TRIGGER WARNING: This story contains material about suicidal thoughts and a suicide attempt that some may find distressing.

Growing up, I helped my mother collect cardboard boxes to sell after school every night. We did this to put food on the table.

Things at home were rough, and there were times when my dad was physically harsh.

It made me feel inferior and also affected my relationship with other people.

A young Benson and his sister. Their mum, who was the glue in the family, passed away last year.

In my school basketball team, for instance, there was this junior who was more gifted than I was.

When a friend posted about their success on social media, I commented: “You don’t deserve it.”

During one game, he kept dominating me. I remember my coach saying: “Benson, you’re useless. You can’t even beat your own junior. How do you expect me to put you in the team?”

I was very affected by it.

In the next game, I kept roughing up the junior. He was quite frightened. When the rest of the team realised what was going on, they began to ostracise me.

Another time, when a friend posted about their success on social media, I commented: “You don’t deserve it.”

Competitive to the point of toxicity

It sounds ridiculous, but I really didn’t realise how I was like.

Showing myself as the best person around was my number one priority in life, and I became very competitive to the point of being toxic.

It sounds ridiculous, but I really didn’t realise how I was like.

Perhaps that’s why I never had friends even though I thought I was giving my all.

I spent much time cooped up in my room talking to myself and playing the guitar. Once I did this for 12 hours, thinking it would help me feel better about myself.

Another time, I went to the neighbourhood basketball court and played 17 hours non-stop – I had 80 missed calls from my mother.

 I was miserable.

Benson (second from left), now 25, with good friends and his mentor, Andrew (centre) – a far cry from his younger days when he didn’t realise he was toxic.

I found myself asking questions like: “God, do you have a plan for my life? I just want to be able to relate to people as how others relate to one another. Why can’t you let me do that?”

I was trying to look good in front of people, so on the outside people thought I was fine.

Because of my family background, I always felt like I had to work hard to achieve more to prove myself.

I was trying to look good in front of people, so on the outside people thought I was fine. But inside, I was suffering. 

Every time I failed to live up that image of being the best, I would have suicidal thoughts. 

On the ledge

That was how I found myself sitting on the ledge of a high floor the day I received my A-Level results.

I did not have enough points to enter a local or private university. But I had passed enough subjects to be ineligible to repeat the year. 

Desperate, I told God: “Where in the world do You want me to go?”

Knowing that I was fully loved freed me from thinking that I needed to perform well to be loved.

I felt that my life was done, and I might as well end my life.

Then I heard a voice say: “Son, I love you.”

Hearing God telling me that He loves me, I felt truly loved for the first time.

I don’t know how long I sat on the ledge, bawling my eyes out and letting out all my grievances.

But knowing that I was fully loved freed me from thinking that I needed to perform well to be loved.

That changed my life forever.

Opening doors to friendship

After that incident, I started to share my struggles with my youth leaders.

In the past, I would never have thought of being so vulnerable and asking for support because I wanted to protect my image.

But now I realised I was treasured by God. So I had nothing to lose by being vulnerable.

In the past, I did not see them constantly reaching out to me. 

My leaders understood my primary need: to be cared for. They listened to me and brought me out for a meal a few times.

It was only then that I realised they cared for me. In the past, I did not see how they were constantly reaching out to me. 

One leader, Andrew, also became my mentor. He would contribute much to helping me move from self-pity and self-condemnation to trusting in God. 

Benson (far left) with his youth cell group. He had been attending church since he was five, but never felt he knew God — until 12 years later.

As I opened up and humbled myself, I began making friends.

Instead of viewing them as competition, I shared my knowledge with them.

I became truly part of the community. I no longer felt like I was the outcast.

God also brought into my life people who helped provide loans and gifts to fund my education.

I took up a programme in Diploma in Management Studies, and I felt Him telling me: Just do your best. 

Benson (third from left) with mates from Singapore Institute of Management’s Christian Fellowship.

I went in without much expectations, but found myself enjoying the modules.

Eventually, my grades were more than enough for me to apply to a university where I graduated with a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Business Management. 

I am also now attached. I never thought this would be possible.

From the school fees, to the grades, to the people I met, it was all God’s grace. All these helped solidify my belief that God will provide. 

Wonderfully made

These days, it doesn’t matter what others think of me. People can say that I’m a loser or I’m not good enough, but I know I am loved enough by God.

On days when I don’t feel this, I remind myself of what God said to me personally when I wanted to end my life.

What Benson thought impossible has become possible. He now has a girlfriend (pictured) and his relationship with his father is improving. Benson works in staffing and recruiting.

And as I read the Bible, I realise how much God tells us that He loves us.

He says the same thing in many different ways – that we are wonderfully and fearfully made (Psalm 139:14), and that He loved us so much that He sent His Son to die for us (John 3:16).

God also brought me to the story of Joseph a few months after the day I almost killed myself.

Joseph was ostracised and abandoned by his brothers because he wasn’t tactful with his words – just like how I had ticked people off. Yet God used Joseph to accomplish great things in the later part of his life.

That gives me hope and makes me look forward to what God has in store for me.

If God could use a person like Joseph, he can use a person like me. And if God can do it for me, He can do it for you too.

If you’re going through some trials today, know that God is truly a good, good Father in all seasons of your life.

Even if your situation seems hopeless, He can turn your life around.

Story as told to Wong Siqi.

This article was first published on Stories of Hope and is republished with permission.

  1. What areas of your life do you feel you have to prove your worth?
  2. Are there any toxic behaviours you’re engaging in that are hurting yourself or your relationships with others?
  3. What has God revealed to you about yourself, Himself and your identity in Him?