Talking to my therapist about my gender issues has made me relive many moments from my life I have pushed aside. Some of them are so sad that tears run down my cheeks when I recall them. The pain of it is sometimes unbearable.
There was a short space of time though, maybe just a few minutes, when I was totally free of this gender dysphoria. I was 19 years old sitting in my dorm in college. I had reached the end.
Up to this point I had been searching for information about transgender therapy or organisations that help or treat people with dysphoria. Then information was hard to find. But after much searching I found the address in London of an organisation, I think they are now called the Beaumont Society.
I wrote a letter to them describing how I felt and asking for help. I had high hopes that at last things may begin to change. But, after three weeks of waiting, I received a brown envelope containing my opened letter marked “Unknown at this Address” “Return to Sender”. The address I used must have been an old one or invalid. I felt numb.
I was devastated, all of my hopes just hit the floor. I couldn’t see any way forward and now just wanted an end to the torment. I decided I would commit suicide on the upcoming Friday night when every student in the dorm would be out. I bought 50 paracetamol/Tylenol and some Vodka.
On Friday evening I felt fine, calm, happy even. I had bought paper and envelopes and began to write individual letters to my parents, brother, sisters and some friends. I wanted them to know how amazing they were, how much they meant to me and how they were blameless. I also wanted them to know who I was inside.
These letters were both incredibly hard and incredibly easy to write at the same time. I cried constantly throughout and it was the most emotionally draining experience I have had. It was certainly an experience I will never forget.
When I had finished I sat on my bed and drank some vodka from the bottle which was horrible and decided to start taking the tablets.
I sat there crying and swallowing pills along with the vodka. When I had taken what I thought was a lot I sat back against the wall next to the bed and felt all of my pain, anxiety, dysphoria and worry just drain away. I felt totally free. It was a strange feeling of total serenity. No regret or remorse I honestly was relieved it was over.
Those few minutes were the calmest, happiest moments of my life. The dysphoria was gone. I can still remember how wonderful that felt.
After a couple more minutes an overwhelming feeling of tiredness/sleepiness hit me. It can’t have been the pills so quickly. Whatever it was I lay down and slept.
It turns out I’m about as good at committing suicide as I am dealing with gender dysphoria because I woke up the next day in the early afternoon.
When I counted the pills left in the container and did the math the truth is I took just 12! At the time it felt like I had taken 25 or 30.
I believe this was a serious attempt. You may believe something else. That’s fine. I certainly wanted it to be the end. I have never told anyone about it except my therapist recently and this blog.
I know I felt disappointed and also scared that I would now get really sick and die slowly and painfully.
After a while I opened the letter I wrote to my Mum and read it. It was a beautiful tear stained letter, beautiful and so sad. It would have crushed her. Only then did I understand the impact my suicide would have had on my family. I knew I didn’t have the right to do that to them. They certainly didn’t deserve to be treated like that or to have this tragedy impact their lives.
I needed to find another way. I think I decided to put all thoughts and feelings aside and focus only on things I could achieve. I chose denial.
Suicide is never the answer. It’s never just your own life you are ending. And remember no matter how bad you may feel now, it won’t always feel the same. There will be good times again.
Talk to someone, and give yourself at least another day and then another.