Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Seriously Suicidal

November of my sophomore year of high school was a private hell.

While I was sad when I realized that my crush would never be interested in me, the bloody "FAG" written on my locker hit me really hard. Seeing those three letters directed so hatefully at me pushed me deeper into the closet. And the deeper in I was, the more lonely I felt. As each day of November came and went, I slowly spiraled from feeling lonely to being depressed to feeling that I could never feel any emotion again.

As anyone who has fought depression knows, the suffering feeds on itself and can become a sink-hole that is impossible to escape. The over-powering gloom ultimately renders you completely powerless. Anyone or anything that had previously brought happiness becomes joyless and empty. Then, when you realize that you've lost the ability to enjoy anything, you become certain that you will never feel happy again. You feel like the walking dead. You go through the motions of each day but you don't experience any of it. You become an observer in your own life. And then you ask yourself: what's the point? Why continue to live?

During my very worst week in November I spent most of my time daydreaming about how to create the biggest spectacle I could when I killed myself. I ultimately decided that if I was found life-less and hanging from a tree in the central courtyard of my high school then I would at least have made a statement. As I finalized my plans I came to the point where I felt I had to do it. Or not.

After a really horrible two days I realized that I was too chicken to kill myself. Once I knew I didn't have the guts to do it, I decided that I needed to make something positive out of my life. That realization marked my turning point. Although there was a period a few months later when I was pretty depressed, once I had successfully overcome the demons of suicide, I have never had to battle significant depression again. I know that lots of people take meds to cope and/or spend their lives in an on-again off-again fight with depression. I am thankful that I am not one of them. As an adult I feel generally positive and I feel like I can cope with just about anything. And I have never been to therapy or taken anti-depressants. I say this to give others hope. It *IS* possible to permanently put all the dark days behind you and move forward.

My serious flirtation with suicide has made me both forever thankful for life and forever aware of the special pain that being closeted and gay can cause. It's no surprise to me that gay teens have a high suicide rate.

I grew up a lot during my sophomore year of high school and by the late spring I was comfortable enough with myself to get serious about meeting other gay teens. I was somewhat, but not entirely, successful.

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