Hello, friends. It is I, Seven. I live the dream in case you can’t. The following is another in a continuing series wherein I attempt to convince you that Thailand can be a cure for certain Western ills. Readers might be skeptical of this one, given the number of highly-publicized farang suicides in Thailand, but hear me out.
Yes, there were two recent grizzly suicides in the news. Yes, they were farang that did themselves in by leaping from balconies in Pattaya. But I believe the case can be made that Thailand could, for some if not most people, be a thing that prevents one from such desperate acts. I recently spoke to a friend who had a suicide in his extended family. Not here in Thailand, but in Europe. Said family member was well-off, successful, and by all outward appearance, had everything going for him. In his suicide note, he said he’d battled depression and anxiety for a long time, and that a recent breakup was the last straw. I can relate. I had severe peptic ulcers at age 18 because I was so overwhelmed with worry over my future. I was convinced I would fail at every endeavor. And truth be told, I did. In fact, before my 19th birthday, I too made a half-hearted attempt to shuffle off this mortal coil. I thought I’d seen all that life had to offer, that I’d tasted the best of what I would be able to eke from this world, and it left me unsatisfied and filled with a sense of despair. And I even failed at suicide, and then when I saw how much my selfish act hurt the people I loved, I resigned myself to keep on living, even though nothing good would come of it, for the sake of my family and friends. Little did I know at the time that something really REALLY good would come from sticking around.
If I could talk to my 18 year old self, having learned what I know now about life, I would tell him “Stop what you’re doing, pack a bag, and get the hell out.” For me, the first antidote to suicide was travel. But as I’ve mentioned in other articles, I soon realized that I was just running from my problems, and sooner or later they always caught up with me. I distinctly remember one time in Barcelona when they caught up with me, and another when I was lying on Red Frog Beach in Bastimentos, Panama. Because my problems weren’t located in a geographical spot. They were inside me. In spite of that, I’d still tell my 18 year old self to get up and go, because getting up and going is what finally brought me here, to Thailand, the greatest country in the world. I’ve tried to outline in these “Therapy” articles all the best reasons for coming here. Collectively, they might underscore this current one. Everything’s better here. If you’re broke, if you can’t find a job, if you’re fat, if you’re lonely, if you’re being hounded by your government or PC idiots, all of those things can be remedied here. The one thing you might bring with you, though, is depression. If it’s clinical, if it’s chemical, it will follow you here. But the case I want to make is this: would it hurt to try? I mean, if you’re just going to off yourself, especially if you’ve still got cash in your savings account, wouldn’t it be worth checking? Worst case scenario, you get here, spend all your remaining money partying like a rock star, and then jump off a balcony after having literally the time of your life (I suspect this happens a lot). Best case scenario, you have happen to you what happened to me: I got here, and everything I hated about existence didn’t exist here, and I discovered a whole new life and lifestyle that perfectly fit what I wanted to get out of being on the Earth.
If I could give one message to anyone considering suicide, it would be the same as the one to my younger self: Stop. Pack a bag. Empty your bank account, and buy a one-way ticket. Spend a month on a beach in Koh Khood, or hit the clubs every night in Phuket, or take a diving course and swim with a whale shark. Or get yourself a Thai girlfriend/boyfriend and learn from their example how to look at life. Then, if you don’t feel rejuvenated and gain a whole new perspective, go paragliding and wriggle out of the harness. Or do what most do and jump off the top of a hotel in Ptown. But at least give this place a try first. If you haven’t got any money, find an NGO where you can volunteer to work with orphans or elephants or repairing coral reefs. Or get a job teaching and give something back to society. In Thailand, work doesn’t feel like work, because once the work day is over, you’re suddenly a tourist in the number one holiday destination in the world. I still occasionally giggle like an idiot at how awesome my life is. The kinds of problems I have now are miniscule compared to the baggage of burdens I left behind in the US. I’ve even nicknamed my problems here. I call them Thailand problems (hashtag Thailandproblems) because they’re not real problems. I wrote a poem about them, published elsewhere on this website (https://sweet3mango.com/2018/08/06/thailand-problems-an-accidental-ode/) to highlight how ridiculously insignificant (ridiculificant, hashtag copyright) they are.
What struck me most about my friend’s story of his family member, and what reminded me so vividly of my younger suicidal self, was the complete lack of understanding of just how big, how wide, how varied, how unexplored the world is to most people. We get trapped in the microcosm of our narcissism (microcarcissism). For God’s sake, there are 196 countries on the planet! You have choices! Take the gun muzzle out of your mouth and get on a plane. Business class, if possible. Go see what’s out there. If you don’t like Thailand, go to Brazil, or the Maldives, or Costa Rica. But let’s be real, nobody dislikes Thailand. This place is awesome.
I’m not sure how to end this, so I’m just going to say, to anyone contemplating suicide who might be reading this: Before you do it, come to Thailand. From the BKK airport, get a minivan to Trat, then a motorboat to Koh Khood. Get a room at the A-Na-Lay or Koh Kood resort, sit on the deck and watch the sun set, then go night swimming in the bay. And as you’re floating in that warm sea water, surrounded by brightly-colored fish, looking up at the stars, and your only burden is deciding between having a beer or a cocktail, ask yourself if you still want to eat a bullet and miss out on what Thailand will offer you tomorrow.
While you wait for your passport renewal, you can live vicariously through me by following my Twitter @BangkokSeven Hope to see you soon!