The Will to Live Another Day
Publish date: January 31st 2018
Written by Kavin Trinh
Edited by Michelle La
Photo by Linda Tran
I’m Kavin Trinh. There’s isn’t too much about me that makes me great in anyway. Well, maybe my name. I’m a Kinesiology student at Langara College. I can say with confidence that I have decent grades. I have a pretty broad social network and a solid group of friends. I have the best girlfriend who has stayed by my side through everything. My family and I were great; they supported all my endeavours. Despite this, I was dying. I was tired. Exhausted, weak, ashamed, and any negative words one can think of. No one knew about my agonizing pain — not my closest friends, family, or girlfriend. They would soon be in for a “worst case scenario.”
Before I became suicidal, I was depressed. I was already diagnosed for depression by my doctor years ago. I never believed him. I never cared to listen to the suicide talks at school because I always told myself:
“This can’t happen to me. There’s just no way.”
At a young age, I was never taught to properly cope with stress. I would bang my head against a fence if I got yelled at. Banging my head in pre-school was my way of coping when I got in trouble. In elementary, I would punch myself and purposely fall off high structures in hope of breaking my bones (the most harm done through this was a broken ankle). I would then cut myself on my arms and legs because it was the fastest way to hurt myself and release my pain through the blood gashing out of my openings. That led me to taking over the counter sleeping pills throughout high school. My cuts were not visible, I hid that I was hurting myself. These actions had the same thought behind them:
“It’s always my fault. I don’t deserve to be here anymore.”
These issues and actions were built up overtime. Since I was a child, I always held my emotions and took things to heart. From small mistakes to big ones. I would always beat myself down in and inflicted pain on myself. I was never able to forgive myself for anything. I always blamed myself and only isolated myself further and further away from everyone. Through my habits and coping behaviours, I ended up having suicidal thoughts in high school. They always went away eventually. I thought my mental health wouldn’t get any worse than that.
Fast forward to 6 months ago, things in my life were hitting the fan. School was becoming even more stressful and unbearable with the immense amount of assignments and midterms. My time management wasn’t too good, and I would end up doing all-nighters catching up on courses. I was dying in every class. My family and I went through a rough patch. Arguments that would last till early morning. I had no control over my temper. The arguments got to the point where I would immediately punch the wall when I heard the slightest of yelling. I got kicked out a lot. I got into numerous physical altercations with my dad and became verbally aggressive towards my parents.
Not only was my family going through a rough time, so were my girlfriend and me. We would argue multiple times a day. During weeks where we would argue only a few times, I thought that would be the best we would ever get as a couple. The exchange of words between us was brutal. It hurt the both of us on multiple levels. Even though some of the words she said were just out of anger, I took it seriously to heart. Everything I did I took to heart. I eventually lost track of who I was as a person. I came to embrace pain instead of love. I would step into flames, instead of extinguishing my battles. I wanted to be in pain. I wanted to suffer. I was hurting people around me. I wanted to feel a deeper pain than those I’ve hurt. I really thought that the people I hurt wanted to see me crash — see me die and disappear. Every day that passed was a day where I lost just more will to live. It was constant waves of arguments and pain. Eventually, I closed myself off to everyone. I no longer shared my stress or issues with anyone. Everything just built up. The toxic mindset I was in was culminating fast. Never did I realize that I would make my attempt.
On July 17, 2017, it was just a regular morning for me. My girlfriend and I had an argument that had been going on since the previous week . I guess you can infer this argument was big. My emotions grew to a sky high and I felt myself going mad. I had thrown my phone numerous times on the ground and punched my bedroom walls in anger. This time my anger didn’t dissipate. It just kept growing. However, I knew my emotions would just get worse if I stayed home. So, I decided to go for a walk. I texted my girlfriend that I was heading out for a walk to cool off, but that didn’t stop us from arguing. I decided to walk around Trout Lake in hopes of finding some clarity through my anger. Things were going well from there. I really thought I had calmed myself down. More words got exchanged and then I realized that I didn’t feel anything anymore. I thought to myself:
“It’s all over. Everyone has given up on me and I don’t want to suffer anymore. I don’t want to be a burden to anyone else now. I have become the root of everyone’s pain and I think it’s time to rid of the root. So, no one suffers anymore.”
I changed my route and walked towards an overpass. At this point, there was no light in me. The flame that people said I had burned out. I stopped responding to my girlfriend and just kept walking. The voices in my head that would normally tell you to not do something like this was non-existent. Breathing became difficult. Every breath felt like a wave of acid burning my lungs. My angina started to come back and made it feel like I was going to have a heart attack again. My legs became weak and I felt light headed. Despite this, my mind still told me to head to the overpass. By the time I got to the overpass, my symptoms were already messing with my ability to see or stand properly. Never in my life was I so determined to climb over and kill myself for good. I managed to climb over with the little strength I had left. There I saw it – the light, the saviour that would brace me away to heaven, as my body would come crashing down. The image of my bones shattering and my organs bursting into the cold, hard ground gave me pleasure — I was certain that I was going to do it. My lungs felt being squeezed of air. My heart was pounding out of my body. I felt numb. Then I started to cry. I don’t know why I did. I just started to break down and scream at the overpass with agony and pain. I never felt this type of pain and fear in my life. I just wanted to die; I just wanted to go. I became blank, dead inside and out. I mouthed out “good bye” and thought that was going to be it. I made the step that would end my life in a second.
Suddenly, someone grabbed me from behind. I had no idea who it was. I felt his touch, but did not hear any of his words. He grabbed my back and pulled me against the railing. I was trying to break free. I wanted to go. He held me back as my tears and screams kept pouring out of my body. His arm felt like a chain choking my soul away. However, as I calmed down how I was feeling changed. I felt softness and warmth.. He told me to turn around to face him. I didn’t want him to see the shame that I have turned myself into. He insisted and I reluctantly turned around. There was his face: a gentle and kind hearted middle-aged man. He just stared into my pained eyes and told me:
“I’m glad I found you in time young man. I would be broken if one of my kids ever decided to end their own lives. I must believe that your parents would be devastated if you took your own life.”
I only felt so much from his words, but he kept making small talk. I didn’t know how to feel, but my thoughts and consciousness slowly came back. I was still in physical and mental anguish, but I gradually listened to him. He helped me climb over the railing, as I was about to pass out. The moment I got over to the other side, I just fell right onto my butt. I was in weakened state. The man reassured me, he stayed by my side and comforted me while four bystanders were calling 911. As the man was talking to me, I became more confused. I started to question more about what in the fuck just happened. Within 10 minutes of me being off the overpass, paramedics and police officers arrived. I didn’t know what was happening, but I just followed the orders of the paramedics and police officers. By law, I was under the police’s authority because I was a danger to myself, and police have control to ensure you don’t harm yourself further (a fact if you guys didn’t know).
When I arrived at Vancouver General Hospital (VGH), it was frightening. The police officers stood right beside me, and I was immediately rushed into a gown and had to undergo numerous tests. I had a psychiatric assessment done and my girlfriend was notified of my incident. It was a horrible sight for her to see me in the hospital. It was a moment of vulnerability for the both of us when she arrived. She stayed right by my side until I was brought into another private room for a secondary assessment. The physician cleared me for being high risk and then recommended me to get further assessment at the AAC (Access & Assessment Centre) located on VGH. I just really wanted to go home. I skipped work and cancelled all my plans. I left VGH, and grabbed some quick food with my girlfriend before heading home.
I was reluctant to go to the AAC, but I remembered that a friend of mine works at VGH. I decided to message Zack Motus and see what he had to say about it. I told him what had happened when I got home. He was surprised that I had attempted suicide. He didn’t know what to say at first. Honestly, I wasn’t surprised. To have someone tell you that they almost killed themselves is quite shocking. Zack told me that the AAC and psychiatry facility at VGH was great and that I could come to him if I needed help. After talking to him, it really took me a lot of time before I finally told myself that it was time to seek help. Through the AAC I was formally diagnosed with Major depressive disorder. Through the Mental Health Substance Use Outpatient Services Team where I have been continuing to attend one-on-one therapy.
So how am I now? Probably what a lot of people would wonder after reading a story of a worst-case scenario like this. Well, I’m doing okay. Not good, not bad, but okay. I still have my ups and downs, but I’m more aware of myself. I’m more alert of my own behaviours and I can monitor my own tendencies. I’ve learned to recognize my thoughts of suicide and low self-worth. However, I still feel the incapacity to resolve issues and still feel hopelessness.
I’ve learned 3 reasons why I personally live. The first reason is that I have my loving girlfriend, friends and family who have stuck through me throughout this entire ordeal and experience. My second reason why is my two work places (Vans and Foot Locker). Everyone there is just so warm and endearing. it really connects me to everyone that’s there and truly drives me forward. Jay (Foot Locker) and Nick (Vans) are both amazing store managers who have constantly motivated me to keep going in and out of the workplace. My third reason is my own personal goals and dreams. Throughout my suicidal experience, I completely lost myself and identity as a person. It took an immense amount of emotional and mental strength and time, but I have been able to validate and give purpose and meaning to chase my dreams once again.
To keep this simple, suicide should never be the answer to one’s problems. Suicide is an accumulation of negatively supressed thoughts that can shift your life into a deep downwards spiral. I can honestly say that life gets better if you wait. It gets better when you realize that you need help. There is no shame or negative stigma for wanting to seek help, and I commend everyone who does take that step. My name is Kavin Trinh and this is my personal story. I am a suicide survivor.
- VictimLinkBC https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/justice/criminal-justice/victims-of-crime/victimlinkbc
- WAVAW Rape Crisis Centre http://www.wavaw.ca/
- Vancouver Access & Assessment Centre http://www.vch.ca/your-care/mental-health-substance-use/vancouver-access-assessment-centre
- The Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention Centre of BC https://crisiscentre.bc.ca/