[EXCLUSIVE] 'I still harbour thoughts of killing myself' (NSTTV)

Aliza Shah

“THE voices in my head told me how useless and hopeless I was. Suddenly, I realised I was at the edge of the highway and cars were honking frantically,” said Sue, 39, who had attempted to end her life many times.

Sharing her struggles battling depression for the past 20 years, she said she hoped society would stop judging people like her and treat them as equals to those with physical health problems.

Her problems started with a relationship problem in 1998.

“I remembered that I was driving when I decided to overdose on pills. The next thing I knew, I was at a hospital. They (the medical team) worked hard to pump out the pills. It was horrible.”

Sue, who was a teacher, said most of the time, she was in a subconscious state when she committed dangerous acts.

“I will hear voices in my head telling me that I might as well die. Initially, I took pills, but then it led to other things.

“I tried jumping over the balcony and crossing the highway, but I was stopped.

“I was not conscious. It was as if I was in my own world.”

She described battling the thoughts of committing suicide as “just tiring”.

Despite many attempts, Sue said she still harboured thoughts of killing herself.

“Sometimes, I would silently chant ‘I need to die’, ‘I have to die’ and ‘I want to die’.”

Sue, who is on medication, said although she had a supportive family, she didn’t want to be a burden to them.

As such, she sought help from others. “But we have to know who to seek help from. It may backfire because not everyone knows how to console you. They will say the wrong things, such as ‘you don’t have strong faith, or that ‘it’s all in your mind’.

“This will push people like us to kill ourselves.”

Another patient, Musalmah, said it was hard for her to brush off thoughts about wanting to commit suicide as it would keep “haunting” them.

“The thoughts came when I was in depression without me initiating it. They were intrusive, so I felt scared, because as a Muslim, I know that suicide is a sin.

“However, the thoughts kept bombarding me and I soon began to accept them.

“Suicide seemed like a way to end the darkness that I had experienced for a long time,” said Musalmah, who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

She said she had not experienced any suicidal thought in the last two years.

The religious education given to her by her parents since she was young helped her cope with the illness.

“When the thought (suicide) came, it made me feel despair. But I am grateful for the religious education that my parents have given me.

“It made me realise that suicide is not the best option. In fact, I could end up in hell for ending my life.” © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd