[Warning – Suicidal Ideation]
I don’t often give in to despair, it’s usually ennui, aftermaths of gender dysphoric episodes or depression but it rarely delves deeper than that. And since coming out, they have all been greatly diminished, but not banished. However, last month I was at a fairly low point. I had been feeling particularly depressed and unwanted that entire day. I was taking our dog out for a walk. It hit me out of, well not nowhere, but the feeling of utter despair spread through me and I actually uttered the words, “I just want to die”. It took me a long moment to come back to myself and bring Lulah, our dog, back inside. My face was wet with tears that I don’t remember shedding.
Understand that nothing transpired to initiate this, I mean there was no action taken against me nor was anything said to me that made me want to end it all. In fact, we aren’t struggling even with the pandemic. I cannot help what feelings wash over me and I had no control of this one, other than to not act on that feeling. I’m better now, but depression comes in waves and I think that at the time that I felt like dying, several things had hit at once. Gender Dysphoria, Depression, my feelings of not being enough and a feeling of being completely disconnected from everyone. It wasn’t an “I would be better off” or “they would be better off without me”, it was “sinking into nothing is all there is” moment. Not great, I know. I keep trying to make myself see a therapist, but each time I find an excuse to not do this, the cost at a time where I’m juggling bills, or my feeling like if I were to say the words out loud it makes it real and those words will pull me down into nothing and I will never get out. Even writing the words seems to give it power. I don’t know, it is what it is.
I’m happy. I know, right? (looking at the previous paragraphs) Isn’t it odd? I’m actually far happier, generally, than I ever was when I pretended to be ‘him’. Being myself didn’t change the depression, just the sound of that depression. That make sense? Like instead of the depression being a cacophony of disjointed sounds and blaring notes that drop flat, now it’s like sad jazz. I’m happy being me, I love me now. I’m worried about dying because now I want to live. And suddenly the suicidal thing is rearing its head? It seems so irrational, but I suppose it’s not meant to be rational. Especially when you factor in that, for me, there is nothing after this. I wish there was, but I know that once I die, it’s over. Not blackness, not a void or a heaven or hell, just nothing at all, a ceasing of existence. Not that I don’t want it to be something wonderful like reincarnation or a heaven, it just isn’t.
I have a lot of issues that have nothing or little to do with my being transgender. The only part I believe to be connected is that HRT helps bring all the emotions to the surface. My history is fraught with things like abuse and neglect in my childhood, being harshly used by lovers, war, survivors guilt, a divorce, losing custody and later any time with my son, Charles. They are all scars on my soul, a soul that is stretched thin and tattered. Add my now wanting to live after going 40+ years of not caring if I died or not and you end up with a nice cocktail for my problem.
When I was around 14 or 15 I started playing alto sax for band in high school. I had always had a love for the movie and then the TV show, M.A.S.H. So when I learned to play the sax, I figured out how to play the theme song, Suicide is Painless. (the TV version is decidedly more upbeat and doesn’t include the lyrics, for obvious reasons) I wasn’t fascinated by the faux suicide presented in the movie, but I was with the song itself. The lyrics had a poetic grace of longing. Yes, it was written by a 14 year old boy and it was meant to be stupid, but once you put the words down on paper, those words are no longer yours to interpret, it belongs to the readers. I understood the need for quiet, a stillness of mind. It was the same feeling I got from a song in 28 Days, a great movie about addiction. The song is “Dreaming” by Loudon Wainwright III and it is hauntingly beautiful. Both songs I equate to not really death, not really suicide, but stillness of mind, to quiet the thoughts and to find peace. Perhaps that is what I was thinking as I stood there holding Lulah’s leash, that I needed peace, stillness of mind.
Anyway, I’m sorry this is a real downer of a post. It’s not what I had really intended to write, but I thought I should be honest about what is going on inside my head. I am not like this all the time, I’m not mopey and sad, listlessly sitting around in a dark spot of my mind. Other than these times of depression, I have no doom and gloom outlook in general. Believe me, my life is far better than it has ever been. I wish I had something witty to say at the end, but this is life and I don’t have a wrap up for it. I am ever overthinking every aspect of my life, putting a lens over the bad, awkward or odd bits and magnifying them. I already know it’s about getting help, but the tricky part is that if you are depressed and having these thoughts, asking for help is the hardest thing to do.
If you need help, I know it’s not easy and you may not be able to force yourself to move, but try.
https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ or 1-800-273-8255.
Transgender Suicide Hotline US: (877) 565-8860 CANADA: (877) 330-6366