She Didn’t Blame UP in Her Suicide Note

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By Kate Alvarez
KateWasHere.com
Mar. 20, 2013

When the suicide of 16-year-old Kristel Tejada made headlines last week, my heart ached for her loved ones who have to deal with a lifetime of questions and emotional pain.

I am also outraged at the media circus it has turned into. Reading all the one-sided news stories, simplistic interpretations, and crass comments made me realize that our country is indeed still stuck in the caveman era when it comes to dealing with suicide and depression. As my beloved Anton would jokingly put it, “You’re barking at the wrong dog(tree)!”

Pardon me for being brash, but as someone who has lost a loved one to suicide and as a depression survivor myself, I believe I have a more realistic stand on this matter compared to majority of the Twitteratti who have never dealt with suicide firsthand, and yet are passionately raising their pitchforks.

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I was supposed to compose an article sharing my stance in hopes of enlightening others, but I found something better. I came across this piece written by Geoffrey Javier, friend of Anna Rodriguez-Dela Cruz, a fellow suicide survivor who lost her husband in April last year. Thank you, Anna, for sharing this piece, and thank you, Geoffrey, for airing another side to Kristel’s story–a side that not many are willing to listen to, especially since they are too busy with their witch hunt.

Geoffrey Javier:
“I could write a list of things written in the news articles that were overlooked by the media which contributed to Kristel’s decision to take her life, but the one thing that stands out is her suicide letter, which explains everything and speaks for itself. It is the one thing that tells everyone why she did it, it is written in her own words, yet even after her death no one is listening.

“Di ko lang talaga rin kinaya.”

This line by itself tells everything she was going through. I empathize with her statement as I have said these words myself and have written them down on letters which I am fortunate that no one has ever had to read. People may argue that the UP issue drove her to her fate, but in reality it was her depression that made her take her own life. There were no words of anger, no finger to point, no explanation of what hurt her, just the simple and straight forward expression of self that she could no longer bear the weight on her shoulders. She loved her family and would have tried to explain everything she could, and if the media was right, she would not have left something as important as the UP tuition out of her letter if that was the sole reason for taking her life. But she did leave it out, because in the big scheme of things, at that final moment, like everything else in her world it no longer mattered and she was leaving it all behind.

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“Sorry, pero kailangan ko lang talaga gawin ‘to.”

These are the most telling words and the most truthful part of what she wrote. This is also the hardest part that most people won’t understand, as only those who experience depression and suicide who truly know what she meant by these words. When one comes to the point of contemplating of taking their own life, something in them changes forever. It is a door once opened, that never closes. It ate away at the very core of her being that nothing else made sense, there was no other greater purpose, except to fulfill the perceived peace that she would achieve when she was no longer part of this existence. To fail at this and not push through with her suicide, would have been tantamount to proving to herself and her depressed sense of self worth, that even at this she was a failure. What people fail to realize is that when someone is about to take their own life, in the final moments they are here, they are overcome with a sense of calmness, and it is at that precise moment they have made peace with their inner turmoil, when the clarity of ending their life overcomes the fear of death. It is at that moment of peace, that one emotion that they were looking so hard for, that they let go and kill themselves. Her depression dictated that this was the only solution that she had, that there was no hope left to look for. And this is what most people will never understand, how depression can override someone to the point of taking their own life.

Unlike what poets, writers, and philosophers may make it out to be, there is nothing romantic about suicide. It is cold, ruthless, unforgiving. There is no sense to be made in it, there is no grand cause that one fights for. Martyrdom should be left in the domain of politics and religion. In this story, Kristel was not a martyr, it was not voluntary, she did not die to change UP policies or to bring her family’s hardships into the limelight, she died because her depression dictated she had too.”

Kate:
For the readers who have reached the end of this post, thank you. If you’d like to learn more about this misunderstood ailment called depression, as well as other mental conditions, please visit ngf-hope.org or browse though the other articles in this site. You may also join our Facebook group, Survivors of Suicide Philippines.

photo credits: geekbuffet.wordpress.com, depressionisreal.com, and grabagraff.com

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