Trigger warning: suicide, depression
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This is not easy to write about, and it won't be easy for you to read. This blog post is about my struggle with mental illness.

Back in January, #BellLetsTalk Day was tweeted, posted, and talked about on all social media platforms. There was no way to avoid reading about other people's struggles with mental illness, causing me reflect on my own as well. Around the same time, my creative writing class prompted me to write about a time in my life that I felt intense emotion, revised into a piece readers can “overhear” as literature for everyone.

I’ve had this piece sitting in my drafts the entire time since January – too nervous to release it into the world, too nervous for you to read what I have to say.

I am sharing this now, not because I want the comfort of strangers telling me it's okay, or even people to read what I'm writing. But I believe God wanted me to share this, because He is the only reason I am still alive today, and alive to begin with. If I can help just one person, then my vulnerability (with people I do not know) will be worth it.

This is part of my story, one of many, on how God saved my life.


The snow outside is a thick blanket tucking the suburban neighbourhood to sleep, except me. That’s when the voices come to me: at night.

“Go outside, go outside, go outside,” they say, their voices tumbling one after the other. No. That’s stupid. Silence. They’re thinking about what to do. “Go outside,” they reply. My body complies.

At 1:00 AM, I do a nightmarish job of tiptoeing past my dad’s bedroom, crawling down the stairs, and slipping on my winter jacket – as grey as the emotions I cannot feel beating inside of me, as indifferent as my will to live.

It’s dark in the house, painting everything in shades of black. I pull the jacket over my fuzzy purple turtleneck that my mom bought me years ago. Tugging my boots over my thick socks, and ignoring the sad ache in my chest. I prepare to go into battle.

The thing about battles and fighting them is you don’t know if it will be your last. Your last day, your last fight, your last breath. I open the door and leave the warmth of my house for the cold.

“The bridge, the bridge!” the voices chant like children holding hands, spinning in a circle. Go to the bridge!” I can’t move. What little sliver of common sense I have left is the only thing holding me back. A survival instinct that I rarely feel anymore.

I slowly shut the door behind me and it squeaks throughout the house, as if it’s hollow and abandoned. “Quiet! Shhhh! Quiet!” they whisper at me. “You’ll wake him up!”

I listen to the voices, as if they are my own. How couldn’t I? They are in my mind, are they not? I lock the door with nimble fingers and slip the key into my pocket. Should I even lock the door? “You might not even be alive,” one of the voices says to me. They’re right. I leave the door unlocked.

“Now, go to the bridge,” they say in unison. “The bridge, the bridge! The bridge!”

I walk down the snow-covered steps into a mist of thick, gentle snow. The snow on the ground sticks to my soles, as if the earth is pleading me not to go any farther.

The night is painted a blaring orange from the street lights hanging above, which somehow makes it colder than if the snow were pale blue. The steady stream of cars driving on the highway make me shiver – the highway is past the row of uniform houses on each side of where I stand. The houses are tinged with the colour of worn pylons. Artificial flames from the streetlights bleed onto everything its beams touch. Like a living hell on earth. Cold, desolate, burning orange.

“Maybe soon you’ll die,” they say. “You’ll escape this hell.”

No, I won’t. That’s a lie. I can’t do that, I won’t die. I won’t. The snow falling to the ground hits my exposed cheeks.

“The bridge,” they remind me. My legs trudge in the ankle-deep snow towards the steady sound of cars. The bridge overlooking the highway is not far, just past the end of the road and snowy field. “Your pain will all be over soon,” the voices promise.

But I don’t know that for sure. I don’t want to die.

“But you do.”

But I do. I take another step forward. The cold air cuts at my fingers and toes and ears. The orange light colours my grey jacket orange. Everything is orange. Everything is buzzing. Everything is yelling. I can’t take it. I can’t.

“Go to the bridge! You know you want to!”

I want to. I want to but…I don’t. I’m not ready to die. Not tonight.

“Go to the bridge and jump,” they forcefully urge. My body jerks forward, almost falling over into the orange snow.

No.

“Jump!” they say even louder, more demanding this time. I was halfway there. I just had to follow the sidewalk, go across the field and I’d be there. The snow caressed me as I stood in the middle of the sleeping neighbourhood.

“I love you,” a whisper says. “Don’t do this. I love you.”

I look up at the snow steadily falling around my body.

God, is that you?

The orange light dims as I bury my face in the palm of my freezing hands. The corners of my eyes are stinging with tears. My hands are so numb from the cold night that I can’t feel my cheeks. I can’t feel my toes. Why can’t I feel anything except for aching, all-consuming sadness – a sadness so deep that I almost resolved to die.

I looked to my surroundings and tried to ground myself. Remember the meditations you do before you go to sleep? Say them now. I am on a sidewalk. I am grounded. I am not my thoughts.

Breaking out of the tunnel-visioned voices, there is only the whisper of cars on the highway steadily driving by. I almost let myself go to them, an unsuspecting driver finding a broken girl – a girl with a broken skull, broken by suffering she could not endure – in the dent of their car. The houses around me are quiet and dark – they looked unlived in and hollow. Maybe I’m projecting.

The snow is cold.

I am cold. I’m on the driveway of someone’s house, in front of the bumper of their car. The snow is gently floating from the orange-grey night sky. I lie down on my back on the cold driveway, letting snowflakes melt on my face.

I’m alive.

Published by Eunice Lee