17 Sept 2017
It had been a glorious day, a day of fun and joy, I’d started the day by waking up early to send my elder boy to school for his extra class, and headed home for a nap in between. I was still tired, but we decided to try spending the rest of the day at Sentosa. We ended up taking cable car rides (my in-laws had gotten the boys a membership), and traipsing through Fort Siloso, learning more about the history of Singapore in World War II. On the way home, I told my elder boy that we probably would have to cut down on our spending drastically soon, and just to enjoy any memberships we had for now.
He offered his savings for the family to use, noting that it was my wife’s and my money to start with. I demurred, partly because his savings would still only tide us through for a short period of time. I was proud of him.
Unfortunately, I think that triggered the crash that happened this night. We were all exhausted from the day’s activities, and I was extra tired from getting up early. That night, I was hungry, but it took me fifteen minutes just to get the energy to get out of bed to walk to the kitchen to prepare a sandwich for myself. I didn’t want to trouble my tired wife. She came to the kitchen to check on me anyway, since I’d taken so long just to get out of bed, and I teared a little at that. I felt like a burden, and useless.
I ate, and tried to go to sleep. The thoughts and feelings of being a burden refused to go away, and started to magnify in my head. As the night drew on, I started to envision myself leaving the house and leaving everything behind, and all the possible scenarios that would happen, including being picked up by the police and all. The thoughts ballooned until I decided that I had to do something about it, much as I knew that it was a dangerous thing for me to be out alone with these thoughts.
I took my phone which had been fully charged, and quietly prepared my clothes and wallet, and snuck out of the room. I also picked up my laptop, as I wanted to see if I could prevent myself from being silly by distracting myself. I arranged everything on the sofa in the living room, and tried to use my laptop for a while. By the end of that time, I slid on to the floor with some cushions around me, crying. I so much wanted to just leave the house, but again by God’s grace, some self-preservation held me locked in place. The dual contention in me was tearing me apart, and it hurt.
I tried to message my friend in the US, and our best friend in Malaysia. At this point, I was so reluctant to burden my wife more, and I didn’t want to wake her. I think I knew, at some level, that I needed to. I hated myself, and I hated being so weak, and I hated to be a burden. So I just threw out a couple of messages to see if anyone would respond. I thought my friend in the US would respond, as it was 2am in the morning by this time. Instead, our friend in Malaysia responded. She was about to go to sleep, but responded to my message.
“I don’t want to die by my own hand but I don’t want to live”
“I’m not worth anything anyway”
“But I don’t want to hurt her or you.”
“You’re worth a lot to PX”
“And to the boys.”
“And to me.”
“You are, even if you can’t see it now.”
“I can’t even do basic things… I can’t even eat properly”
“I don’t know what to do for work, I can’t earn enough to provide… I can’t protect all of you…”
“Can’t even sleep properly…”
“You’re not useless.”
“What else dk I call myself…”
“Just curling up here and crying…”
“You are sick.”
“If I at least had the energy I’d go for a walk and not disturb you…”
“Why am I so damn useless and cannot do anything”
“And troubling everyone.”
“I’m glad to have you in my life.. I really do mean that”
“And this is not trouble.”
Part of the conversation I had with my friend. I provide this to give a glimpse into my weakened mind as I struggled with myself during this time, and how my friend tried to coax the truth into me unsuccessfully. My words are on the right. The typos only got worse as the tears started to block my screen.
I messaged our friend through my tears, and she coaxed me to wake my wife. I struggled to even get up. My body seemed like a deadweight, and I was bawling. I’m surprised no one woke up from my sobs and whimpers. I had to move on all fours, and every few steps, I curled up on the floor, sobbing.
My wife got woken up when I entered the room, stumbling, wailing by now. I felt so helpless and useless, and only managed to thrust my phone at my shocked wife who tried to hold me up and embrace me, and choked out the words, “Check the messages.” Then I collapsed into a ball on the floor, sobbing, holding on to my knees. My wailing had died down by now. After all, my wife was awake. There didn’t seem to be reason anymore for me to fight against my uselessness for waking her up.
My wife tried to coax me off the floor after she’d understood the situation and reassured our friend that she was ready to take over. It took us a lot of effort to have me finally in bed, sitting up, with her arms wrapped around me as I tried to tell her how I felt. She spent another hour or so trying to get through to me, as I locked myself into a cycle of worthlessness, hopelessness and uselessness.
What finally got through to me and broke the cycle, was when she told me that the boys had told her, when I was warded, that they really enjoy time with me, and that I usually find fun things for them to do. That they want to spend time with me. With no way to negate this positive reinforcement, I finally relaxed a little, and we tried to get some sleep before church the next day. I was able to serve the parents and babies in the creche, but I was definitely not ready for adult interaction. When a concerned friend stopped by to check on us while we were waiting for the shuttle to leave church, I was not able to look her in the eyes.
It’d take me at least 2 days to recover from this, and catching a cold only made things worse, as my inflamed sinuses affected my sleep.