A message of encouragement


Photo by: Serena Sotelo

Mr. Ham, school psychologist, is always available to help students who are in need.

Whether one wants to admit it or not, many of us have endured harsh times in our lives. Suicidal thoughts lurk in our darkest corners and quietly stare at us, revealing their presence when we feel most desperate. Are they our only and ultimate solutions?

I sincerely refuse to believe that.

I moved to America on June 21, 2010 from a country in the eastern hemisphere. I did not know or understand what to say, so I stayed silent for a year-and-a-half.

Before moving, I was an avid participant in class discussions. In America, I was a lost little ant. I felt constantly crushed by my frustrations, and the change drained the life out of me, bit by bit.

I have always prided myself in my ability to express my thoughts and make people laugh, but then, I could not even make myself laugh. I could not find my own identity, and my fear manifested itself in every segment of my brain. I had no real friends. All I had were my experiences: crying in the restroom, wandering the school quietly, and trying to learn what was going on in this strange side of the world.

Two important pieces of my life kept me sane through it all: my family and my own pride. Speaking with my family in our native language of Chinese helped me find solace after those torturous days at school. I confided almost everything to my sister, who helped me through the stress and pressure. My pride motivated me, persuaded me to master fluency in English. I wanted to prove to those who had given up on helping me that they were wrong. Even more, I wanted to prove to myself that my loneliness was a stupid mistake. I deserved better, I fervently told myself. I will make everything better. I can do it.

And I did. After reading books out loud for days and nights, after devoting all my time to looking over my homework, and after forcing myself to speak (sometimes blushing awkwardly afterward), I earned what I have now. I have friends. I have weird jokes. And most importantly, I have myself, and the freedom to do what I think I should do.

Life can be a black hole. It can overpower our families, relationships, work and emotions, letting our world collapse into itself in a matter of seconds. In these moments, we feel like that darkness will never loosen its cling onto us, and it is absolutely empty, frightening, horrifying, and stifling.

We gag at that feeling sometimes. We cry at that feeling sometimes. We give up, we let it control our minds, we let it clear our hope sometimes.

Yet, we need to continue walking through the dark and believe that we will find the light that shines at the end of the tunnel.

We need to remember that we do not have to walk this road alone. We do not have to endure everything by ourselves. Reach out for help. Maybe it’s the help from someone you love and deeply value, maybe it’s help from professionals. However, one thing is for sure, the solution does not need to be broken hearts.

Only we, ourselves, our very selves, with slight help and encouragement from others, can change what is going on in our lives.

If one way is not good enough, think of another way. Wage a battle against what we consider injustice, strain your ability to work for the best.

Nobody should describe this battle as an easy task. But do not give up until you find your happiness. Win the battle. You can do it, you will do it.

Time is the ultimate healer, and we can only believe that the wound will heal. Never forget, but never lose yourself in every memory. We should move forward with the past acting as reminders, not as traps, bent on stealing you back to frustration and depression.

We all have to think.

We all have to act.

We all have to love.

We all have to believe.

Mental illnesses have driven many onto the path of suicide. Almost seven percent of teens have attempted to take their own life, seeing no other solution but to “stop living”. If someone around you has shown signs of suicidal thoughts, confront him/her about it. It is never too late to offer help and comfort.

Special thanks to Cam High school counselors Mrs. Christie Bruggman and Mr. Thomas Taketa for their help with this topic.