You Matter

April 12, 2021

Defi “Salsa” U. (she/her/hers) was born and raised in Indonesia. She is a college graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Engineering who’s passionately raising mental health awareness. Her passion for literature inspired her to write a winning essay in celebration of Indonesia’s Independence Day. Salsa does a lot of creative writing in her spare time, mostly, fiction. Working as part of a team has always excites her, and as such, Salsa had served in her student council for two periods back-to-back. As a natural-born leader, Salsa is eager to motivate others to grow and care for their wellbeing.

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*This story includes information about suicidal ideation and self-harm. If you or someone you know is struggling with a similar experience, text HOME to 741741 to speak to a crisis counselor at Crisis Text Line or chat or call to a professional at the Suicide Prevention Hotline.*

I was suicidal.

It all started in 2015 when I was about to turn sixteen. Something happened at home, and that triggered everything. It was a big, massive thing that truly shook my family to the core.

I never batted an eye on my mental health before, but then I realized I was having suicidal thoughts. I thought it was normal. I thought everyone had this at some point in their life. Later, I discovered there is no such thing as a “normal” amount when you’re already having these kinds of thoughts. I never felt peace for quite some time. I rarely felt safe at home. I almost cried every night, I always felt tired, and I wanted to give up. I often had this feeling, this thought that everything would be better if I’m gone. Everything would be better if I’m not here. I engaged in self-harm a lot. I clawed my arms and pricked them with needles many times. All I asked was for everything to be in the right place, I always begged and prayed for the pain to stop, but it didn’t. I remember on one occasion; I cried for hours nonstop until my eyes are puffy. I remembered I had to put on lots and lots of concealer around my eyes because I had a family dinner that day.

I didn’t even tell my parents about what was happening to me. I just thought they would never care. Therefore, I struggled alone. I helped myself to stop feeling useless, tried to find a support system. I reached out to my friends and told them how I felt. I was just too shy to admit that I needed professional help, so I just did what I could. Besides, I was still a minor, and to get that help, I need parental consent.

Surprisingly, my best friends understood my problems and how hard it was to struggle with self-harming habits, let alone suicidal thoughts. They were always there, one phone call or text away when I was in the dark. They helped me to stop hurting myself because I matter. That was useless, and I still have their love and remind me that I am not worthless. My friends helped me to survive. I stopped having those episodes and stopped having the intention to hurt myself physically.

Now I am 21 years old. I admit that sometimes when things are rough, I frequently find myself having the intention to go back into my old routine of self-harming. But thankfully, I managed to keep those thoughts away. I keep winning the battle I have with my dark side. I know I am far from being completely healed, but I’m glad to say that I’ve come to the other side, and so can you. I know it’s hard, but know that you’re not alone. Never ever think that you are alone.

You matter. Please, stay.

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