I want to preface this article by saying that the intention here is to share a deeply personal experience for the purpose of providing insight into the horrific suicide rate amongst the transgender community. If this is something that could be triggering for you then please do not read any further. I only want to do good and no good can come if this article dredges up feeling in you that you do not need right now. For those of you who are sticking around, I am going to get very personal. I am going to let you into my thoughts and try to give you as close a view as possible without any dire consequences.
My first suicide attempt was unusual for me because even a few hours before it began I had no idea what I was going to do. I was oblivious to the darkness in front of me as I fiddled around on a Saturday morning not really doing anything. I had to work in the afternoon but that was a ways off still and I was simply bored. Boredom, for me, has always been one of those things that would get me into trouble. However, in this case, it was thinking that caused the problems. There was something in my memory that I had not really thought about before. This forgotten memory wanted me to think about it.
I already had my fair share of problems with being a girl living in a boy’s husk. I may have hated my life a lot but suicide was not something I wanted to do. I mean, I had thought about it before. In elementary school I use to write suicide notes when the teacher was boring me. Luckily, no one ever caught me doing it and I would tear the notes up immediately after class, as I was afraid they would be found. Even though I did this, there was no desire to go through with it. It was just a way of venting some of the pain from the bullying (partially) and being transgender (mostly).
The memories that I began to recover that Saturday morning were of my father and a few of the things he had done to me. My father was a pedophile and he was particularly evil with the psychological games he used to control me. This article is not about the sexual abuse I suffered from him, it is only important to realize that it was the catalyst that allowed me to spiral into the events that were going to happen next.
The moment of remembering was like a switch going off. I broke. Everything wrong with me just congealed in my head. There was the hopelessness of my situation being a girl in a boy’s form and the horrible job I was doing with the role of a boy. My boy version was really off; I overacted as I tried to approximate how a boy should act. People did not usually respond well to me or knew how to in most cases. I was often tolerated but that was about it. I did have a very limited number of friends but they didn’t really know me; didn’t know the real me. My best friend at the time did and I had tried to reach out to him the previous night but he was too busy to meet or talk or anything. I didn’t know I was in trouble then but I was and I think subconsciously I may have been reaching for a lifeline. He had no idea and I never blamed him though he blamed himself after the event. I think all he would have done if he was around is delay the attempt by a week. The darkness forming around me was a very determined depression laden single death obsessed shroud.
It was seconds after I had broke that I was off to the pharmacy to prepare for my suicide. I bought make-up as I intended to die as a girl, at least I would have something good in my death. I was planning to die in a green dress that my roommate owned that I was simply in love with. My roommates were away for the weekend so I had plenty of time. They would be back late Sunday so I was by no means rushed. I also picked up three bottles of sleeping pills that I planned to use for the attempt.
Once I got home I took the remaining money in my wallet and randomly put it through the mail slots of my neighbors. It was supposed to be my last act of kindness and I am not really sure why though I think I wanted to leave a world that treated me so badly by treating it nice on my way out. I know it was kind of poetic though in my mind I was on automatic as I entered the apartment and prepared for the end. I wrote a real suicide note and in it I confessed to being a girl, I had not heard the word transgender at that point in my life, and left out my father because at this point I was only focused on the girl. I asked to be buried in the green dress.
The time had come to get ready. I put on my make-up and got dressed in the dress I wanted to wear then poured myself some wine to help wash down the pills. It is amazingly hard to swallow three bottles of sleeping pills but I did it as I cried most of the way through the process because I realized the finality of what I was doing. The tears were sorrowful but also relief because the years of torture were finally ending.
Once I had finished the wine and I was waiting for the pills to take affect, I took off the dress so I could do what I needed to do so I could die as a girl. I wanted to let the pills and alcohol take away the pain as I planned to cut off what made my body most boy-like. I was not prepared for the amount of pain that cutting into a boy part with scissors could produce. I had barely scratched the surface and it was excruciating. I lied back for a moment and a muscle spasm caused me to kick the scissors off of the bed as well as the dress and suicide note. All three ended up behind my bed.
I had planned to retrieve the items from behind my bed after I went to pee. I could barely even manage to walk and almost fell numerous times to and from the bathroom. Once I returned to the bed I collapsed in it and there was not a lot I could do as I was feeling the medication pulling me down. The most amazing thing happened, my body began to fight as I tried to sit up against the sinking down feeling in an almost defiant manner.
The medication was going to win out and it was weird the moment that it happened. My body had spasms as I was going down but then there was a full, every muscle in my body, seizure and it was scary and yet at the same time interesting as I worked with someone with epilepsy and this was kind of like an insight into what he experienced. The seizure intensified and then there was a bright flash of light and everything went completely white. I had full recall and it seemed as real as when I am awake. It was just pure white light and it was everywhere.
I walked forward and realized that I was not alone, there was someone there with me. It was a man with a beard and I know that is like so typical for this sort of experience. He didn’t really talk though I could feel what he was saying. It was a no; I was not going any further. I had to return as there was stuff I needed to do. Almost immediately I was back in my bed and beginning to hallucinate.
Sometime during the Saturday hallucinations one of my coworkers called me as I had not shown up for work. Apparently I answered the phone and was stuck somewhere in a hallucination world which caused alarm in my coworker who called the police. Here is where it gets weird again. For me, my first real memory after the event in the light was a pair of police standing in my bedroom doorway. All the hallucinations stopped and I had full my faculties. They asked me if I was okay as one of them poked around to see if there was a suicide note, which was safely behind the bed. I lied and said I had insomnia for a few nights and finally fell asleep that morning. They bought my story or pretended to, as they didn’t want to deal with a boy in make-up. They apologized and left. The hallucinations returned.
On Sunday evening my roommates returned and found me still in hallucination land and they put together the pieces quick enough. They decided to take me to the emergency and that was an interesting trip or at least I think it was. All I remember is the roommate’s losing me on the stairs and me falling down half a flight and hitting a metal girder. Luckily I was okay. My next memory is in the hospital and my encounter with the intake nurse. The nurse began to talk down to me and I have never been good at being spoken to like I am less than a person, which this nurse was doing. My faculties came back, like they did with the police, and I got loud and began to lecture the nurse on dignity, human rights, and how to treat people with respect. According to my roommates the emergency room went dead quiet as I was tearing a strip off of the nurse and I then went back into hallucination town as soon as I was done. The nurse though did treat me with respect for my stay.
The hallucinations soon after began to die down a little as a doctor came in to question me. He wanted to know when I took the pills and I wanted to die so I told him it was earlier that day instead of the day before. Of course that led to a fantastically awful charcoal milkshake. Monday morning a psychiatrist came to visit and ask me about what I had done to myself. He was interested in the pills and also why I had eyeliner on. Most of the other make-up had long since worn off. I lied and went back to the sleeping story and I lied about the make-up and said it was just something stupid I was playing with. He left it at that and released me. The funny thing is no one at the hospital ever asked me to remove the shorts my roommates had helped me into otherwise they would have seen some cuts I would have had a harder time explaining.
Only a few people ever knew about what had happened as I would not let anyone contact my family and I really wasn’t ready to explain it to them. I was back to being trapped in my life and the year of darkness had begun. I dismissed the whole light incident as a super vivid hallucination but there has always been a part of me that thinks it was something else. Perhaps a manifestation of my subconscious trying to save me from the route I had put myself on.
I survived and I am so glad now that I did. Everything did seem hopeless but it never was. If you are still breathing there is still hope and that is one of the secrets of life that I would eventually learn.
If you are transgender and are struggling with issues of depression or suicidal thoughts, there is immediate help available via the Trans Lifeline. I have included the numbers below for the United States and Canada.