Suicidal Tendencies: Navigating the Beast

Recently, we had quite the scare. As we know from a previous blog, D began the counseling necessary for his eventual transition into a man. Several days after I got his paperwork done with  the counselor I got a very disturbing call: “I just wanted to let you know that D has had suicidal thoughts.” It seems he was feeling so badly about himself at the time he was contemplating jumping off the roof.

What?! I shouldn’t be surprised. Mental illness is hereditary and D’s mother (me) has also had these thoughts and attempted a few times. I just had higher hopes for him. For all my kiddos. I also shouldn’t be surprised considering suicide is higher among transgender people – specifically transgender children. It doesn’t make it hurt less for me, though, to know my child is hurting this badly.

I wanted to air this in public, because it’s not okay. It’s NEVER okay for anyone to feel so alone in this world suicide becomes the only answer. So how do we help ourselves rise up from the depths of darkness to become one with the light?

Music. It’s one avenue that helped me through a ton of craptastic events including the death of my mother almost 3 years ago. Several favorites come to mind, but the two most important to me currently are: Machine Head’s The Deafening Silence and The Animal in Me by Motley Crue. While I cannot pretend to know for certain what any of these songs is truly about, I think music is highly interpretive by design. Each of these songs spoke to me in a particular time of life and got me through.

Reminders. Remind the person who he or she is to you. I had a sit down with D the day the counselor called. I didn’t hold back. I told him how much joy, fun and laughter I would miss if he weren’t here to share with me. I told him how lonely I would feel without him. I reminded him of his brilliant light inside that spreads love and kindness to all people who love him. I cried and sobbed and got all ugly-faced in front of him. I told him if he ended his life at such a young age he would never know the joy of becoming himself.

Share. I shared my childhood memories of being bullied because kids didn’t get me. I shared how I fought like hell my whole life to claw my way up out of the deep, dark hole that depression is. Share stories of others’ suicidal thoughts and successful climbs out of holes, like Scout’s here.

Talk. Be frank and ask hard questions – especially if you don’t want to know the answer. My mom probably didn’t want to know as a kid that I thought she was a control freak and that it hurt to be manipulated the way she would. That woman was a master at manipulation! Had I told her, maybe I wouldn’t have tried to off myself, though and maybe our relationship would have been better earlier.

Since we’re talking about talking it out, I thought I’d share with you D’s thoughts on suicide, too. And here goes nothin’:

People called me names and teased me. They called me lesbian and said things like I’m a rapist, and that made me feel like crap. They still do that. Talking to the counselor helped and when mom told me to avoid those kids I did. When mom told me that I must be so special that the kids had to talk about me because their lives weren’t interesting, that helped, too.

What would you do? Share your thoughts in a comment below, spread the word and help other transgender people and parents of transgender kids know – YOU ARE NOT ALONE. We are here, D and me, and we’ll help you through, because we’ve gotten good at this transitioning thing. Blessings friends, family and other supporters. Thank you, to you we are eternally grateful!

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