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When I Wonder Why I Keep Moving Forward

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Editor’s note: If you struggle with self-harm or suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.

Sometimes I ask myself why I keep going forward when “giving up” seems like a reasonable option for someone in my situation. I had my first near death experience at the age of 8 years old because of meningitis. I have been living with an excruciating pain disorder since I was a 9 years old called cluster headache, also known as the suicide headache. All of this was already enough to take my childhood away, but the experience I was about to face would change my life forever.

Christmas 2006, 10 years ago, I was traumatized as I witnessed a crime inside a train. I suddenly became a victim myself when the thief began pushing a knife against my throat. I can barely remember everything, but I was glad when I finally found shelter in my dad’s house. In middle school, I was being verbally bullied and physically assaulted for my sexuality, and I received death threats.

Going through the same thing on a daily base was exhausting and took a toll on me. I ended up falling in love with my only friend, who cut off contact as a result. I remember that night it was the first time I heard voices I could not identify and saw things I was not expecting to see in front of my eyes. I developed schizophrenia, felt empty, guilty and found myself self-harming.

Every day I was idealizing suicide in my head, until I my first attempt. The cuts on my body were the result of the civil war I had going on inside my mind, a battlefield. Each wound reminded me of a battle I lost against myself.

I knew I had to get help. So I contacted the department for children and teenagers, which helped me immediately. I was put into a psychiatric hospital where I finished my treatment. The first one, at the age of 15. They treated the depressive component, but simply ignored the schizophrenic one, until I was no longer mentioning it.

Everything would change because of those experiences. I am no longer able to love in a healthy way. Trusting people is quite a challenge, too. During this time, my chronic disorder, cluster headache, peaked. This caused me to not attend school often. If I did, then I was sitting depressed in the classroom with only up to one and a half hours of sleep.

I was passing out, breaking down regularly, seeking shelter next to my oxygen tank in a separate room, trying to get through the attack and going back into class afterward. I was being forced by the school to fix my attendance. Otherwise, they would kick me out. It was the most exhausting time of my life. My grades were already bad and I was trying to get through every day and ended up writing my finals during a peak of my psychosis and cluster headache.

Somehow, I managed to pass my finals and obtain As. I received permission to study at colleges and universities in Germany. I was happy for a short amount of time. Then, I went straight back into depression and pain.

Then, the time for university came. I was in treatment throughout my time there, always in a university clinic’s psychiatry. I majored in Korean studies and minored in English/American studies. The workload was rough. I basically spent the whole day trying to study, neglecting my hobbies and art with my schedule. I was waking up at 7 a.m. and going to bed at around 4 a.m. due to cluster headache attacks.

After two months, I was no longer able to concentrate and to study. I almost tried to kill myself again but I was stopped. I’m glad I was. I found alternatives. Not only do I want to start treatment, but also do I want to improve my cognitive performance again. So I can start university again.

I also started asking myself what I want to achieve. I always find myself saying, “I have not left any footprints in my life. Nor have I yet to change or touch people’s hearts. My mission in life is simply not done. I want to achieve change, not only for my LGBTQ community, but also for my own health and community.”

I want to show you and others there is always a way. I simply want to be the best possible human being I can become. What does it take? I do not know, and I may not experience it. The question I want to ask you is, “What do you strive for in your life? What is your dream.” Keep it in mind and keep going forward, even if you have to take a few steps back for another attempt. You are more than a label and diagnosis. You are one worthy, lovely human being.

Never let your condition get the best of you. You can do it, even if it takes more time than you expected. Give yourself time, the time to achieve and heal. Always remember, I love you and you are not alone in the dark.

A fellow warrior

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Originally published: July 22, 2016
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