Day 5 – Thoughts regarding inner turmoil about your sexuality; Did you have any? Did it escalate to self-injury or suicidal thoughts?
I don’t remember having a lot of “turmoil” around my sexuality. I mean even today an exact definition of my identity is hard to nail down, but it wasn’t really a “problem” for me. Once I realized that there were new options, new data, I incorporated that information pretty readily. I did have difficulty with isolation, because the internet was new back then, and while I finally learned that there were actual gay people out there, somewhere, I didn’t have them near me. They were all so far away, and I didn’t have a social circle that I could talk about what I was discovering about myself.
I did have two suicide attempts. One I remember very little about, other than that it wasn’t a serious attempt, it was pretty much acting out in anger. The other I was very serious about, but I didn’t really know what I was doing, so it didn’t work. I was in a lot of emotional pain, and I wanted it to stop. While that attempt was not “about” my sexuality, the way my sexuality was affecting the rest of my life was definitely a factor.
It was the summer after my first year living at college. It was a really rough summer for me. I had spent the school year being actively involved in a lot of different activities, between the pagan group, being on the board of the LGBT organization, working with the other Alphas to form a chapter of my fraternity. I spent that time surrounded by people who actually knew who I was, and who were like me. I had friends. Honest to god friends, who I could really be myself around, who didn’t think my interests were weird. And then summer came, and the rug was pulled out from under me. I went back home, to my small town, in a house with people that I was not yet out to. My support system was gone, and I was all alone again.
Then I worked on a summerstock community theater production in my hometown. I was still pretty isolated, but at least I was doing something I enjoyed. I had asked a lot of my friends, including my fraternity brothers to come to see the show. It was a decent drive from the city the college was into the town where the show was, but not that unreasonable. No-one came to the show. I realized my support system was not as supportive as I thought it was. Then the show ended, and I got hit pretty hard with the depression that always hit me at the end of a show.
And then while I was dealing with that, something happened with work that I don’t remember the details of, only that it finally pushed me over the edge, and I drove home from work, parked the car in the garage, closed the garage door, left the car running, and tried to go to sleep and not wake up. Of course it was a two and a half car garage, and there was no way it was going to fill up with enough exhaust in a reasonable amount of time to do any serious harm, so all I ended up with was a headache.