When I wanted to end my life, my life begins.
This is not the story I am most proud of, but it's the story that changed my life forever. For so many years, I hide myself behind the 'perfect image' I have created. Through the eyes of the media, I am a young woman who is passionate, successful and has her life figured out. What no one knows, what no one sees, I was standing near the edge of a cliff and losing myself completely. Life was so painful that I was constantly looking for the next thing that can take my pain away.
Deep inside, I felt a deep sense of emptiness. I was constantly searching for something but I didn’t know what I was searching for. I laughed a lot in front of others, but I cried myself helplessly behind the closed door. I always bring joy to others but I couldn't bring joy to myself. I wasn’t happy, fulfilled and I didn’t know what was the meaning of my life - why am I living in this world, who am I?
Finally, I have a sense of clarity. Finally, everything makes sense, my life makes sense. All the unexplainable emotions, inner struggles and the dark thing that lives inside me, finally I have an answer for that.
I found out that I have what they called HFD, High-Functioning Depression.
But depression is REAL. Not until I overcome it, it became a constant struggle between fighting it or giving up. I couldn’t live with myself anymore. There were many times I was finding courage to end my own life. But I couldn't do it. I beat myself up for being such a failure at everything I do, including taking my own life.
I will never forget that afternoon, I experienced panic attack for the first time and I couldn't calm myself down. I felt pain leaking out of me. I looked at the rooftop of the building right in front of me, I asked myself "Do I have the courage to jump off the building?"
The fact that I’m still here today, talking to you, sharing my stories with you, you know I didn't jump. That day I was really hard on myself so I said,
"Joyan Chan, if you can’t f*cking jump off the building, you gotta f*cking live your life, if you can’t die today, you only have one choice, that’s to live your life. And if you want to live your life, if you choose to live your life, you gotta live your life to the fullest, THIS IS ENOUGH."
It was a huge wake up call for me,.
All of a sudden, I heard my calling, I felt it with my heart. There was this voice whispering to me “you gotta tell your stories, don’t hide anymore, don’t be ashamed of your stories, it will inspire others and this is why you are here in this world."
Your worst day can be your best day. Ironically, when I wanted to end my life, my life begins.
Breakthrough often comes from what you thought was a breakdown. It usually triggers by only two things - excitement, something excites you so much or pain, something becomes so painful that you can’t take it anymore, for me it was pain. When I reached my threshold of pain, I said to myself,
I have never felt so much clarity and certainty in my life before about what I was going to do. Magically, my panic attack was gone, I was calm, I was clear, and I was certain that I am going to love my life, not just mere survival, but thrive.
I picked myself up and I went back to my house. I sat down in front of my desk and I started writing my stories.
If I can empower myself in my darkest day, if I can come out from the other side stronger than I ever was, if no matter what happens in life, here I still am. I can help others do the same.
Of all the things that have happened FOR me, I managed to grow through them and turned my depression into EMPOWERMENT.
Trust me, I didn’t know how to be strong, but I had to be strong. I needed to be the one kept telling myself everything was going to be okay. I had to pull myself out of darkness. I had to pick myself up again and again. I had to rebuild myself from scratch. I had to learn to trust and let go of things that weighed me down, things that I had been holding onto so tightly and carrying around with me for so many years that I thought they defined who I am as a person.
I had to learn how to live when I didn’t want to live anymore.
If you are reading this, I want you to know, no matter where you are, who you are, where you come from, your past and your stories - they don't define you, you define yourself by how you choose to tell your stories.
Everything happened in your life has brought you to where you are now. Cliché is cliché because it is true. Everything happens for a reason. It may be difficult for you to fully grasp now when you are going through inner turmoil but one day, I promised, it will all make sense and you will be grateful for it. It took my ten years to finally realise - you don't always get what you wanted, but you are always given what you needed.
My life experiences over the last decade have transformed and motivated me in such a way that I understand only when we start to TAKE OWNERSHIP of our life, own our struggles and be FULLY RESPONSIBLE for ourselves and our circumstances, we grow in confidence and become empowered to create a life filled with joy, peace, passion, purpose and success in your own style, on your own terms.
Joyan is a TRUTHTELLER! She has a huge amount of love for herself and others. It is beyond admirable! -Mcgrill
The world needs more people like Joyan. -Sello
I am thankful to Joyan for sharing her stories bravely. She is such an inspiration for those who are going through similar situations. -Davis