How to write a suicide letter

Have you got your pen and paper ready? Your take-your-own-life device? Wait, you haven’t planned how you were going to do it yet? Ok, never mind. Let’s just write the letter. 

Dear —- (that’s gonna be the first loved one to find out you why you did such an major act, so they’ve got to be special)

Explain your terrible state prior to the act. Use words such as tired, fed up, exhausted, worn out, beat up. Don’t be afraid to use exaggerations and hyperboles, afterall you need to make it seem logical. They won’t believe you had been in such a terrible state all along or that you’d actually do it but you have to convince them. 

Now start reminding that person of all the amazing things they had done for you and how utterly ungrateful you are for turning your back on them. Tell them you have reached a point where your reasoning has failed you; where you were so depressed and lonely that nothing and no one even mattered. Not your parents, nor your siblings nor your spouse and children, if any. All you could think of was a way out. Even if that way defied your own destiny. You couldn’t fight anymore. You didn’t want to hold on to any more hopes. Nothing and no one gave you hope. You had eyes that could see but you didn’t want to look out for the light. You had hands that could hold but you didn’t want to reach out for help. You wanted to stay where you are. You chose desperation. Yes, you chose it. Desperation didn’t choose you. You decided to curl into fetal position and cry. You shut the world out. You turned your back on life. All you could see where the thorns on the rose, the greyish skies where rainbows hide.   You may tell them you’re a failure,  not for the many times you failed, but actually for failing to find the will to try within you. 

And just before you think I’m judging you for your suicidal thoughts, I just want you to know that I, too, have had them. We all have them. Yes, we’ve all been so low that we could no longer bear life’s afflictions. Everybody is prone to depression, anxiety, mental illness. You’re not a weirdo and you’re certainly not alone in this. The only difference between someone who acts upon these thoughts and someone who refrains from cutting their own rope is how hopeful they remain. The despaired aren’t weak. You aren’t weak for seeking help. You aren’t weak if you cry. You aren’t weak if you’re burnt out, broke, jobless, divorced, betrayed. You are stronger and more free when you understand the wisdom behind your affliction. 

I don’t know what would make you want to read a “how to write a suicide letter”. I don’t know why I’m putting myself in this position where I might be misunderstood. But I’m writing this for somebody, anybody who needs to read this, to know they’re so loved and cherished. You need to know you are an indispensible person in someone’s life. You mean the world to somebody and it’s not up to you to decide to leave them. No. Your time has not come and don’t ever think that by taking the nearest exit you’ll rid yourself of heartache. Don’t ever think that by writing a suicide letter you’d justify yourself to your loved ones. 

Don’t think that by escaping your brokeness you wouldn’t break someone else’s life. 
*To someone I love, someone I don’t even know, hang in there

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A Spectrum of Hope

After a week-long struggle to find an interesting topic to blog about, I decided to just let that topic come to me when it felt like it. I never imagined I’d have the guts to write about my son’s ASD, like, today, when I could barely drag my zombie-like self to the laptop. Ah well, my need to write always wins over my need to rest. So I’ll succumb to my muse’s will in hope that this wave of bravery would somehow bring comfort to my mind and body.

I’ve meant to write about it sooner. I’ve actually started this blog with an intention of spreading autism awareness but the only thing that has ever stopped me was fear. It’s not as much fear of people’s reactions (especially uninformed family and friends who might stumble upon this post) as it is fear of my own son’s reactions. I have this magnanimous concern that my son would disapprove of my talking or writing about his condition once he’d realize it. I mean I can understand if he already disapproves of all the trips to specialists, therapists, and special educators that never seem to end. I’m not worried about the “autism” label, to me it’s not stigmatic, I’m worried about the little labeled guy who’s almost 7. And let’s suppose he didn’t mind me writing about the challenges, blessings and everything in between, would he want people to identify him as the “kid with major tantrums ’cause he’s got autism”? Would he want to be referred to somewhere along the way as “the socially awkward guy in high school who happens to have Asperger’s”?

I know there is so much I can do for him right now to make this world around him more friendly and less of a pain. I am trying my very best to help him cope with difficulties, avoid triggers and develop more socially-acceptable ways to express his frustrations (which are countless). And I also know that, for the sake of developing his problem-solving skills, I can’t make the world stop turning so he’d catch up. I can’t make his friends tolerate his fiery temperament if their teachers or parents don’t know why my son can be aggressive, obsessive, possessive, and opposing and explain this to their kids once they’re ready. My son might not be aware that he’s different at his age. He may not know why he can’t keep himself out of trouble at school or home. He is aware, however, that his behavior is so disruptive it has taken around 20 experts in the field to either diagnose his condition, assess his skills and cognitive abilities, or start him on an intervention plan. He is very much aware that there are days when I can’t be strong for all of us.

Fortunately, more awareness is being raised in the media. People now understand that autism is not debilitating and many autistic people grow up to be successful fully-functioning adults. Some are even gifted, while some are just not. There’s always hope. And if there is anything I want my son to learn about his condition it is that there’s always this hope of him becoming a car racer who builds his own cars that he wants to be, if God wills. There is always hope that we’ll make it through these trying phases in our family life. All we need is that little glimmer of hope to survive the strains and celebrate the milestones, however late we achieve them.

I must admit that  I have had so many doubts before. I have had my good share of questioning. The journey to diagnosis was long, but that to acceptance was even longer. There were many days when I’ve wondered if I’d ever make it, whether all this trouble was worth it, and whether this will all go away if I learn “the lesson”. I’ve tormented myself with the most destructive thoughts one could think of. Come to think of it, that was all a part of a plan, leading me here. To this moment of truth, where I’m sitting in front of this screen before me pouring out my heart to a vast unknown blogosphere. Many friends tell me they enjoy my writings as they come straight from the heart. I don’t think anything I’ve written to this day could reflect my heart’s deepest, most intense, and most-masked emotions quite like this post. I owe this to my sweet “Angry Bird”. He has given me the strength to advocate for him, stand up for him and fight for a cause. He has given my pen a daily prompt.

Parenting a child on the spectrum is a challenge. Parenting any child is a challenge. Period. I’m certain, however, that one day my boy will look back and be grateful for all the events that led up to him having such a unique personality; Quirky, goofy, dynamic, loving, honest, goal-oriented, strong-willed, persistent, a true leader. Everything that he is right now, when we move the magnifier away from the shortcomings.

Perhaps he won’t be upset if I say he’s the most special kid I’ve seen. It’s special kids like him that percipitate this surge of hope in all mothers’ hearts. A hope so grand, so powerful it’s worth spreading and sharing with the entire world, and beyond.

What Depression Feels Like

A heaviness in your chest

A bloodless rupture in your heart

A lump in your throat

It’s like someone’s tearing your soul apart

A weariness in your body

And a loss of precious sleep

A gushing in your eyes 

When there’s no reason to weep

A nostalgic look at the past

An unexplained fear of what’s to be

A detachment from the present

In which you live with melancholy

Anger, worry, sadness, isolation

Alientation, withdrawal, anxiety

You shut the world off in fear

Of being found out suffering

Even the things you loved the most

Your hobbies and pastimes 

No longer give you smiles 

To cope with the hard times 

No drug can lift this cloud off

And bring sunshine to your life

And though your beliefs and faith

Come between you and the knife

You wish things had some meaning

And your purpose would come to aid

But your fatigue is overwhelming

That you can no longer think straight

It almost feels like drowning

With no water around

It almost feels like screaming

But no one hears a sound

Depression is silent, dark and dreary

Depression is a stigma

(Perhaps that’s why no one hears me?)

People talk about the monsters 

Lying under your bed

Or the ogres in your closet

Or the demons in your head

But no one comforts you with reassurance

That “they’ve been there” instead

You’re dull when you’re tired

You’re unbearable when blue

No one likes to see the dark

Side of the moon

But somehow it wears off

With a little help you seek

Because, after all, we’re humans

And humans are made weak

Don’t be ashamed of those feelings

Don’t assume you’re wrong

When you need to unload burdens

You’ve been carrying for too long

There’s always someone to confide in

When you can’t do things on your own
And always, always remember 

No one goes through this alone