If you can’t tell from the title, this entire article needs a huge, flashing content warning.
Content Warning: Discussion of suicide and how it formed a coping/survival mechanism in my life.
My first and only brush with suicide came when I was twelve years old.
- I was nine or ten when I resigned my hopes of developing breasts and my penis changing so I could become the girl I dreamt I was.
- I was about eleven when I first had anxiety attacks and developed ulcers due to overthinking how puberty would affect my body.
- I was being taught by society through television and newspapers more each day that the person I knew I was would be ridiculed and shunned by those around me.
- My family’s religion teaches that people like me would be the reason our family would never live together forever in presence of God & Christ.
These are the main reasons I had for developing my plan. I had decided that after attending an AYSO soccer practice/try out, I would “slip” into the Idaho Canal as it ran along South Holmes Avenue. I would be too tired from soccer to use my feeble swimming skills to make it out. I found my spot to “slip” while walking to practice. It was on a catwalk bridge with a cable handrail across the canal. The water below was turbulent and sure to drag me under for long enough.
Near this crossing was a vacant lot. I figured it can’t hurt one last time to spend some time enjoying the leaves, grass and sounds I found calming. I would use this calm to carry me through my plan. I began to enjoy the sounds of nature when I heard crying, sobbing, and screams of pain. I searched and soon found the source. It was one of my new school-mates, smashing his head repeatedly into a large sharp rock. He had been sniffing model glue to build up his courage and perhaps numb the pain of killing himself. I was instantly angry with him. Why would he choose such a painful method?
I ran. I ran to the nearest pay phone a few hundred yards away. I called the police and explained what was happening to him. The officer told me to go back to him and stay there until help could get there. I had no idea how much time passed before they arrived. I do know I heard him screaming out his reasons. A few were common to mine. He felt worthless, trapped, and alone. My anger built stronger with every word and action I saw him take. My sympathy also grew stronger. I had met someone that I could possibly connect with. As he was taken away in the ambulance I wondered if I would ever see him again.
A month passed. School had resumed for the fall session. I entered my math class and saw him. I should have been happy he was still alive and attending school. I was instead confused by anger welling deep within. I was angry first that he chose such a painful method. Then slowly my anger shifted to myself. Why hadn’t I followed through with my plan? Why am I still not a girl?
Over the years my anger shifted to different causes when suicide was a topic. It always remained when I thought of reasons why I wasn’t a girl. I used this anger to hide, and to deny myself. I’m now a fifty-four year old out and proud transgender woman. I still get angry when suicide is mentioned. I understand now that even though many see it as a quick way to end their problems, that it instead causes so many more problems for those who remain.
Recently while talking with my best friend I discovered something about myself and this anger I have for suicidal ideation. I am indeed angry. I’m angry that people I love feel this is an option. I’m angry that people don’t talk about their feelings enough to avoid suicide as a potential end.
Most of all I’m angry with myself that I ever felt suicide was an option for me.
The Trevor Project:
National Suicide Hotline: