Written by: Jeremy Mak (Photo by: Marvin Ng)
Thoughts on suicide and salvation
I was 14 years old when I had first contemplated suicide.
My father was verbally abusive towards me while I was in primary school, whereby he would constantly hurl insults about me wasting his money and time. He would tell me that I was a waste of food and electricity, and that I only knew how to play computer games and eat. I felt like a complete failure in his eyes — a tag that still affects me from time to time.
This continued as I entered secondary school, all while being bullied relentlessly for my looks and my mannerism. These bullies would even open my locker by brute force, steal my books, and throw them away. Suffice to say, it was a time where I was really sad and angry at the same time. I never once retaliated however, as the labels and nicknames felt like a familiar singe in my heart, from the names that my own father would call me.
These challenging life situations both at home and in school caused me to lose hope in life; I lost the will to live on and constantly wished to disappear. With all the pain and sorrow I felt in my life, I felt that I was better off dead, erased from the world, rather than suffering and making others suffer. In short, I felt that I was completely useless to the people around me. As our family was facing difficulties in finances at that time, I did not reveal such issues to my mother or anyone else about my state of depression, for fear that she would be overloaded with too many things on her plate.
During my 3rd year in secondary school, I made good friends who I played online games with, and started hanging out with them. A few of them were Christians, and while I had constantly mocked them for their faith, they never struck back. Instead, they were loving friends to me. Instead of shunning me because of my social awkwardness and emotional state, they became good friends whom I could talk to and count on.
While their company lifted my spirits slightly, my heart was still weary from my deteriorating relationship with my father. Any bout of happiness was short-lived, as depression would return as soon as I entered the gates of my home. I hated my dad, hated my life circumstances, but worst of all, I hated my life.
All these issues reached a breaking point when I turned 17; I made the conscious decision that I wanted to take my life, as I felt that there was only so much I could take in this life. There were multiple times I would stand atop buildings and HDB flats, and thought of jumping down. But somehow each time, the happy memories with my friends kept me going, even if it was only for a moment.
This was the turning point where God intervened in my life during this time. After attending the wedding ceremony of my secondary school English teacher in a church, I headed home and had a dream on that very night. In that dream, I was sitting in a church, gazing at a beautiful silhouette of an angelic figure. I felt that I had met God, and felt a true sense of peace coursing through my heart for the first time in my life. Despite the dream however, I still felt an animosity towards Christians, as I had previously held the position that no divine beings are real if there were so much suffering happening around the world, and within my world.
However, when a friend initiated to share Christ with me during my first year in polytechnic, I accepted it with no ill-will. After visiting her cell group (she was with Campus Crusade) for a couple of times, she shared the Gospel of Christ with me in full, and I accepted Christ that very day. Looking back, it was truly at this moment that Christ’s altruistic love finally broke into my suffering heart.
I am today in my mid-20s, and while I cannot say that depressive thoughts have truly left me, my life is a testament to how God has relentlessly pursued me through the darkest of times. He provided opportunities for me in meet friends who were Christians and preserved my life all these years. He has also provided me a loving church family, and my relationship with my father has improved over the past few years.
While my heart is still fearful at times, I am now able to remind myself that I am my Father’s child. I am no longer worthless, but bought with a high price which Jesus had paid. I am learning to fully understand that Christ is the only person that can fill the void in my heart
Through years of stumbling and getting back up to my feet again, I have come to know that God is always there for us to run back to. In 1 John 1:9 (ESV), it says that “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I may have fallen, but like the father to his prodigal son, God has never let go. Each time I find Him again, my faith grows, and my heart reaches closer to His amazing love for me.
If you have battled depression or are currently going through a tough time, may I encourage you that our Father in heaven has much bigger arms we can lean into than we can ever imagine. In all things, put your trust in Him, and know that His love for us will never fail. Our weakness is where God’s perfect strength can stand (2 Corinthians 12:9). May your broken heart be comforted by God’s everlasting love today. He will never forsake or forget us.