I translated this back in 2017 and it was on my personal blog, which I now don’t want to link to anymore, so just pasting it all here.
This was a rather quick job and is far from perfect. The biggest flaw is probably tenses. The translations may be too literal in some parts, too liberal in other parts. Drop me a comment if you have any suggestions for edits — in particular, I’m unsatisfied with the entry from 2010.10.08.
It’s a very sad read. He hated himself but was convinced he’d never commit suicide. In the end he still did. The language is simple but beautiful.
Rest in peace, Ren Hang.
TW: violence, suicide, dissociation
With thanks to those who have suggested edits: Ashley Hermosura
These days I’ve found a new method, to calm myself down, making myself trip over is also resistance against depression, whenever I hit the floor I lie down totally flat, the pedestrians, the cars, they can all tread and roll all over my body. Plus during these times my consciousness will become extremely lucid, my wisdom and memory also seem to get stronger, everything I’ve paid attention to will come back to me vividly, I can even recite some things people have said, in 1997 Bai Baoshan said whilst in prison: once I get out I will kill people. If you give me 20 years, I will kill adults. If you give me a life sentence, I’ll get out on parole, but I won’t be able to kill adults anymore, I’ll go kill children in the kindergartens.
I constantly hear the sounds of gunshots, at first I was a little afraid, but after a long time, I’m used to it, that sound is similar to if someone was using a hammer to knock nails into my skull, as if there’s a construction site, someone wants to build a skyscraper, they’ve been working for so many years but it’s still not built, a lot of homeless people are crying and complaining in my head, they’re killing me with this noise, they won’t let me sleep, and won’t let me go out. Not sleeping is fine, not going out s fine, in any case before going out each day, I put on carefully picked-out clothes, I look in the mirror but no matter what it looks like I’m going to my own funeral, so ceremoniously negative. Every destination seems like a mourning hall that I’m rushing to so I can grieve for myself.
I’m also scared to go out and hear those caring and interrogative words, “you look so happy, how can you be depressed?”, “what do you have to depress over, I’m the depressed one”, “you’re always so hypocritical”, “he’s posturing again”…… These voices make me even more anxious than the voices in my head. In all social situations with two or more than two people, I’ll either talk non-stop, or I’ll stay silent the whole way through. All the fake relaxed demeanours I take on wear me out.
All these years, I’ve been treating my illness by myself. One person taking on both the role of the doctor and the patient, sometimes the doctor treats the patient, sometimes the patient treats the doctor too. Life has completely been turned into a hospital, every day I hang around in different wards, the people outside can’t come in, and I can’t go out.
Insomnia at night, every time I close my eyes I see images of me killing myself with all sorts of methods, I was so spooked that I locked all the sharp things in the house into a drawer, there was a big pair of scissors that I wasn’t able to fit inside, so I threw it and the key out of the window. I lied on the bed sweating in bursts, my body radiated warmth, but I still felt cold. I felt like I was bleeding, every joint was soft and supple like fresh wounds, my whole body was like a massive wound, I wanted to bandage myself up, I wanted to take a pill as big as a bed.
When it gets really bad, I’m constantly under the impression that someone in the building across the street is aiming at my head through a lens, I could be shot anytime, everything I see looks like a weapon, outside the window leaves hang from branches like knives, the forks on the table look like darts, Coke looks like grenades, I’m afraid to eat, and afraid to drink. I sit on the chair, the chair feels like it might fall apart, I lie on the sofa, the sofa feels like it might collapse. I want to leave, but every step on the stair is like a cliff, every step is as difficult as stepping into an abyss. I run onto the street, all the pedestrians have transformed into vases of all shapes and sizes. I want to buy a bouquet of flowers, stick one in each open head, but the world won’t become more beautiful just because of this. I should buy a hammer instead, kill someone, it’s as easy as smashing a vase to pieces. Just like how this mundane life can also kill people, at least it can kill me, invisible.
Broken pieces all over the floor casting criss-crossing spots of light into the darkness like fake teeth, hallucinating rebirth makes me feel dizzy.
I often think to myself that everyone will go through this kind of experience. For instance before falling asleep I’ll frequently feel that my tongue has been pumped full of hydrogen, slowly becoming light, soft, and swollen, like cotton stuffed into my chest expanding and contaminating my insides, finally turning me into a giant piece of cotton, floating into mid-air, sometimes my body and my bed float together, sometimes my body and my bed float apart, sometimes only my body floats, if you lower your head you can see neatly folded blankets as if they’d never been touched.
When I have insomnia I frequently feel that my whole body is charged full of strength, this strength controls me, makes me unable to do anything, reluctant to do anything. One method is to put my watch against my ear, try to make my heartbeat synchronise with the ticking of the second hand, occasionally it provides some relief, occasionally it only makes me sigh over my powerlessness against passage of time. Sometimes the night is so quiet that not even the sounds of crows and sparrows can be heard, sometimes so loud that it’s deafening, when it’s quiet you’ll think that you’re the only person still alive on Earth, when it’s noisy you’ll think that you’re the only person already dead on Earth. You sink into the darkness, and the lamps all around you turn bright, you step into the light, and the sky around you turns dim. How can I not be suspicious, this light isn’t a ray of colorful vision shone down from the sky. But indeed you’ve never believed in things like fairness, you’re willing to have weights tied to every part of your body, and throw yourself into the river and the sea. You’ve always seemed to be separated from this world by a layer, sometimes it’s a patch of mist, sometimes it’s a sheet of glass, sometimes it’s a block of wall, sometimes it’s a range of mountains, sometimes there seems to be one, or many, dimensions. To you solitude is like the reflection of moonlight in a pond, it looks like jade, you try to touch it, but all your fingers can do is tease out a series of ripples.
Only after asking a lot of people have I realised that they are not all the same. But if life isn’t like this, it’s like that, it’ll never be how you want it to be. Like when you want to smoke, yet don’t have cigarettes, then you have cigarettes, yet don’t have a lighter, then you have a lighter, yet can’t light a flame, then you light a flame, yet don’t want to smoke anymore.
Pain and tedium are typical incidents, satisfaction and fortune are mere accidents; rushing makes people tired, comfort makes people afraid. Accepting your fate may be the best and only way.
Once I sit down I can’t get back up, I sit on the bed, sit on the sofa, sit on the toilet, sit on the balcony, sit on the floor, I only sit, I don’t talk about whether I’m happy or not happy, sad or not sad, I debate with myself on the inside, the debate is about whether I should stand up, or lie down. In most cases I’ll end up lying down, from the outside the movement looks more like falling down, I felt old in that one moment, my face laid out flat, like the surface of a lake, soft breeze blowing by, wrinkles spreading out like ripples. This is so real, I can reach my hand out and touch the gullies, I feel the moisture in my body slowly dissipating, my bones start to turn soft, turn crisp and fragile, if you saw me now, you wouldn’t be able to describe me as “a being”, “a person”, or “an occupation”, you would only be able to describe me as “a pile”, “a shore”, or “a block”. I can feel myself disappearing into next to nothing, better than nothing. I’m afraid to tell you my feelings, I’m afraid you’ll view me as a hypocrite, see me as a spectacle. In truth there is no correct vocabulary that I can use to express myself, I’ve even started to create a new language, but I’ll often forget the words I’d just created, because they don’t follow any logic, every day I struggle between forgetting and creating anew. But struggle also needs energy, in the end I gave up struggling too. I’ve learned to resign myself to everything that comes, just like a toss of the dice, every toss gives the same number, afterwards you discover, in reality every face has the same number. The most familiar thing in this room is the part of the ceiling that’s directly above my head, it’s like my sky, a white sky, a sky that doesn’t distinguish between overcast weather or sunny weather, I’ve imagined that my upstairs neighbor is a god living in the sky, I wonder why this god also needs to set an alarm each morning. I don’t have any tools for recording time,
all I do is throw a pebble into the darkness once per day, I’ve never received any echo back, if life was a bottomless abyss, throwing myself down and falling indefinitely can be a way of flying.
One night I came home, lied on the bed, the moonlight bore through the iron railings and came in through the window, line by line the gridlike shadow projected itself onto the wall, the entire room looked just like a prison. I can never understand, how did I end up locking myself inside a prison? I suddenly felt like whenever I went outside it was akin to outdoor recreation. I’m often afraid to go out, but once I decide to go out, I will definitely wind my clockwork up, I never show my symptoms in front of my friends, even if those mysterious anxieties, uneases, panics, and exhaustions will still suddenly appear in quick succession every once in a while, I’ve prepared all sorts of protocols inside my head to counter them. But no matter how careful and prudent I am, there have still been situations where my clockwork will suddenly pop loose, when I saw my friends enjoying themselves on the dancefloor, I suddenly felt that I couldn’t do it anymore, I was always the disappointing let-down, I was afraid that my friends will see me like this, I was so vain, I wanted to act like I was more into it, but during those times, the more lively the atmosphere, the more alienated I feel, as if none of the lights can reach me, I was standing alone inside an upright coffin, the music I heard was different from what they hear, why was the music I was hearing so sad, every song sounded like a mourning tune. I told myself I must’ve drank too much alcohol or gone too long without sleep, I snuck away to the bathroom to cry, I cried for a while and then those waiting to use the bathroom started to knock on the door, I started to scream and screech I don’t know what I said. After the knocking sound disappeared, I slowly calmed down, I looked down at the toilet, felt like I was sitting on top of a well, at the bottom of a well someone was calling my name, at first it was one person, then it was a lot of people calling together, it could also just have been echoes, at that moment I really wanted to plant my head down there. The abyss is everywhere. Nobody can truly experience my pain, and because of this, nobody can give me true comfort.
Every morning when I wake up I think, why am I still alive. I carry this question with me throughout life, but not necessarily in order to receive an answer.
Every time I wait for the metro, I have the urge to jump in front of the tracks.
I raise my head to look
I lower my head to look
Sometimes the sun
Doesn’t look like the sun
It shines upon me
Sometimes the street
Doesn’t look like the street
It discourages me
Once I was staying over at my friend’s place, at night I couldn’t fall asleep no matter how hard I tried, first I lied on the bed, then I lied on the floor, finally I sat on the chair, staring at the tightly drawn curtains, it felt like someone was behind me trying to strangle me with a rope, then used their fingers to crush my throat, I couldn’t breathe, I was trembling all over, but I didn’t shed a drop of cold sweat, my epidermis was calm as if my consciousness was still awake but it had fallen asleep long ago. I stood up and opened the curtains, climbed onto the windowsill, I felt that I could jump whenever I felt ready, I’d always thought that I had never totally lost my basic sense of rationality, but that time I felt I was closest to death than ever before, farthest away from everything else, I couldn’t think anymore, all I could think of was death, death was the only thing I could take with a sweep of my fingers, death was the only thing that could make life seem like less of an all-or-nothing bet. That kind of feeling was so safe and so real, I wasn’t afraid at all, when you think that all the streetlights will light up, that all the roads have an end in sight, you won’t be scared at all, you only want to walk right onto them without any hesitation.
My friend suddenly opened the door, saw me with half of my body out of the window, was terrified, knelt by the door crying and begging me to come down, I cried also. Each time this happens I can’t stop crying once I start, I cry and talk to myself at the same time, drop all sorts of positive hints to myself; I try to look at myself from the perspective of another person, in other people’s eyes, I’m so normal; I tell myself not to turn my body into a weapon, not to charge straight ahead into life’s adventures.
But when it was all over I asked my friend, she said she never woke up that night, and never witnessed my attempt at suicide. She said it was all a hallucination, and kept repeating “I don’t know anything.”
For a long time after that, I was always solitary, silent, secretly mimicking other people’s lives. And it was from then on that I started to take medication, I told the doctor, sometimes I feel like I’m flying upwards, sometimes like I’m falling downwards, sometimes like I’ve stopped up above, sometimes like I’ve stopped down below, but I never stay for long. He gave me two prescriptions, one is a red capsule, one is a white pill, he told me, when I’m up above I should eat the red one, when I’m down below I should eat the white one. Taking the medication hasn’t actually made me feel any different, but it did indeed give me some sense of balance. But I also take the wrong medication sometimes, once I mistakenly thought I was down below, but actually I was up above, after eating the red one I spent the night feeling like I was lying on a flying bed watching a football match, then I kept spitting my saliva onto the faces of the football fans in the bleachers, using a lighter to burn the players’ uniforms, but I never watch any sports games. Turning the light on hurts my eyes, turning the light off makes everything too dark, turning the AC on makes it too dry, turning it off makes me cold, I want to go take a walk but I’m scared of the elevator, even if I don’t take the elevator I’m scared that the elevator doors will open to reveal people inside, I’m scared that they’ll see me, I’m even more scared of seeing others. There were a few hours where I had no idea what I was doing. I want to do everything, but I’m scared of everything.
Half a month later, the first thing I did every day at noon when I woke up was to look for my meds, that kind of situation is even scarier than it used to be, that kind of feeling is if I don’t take my meds today or I don’t keep my meds on my person at all times, I won’t be able to make myself to anything else, I could explode at any time. Plus the medication heightens and expands my sensitivity towards my own self-perception and my ability to absorb the world’s messages. In reality, I want to go back to reality, but reality is exceedingly absurd. When I found out I had become reliant on medication, I immediately stopped, so when you flaunt this kind of absurdity in front of me, I’m not jealous at all anymore. I have chosen to continue to believe and remain in my breakdown, yesterday I was breaking down, but this is the method of survival to which I am most accustomed.
Yesterday at the supermarket
I stole a tube of toothpaste
The day before I used gum to block
The neighbor’s keyhole
Last week at the district’s entrance
I kicked over
A whole row of bins
Every time I do bad things
It feels like life
Has gotten a little bit better
It’s been a long time since I’ve had this feeling, I sit in the middle of the sofa, the milky-white sofa set looks like a desert, am I a camel or a cactus? A camel without humps, or a cactus without spikes. I really don’t want to go out, the people outside, they’re all better people than me. I don’t want to go to any parties, when it gets lively I’m scared I’ll suddenly want to be quiet, when it’s quiet I’m scared I’ll suddenly yell out. Just half a glass of alcohol will make me exceedingly smooth, so smooth that I’m in constant danger of slipping and falling, rolling down the stairs just like when you do aerobic exercises. During these moments nothing can comfort me more than being beaten till I’m black and blue, every bruise and scar, are just like a pill, whenever pain attains a shape, I stop being afraid.
Why don’t I just keep sitting like this, facing the turned-off television, use the plastic buttons of the remote control to massage my shins and insteps. Why don’t I just lie down, I spend 15 to 20 hours per day on the bed, sometimes I think I’m lying on top of the mattress, sometimes I think I’m lying under the mattress, sometimes I think I’m lying inside the mattress, all around me are bedsprings arranged like a labyrinth, I can never find the exit again. Getting out of bed is as difficult as falling asleep.
I always think the door hasn’t been locked, always hear people ringing the doorbell, but my home doesn’t even have a doorbell. I always hear my phone vibrating, once I held it in my hand, my eyes could see it wasn’t vibrating at all, but I could feel it vibrating. I don’t want to pick up anyone’s calls, but in reality nobody had been calling me.
Nothing happened, nothing has ever happened, anticipation and panic coexist.
I hesitated for an hour about whether or not to go out, I’m afraid to go on the street, I think everyone is secretly looking at me, everyone knows who I am, everyone is debating me, I want to hear what they’re saying, I strain my eardrums so hard that they start to hurt but I still can’t hear it clearly.
Walking back and forth alone in the room, I’m unable to stop, by what is this body being controlled.
Whenever I realise that my body is being controlled it’s already too late. The scary thing has already happened, there’s no escape. I start to talk nonsense in my brain, I don’t want to pick up anyone’s calls, or manically call the same person over and over again, only to keep dialling the wrong number, last night I kicked a stray cat that had taken a liking to me, when I wake up and see pieces of fingernail on the floor it can make me fall apart. This isn’t me.
I force myself to lie down, force myself not to think of anything, not to do anything, to eat when I’m hungry, drink when I’m thirsty, sleep when I’m sleepy, but I’m not hungry, not thirsty, and not sleepy. I open my eyes and have a face-off with the ceiling, sometimes the fine lines on the ceiling will slowly start to move, this makes me much more comfortable, even though I get a seasick kind of feeling. My eyes will suddenly lose sight or quickly be hurt by the strong light. This strong light is ephemeral, I can see them flying towards me like meteors, faster and faster, closer and closer, they’re going to smash into my head soon, but in a fleeting moment they turn into ash.
Sometimes it’s as though there’s a massive army galloping across my body, they’re not going to battle, but using their horses to play all sorts of wonderful instruments. This music can calm me down for a while, but when I come back to myself I can’t find any similar melodies on the Internet, and then I start to repeat the same mistakes. That music must be coming from somewhere very low, but since you won’t let me go down to hell, where else can I go.
I raise my head
And the ceiling becomes very tall
I sit on the sofa
And the sofa becomes very thick
I walk onto the street fearfully
And the street becomes very wide
During these times
I can never be sure
If the world is becoming bigger
Or if I’m becoming smaller
In one evening I ruined two parties. First I went to a friend’s place to eat barbecue, I sat on a rocking chair on the terrace, I felt like I could fly away at any time, like there was a huge spring under my ass, it could spring up out of the rocking chair, even the rocking chair wants to help me kill myself. I tried hard to make myself happy, to think of some happy things that have happened, but isn’t what’s happening right now something happy?! They were all busy moving the table and setting down plates, busy rinsing vegetables and slicing meat, busy lighting the stove and burning the coal, I tried hard to think of something to do, say something to them, even if it’s just a few words, but even such simple words like “yes, no, want, or don’t want” I was unable to say. I told myself I had to leave, I walked to the elevator but felt like I was going to faint, the elevator doors with their opening and closing motions looked like a vertical guillotine, I couldn’t make myself walk inside, don’t I want to die though, now that I’m that close to it why am I this afraid. I’ve always known that I don’t really want to die, but I don’t know what I really want to do. Finally I had to take the stairs, from the 27th floor to the 1st floor, a total of 382 steps.
Upon arriving at my other friend’s house I immediately fell onto the sofa, some of them sat on chairs, some of them sat on the floor, and one sat on the weight scales, they were talking about work and love, I could see everything clearly, and I could hear everything clearly, what is there to suffer over?! They poured hot water for me, covered me with a blanket, they said it’s okay, did you watch too many negative movies, listen to too many sad songs, in a few days you’ll be better. Only I knew that I might never get better. Depression will always follow me, like a dog. But I never chained it under lock and key, I really wish this dog would find a different master, or become a stray.
Or that it dies soon.
Every time I cross a bridge
I’m afraid that I might
Jump into the river
I rub the stone lion on the end of the bridge
The side that faces the sunlight
Is a little warm
I know in the end it’ll be cold again
I know that I can cross this bridge
But I might not be able to cross the next
I’m scared to go out
Walking on the street
I feel like everyone’s bags
Are either full of money
Or contain a knife
Some people want to use the money to buy a knife
Some people want to use the knife to rob money
Buy a knife and use it to rob more money
Rob money and use it to buy a bigger knife
I sat on the pavement
Was so scared that I started to cry
For a while, when my hallucinations were really strong I would see a lot of strangers and hear a lot of strange noises in my home. Once I came home and turned on the lights to see that the room was full of men wearing black overalls brushing their teeth, I lowered my head and didn’t dare to look again, instead sitting by the door for two hours, even after I had come back to my senses I still felt that the image I’d just seen was extremely real. Another time for a few nights in a row I thought there were two horses sleeping next door, I could hear their breathing, and those “tu-tu” sounds horses make with their noses, every day when I came home I would try to be as quiet as possible to avoid waking them up, one day my friend stayed over, I told him, my neighbors are two horses, they’re always sleeping, you shouldn’t take a shower tonight, the sound of the shower is too loud, we should talk and walk quietly too, otherwise we’ll wake them up, I haven’t showered for three days. My friend said I was crazy. I said, they’re not regular horses, they can speak, and they lie down to sleep. At first he thought I was joking, but my expression turned more and more serious, he said you’re really crazy. I didn’t know how to explain it to him, and he never stayed over again.
Lately I often feel that everything I see has been magnified a few dozen times, light and dust have specific shapes, even the eye of a needle looks large enough to be able to fit a few of my fingers, the bottle of sparkling water on the table looks like an erupting volcano with its rising bubbles, the cars driving past the window are only visible by their tyres but they look like the surface of a planet, they use my pain as axles, and spin around at high speed. I feel like the container for my pain is getting farther away from me, but it’s always being driven, it has never stopped or rested.
Depression is like riding a car, I have constant motion sickness, I constantly need to vomit, I’m constantly worrying that “finally one day” I will have a car accident.
Today on the bus
I met two Christians
Kept talking about how kind God is
Kept trying to convert me
I told them
If God really was kind
I would not have been born
Nor would I still be alive today
Every day going out feels like a battlefield, every time I do something I prepare myself for the worst, though sometimes I will think positively, but the best-case scenario I come up with is still chosen from all the worst-case scenarios. Everyone I meet is like meeting an enemy or a lover, basically I can’t get myself to relax. No matter how familiar the friend is, if we meet again after a certain period of time, I will still feel awkward, I don’t know what to say, what to start with, but I also don’t think I should say nothing, “awkward” is like my name, look at how awkward his smile is, look at how awkward his crying is, look, look, it’s all his fault, he made this situation so awkward. I feel like it’s all my fault, I’m scared that others will call my name, I’m scared of calling others’ names, every name is so heavy that I can’t pick it up. I can never focus properly, when others talk to me it’s best if they speak for less than two minutes, otherwise I’ll start being distracted, start being nervous, start being afraid, start to be scared that I won’t be able to remember this much information or won’t be able to find their main point and use it to continue the conversation, I always hope or try to make a conversation end or die out as quickly as possible. I can never look into someone’s eyes when I speak to them, I’m always looking at my feet, my shoes, my shoelaces, the floorboards, the patterns on the floorboards, the pavement, the gum and cracks on the pavement, I always have my head lowered, I never want to look up again, the ground is like my sky, I feel like a kite, fluttering about.
Sometimes I will wonder why, out of so many people, I was the one who had to get depression.
I’m won’t accept it. I can get better, I have gotten better before.
I try to understand myself, try to make myself think of things based on the most basic principles, for instance walking is just putting feet on the pavement, talking is just using your mouth to say words, I’m attempting to make everything basic again, fundamental again. I remind myself that facing and coping with everyday life is something I must do. But sometimes this is too difficult for me, if walking isn’t walking, walking is 1, talking is 2, eating is 3, sleeping is 4, will that make it better, eliminate all the details. There are only numbers in life, live life like musical notation. But walking is still walking, if you want to walk you have to learn how to walk, you have to build a road, wear shoes, wear socks, wear pants, wear clothes, sometimes you have to wear a hat, sometimes you have to go against the wind, brave the rain, sometimes you have to say “excuse me, excuse me”. I think of these things until nightfall, I can’t sleep, if I fall asleep I won’t wake up, I curl up under the sheets, I never want to leave again. I worry about what I’ll gain and lose, I’m anxious, I’m manic, I think I’m hideous, I’m still quite young, but in a few years I’ll be old, I’m afraid of getting a contagious disease, I’m also afraid of getting a non-contagious disease, I feel like my little finger might become swollen, so I start to rub medicine onto it, I feel like there are pieces of meat stuck between my teeth, I start to compulsively lick it, taunt it, brush my teeth, wash my mouth, up until toothpicks have turned my gums into a mash of blood and flesh, I feel like I can’t touch my back, this time it’s really not just my imagination, I keep trying, I really can’t touch it, it’s like a dry desert, I’m actually dragging around a wasteland with me every day. One day I lost control in the middle of the street and started to jump around manically, I saw all the cars and crowds get smaller and smaller, and then dissipate into every direction, all the sounds became louder, and the sky began to lower, like an upside-down ocean, the airplanes fly in the water, the birds fly in the water, and closer to me, the flies and mosquitoes fly in the water, their flying positions remind me of seahorses, their heads are raised, their hands placed on their kneecaps, their shins bent to the back, the their feet lying straight, like “飞”, the character for fly. When I raise my head I can see the bottoms of their feet, even with just the bottoms of their feet I can recognise them. In the end I calmed down and sat on the side of the pavement waiting for the imminent tsunami, or a bucket of cold water to be poured onto my forehead. I feel like my body is becoming numb, I tell myself, this is the moment of darkness, no other moments will be as dark as this one again, once this is over, there will only be light after. You don’t have to suffer this much ever again. This did indeed work a bit, even though I know deep inside that I’m only comforting myself temporarily.
Life truly is a precious gift, but I often feel that it was given to the wrong person.
I want to quarrel with everyone, first with myself, with my friends, then with the waitstaff at the restaurant, with the couriers, with the taxi driver, I never want to sit in the passenger seat, I’m afraid strangers might try to talk to me, I don’t want to talk about anything, don’t ask me anything, I don’t know anything, don’t tell me anything, I don’t want to know anything. Why did they make the streets grey, why did they build overpasses, why are they so happy to walk on them, aren’t they meant to jump off, just like when you queue up to go through security, one after the other after the other, or like ripe fruits in the autumn, one by one, one by one falling onto the ground. The next morning cleaners will come to sweep away the bodies, in the same way that they sweep fallen leaves, or sweep snow. I can’t sweep anything, I can only sweep away people’s expectations and disappoint them. During these times I feel like I can’t even pick up a needle, I don’t have any strength, this hand doesn’t belong to me, I can’t walk anymore, these feet don’t belong to me either, when I see me-but-not-me maybe it’s the “me from a parallel universe” who has already taken off, keep walking, keep connecting moments from a few minutes or a few dozen minutes ago smoothly and seamlessly into the future life, during those times I will lose all sense of time, but retain an acute sense of space. This skin doesn’t belong to me, I shed my skin like a snake, lizard, or any other amphibian, my shiny scraps of skin are bright like an afternoon seaside blown softly by breeze, those ripples are what make the surroundings seem calm, like how the folds on clothing make me feel safe. These organs don’t belong to me, it’s like I’m full of sponges and air, especially my mouth, I want to bite my tongue, but I can’t find my teeth, all of this is too soft, it’s no wonder I’ve sunk into it. I only want to lie down, lie down flat, let myself stretch out, maybe I can extend infinitely, my body is like a rope, always being pulled longer, I want to go rescue people who have fallen into traps, people who have fallen into the abyss, all those who have fallen to the bottom of depths, but I can’t rescue myself, my life is a bottomless hole, all I can do is keep falling. I should stop going out, I’m fine when I’m at home, although sometimes I’ll suddenly yell out, suddenly jump up, like a cat whose tail has been cut off, every day I wag my half-tail and beg for pity from the world, how is this not unbearable. More often I’ll suddenly start to cry, I’ll call my friends whilst crying, say I feel terrible, I don’t want to be like this. I don’t want to see anyone, hearing familiar sounds from afar will make me feel better. When it’s over I regret picking up the phone, but at the time I really didn’t know what to do, after I hang up I’m scared that the phone will ring again, I’m scared of being asked “Why are you like this? Isn’t life good right now?!”
I’m always randomly feeling angry, randomly feeling lost, and I also randomly feel happy at times, those times are even scarier, that type of happiness constantly floats in mid-air, it won’t come down no matter what. I laugh so hard that my entire body is going to cramp up soon, I have to smile at this, smile at that, smile at the whole world, I think I’m so laughable. I prefer to let myself suffer in peace. I feel like nothing has any meaning. Suffering has even less meaning, but at least it can let me sit down or lie down peacefully. But in times of peace I start to question myself, I always feel like there’s something important I haven’t finished doing, but no matter how hard I try I can’t remember what it is, I always feel like I’m turning blind or deaf, or becoming crippled or paralysed, every day I look up a lot of articles online to prove to myself that I’m not going to suddenly become handicapped, I’ve also thought about suicide, but the more I want to die, the more I come up with ways to stay alive. Sometimes I don’t want to interact with anyone, everything seems redundant, I seem redundant. For a period of time I was afraid to go home, afraid to look in the mirror, one evening I totally fell apart and started to cry and wail on a friend’s bed, I wiped my tears, snot, and spit on the sleeve of a girl I’d only met twice, she sat on the edge of the bed holding my head and kept telling me she gets it, she understands, she’s also had this feeling before. But I know nobody can truly experience it, even I can’t know how it feels in a coherent and linear manner, I’ll never know when it comes, it has too many tricks, too many gimmicks, a lot of times I don’t even have the time to make sure whether it really is it, I’ve already been swallowed whole by it. I only remember she wore a white dress with purple flowers, and then I fell asleep, when I woke up she was already gone, I don’t know where she went, I don’t even remember her name and appearance, I opened my eyes to discover that on the sill stood a pot of plants that looked identical to the ones on her dress blooming in the light, at that moment I really wished I was a flower, even a flower embroidered onto a dress would be fine. Someone outside the door explained to my other friends that I have depression, but I don’t go crazy, I just cry a bit and then I’m better.
I used to think you could get better from depression, even now I think this way, but I know that if it goes away, no matter how far, it will always come back.
I think there are two types of depression, one is benign, like mine, every once in a while it surges a little, but I would never hurt myself or anyone else, which is to say that even when it gets to the worst, I’ll still have a sliver of rationality. The day before yesterday I had an episode on the street, I lay down in the parking lot and refused to get up, I stared straight at the sun, cried, trembled, I felt like I should’ve been a smooth polished ice cube, but I’m melting so quickly, until I become unrecognisable, I felt like all the cars were running over my feet with their tires, even now I feel like a cripple, but I can still tell the difference between real and unreal, I can walk, can run, can squeeze past the crowds and get onto the metro, even though these days it seems like my brain or heart has become crippled, but my body still stands steady, I’m wearing shoes that fit, I’m going where I want to go. The other type is malign, the malign ones will hurt themselves or hurt others by hurting themselves as a way to attract attention, or hurt themselves by hurting others, so malign ones have to go to the right hospital to get treated, they have to take the right medication, they mustn’t see see the wrong doctor, take the wrong medication. But right now and in the future that I see nobody truly cares about depression, they see depression as a mental illness, depression is an illness of the mind, but it is not a mental illness, I think those that want to get better need to start off by truly understanding what it is, that way they won’t fear it. There are also people who see the word “depression” as a hobby, they often say I have depression, they often go online and tell people I want to kill myself, and then sit back and eat chips and drink Coke, and read people’s comments, think they’re really cool, they understand depression even less, they think “depression” is beautiful, “depression” can even help them find love sometimes, they think that without a bout of “depression” they don’t feel comfortable going to the bars at night, without “depression” they don’t feel comfortable hitting on strangers, but real depression will never make you more beautiful, and won’t help you find love, it will only scare your love away, it will only blow out all the lights that you can see. Don’t be scared of depression, and don’t think of it as an earring, telling everyone that you have a hole on your earlobe, that you have a hole in your heart, everyone has a whole in their heart, but not all the holes are caused by depression.
When you’re in a bad mood everyone irritates you, but you never tell them to their face, when you’re in a good mood you irritate everyone, they also never tell you to your face, there’s an unspoken understanding between you. They always think you’ll be truly insane tomorrow, you always think they’re a little abnormal today. In any case it’s the same trick of appearances, two can play that game. What makes them better than you is that they have another trick behind your back. They talk up above, they discuss you, discuss your past, discuss your friends, they point at this and that, their hair hangs so low that it almost touches your face, but there’s just that little gap, that kind of provocation, you’re not scared at all though, you imagine that their hairs are willow branches, that your spring is almost here, maybe this is how your spring arrives. So don’t be depressed, they’re watching you, they want to see you fall, but you must show them how beautiful life is, those unspeakable kinds of pains have an unspeakable kind of beauty.
I always think the tap hasn’t been fully turned off, I have to look for my keys, phone, and wallet about a dozen times a day, sometimes I’ll be walking eating with someone and I’ll suddenly say I have to go home for a bit, I forgot my wallet, my tap isn’t fully turned off, even from here I can here the drip-drop of the water, if I don’t go home, my place will be flooded, the downstairs neighbors will be pissed, everyone’s kitchen has a whole rack of knives, I can’t offend anyone, I don’t want to die yet, or at least not so fast, not so young, not so weirdly, I want to live, to keep living, I want to stand, I don’t want to lie down, I’m scared of sleeping, in any case I can’t fall asleep, I just stay awake, I want to look. I want to look at myself in the mirror, the longer I look the more I look like a different person, a person I’ve never seen before, it’s like those times, have you ever looked at a character for so long that you don’t recognise it anymore, and then I many faces squeezed into the mirror, until they cover my own face, until they squeeze the mirror so hard that it breaks, until they squeeze themselves out of the shards. Who am I? These shards can never piece me together again.
Letter to Mianmian
It’s back, I don’t know what it is, I hope it’s depression, I’m scared that it’s some other unknown thing. I’m taking my medication every day, but I still can’t sleep at night. I take shits standing, the toilet is hung from the ceiling, side by side with the chandelier they look so beautiful, all beautiful things make me think of you, you sit elegantly on the sill of a window through which I can see the mountains, you wash your hands with a golden earring, then you’d always reach to me with those shiny glittery hands, why am I so full of darkness. Today was good, but I haven’t been sleeping, there’s snow outside, and sunlight also, nobody has gotten injured on the street, I went outside for a walk, the bridge didn’t collapse either, at the end of the bridge there was even a stranger who smiled at me, everything is really good, I even look pretty good, but why do I still want to jump off the bridge.
I always think someone’s trying to sabotage me,
And some people need to travel a long way to find me,
Just to be able to stab me.
They’re fulfilled because their goal in life is clear,
They live just so they can stab people,
Or use a knife to fight people.
I’m empty because I am a knife,
But they just hang me by their hip.
The medicine created by the night makes you ecstatic, addicted, that crowded darkness outside the window seems to be your future. The thick curtains give you beautiful dreams and made you unable to survive in reality. Every day you tell them I’m dying, I’m about to die soon, it’s like someone is squeezing my throat, someone has hijacked my breath. It’s like trying to assassinate me even though I’ve just died and my body is still warm, it’s that hard, it’s like a mother trying to kill her long-dead daughter with her own hands. She sat by the bed and cried into the sheets until her eyes were swollen, she thought her daughter was sleeping peacefully.
These years you’ve been looking for a missing table, living in a collapsed cup, gradually evolving into the furious bottom of the cup. This world is so close to you, but you can’t touch it, nor can you see it clearly. It’s like a ray of light wanting to make love with the shadow, it’s that hard, I live like a shadow. I can only haunt the night.
I only have a scarlet heart that feels like it’s been stuffed full of something, I want to break through it, I want to rip it apart, like loud noises echoing across a valley, the sky is wrapped up to make a drum, someone is beating on it, getting faster and faster, harder and harder, like a crazed pendulum.
Before concrete dreams are formed, I always have this nonsensical premonition just like the sparks that fly when a screw is quickly spinning on the surface of my skin. After experiencing a car accident and an earthquake in my dream, I seem to understand the word “love” more, you’re closer to me when a disaster is imminent, and the one chosen to be protected wasn’t decided beforehand, this is not due to a kind of recklessness or some attempt to be brave, but a very direct kind of inertia like an act of “self-defense”, as if this has happened before in some other dimension, I’d long known how to deal with it.
I’m trying hard to become a person who makes myself feel warm but I’ve actually become more violent, this makes me a bit sad and disappointed in myself. Every night I lie down before 12, at 2 I’m still not asleep, like a midnight revenge battle, sometimes I feel like I’m sleeping on the ceiling, sometimes like I’m sleeping between the mattresses, and sometimes like I’m floating.
I have to do some self-reflection, no drinking outside, and no matter how good a song is I shouldn’t use my body to listen, when I’m extremely “clear-headed” I want to kiss a familiar boy, or if I want to spend the night at the home of a boy I don’t know it’s not because I want a hug or something else, but to check out his interior design. But I’m too obsessed with sleeping at other people’s homes, during those nights I’m like a ghost, a ghost who’s afraid to walk, a ghost who’s afraid to fall. At night I’m scared of death, once I’m scared of death I’m a human again.
I always want to make myself look really dirty before going out, but whenever I’m distracted or ecstatic in the middle of a crowd, I realise that I still have a little patch of purity in my heart. I feel really unhappy, we discuss boys, love, the city ever day, but I can’t change them.
Sitting on a toilet calling myself on the phone for an hour.
I never take a walk before midnight,
I never go to restaurants alone,
The waitstaff are all dressed in black,
As though ready to attend a funeral at any time.
The road is always longer than the shadow.
How do I stop wanting to jump in front of the tracks every day?
向往死亡 — — 就是活下去的动力。
Looking forward to death — — that’s the motivation to keep living.
I woke up at noon, listened to the rising and falling sounds of birds outside the window, if I had a shotgun in my hand, I would kill them immediately, because their birdsong is just too wonderful, this world can’t bear the existence of such a wonderful sound.
They always want something from you, sometimes you let them take it, sometimes you give it reluctantly, and other times, they take it from you, the worst part is that sometimes you want to give it but nobody wants yours.
Every life starts out clean, I’m very glad that my life was soiled by my own hands. A lot of people’s lives are soiled by other people’s hands.
I can only notice those sick, stammering, materialistic, two-dimensional thinking, raised-by-a-single-parent boys. One type of boy is the type I would call a few hours after the high tide, when I hear his voice I know that although I’m still submerged in water, I haven’t drowned yet.
How I wish I could go back to my middle school years, let the bleeding incident play out all over again, standing on the upper floor watching the man stab a bayonet right through your chest, immediately dead, after many years the reason for my mysterious excitement about insomnia was finally confirmed I am a bloodthirsty boy who is controlled by fate, my world is full of murder!!!
A lot of pictures spinning endlessly,
The whole room is spinning,
The bed is spinning in the opposite direction,
There seems to be a mirror on the top of my head,
But the objects it reflects
Stand still, and my face
Is spinning. You’re seasick.
So all the objects are spinning!
My letter to Mianmian, and her reply
My dear, yesterday I had an episode on the metro, I was sure that everyone’s face was black, they were speaking on the top of my head, they spoke about me, but I couldn’t understand a word, I think the person sitting across from me was the metro conductor, he sat across from me, my head felt like it could explode at anytime, my brains splashing all over his face and body, all over the glass, this is an automated train. I don’t even remember when this last happened, these moments are so scary. All your words about love, sometimes they can save me, but sometimes they can’t.
My dear… Even if you can’t take it you still have to take it think of a way out or delay our pain…… You can see a doctor, but the best way is to pray, you can say heart sutras, or the easiest is to say “Amitofo”… You have to hold on… I also have moments where I can’t take it and feel oblivion, but if you look at the big picture, no matter what I don’t scare myself to death, don’t kill myself, or die deliriously, or die of rage, so we have to survive with a positive outlook, at least we can help other unfortunate beings like us. My heart problems have gotten worse recently, we all have different levels of sickness, this whole world is sick. It’s okay, we still have to go on.
Letter to Chow Yiu Fai
Everyone is a homosexual, everyone is a hegemon, every face is blurred by pixels, every heart wears a Kevlar vest. All kisses are poison, all hugs are prisons.
I am a bird, a bird without a head, a bird without wings, a bird without feet, a bird without an ass, a bird without a tail. You can treat me like a football and kick me around.
— end —