Quarantine? Lockdown? Stay at Home order? Whatever you call it, it can be frightening. I used to be more afraid of being alone than I am today. I’m not saying I don’t recognize it and understand why I would be afraid of it. I mean, feeling alone almost cost me my life.
Long before I “came out”, I always felt that I was alone with my thoughts. These thoughts always were directly related to my feeling that I was different but was unaware of why I felt this way. I had no words to express it. The thought of being alone with my thoughts always scared me most because I knew it would either lead to binge drinking or anger. I have spent more hours in my life trying to avoid being left alone with my thoughts as I have enjoying being less afraid of these moments. What is different now then before?
When I began the process of “coming out” I felt a huge weight being lifted off of my shoulders. After awhile, I could see that this weight was made up of a lot of emotions related to my frustration with my identity unknowns. The sames things that made me afraid of my thoughts. The emotional release was freeing and liberating. It was also making me feel more secure with my thoughts, mainly, because they started to make more sense. But, I will tell you, the weight almost caused me to end my life. For me, the not-knowing and all of the emotions connected to this was such a burden and after living a life that was being negatively affected by this battle, a 24/7/365.24 slugfest, that I had made the decision that not waking up tomorrow was a better option that another day in battle. I had succumbed to the hopelessness. I was about to become a part of a very daunting statistic of transgender suicides.
Obviously, since I am here today writing this I didn’t not follow through with this plan of committing suicide. What changed? When I was in high school I would get into verbal skirmishes with my mom. The topic was irrelevant but the spat always ended up with her saying “You think you have an answer for everything?” and my reply “That’s because there is an answer for everything. You just need to find it.” First, I highly discourage saying this to a parent, especially while in your teen years. Secondly, my response may have been the thing that pulled me back from the edge. I may have mumbled this to myself at the eleventh hours. To be honest, I am not sure. Lastly, whatever it was, I am forever grateful.
I have discussed my brush with suicide with only a few people over the years. At first I was embarrassed but then grew to share as a way to show that even I was not immune to the power of hopelessness. I share it today to a wider audience to make sure folks know that even on the grimmest day, there is something better awaiting you on a day in the future. To quote college basketball coach, Jim Valvano, “Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.”
If you need to talk, reach out to a friend. It is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign of hope. You can also contact one of these groups:
Trans Lifeline 877-565-8860
Trevor Project 866-488-7386
On September 26, 2020, I will be sponsoring a walking team at the Out of the Darkness Walk in Goshen, Indiana. This is a walk sponsored by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. My team will be walking to save transgender lives. You can walk and/or support by donation at https://afsp.donordrive.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.participant&participantID=2293886#donate
Thank you in advance.
Peace Out and Be Well
She, Her Pronouns