When I started this blog, there were three things I wanted to write about. I just managed to talk about one. Some of these things have been kept inside for such a long time that now that I can talk about them, I can’t find the words to do so. At such times I wish I had the writing skill that Clare Flourish and Ricky possess. They have a way of talking about their experiences in such a frank, real, human way that I sometimes feel as if I’m a part of it. I have started this post many times and I still cannot include many things because I’m not ready to talk about them, even to myself.
I have had recurring thoughts and ideas of suicide since I turned 15. At that age, puberty was in full swing but I would find myself having wet dreams involving boys instead of girls and sometimes catch myself thinking about a boy in the middle of the day. I couldn’t understand it. I would immediately stop these thoughts then proceed to berate and mentally flagellate myself for having these malignant and repulsive thoughts. I would pray for these clearly evil thoughts to go away. I became very depressed. I wanted to tell someone what I was going through but the shame of these ideas that I knew were mine yet constantly denied and the fear of rejection kept me from doing so. I felt alone all the time, even when surrounded by people. There was no one I could talk to about such things and since I couldn’t risk someone asking me why I was so sad for fear that I would break down and tell them (with the result that they would draw away from me in revulsion), I learned how to fake cheerfulness convincingly. This took a heavy toll and eventually I began to avoid people entirely. When I think of the rest of my time in secondary school, every memory appears covered by a dark brown haze, just about the color of my skin, which I disappear into and I become invisible, even to myself. When I asked my best friend what would happen hypothetically if he discovered someone very close to him (such as myself or another friend) was gay, he responded flatly that he would no longer be friends with that person. I began to think that life would be better if I were dead.
Suicide is a sad thing and a bad thing. Some may call it selfish even. Culturally, it is considered shameful and a young person who commits suicide is buried in an unmarked grave. I knew that doing something like that would destroy my parents and I didn’t want that attendant stigma of having a family member who had committed suicide attached to them. Eventually I decided that I would jump in front of a speeding car. That way, my family would think it was an accident. I’d always loved taking long, leisurely walks but now I began to go out at night in the hopes that I would find a suitable vector for my plan. Only two things stopped me: the idea that had been planted in my head from childhood that people who commit suicide go to the lowest circle of hell like Judas did (probably something that trickled down from Dante’s Inferno) and my mother who suddenly became so involved in my life, more than usual. She saved me but she doesn’t know it, which is interesting because at another crucial time that I felt needed her, she couldn’t help me. I don’t know if mothers have a special sense that tells them when their child is in trouble but if does exist, it really came into action then.
The suicides of the two boys really hit me hard. I know exactly how fragile it feels to be living at home, totally under the control of your parents and guardians. Sometimes it really does feel like a prison, albeit a financial one. There are very few support systems to help young people and having to deal with sexuality alone (which at this age is not even about sex per se) is a huge challenge. To be faced exposure isn’t something a lot of people can handle and thinking about what I would have done to myself had someone found out about me and threatened to tell others makes me cold.
Although such thoughts occur a lot less often now, there hasn’t been a day that I haven’t thought about suicide once. I consider whether the life and struggles I am facing and will face are worth and whether it won’t be better for everyone if I were dead. I clearly can’t stop thinking about everyone’s expectations of me as opposed to what I expect of myself. Sometimes I feel like a sham, a fraud, because I feel that I’ve lived the life of trying to be what everyone wants me to be that I have forgotten who I am and who I want to be, like a shell at the beach, interesting on the outside but hollow and empty on the inside. I realize that a lot of the feelings of emptiness arise from the fact that I never believed in myself, I never believed that I was smart enough, good enough for anything because for the longest time I didn’t think anything good could ever come out someone like me. I believed that the only way I could amount to something was to become what others expected of me. I know these thoughts are maladaptive and I have been working at clearing my mind of them. I have some decisions to make about the path my life should follow and I have realised that I don’t really know what I want. It’s like I’m trying to make a decision for a stranger and this inability to reach a definite resolution has pushed me into a funk for a few weeks now. I know I’m going to get through this. I know there’s a silver lining somewhere even if I can’t see it right now. There just has to be.