There has been some news flying around on the internet about a 16 year old secondary school boy who killed himself because he was bullied for being gay. My heart goes out to his family and friends who lost a son, a brother, a friend. It is such a tragedy to lose one so young and I can only imagine the kind of pain he was going through. While we may never know if he did kill himself because he was being bullied, I think the very fact that a young gay person killed himself is enough. We need to have this conversation with our LGBT youths in Singapore. They need to know that it does get better.
I should know. 8 years ago I tried to kill myself and failed.
I had just come out of my first same-sex relationship and it was the worst relationship I had ever been in. When it ended, I was in a terrible place. I had lost contact with many of my closest friends. My family was overseas. I was living with my now ex-girlfriend, sleeping on the same bed every night and working together with her in the same company. Having to see her every day and act as if nothing had happened between us was true torture. This went on for 2 months and it was the deepest and darkest I had ever felt in my life.
Yet I couldn’t tear myself away. I was like a wanderer lost at sea and she was my life raft. Each time she pushed me off, I struggled to swim after her and pull myself back on board as fast as I could. When she finally cut me loose, tipped me over and set me sinking into the ocean, all I could do was let myself drown.
And drown I did.
I won’t go into the details of what happened, but all I will say is I woke up in the hospital the next day with a policewoman next to my bed. Did you know that committing suicide is a crime? So if you try to die and fail, the police can charge you with attempted murder of yourself! Fortunately I was given the option of psychiatric treatment instead.
The journey of recovery was hard. I was discharged from the hospital to find that my ex-girlfriend had moved all my stuff to one of my close friend’s place. Luckily for me this close friend of mine sent her then boyfriend (now husband) back home to his parents’ place and cleared some space for me to stay for a couple of days. I am ever grateful for the sanctuary she provided me that allowed me to heal. I eventually moved home, but continued to go to her place daily so I wouldn’t be alone.
The first few weeks after were terrible. I felt isolated and alone. I was depressed and had constant mood swings. The nights were the worst. I had insomnia and my mind was always racing, replaying everything that was wrong in my life. It got so bad that I would fall asleep at 3 or 4 am, only to wake up at 5 am so I could take the first bus out. Anything to get away from my home so that I wouldn’t be alone.
I went to see both a psychiatrist and psychologist. I was put on anti-depressants. I joined the Oogachaga Women’s Support group. I got back in touch with my old friends. I surrounded myself with new friends I met on Sayoni. I started healing. 6 months later I got together with Irene and we have since built this incredible life together.
What I learnt from my suicide experience is that choosing death is the wrong way. Had I died that day, I would have hurt my family and my friends deeply. Most of all, I would have let my future self down. I would have missed out on what life has to offer. I would have missed out on my beautiful family.
Looking back, it was an extremely stupid thing to do. I was lucky that my reptilian brain saved me. It stopped me from doing enough harm to kill myself. I am grateful I didn’t die that day and that I was given a second chance at life. I will always remember that day. It was also the day my godson J was born – 19 October 2007. Sometimes I think it was a way for the universe to leave me a sign. A reminder that life is so precious and that no matter how bad things get, there is always hope.
And this is why I felt compelled to write this post. I want to tell all the LGBT youths out there that there is hope. No matter how sad, lonely or depressed you are, I want you to know it does get better. You will eventually find someone who loves and cares for you. You can have a family if you want to. Life is beautiful and completely worth fighting for, so don’t give up.
If you are sad and need some support, please reach out to the following:
Thanks to Yangfa who shared this on his Facebook page
Oogachaga Counselling and Support for LGBTQ individuals, couples & families (not 24h): http://www.oogachaga.com/congregaytion/website/care
LGBTQ Youth Resources
If you feel the need to seek people who will understand what you are going through as a young LGBTQ person.
Young Out Here – Support group for young LGBTQ persons in Singapore http://young-out-here.com/
Inter-Uni LGBT Network – For those attending one of the Universities in Singapore http://interunilgbt.wix.com/interunilgbt
You can also go to http://www.itgetsbetter.org/ and see all the beautiful videos there.
P/S: A really good post I read recently on suicide is by one of my idols Tim Ferriss. You can read his practical thoughts on suicide here.
P.P/S: If you really need someone to talk to and can’t find a listening ear, write to me. I promise I read all emails and will reply to you. My email is olivia (at) thechiongs.com