Many of you may be aware that September is National Suicide Prevention month, so I thought that I would share some of my own past personal struggles with suicidal thoughts and actions as well as some of the fact myths surrounding the topic of suicide. I will also share with you how I found light in the darkness, what coping skills I have learned that work for me and how you to can find light and coping skills as well.
I came out for the first time as being gay at the age of 12 to my aunt on a family vacation and could not have picked a better person to be the first one I told. After coming out to her, I came out the rest of the family and my friends at school some supported me others not so much. I was bullied for several years to follow, with caused me to go into a deep depression I had accepted who I was, but others had not. Fellow students and even some family told that I would never amount to anything, that I was worthless and should just die.
Even though deep down I knew who I was and that it was ok to be myself, I started to believe all of the things people were telling me and went through a very difﬁcult time in my life and sometimes I even had thoughts of suicide and actions of self-harm.
I remember one night at the age of 15 setting in the dark of my room planning out how I would end it all and telling myself that I should just do it that no one would miss me, nobody would even notice that I'm gone.
That day I had received a death note in my locker, had been called a fag in the hallway and had been spit on by another student. So you could say that I was down and not able to see any reason to go on if things were just going to be like that for the rest of my life. At that moment setting in my dark room with what appeared to be much darker in my mind Suicide was the only thing on my mind, I believed there was no light at the end of the tunnel and that t would be for the best if I were gone. So I finished writing out my last letter and grabbed the bottle of pills that I had hidden under my bed.
I had planned to take them all in hopes that I would not wake up, but just as I was about to remember something else that had happened earlier that day around lunch time that day. I was walking down the hall with my hoodie on the hood over my head and ear buds in not really paying attention to where I was going because everyone was at lunch, as I turned the corner I bumped into someone else who was just walking the halls. He looked up at me with tears in his eyes and shaking and said; " Please don't hurt me," and I just kinda looked at him then as to tell him that I was not going to I patted his shoulder and kept walking. After a few minutes, I thought that I should go back to see if he was ok since he was crying when I saw him. So I were back to where we had met, and he was sitting on the floor still crying, so I walked up to him and just sat next to him, and he looked at me and I at him but we did not speak then we both looked down. It was a few minutes later that he asked me why I sat next to him and I told him because he looked sad and that I was sad too, so I thought we could be sad together. He must have liked my answer because we got to talking about things and I got his number, and we agreed to text each other that night to talk more.
After remembering this I got my phone out of my bag and looked at it, I had ten message, and six missed calls from him. I opened them, and he said hi, then wanted to know if he could call, then he said he had called, and I did not answer, and so on down to the last one that he told me he was worried that he had been trying to call me for an 3 hours now and to call him. I remember taking a deep breath and calling him, to make a long conversation short, I told him why I did not answer, that I was feeling suicidal and that I thought no one would miss me if I were gone, he instead that he would and talked me out of it.
That night I realized that there were people who loved me and that life would get better, it would be a long road ahead of me with many other thoughts of suicide for years to come but thanks to him I had the strength to get the help I needed, I told a teacher who I looked up to what I was going, she helped me tell the school counselor and the counselor said about The Trevor Project ,an American non-profit organization focused on suicide prevention efforts among the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community. But the person who I fell that I owe it all to is to Ellen DeGeneres her tremendous bravery and will to help others are what helped pulled me though my darkest hours because I would always think of her and would always stop. Thanks to All these people and the work of The Trevor Project, I was able to come my darkest time over and have been able to use my voice for Suicide Prevention for the last five years.
Even though when I came out, I experienced bullying and lack of support. I did not give up. I went on to lead my high school and college GSA's and have worked with both local and national organizations to facilitate training on diversity and inclusion. I now work to promote the message that life does get better if you work to make it better, that it's important to be yourself and to never to give up.
I am now a proud LGBTQ advocate & Model/actor, GLSEN Chapter Leader and a Youth Ambassador for the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. I have been and planned to continue to work to end bullying and suicide.
Always remember that just because things might look bad at the time does not mean that it won't get better.There will always be someone who loves you even if they don’t know. I’m here to tell you, never give up on life, never let people define you or change you. You were born perfect just the way you are and If you or someone you know is struggling reach out ask for help it could just save a life.
Fact and Myths Surrounding Suicide:
These myths of suicide stand in the way of assisting those who are in danger. By removing the myths, we will be more able to recognize those who are at risk and provide the help that is needed.
MYTH: Talking about suicide or asking someone if they feel suicidal will encourage suicide attempts.
FACT: Talking about suicide provides the opportunity for communication. Fears that are shared are more likely to diminish. The first step in encouraging a suicidal person to live comes from talking about those feelings. That first step can be the simple inquiry about whether or not the person intends to end their life. However, talking about suicide should be carefully managed.
MYTH: Young people who talk about suicide never attempt or complete suicide.
FACT: Talking about suicide can be a plea for help, and it can be a late sign of the progression towards a suicide attempt. Those who are most at risk will show other signs apart from talking about suicide. If you have concerns about a young person who talks about suicide:
Encourage him/her to talk further and help them to find appropriate counseling assistance.
Ask if the person is thinking about making a suicide attempt.
Ask if the person has a plan.
Think about the completeness of the plan and how dangerous it is. Do not trivialize plans that seem less complete or less dangerous. All suicidal intentions are serious and must be acknowledged as such.
Encourage the young person to develop a personal safety plan. This can include time spent with others, check-in points with significant adults/ plans for the future.
MYTH: Attempted or completed suicides happen without warning.
FACT: The survivors of suicide often say that the intention was hidden from them. It is more likely that the intention was just not recognized. These warning signs include:
The recent suicide, or death by other means, of a friend or relative.
Previous suicide attempts.
Preoccupation with themes of death or expressing suicidal thoughts.
Depression, conduct disorder and problems with adjustment such as substance abuse, particularly when two or more of these are present.
Giving away prized possessions/ making a will or other final arrangements.
Major changes in sleep patterns - too much or too little.
Sudden and extreme changes in eating habits/ losing or gaining weight.
Withdrawal from friends/ family or other major behavioral changes.
Dropping out of group activities.
Personality changes such as nervousness, outbursts of anger, impulsive or reckless behavior, or apathy about appearance or health.
Frequent irritability or unexplained crying.
Lingering expressions of unworthiness or failure.
Lack of interest in the future.
A sudden lifting of spirits, when there have been other indicators, may point to a decision to end the pain of life through suicide.
MYTH: If a person attempts suicide and survives, they will never make a further attempt.
FACT: A suicide attempt is regarded as an indicator of further attempts. It is likely that the level of danger will increase with each further suicide attempt.
MYTH: Once a person is intent on suicide, there is no way of stopping them.
FACT: Suicides can be prevented. People can be helped. Suicidal crises can be relatively short-lived. Suicide is a permanent solution to what is usually a temporary problem. Immediate practical help such as staying with the person, encouraging them to talk and helping them build plans for the future, can avert the intention to attempt or complete suicide. Such immediate help is valuable at a time of crisis, but appropriate counseling will then be required.
MYTH: People who threaten suicide are just seeking attention.
FACT: All suicide attempts must be treated as though the person has the intent to die. Do not dismiss a suicide attempt as simply being an attention-gaining device. It is likely that the young person has tried to gain attention and, therefore, this attention is needed. The attention that they get may well save their lives.
Trevor Lifeline at 1-866-488-7386 for immediate help. It's free, confidential, and available 24/7.
TrevorTextText "Trevor" to 1-202-304-1200.
Available Monday-Friday between 3pm - 10pm EST/12pm - 7pm PT
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Call 1-800-273-8255