I have a confession to make. I was 16 years old when I tried to commit suicide for the first time. It wasn’t about being gay, it was about belonging. Most of you won’t get this since you haven’t worked with old school phones, but sometimes when you hang those up, they don’t fully hang up. And you can still hear what the people on the other side are talking about. The old school landlines were like a portal. You had to actively and definitively cut the connection or it would stay open.
I have never repeated this story. I don’t think anyone knows about this. My best friend in high school went to visit another close friend of his. We talked on the phone at some point, but when he hung up the phone, the connection wasn’t severed. As I held the receiver to my phone, I heard them talking about how annoying it was to be friends with me. How clingy I am. And it kept going.
An hour later I took 200 Tylenol pills. I was done. I was ready to try something different. I didn’t want to be a burden or an embarrassment.
That was the first time that I tried to end my life, but it wasn’t the last. Depression is sneaky and angry and constant. No one likes me. Everyone is laughing at me. Those people over there are talking about me. I’m too poor to have pants that fit correctly. My hair is stupid. I’m awkward. Am I one of those homosexuals?
I never recovered from that phone call. It just got worse. And worse. I fumbled with recovery. I forced myself into people’s lives to show them that I was fun, I was a good guy. I wasn’t a bad person. I pushed to be accepted with people that just didn’t want to take me on.
That was the beginning of my suicide attempts, but it wasn’t the end. It was also the beginning of my struggle to figure out who I was and what I wanted to be. It took several attempts and an act of love to break me out of that cycle.
I have a confession to make. I have never told anyone this story. My heart breaks for the 16 year old me laying in the grass, throwing up as the Tylenol made it’s way through my system. I have never told anyone that my best friend came home and kicked me out of his life because of my failure and struggle. I learned early on that people are incapable of understanding the effects of depression.
I have a confession to make. I suffer from major depressive disorder. I am not normal. I am not fine. But I am okay. And I am thriving.