The author of this post, GC, is a founding member of this blog and maintains a separate blog about his life experiences, called Midnight Demon. He’ll be writing about suicidal thinking from the point of view of someone who keeps it a secret, though he openly describes his pain and struggle with suicidality in his writings. He also has collaborated with the AAS on research papers.
My name is GC. This is not my real name. It is my alias for my suicidal writings because I feel I have to “protect” my family and friends from my true self. They do not know the dark side of my thoughts and feelings. The depression and suicidal thinking has been a part of my life since a young age.
I recently wrote a rant about mental illness and how it feels inside when you have troubling thoughts that won’t go away, like suicidal thoughts. It takes a lot of energy to deal with it. But the biggest thing that I have learned over the years is to keep it a secret. A secret from my friends, family, even therapists, because if I let the secret out, I will be thrown in the hospital or placed on suicide watch. It’s no fun to be on suicide watch or in the hospital, but it is necessary sometimes. I hide this part of me from the world and the people around me because I am ashamed of being suicidal. It hurts to be suicidal because I feel that it is wrong. If you are young, you have your whole life ahead of you. If you are old, there might not be too many years left ahead, especially if things are diminishing or your friends are dying one by one. You think that you have the right to die because it is your choice and no one can take that away from you. That is why I keep this a secret at all times.
Here is one of my suicidal experiences. In the fall of 2005, I suffered a severe bout of depression that had me thinking of ending my life. I stopped outpatient group therapy because I did not agree with the group leader’s antics anymore. I told him that I needed to go into a psych unit, and he disagreed. He felt that going into the hospital would “destroy me.” The hospital has always been my safe haven. When he told me that it was no longer an option, I felt like I could no longer go on with my life, and I just had to end it. I had the plan in my head of how I was going to do it. I just said to myself, “The hell with it,” and I decided to put the plan in motion, working out every detail. I was determined that it would work and that if I failed, then it just meant that I was supposed to live.
Then, in late September of that year, I “snapped.” My menses had come that day, and I just put everything together sooner rather than later. I had my when, what, where and why all figured out. Things in therapy were going well, but then again, they weren’t. I started holding back from talking about how I was feeling. I sometimes became bored in therapy, often finding nothing to talk about. You have a lot to say, but sometimes you are just too afraid to say it or think it is a dumb thing to say. I was set in my suicidal plan. I was not going to let my therapist thwart me in my plans or have her hospitalize me. I figured I’d tell her I needed a few weeks off and would be back sometime in November.
This was harder than I thought it would be. I had created this “game” of 20 questions. I had to answer truthfully, within my comfort zone, any question she asked. We had about a half hour left in session that day, and she asked me the first question quite seriously: “What is really, really, really going on?”
I was taken aback and actually laughed. I honestly didn’t know what to say, and I wasn’t ready to let the cat out of the bag. All this time, I thought I had things covered pretty well. Up until now, I had not told her of any plans to kill myself.
What I didn’t count on was the alliance we had and trust my therapist had in me to tell her when I was suicidal. She asked what was going on, and I was truly stunned. I felt like I was planning a covert mission. I had a few weeks to get my affairs in order and then take my life. I had always planned a way.
That is not to say that I didn’t feel ambivalent about going ahead with it. I was in so much pain and yet I was living a double life. There was the part where I was this happy-go-lucky person and no one suspected that I was taking my life, and then I had the part where I was left with all the despair and worthlessness that was causing me to want to end my life.
Without this alliance with my therapist, I seriously doubt I would be here today. After I told her my plan and what I was really up to, she did the unexpected in all my years of therapy with her and others. She cried. I didn’t know what to do with that, and I didn’t know whether it was just a reaction to her going through post-partum depression, as she was back from maternity leave. We were able to work through the crisis with extra therapy sessions and a partial hospitalization. The experience would forever change the course of my work with my therapist.
At the time, I didn’t tell her about the transgender issue. It was new to me, and the only way I knew how to handle it was by killing myself.
My family doesn’t know the dark side of me, which is why I have chosen to remain anonymous and be called GC, or Mike. They do not know the depths of depression or the issues with transgender. Hell, they do not even know about how many times I have tried to kill myself. That is why I have chosen to be anonymous, to save me from explaining and to save my family some “embarrassment.” The last thing I want is for a family member or close friend to tell my mother what I am doing with this blog and what I have done to myself because of my illness.