Pain and Redemption
Based on a True Story
“I want to commit suicide!” a 20-year-old son yelled in the middle of the night when he talked with his parents. They both were shocked. Here that stood in front of them was their son whom they hoped the very best for and thought would have a long and happy life, just said that he wanted to commit suicide.
Johnny looked like he had a promising future. He was a gamer at heart and decided to major in computer science when he got accepted into university. He did this because he wanted to bring smiles to peoples faces the way video game companies did with him. It did not take him until his sophomore year to be able to start programming classes. Around this time, a virus went around the country causing classes to be moved remotely to online classes.
Johnny was born with Asperger’s Syndrome and it made his attention span in online classes hell-on-earth. He always loved to live in his safe zone downstairs away from all the chaos upstairs. The room was where Johnny liked to have all his electronic devices stored (PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, iPad, etc.). He also had his laptop downstairs which is the electronic device of choice Johnny used for his classes and schoolwork.
It was so hard to pay attention. The professors would speak in hard-to-understand accents which made Johnny overwhelmed. When it came time to practicing the materials, he was never prepared. All this time he was playing on other devices while the classes were going. Whether it would be listening to music, playing mobile games, or any sort of distraction, Johnny fell victim to it.
Nevertheless, Johnny managed to do fine in his classes when it came to grades. He would make passing grades and would get caught up with his work. However, the classes sure as hell took quite the beating on his mental health. Johnny had anxiety issues when it came to getting to work and would always rely on online sources to get the work done for him instead of getting the work done himself and learning through it.
One time, Johnny have had over 8 months of experience of programming through Python and Java. He internally felt unhappy over what he wanted to do with this hopeful career path and it caused him to stay up late. He eventually went upstairs to go to sleep around midnight. He bumped into his parents who told him goodnight at first, but then noticed that there was something wrong with Johnny.
“You don’t look so good” said Johnny’s Mom.
“Oh, it’s nothing” said Johnny.
His dad suddenly started to take notice of what was wrong through Johnny’s body language and tone of voice.
“Son, I think that something is wrong. Don’t be scared to tell us” said Johnny’s Dad.
“Ok. Here goes” said Johnny.
“I honestly have been struggling in my classes and I just want to give up at this point.”
“What are you talking about?” said Johnny’s Mom in worry.
“Well, I’ve been looking at my grades and I just think that everything I do in my classes, no matter how hard I try, it’s never enough!”
“Well buddy,” said Johnny’s Dad. “What do you want us to say that we haven’t said before? School work has to be done no matter what.”
Johnny then tried to tell his parents about the mental struggles that he had while working on his classes and explained how his “Mini-ADHD,” as what he called it, harms him when it comes to Zoom lectures. While he was talking and starting to get into arguments with his parents about this scenario, Johnny’s pressure reached its breaking point and he exclaimed:
“I WANT TO COMMIT SUICIDE!”
Both his parents just stood in silence after their loving son had just said the words that they hoped he would not say. His dad was on the verge of tears.
“Why would you say that?” Johnny’s Dad said.
“I just feel like this pandemic has made my life a living hell. Online classes are tough, I will always not do good in coding, I just feel like I’m beat and want all of this to end.”
Suddenly, Johnny said that he said he wanted to commit suicide in an effort of attention. Johnny was about to destroy his parents’ room like Godzilla would destroy Tokyo, but he was able to keep his self-control at the moment. His parents, knowing Johnny better than anyone else in the world, got onto Johnny by saying that committing suicide is a selfish way of ending it all and that doing it would hurt more people than one can imagine. Johnny’s Dad then asked that is Johnny was 100 percent honest or not and Johnny said yes. He then threatened to take Johnny to a mental hospital and Johnny did not want to.
“Son,” said Johnny’s dad, “we love you more than anything in the world and we want you to know that this pandemic has not been bad for just you. College students all over the country have been struggling during this time and it will get better soon. For now, if you were to commit suicide, not only me, mom, your sister, and your dog will be upset, your papa, your grana, your cousins, your friends, everyone will be upset over your decision.”
Johnny said that he realized all of this after his emotional talk with his parents and it brought the whole room to tears. His mom then said a prayer for all of them and Johnny apologized for his outburst and went to sleep.
In the morning, Johnny talked with his tutor and told him that he was no longer comfortable with doing coding as a possible full-time job, but still wanted a job in the gaming business. His tutor told him that there were many things that goes into making a video game rather than programming, there are other things like writing stories and characters, voice acting, art design, etc. After talking with his tutor Johnny made the decision to switch majors in the Summer. He told his parents about his decision and they felt like a huge brick had been taken off their shoulders.
“Son,” said Johnny’s dad, “I want to let you know that we will support you no matter what and if you want to change majors, then that is fine with us. We love you!”
Johnny then gave his parents a big hug, but he knew that the semester wasn’t over then and there. Johnny is still going through his semester and is unsure about what he will change his major to. Although the future is most likely unknown to Johnny at this point, he knows that life can be good even through the pandemic and through his Asperger’s. He felt a sense of redemption and that is what keeps him optimistic.
If you, a friend, or a loved one is currently feeling suicidal, depressed, or mentally unwell, don’t be afraid to ask for help. You can go to a family member, a teacher, a priest, a rabbi, etc. and start talking to them about your struggles. They won’t be afraid to offer you advice. You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-8255 and someone will be there for you. Hope and love conquers all.