2021 was a year of grief, was a year of pain.
(Trigger Warning: Suicide)
I remember some highlights from this year worldwide: Delta variant peaked, rising cases of reported sexual violence in my country, massive flood in Europe, more evidence of environmental destruction, and unjust vaccine distribution. More things are just old songs; workers exploitation, wars in the middle east, animal starvation and extinction. And we pretend to forget.
You wake up one day, feeling uneasy or even dread. Wondering what’s the meaning of all this, why am I even alive? Do you remember when people say, time flies when you have fun? I think 2021 is personal proof that time can fly when you are not having fun. When you are on dread. When you are too busy to distract yourself and convince yourself that everything is as it is; a stoic sadness.
I have some personal highlights of bad news myself. No sugarcoating, this year was the first time ever I attempted suicide. It wasn’t planned or anything, and I didn’t tell anyone at that time. I just thought my headache is too much. My chest pain is too much. I simply wanted them to stop.
I still remember that day, I lay awake, my heart was throbbing fast. Andu suddenly, my mom knocked on my door. “The hot water for your bath is ready,” she said. Very lightly. Her voice was really soft, yet it hit me the hardest. I had the hardest cry I have ever had in my life. I still can feel the pain in my lung as I wrote this. I quickly went to the bathroom, pretended to have a shower, which I didn’t do until the hot water my mom prepared went cold. I vomited whatever I thought would make me feel numb forever. I couldn’t stop. I was so disgusted by many things and later on little did I know I had the psychosomatic disorder, I kept vomiting on daily basis. At that time I knew I needed help.
Just like the natural response of losing something, I feel grief. Anyway, there’s this famous thing called the 5 stages of grief.
I was an avid believer of this that this, linear progress is the ultimate saver of us all. Come to think of it I really think a lot of things are linear; one step, one step ahead. Unironically, I joked about this with my friend when we met up that in real life, for me, grieving is more like this:
I know my experience is not my experience alone. I attended a virtual support group about losing people, everyone was coping with any pain that they carry during the years. I met someone who lost a parent, I met someone who lost a child, I met people who lost their friends. I met more people who lost their job. Many things are valuable to us, and we cannot judge or even compare who has more pain, and who deserves to get more empathy. No one had it worse.
Sometimes, I don’t really allow myself to feel sad. The stoic sadness I talked about, makes me feel more resilient. I think the world can go however they like but I will come back stronger. What doesn’t kill you make you stronger right?
No. What doesn’t kill you is very likely to traumatize you.
That realization hit me deeply, and I feel that even though if you look at it globally, many have experienced worse things, doesn’t mean that you must un-feel your emotion. Dealing with grief, which will happen a lot throughout our lives, will never be easy. Just like in the second picture, there will be many relapsing. You will feel a lot of anger, depression. It comes uninvited, during your lunch, after you saw the news, before departure. But hopefully, other things won’t dominate the others. Just like death, things aren’t meant to be forever. Grief is inevitable.
Pain is temporary, but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter. So the next time you catch yourself looking at the world around you thinking, “My pain doesn’t matter,” I want to encourage you that it does. Whatever is eating at your heart, whether it seems significant or is self-inflicted, is a hurt worth healing from. Whatever that is and wherever you are, there is hope for that. I hope you are always surrounded by people who genuinely love you, and will do as best as they can to console you when you’re hurting. Because you matter. Because you are worthy.
I cease this post and this year with fond prayers and kind wishes, that you will be surrounded by abundance, and at the end of the day when for the first time you feel that your chest is light, you know that this pain is temporary when the time is right, soon, you will get there.