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This is how I stopped myself from committing suicide

This is how I stopped myself from committing suicide

Transgender people are 40% likely to commit suicide

When I picked up the knife to kill myself, I was scared.

For too long I had been the butt of the joke, the target, the faggot. I was sick of being a punching bag. I was sick of it.

And I didn’t want to feel scared anymore.

More than a decade ago, I came out as gay at 14 to a shocked art class.

From the second I arrived at secondary school, I was teased for being gay. I was given the identity even before I figured it out on my own.

And so, when one idiot was making fun of gay people, I stupidly said: ‘Well, I’m gay, so what does that make me?’

The looks on everyone’s faces were like a courtroom drama. He finally said it. He finally admitted it. He’s out. The faggot is out.

And from that moment on, it spread like wildfire. And the bullying got so much worse.

Rocks were thrown at my head. One guy tried to strangle me in a corridor. I was repeatedly sent to the nurse for ‘falls’.

I would fantasize constantly about my own death, like it was a movie I couldn’t wait to see. Would my family honor a request for a religion-free funeral? Probably not.

Would anyone regret what they had done to me if I died? Probably not.

Would anyone care? Probably not.

In my grief-stricken, depressed, confused teenage mind, there was no escape. Teachers would stare and do nothing, while my family had barely any idea. And how could I come out to my family? Coming out didn’t exactly work out in art class.

I stared in my bedroom mirror half naked, my bruised body broken down, and I felt like I needed to finish the job. This happened around six months after I first came out.

So I picked up a knife from the kitchen, sat down on a chair in my bedroom, and sliced at the thin skin on my left palm. I wanted to feel the sting, the blood trickling down the arm, and I watched it. That was the first time I had hurt myself on purpose.

Could I do it? Could I take that step?

I wouldn’t slice my wrists, no. I’ll stab myself. When I look down, I can still somehow see the knifepoint staring straight at my solar plexus. All it would take is a quick moment of strength, all it would need is a modicum of power for me to finally do it.

I stood there half naked in my bedroom, knife pointed at my gut, and I prepared to finally end the pain.

But I didn’t.

I didn’t do it.

I put down the knife.

Like dam gates closing, or a moment of clear sky in a thunderstorm, I felt a fundamental truth. It was a thought, an utterance, a saving grace.

‘I don’t deserve to die.’

My head trumped my anguished beaten heart, and I knew I didn’t want to be a statistic. Or be a number. I didn’t want this moment to be my story. I didn’t want to be known forever as the gay teenager who committed suicide over homophobic bullying.

It was like a switch had flipped. I had been drowning in a whirlpool but I suddenly found myself floating.

I may never know why I put down the knife. School certainly didn’t get easier until I found myself at college at 16, and I was able to make friends in a place where people were more grown up, understanding, and were thinking for themselves past the bigotry.

But I never considered it again, and I never would.

When I look back at the 14-year-old me, huddled in a ball in a corner, all I wish for is someone to have noticed. To step into the whirlpool with an outreached hand. But it was ultimately a decision I, and everyone who considers suicide, had to make for myself to carry on living.

For World Suicide Prevention Day, we cannot rely on people making a split second decision to save themselves. I still shudder to this day at the thought of what would have happened if I had access to a gun.

It’s about reaching people before that nadir moment. Whoever they are, they need to know they deserve to live far before it ever gets to that point.

So please reach out to someone, if you know someone that needs help. Sometimes the simplest thing is just letting someone you know that you care, you’re there, and you’re happy to listen.

Don’t let suicide be the end of their, or your, story. The future has many more pages.

If you’re a young person in the US and considering suicide, please call The Trevor Project. Papyrus is available for young people in the UK. A list of international suicide prevention hotlines and groups is available here.