Today, I went to therapy, as I do most Tuesday mornings. We talked about all the stuff that’s going on in my life right now. Ignorant church people spreading lies, hate and ignorance. My marriage and what might lie ahead for it. New friends and how they impact my outlook on life. Old friends that I miss very much. and… well, then there was Suicide.
It’s of course, something no one wants to talk about. It feels shameful to admit that I have from time to time, had thoughts of being dead. Thoughts of killing myself. Mostly out of being different and not knowing how to deal with that.
My first real memory of thinking that I wanted to kill myself came around 1994. I remember this, mainly because I remember associating places, people and events around the music that I was listening to at the time. I remember that I was in Florida with my parents on our annual vacation. It would have been probably the second week of June, because we always seemed to be there on Father’s day. Much to the chagrin of my dad. I know that it was the year, because on repeat was August and Everything After by Counting Crows.
The first track on the album is entitled Round Here. Adam Duritz sings of a girl on a car in the parking lot, and says
Then she looks up at the building
and says she’s thinking of jumping
She says she’s tired of life
she must be tired of something.
The song certainly didn’t make me depressed, it didn’t make me think about killing myself. It was something I was already thinking. However, the jumping idea seemed ideal. We were staying in a building that was 10 stories high from the top of the parking deck to the top floor of the condos. I would sit on the parking deck, along the shuffle board surface, next to the tennis court and stare up at the top floor of the building.
Once I even went up to the top, and peered over the edge. It was never any more than that. I don’t know if I was really all that scared of being dead. It was before the modern world wide web, so I wasn’t concerned with who would read my search history. I guess my mom would find some panties in my room. Who knows. I just didn’t want to kill myself. I wanted to be dead, but only as means to end. To stop the pain in my head. For what it’s worth, I was too strong or too chicken to actually do it.
At the time, I had no idea what being transgender was, what it meant. I had no idea what I was a transsexual. I was just a teenager going through puberty and knowing that it was not exactly what all the other guys were excited about. I just knew that I was different. I didn’t really appreciate it.
The thoughts of suicide followed me for years. It was much like the inkling that I was not supposed to be a boy. I could never talk about it though. Like suicide, the statement “I am a girl” just seemed to overwhelming to bring up. Only to be told I was crazy or to be sent away.
I had internet access in 1995, using Netscape, I would search for sex changes and things of that nature. At the time, the information was extremely unsupportive. It did not lead to the assumption that one could do this and come out better than they were before. It was a transition from having a fairly normal life where you were just slightly disconnected from everything and moving into the hyper real situation of being a trans woman. A life of lurid marginality, to steal a line from JFB.
As I got older, some how I repressed the idea of being a woman. I would still from time to time search for more information on the subject. As I recall, my impression of the situation was not improved. I repressed it by doing other things, like amassing a collection of women’s underwear.
With time, my thoughts of jumping to my death from the upper floor of some luxury condos at the beach passed. I began to consider other ways that I could die and it not really be considered suicide. You know, like if I was to accidentally get hit by a bus. Or some sort of freak accident. The type of thing you’d see in Dead Like Me. Finally, I had decided that if I was going to go, it would be crashing my car while driving very fast. You, run off the road and maybe hit a tree. While I did run off the road a couple times, I did not die.
Lately, the feelings have been fairly nondescript. It’s just been a feeling that things would be better if I was dead. Not a specific method or a plan. Although, I will admit that last Thursday morning, I thought something slightly more detailed. This came after a particularly hard Wednesday night. As I lied and told my new friend that I was feeling OK, I thought about what I had just said. I said to myself, “No, I’m not ok. I would like to put a bullet in my head.”
In the end, I told her this. We both made a promise to each other that we would not be a statistic. We would not kill ourselves. I told another friend, I told my wife and I told my therapist. I told all of them, because it’s not something I need to keep secret. I don’t want to kill myself, I don’t plan it out, I don’t consider myself suicidal. Wanting to be dead and being suicidal is a different thing.
So, I live to tell another story. I refuse to give up at this point. I’ve got too much to look forward to. I would write more, but frankly, I’m exhausted.