In the North Pacific Ocean, there is a point called the Mariana Trench. In this Mariana Trench, there is a section known as the Challenger Deep. This is the deepest part of any ocean or sea in the world. It’s abyss-like in nature. It is said that Mount Everest could be fully and perfectly immersed in this part of the ocean.
Now before you all start thinking that I am geology freak or that I am possessed by some geological demons from hell, I want you to try and remember that one time when you felt like your confidence levels or moods or happiness levels or peace levels were very low. And that they were so low to the point that they hit a sea or ocean bed like that of the Mariana Trench.
It happens a lot to so many people in life. There are days when you feel so down and even think that you could never ever rise up. There are days when you feel all alone despite the fact that you might be amidst so many people. There are days you feel like dying.
Now before this starts to feel like a cliché motivational story let me tell you the story of my friend Edward. I used to call him Ed. Ed seemed to me like the most normal guy I’d ever met. He was a college boy like me who is now gone because his friends (people like me) failed to notice that he was fighting a battle within. He went to classes everyday like most normal college students do. He did his assignments like his other classmates did. Of course, he never copied assignments like some do. He laughed around sometimes. Hell, he even kicked plastic bottles like we all do when we sometimes encounter them in our paths.
As I reflect now, it occurs to me that he must have had a war going on within him. A war between the will to keep pressing on and the urge to give up and end his life. I can’t even start to imagine how long this war was going on inside him. I can’t imagine the number of times he felt like giving up but still managed to somehow hold up a little bit longer. It saddens me tremendously that his willpower to live was eventually subdued by the urge to end it all. Ed was found hanging in his bedroom. Eyes wide open. No suicide note. No anything. Just a face of resignation with eyes wide open and no sign of life at all.
“He didn’t show any signs, “the parents said.
“He was quite normal, ” his friends said.
“I wish I could have noticed something was off with him,” many said in regret.
But Ed was gone. Nothing could be done to bring him back. We owed him a duty to check on him. We owed him a duty to ask him again and again if he was okay. We owed him a duty to be there for him. We owed him the duty to be nicer and kinder to him. And we owed him the duty to love him. Who doesn’t deserve to be loved anyway? We are all human beings. We crave for love and affection. Why not for Ed? Why couldn’t we do that for him? Perhaps he could have held on a little longer. We failed him as his friends. We breached the duty of love and care that we owed to him.
On Saturday I was feeling low like we humans feel most of the times. The Mariana Trench kind of low. Then it hit me that maybe this is what Ed had felt before he decided to finally take his life. Luckily for me I didn’t take my life (I love my life anyway). And besides, I have some confidence/happiness boosters around me. The most striking and funny one is a sweater that my dad gave me when I was in form two. I usually keep it at very bottom part of my suitcase. When he gave me the sweater back then it was extremely big. So big that if I wore it the whole of me would be immersed inside it from head to toe. It was like the shorts that Mandela’s dad gave him when he was first going to school (Read more about this in Mandela’s autobiography ‘Long Walk to Freedom’).
I vowed not to get rid of the sweater till it fits me one day. It was a very ambitious vow back then. So once in a while I get to try it out and see how big I’ve grown. I try it out on most days that I feel sad, down and low in spirit.
My kind of confidence booster may be different from someone else’s but one constant factor that remains is that we all need at least one. It may be an activity, a person or even some gift that we were given at some point like in my case. If only Ed had one. Perhaps he could have had something to cling on when all hope around him seemed to have vanished and all he felt was emptiness.
This short story is about pressing on. Press on. Keep going. Talk to people whenever you feel depressed or unloved. You never know where the will to hold on may come from. It often arises from the most unexpected places. We have to be greater than what we suffer.