow - you may release what's within through the blade on flesh, or through thrills that should never have been, or through purging, or through other means of defiling your body that is beautiful, pure, sacred, holy, created in the image of God, worthy of all respect and honour and dignity. These things will not heal your soul. Or maybe you find everything meaningless, in light of so much pain and the gaping hole within - maybe suicide is what you are considering, because this life is not worth saving, only to endure decades more of agony. Please, just talk to somebody, let somebody be there. You might not see the worth in an unhappy life but you don't know what's up ahead until you get there, and with death there is no turning back, never.

My friend here was at the point of death this day last year, and look, since then she has found the beauty all around her and taken delight in things that are healthy. Sometime half a year ago I too wished for death; I think it was pressure on all sides weighing in on me, but things just hurt so much, I just wanted it all to end. But then the summer came, and things got so much better, and I read books about the problem of pain and about the beauty of solitude and the Christian hope, hope in eternity and eventual justice and the Greatest Love, that gives us an unshakeable joy even in the saddest of times. Joy that this is not the end; that we know Love and justice have the final victory.

To you who are reading this, please, talk to somebody, allow someone to keep you company. And I, also, am just a text or Facebook message or door knock away.


Anonymous said...

hi i just want to say that this is a very touching story. mental health awareness in singapore needs much improvement and your blog post has contributed to that. thank you.

Hannah Karen Ho said...

aww, thank you so much :) i'm glad. take care, you~