Why I Thought About Killing Myself

I stood there with a sharp 9-inch chef’s knife, chopping vegetables slowly. It hurt to move any of my joints. I had to remain expressionless as much as possible to prevent pain around my face and opening lesions.

I paused for a minute; my gaze drift over to the point of my knife. I found myself imagining what would happen if I thrust the knife into my chest. If I “accidentally” just fell onto the edge and bled out. Would it hurt? Would it stop my current pain?

I fantasized about killing myself almost every day for a whole year.

I didn’t care if it ended. Why would it matter if I was going to be home ridden the rest of my life? People tell you your 20’s has endless possibilities, where you’re supposed to grab life by the balls. I never experienced the possibilities. I couldn’t leave my apartment, let alone travel anywhere. I could barely move around. I couldn’t hold a job. Every experience that used to bring me joy was no longer an option. I rarely saw anybody, I thought I was losing all of my friends. Forget ever finding love and being intimate with anybody.

Nothing matter, with the constant pain across my entire body. (warning graphic)

jeff-shiau-illness

Less than 3 people know I felt this way (my mom and sister don’t know I had suicidal thoughts — I’m sorry I didn’t tell you two, we’ll talk in person later).

Today, I’m say publicly, that yes, I wanted to kill myself.

I always scoffed at the thought of depression. In my head, although i knew the biological and physiological basics from a couple undergrad psychology classes, I still felt that depression was something more manageable and less disabling than people were putting it out to be.

And for that, I want to apologize to everyone that is currently experiencing or has experienced depression.

I was dead wrong.

I’m not sharing this as a cry for help. I’ve had a couple years to meditate and reflect on that soul-sucking year, and I want to share this to honor the people who work tirelessly to serve people with depression. I want to contribute to the already millions of stories people have shared themselves on their experience with depression, to let others with depression know, hey brother, sister, it’s OK — you have friends and strangers that care about you.

Depression isn’t a gimmick. It isn’t people being whiny or lazy. It’s truly debilitating in seemingly impossible mental and physical ways.

I get it; I was in the camp of people rolling my eyes whenever hearing about a case of depression. I didn’t realize it’s something that simply crawls into your life, and before you know it, you’re halfway swallowed by quicksand.

Hell, I didn’t know I was depressed until after talking with a dear friend and mentor that shared her story of depression and contemplating suicide (Thank you for saving my life, you know who you are).

So here it is, published publicly on freaking Medium post!

And I’m not ashamed. No, today I’m celebrating. Because I’m alive.

I still go through dark moments, and that’s OK. I practice mindfulness and surround myself with honest support— people that have been with me over half my life, people with genuine hearts and minds (Thank you, I love you.)

So to you, whoever you are, if you’re reading this, and currently have those soul-crushing thoughts, that painful beast that moves slowly through your gut and mind: keep your head up, don’t be afraid to ask for help. I’m here to talk with you. There’s more love around you than you think.

Life is a journey worth continuing.