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The Fine Line between Life and Death l Xiaojie’s poem

You are in China. You have depression. You feel all alone. You want to check out. I don’t know who you are. But I know what you are going through, because I have been there. You may think nobody cares, but I do.


On this year’s World Suicide Prevention day (9/10), I wrote this poem for those…

whose light is dimmed by depression,

for those who feel so much pain and despair, and are ready to go,

for those whose life hangs by a string and nobody knows.

I hope this poem can bring you the strength to hang in there.



It’s disappointing, when you look in the mirror every morning,

It’s terrifying when you stand on the tip of a cliff with no space to back away,

It’s hopeless: lost in the ocean without sight of the shore,

It’s painful: when the music plays and the heart aches,

It’s suffocating, when you try to breath but it feels like you are in a vacuum.

The rest is nothing, pulseless, numb

One day, you hear a voice in your head that tells you to end it all

It’s scary at first,

But soon, the never-ending pain makes the voice sound gentle.

You look inside

Your soul has already rotted

You can be surrounded by people who love you

But still feel totally alone.

There’s only pain left, the undesirable pointless pain

One day, you decide it’s time to follow the voice

Then comes the plan

You can’t think anymore.

You know it’s gonna hurt people around you.

You have said sorry to them in your head thousands of times,

For the pain you are going to cause them.

You wrestle with following the plan,

You call the suicide prevention hotline when the world is asleep.

You are talking to a person on the other end about your life.

There’s not much to talk about,

You just don’t get why you feel this way.

That person makes you promise not to kill yourself

You say the words you know they want to hear

Only to find the voice in your head is louder

One day, you write a letter,

To people that you know will want an answer

You pick up the pen

There seems to be so much that you want to say

But words don’t come

You write while tears pour down your cheeks:

“Sorry, I can’t do it any longer. I have depression. I am too sick to get well. I am


Strangely, some days you start to feel a bit better

Knowing that you are going to rest in peace

Other days, you feel nervous

Not knowing what’s after death

But you decide to take a gamble

You are already burning in a living hell

The rest of the days, you see the world in slow motion

You frame the smile of your friends in your head

You take a snap shot with your eyes,

The corner of the road you turn every day as you pass by

You dance with your friends for the last time

After your favorite song

You hug them as usual,

But tighter

You are saying goodbye

But no one knows that you are saying goodbye…

You are scared when the day comes

You’ve never been that scared

Your body is shaking because it still wants to live

But your mind is determined to destroy the demon that torments you

Taking your life is the only way to do that

You affirm to the voice

And you close your eyes

“I never imagined it would end this way

Goodbye, life”

Your body isn’t ready to go,

It fights back

You wake up feeling disoriented and useless

For a second time, you have to make a big life decision,

“To live”

I never knew I could come out of this

Now every day is a given

I allow myself to be frustrated, sad, angry or broken at times

I am glad depression didn’t take me

I am grateful to be able to smell, see, hear and feel

Life is a miracle

My life is a miracle


Please know that depression is a medical illness. I got through it, and so will you! You can’t promise that life won’t try to take you down, but you can promise your life to try battle it.

Talk Helps

Please call the lifeline because things do change even when you feel like they aren’t going to.

400 821 1215 - lifeline Shanghai

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