Part of my life story is constantly thinking about suicide. Here is my personal experience and some perspective I have developed.

Committing Suicide

If you are thinking about suicide, please read this first.

If you need emotional support you can always send e-mail to the Samaritans. They understand suicidal thoughts and they're there to help you. They try to reply within 24 hours.

If you would like to talk to somebody on the telephone, here are some directories you can use to find a help center near you: Befriender's Network and the American Association of Suicidology

Madeline's Personal Experience with Suicidal Thoughts

From third grade until I transitioned I seriously considered committing suicide probably once a week! I never did but I certainly felt jaded at the world and hopeless out of control of my own life and desparate to end the pain and too confused to go on living and all sorts of other convuluted things I still can't put words to. In some ways I wonder if thinking about suicide so much wasn't a way I gained control over life. I could think, "Things are bad now and if they ever got really bad I could always exit life." I have experience with feeling suicidal and I would never judge somebody else for having those kinds of thoughts too. Even so, I probably can't completely understand what you're feeling now. Your feelings belong to you and only you are living your life. I would never try to tell you what's right for you. But just that you've bothered to read this far into this page makes me wonder if there isn't a small part of you that really wants to seek out a different path. Maybe there's a small part of you that really wants to live and experience life and somehow deal with all the pain. And it's not like I can tell you what that solution is for you. Only you can figure that out. But I can share with you some of how I found my own solution for me. I hope you'll consider reading it?

I have a reputation for always being cheerful and an optimist. It's kind of surprising to me. But, then again, I guess it's something I should expect because no matter how completely miserable and suicidal I've been, I've always presented myself to the world a happy as I possibly could. It somehow seems wrong and selfish to be upset. It isn't really wrong or selfish to have any feelings but this is one of the issues I keep going to therapy to explore. I haven't considered committing suicide in the last several years but that's very different from how I used to be.

As I sit here trying to think of what to say about my suicidal feelings I just can't seem to bring any coherence to them. It's like I can't figure out how it used to make so much sense even though I 'm sure it did to me. I guess the main reason I considered committing suicide was that I couldn't see any other possible solution and suicide was one of those solutions I really could control. There was a time when I carefully took one extra pill from various prescriptions in my parent's medicine cabinet. I never found out if it was enough to kill me. It wasn't because of religion because by then I hated God for doing this to me. Eventual I just didn't believe in a God. Maybe it was for my parents, and for my non-stop worry about being selfish, but I really don't know. All I knew by high school was something needed to stop. I tried all sorts of things like repressing all of my emotions acting happy believing this is how life should be and so on. But really all those solutions were patchwork; nothing fundamentally changed. And that's what made suicide feel so right. It would be a *real* change. But maybe I just was too scared to try it because I still never acutally killed myself.

Madeline's Epiphany: Controlling her own Destiny

It wasn't until I went to grad school that my life came tumbling down. There was one incident after another where I felt so totally helpless to control anything in my life. It's kindof funny to think about how I handled it. I remember my mom parroting back to me on the phone something I said way too often to her questions, "everything's under control." But really nothing felt within my control. I couldn't even seek refuge in my own apartment. It was a tiny efficency that was just so dismal and run-down it drained me just living there. Over the summer I decided to fix it up as a way of isolating myself for a little while. The old couple who owned the building offered to pay for the supplies and I thought, "how hard could painting this little room be?"

But painting that tiny apartment turned out to be a huge undertaking. It was dismal and gross and the closer I looked the more dismal and gross it became. I'd peel off peeling paint just to find it was slapped up to cover another layer of peeling paint. It was even gross underneath it all! My thoughts often wandered to the history of this place and I wondered about those who came before me. I came across layers of gross paint that were orange and bizarre colors that must have been remnants from the sixties. But even that terrible color choice almost seemed to be somebody else's attempt to just quickly cover up the mess and move on. And I'm sure for many of the previous tenants of my apartments this really works. You can conceal all of yucky things with a glossing over of paint. But hiding underneatch are still all the mold and holes and gunk that would eventually come through to later tenants. And by then the problems even festered and grew into bigger uncontrollable problems. But I became almost zealous-like in fixing this apartment. I wasn't going to let there be any hidden gunk and temporary patchwork. Even though I knew I would probably live there only another year, I just needed it to be right.

Out of my zealous cleaning and painting and fixing I would just collapse sometimes and look around thinking about the history of this place. I thought of how idiotic it was that needed to fix this place so much. I thought about how I could have gotten myself to the point of caring so much about this place, Then I thought about my own history.

The history of this tiny room is the history of my tiny life.

This room is me.

Throughout my life I never really dealt with the real me. When I had problems in the 'outside' world I did my own 'quick-fix' painting. And that really worked!! At least for a little while. And then it was just time for another surface of 'good' paint to put over the 'bad' surface. So why was I so zealous about fixing up this apartment? Maybe it just seemed easier than my own life? I finished fixing up my apartment and it looked beautiful when I was done. And throughout my painting efforts I thought I of how I might do the same thing for my life.

I made a list of everything I felt was wrong with me and my life. The list filled pages and pages of notebook paper! There were maybe 5 or 6 dozen items!! But now what? I began by going through my list and I realized there really wasn't any way to fix about half of the things on my list. For example, I was still really upset about how my grandfather died and I was never able to connect with him even though I felt we had a lot in common. But it was already too late. I made another list for those items: "Mistakes to Learn From." I still felt no control over those things but in a certain symbolic sense putting it on one list was a relief. And I could feel at least a little control of my life by writing how I would like to be different in the future.

With the same zeolousness I put towards my apartment, I worked to fix everything else on my list. Some items were trivially simple but somehow having it on this list made it worth dealing with. I spent the rest of the summer on my list and by the end I had only two items left. One was that I hated my career path. Even though it seemed absurd to throw away all of my work for years I thought about what I would do if only I could make a fresh start. I knew I really liked working with children and I really liked science so I thought about taking Developmental Psychology classes even though I knew *nothing* about the field. I also interviewed several professors abvout what their careers were like and, even though it still seemed absurd, I decided being a Developmental Psychologist would be best for me.

But then there was still one more item left on my list: my gender identity conflict. I mean, really, changing careers is one thing, but changing sex???? That's absurd!! But, then again, less than a year ago changing careers seemed absurd too. Yet now I was accepted into a Ph.D. program to become a Developmental Psychologists! For years and years I'd been going out in girl-form so why not just always be in girl-form? I started living my entire life in girl-form except in those places I had to appear as a boy. And it just seemed more and more like the right path. So finally, a year after trying to gain some control over my life, I telephoned a gender identity clinic and began fixing this part of my life too.

Thank you for reading this far in my personal story about how I took fixed my own life. I especially appreciate you taking the time to do this when I know you probably have a lot on your mind right now. And I'm not even sure I know what it is I hope I've conveyed. I guess it's simply that it's very understandable to me that you might feel suicidal. It's really overwhelming to have no sense of control over your life. But at the same time I found that feeling of no control kind of liberating in the end. If you're considering suicide then you really have nothing to lose by considering alternatives. Like, why not try creating a list of how you might completely change your life? It's worth trying. You might find that if you radically change your life to something that's truly living your own life you could feel really in control of your destiny. I hope you will consider living you life rather than ending a life you never really had the chance to begin.