I am inspired by ‘nuggets of gold’ to share my story of suicide attempt. With this sharing I hope it will help those who harbour such thoughts.
I had been promoted at work and I loved my job. The future of my career seemed promising. I worked so hard, stayed behind always, even worked on holidays and brought work home. What I didn’t realise is that the stress was creeping into my body and mind. I relapsed again. I never told my boss or colleagues that I was seeing a psychiatrist for fear of losing my job. This time I could no longer hide because of my long absence from work. When I came right I went back to work with the idea that I was still a treasured employee. The first day back at work I was turned into a ‘furniture’. I was not to resume my old responsibilities but was put there because it was difficult to fire me. I was angry.The next morning I went back to the office and resigned. And I stayed home until that day:
In the morning I felt depressed, so I went to see my psychiatrist. Nothing much was done to help me to alleviate my mood apart from, I was told later, telling my parents to take precaution. The side effects of my medication came to me again, some side effects that frightened me for years and I was so afraid that it would stay till the day I die.
‘If I have to suffer this side effect, I would be better off dead,’ I said to my husband. He hugged me but not realising the significance of what that could be.
I remembered that there was a tin of caustic powder which we used to unblock our toilet in the bathroom. Having that in mind, I called a relative hoping to talk to her but could not get hold of her. I went into the bathroom, locked the door, took out the tin of caustic, put some into a cup used for rinsing the mouth, diluted it in tap water and drank it. My throat was burning and it was unbearable, I had to rush out of the bathroom. My husband saw what happened, he quickly took me back to the bathroom, ran water from the tap of the bathtub into my mouth. I remembered he was crying.
My aunt was living just one floor below. My cousin who was a health inspector came up and upon checking that we had three bottles of milk urged my husband to make me drink the milk. The ambulance came, paramedics with a stretched bed took me to the hospital. Outside the hospital waiting were my parents. I could see the concern on their faces. Once inside the hospital the vicious cycle returned - my fear of the communists. I was put in bed in the emergency ward. There were nurses dressed in red uniforms and I associated red with communism. I screamed. I kicked. They had to tie me to my bed. When a nurse dressed in red came close I used abusive language to stop her from coming near. I was fiercely thirsty and demanded water but was left unattended to. Like this the whole night went by. In the morning my parents came, they arranged my discharge and took me instead to a private hospital.
When my throat no longer hurt I returned home only to discover that my esophagus was narrowed and I could not swallow food. I was sent to a surgeon who suggested widening my esophagus. The operation, however, was not successful and instead the organ was broken. The surgeon referred me to another surgeon to have a major operation. My esophagus was removed, instead part of my stomach was severed and was swung up to connect with my throat and the stomach had to be moved further up, food would go through my throat and into my stomach. My act of the suicide attempt had also brought me not just a lot of physical pain but also a lot of after effects. Up till today I still constantly choke on food which was embarrassing and also brought me great discomforts. Since this episode I promised myself that no matter how hard life may be I will make sure I will not have any suicide attempt. There had been long periods of depression but I struggled on. Life is precious and I am glad I was saved.
To suffer from Bipolar Disorder was actually a blessing in disguise for me. It was because of a relapse some twenty odd years ago that I have rediscovered and further discovered my passions and in developing these passions I attain achievements which is very important to me because I have gained back my confidence, my self-worthiness and motivation. I no longer suffer from depression.
I have gone through lots of pain and I can feel the pain of those who are in the same boat which is why I always reach out to friends or whoever who are going through mental health issues. If my story can help in prevention of suicide, I will be thrilled.
Where to find help and support:
Shine - 0508 744 633
Women's Refuge - 0800 733 843
Need to Talk? - Call or text 1737
What's Up - 0800 942 8787
Lifeline - 0800 543 354 or (09) 5222 999 within Auckland
Youthline - 0800 376 633, text 234,
Samaritans - 0800 726 666
Depression Helpline - 0800 111 757
Suicide Crisis Helpline - 0508 828 865
I used to hide my mental illness because this is not something glorious to tell others, shameful and I thought I would lose friends as they may think that I'm dangerous. I stigmatized myself as well. It is only when I had a relapse here years ago that I become open about my illness and I've discovered that most of my friends accept me as I am. It has been a long journey to come to how I am now - well and happy. I, as a Chinese, understand why we hide about our mental health and I'd love to help my fellow Chinese; of course, I'd love to help whoever experiences the illness.
I don't think I had dreams. What I wanted was to study well, had a good job and made a comfortable living. Then I failed at school, couldn't get into university and experienced mental illness which almost took away everything from me. But, I came to New Zealand, a relapse enlightened me. I wanted to get well. I started by self-actualization. With a goal in life, I not only gained back my passions, but I've also discovered several more. I struggle. I begin to have dreams. I become motivated and I no longer suffer from depression. Life is good!
I do get a lot of anxiety these days because I am working on a huge project. Anxiety hits me throughout the day and if I let it get its way I believe I would already have a relapse; but I do, and have quite a few ways to help me out of it. I do all the things I love doing like writing poetry, dancing, singing, drawing… The most recent one, one that works well, is to study. When I concentrate on studying I’m distracted from whatever anxiety I have. The important thing is to make an initiative to do something. I truly understand that most of the time when I feel anxious I don’t really want to do anything, thinking that nothing can help, but I make myself to do them and once I’ve started I find solace. It works for me every time which is why I would like to share my experience with someone who needs it. Don’t let anxiety overtake you, do something you love or you use to love, you will be surprised how it can take you out of distress.
I have written a musical and I have come to the stage of fundraising. I have chosen crowdfunding via Boosted NZ. Please support by donation and/or share. Many thanks!
This is my last attempt. I have written a musical ‘Reach Out’. It is a play about mental health, racism, discrimination, love, and forgiveness... and I have been trying to put it on stage, but with no funding, I can’t employ anyone to have it done since I don’t believe in rounding up volunteer workers. Even though I have tried again and again to get some funds which have been total failures, I now decide to form a team of artists who have experiences of mental illness but are fit to work to help out. I cannot promise a handsome fee but meals will be provided whenever we are at work. Any income from the play will be shared. And you will be having a goal to work on, a chance to bring back confidence and motivation, and a chance to show your capability. What I provide will be my script, my music, my passion and I can assure you my hard work as well. Whoever is interested please send me a message on Facebook or email me (email@example.com). If this time again I do not receive any response I will bury my script and forget all about it.
September 28, 2021
It has been particularly difficult for me today. I am feeling quite restless. I believe it has a lot to do with the lockdown. Everyday I check on the number of new cases and am anxious to find out if there has been progress in fighting against the Delta variant. Although I have been taking all this quite well, but six weeks is a long period to handle. I have played the piano, watched movies, YouTube, just to distract myself from the feeling of being trapped. So I plead everyone who can take the vaccination go for yours. It will help us to move out of lockdowns. In the meantime, those who are finding it difficult to face the lockdown, act to help yourself. There are many ways of distracting yourself from bad feelings. I won’t give up on using whatever ways I can to stay well, and there are many, just search for them. Take care!
I did a cartoon which took me less than 15 minutes, but my good mood returns and I can concentrate in doing stuffs. Hoorah!
October 17, 2021
The prolonged level three really got me. For several days I was feeling unhappy and stopped doing things I used to love doing. I buried myself in movies, YouTubes all day so that I don’t think or work. I let myself have a few days of holiday, not that I was enjoying them, it was just to pass time. I understand that the lockdown is necessary in order to fight against Covid-19 and yet I longed for my freedom. My mood was like a rollercoaster. Very fortunately, this lasted only for several days, and now I am back on track. I continue doing what I enjoy, practicing on the piano, reading, studying. It’s like I’m alive again. So, anyone out there who has anxiety and/or depression because of the lockdown, help yourself, go back to do the things you love and/or take a holiday as I did; talk to a friend, go out for walks and remember to go for the vaccination if you haven’t had it yet. When the numbers are high enough we will get our freedom!
I shared the following on Facebook two years ago but thought I should shared it here as well.
I have been experiencing fleeting moments of depression whenever negative thoughts come into my mind. Like when I am stressed while doing something difficult; or when bad memories appear, and worst still even when there is no reason to or triggers at all. This can happen as many as three or four times a day. My way of dealing with it is to stop them right at the beginning and not allowing them to develop and aggregate any further. By switching my thoughts immediately to something more pleasant, or do some of my favourite activities. Sometimes even a simple distraction of making a drink can work. Usually the depression is gone within a very short period of time. This works for me because I have been practicing these remedies for years. I am not expecting somebody else can do it as fast as I do . But through constant and persistent learning, experimenting, making improvements and adjustment, one can surely quicken this "divert and calm down" time significantly. I remember way back during my fourth relapse. I was in a really bad way with my family for quite a while. The worst thing was that I did absolutely nothing to help. I was like a puddle of mud, no thoughts, no action, no nothing. But once I was determined to get myself out of it by my own effort, and despite heaps of failures and disappointments, I did my very best to stand up and tried again. And after each time I fell, and there were many many times,it took less and less time for me to pick myself up, stand tall and try again.
This crisis we are facing can bring a lot of stress, restlessness, anxiety to people like us but this will be over so we should try to keep well and find ways to cope and be patient. Once this is over you will, I’m sure, feel even better, stronger than before as you have overcome something so difficult and devastating.