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Coming Out -- Suicidal Thoughts and Denial

by Michael*

Ralph Seland commented,
Suicide is rarely caused by one problem. There is usually an accumulation of a number of factors that come to bear on a person all at once.

Michael replied:

Yes, suicide does indeed involve a lot of other factors, but I think this does not apply to the person who "comes out" of the closet.

I remember that at one scary time in my life, for only about 30 minutes, I considered suicide. (And as you know, that's plenty of time for a person feeling that way to go through with it.)

It all began when I "attempted" to come out of the closet to family. (I'm now back in the closet, and my family's in denial, which seems to work better for all!) My sister, who had been one of my closest friends, became angry and distant. My father told me "love could turn to hate." My brother looked at me as if I was a lab experiment. My sister who was away from home ceased to write me. All this within a short period of time!

My point is that I was devastated by this! And it was not the result of "pre-existing conditions," for my life was fine before this. It was a direct result of coming out of the closet!! I was not prepared for the avalanche of judgment I received from my own loved ones. The crowning touch came when I visited my sister's home for a friendly visit one day, trying to mend some of the recent pain between us. She came down on me so hard and with such anger (and also her own personal pain at finding out her dearly loved brother was gay) that I left the house with one of the darkest clouds over me that I had ever felt in my life. I had never seen my sister so distraught over me. Suddenly, on the way home, suicide made sense!!! (I look back and consider this one of the scariest moments of my life!) I was unintentionally hurting my family. My sister was brokenhearted and angry. My father appeared to hate me now. My brother no longer understood me. My mother said nothing (which was almost the most painful of all.)

I felt I had ruined the peace in my family --broken them. I suddenly reasoned that perhaps it would be better if I was no longer here, to ruin their lives. I felt so horribly confused, because I had only wanted to tell my family something that had existed for years in my life. I never dreamed it would cause the break in our family it seemed to be creating. (I say "seemed", because even though it took time to heal the wounds, they did eventually after a few years).

Thank God that sense came back to me after that 30-minute period! And now, after actually facing death with an operation I needed, I wouldn't in my wildest dreams contemplate suicide! Life's already too short! I now love the gift of each new day.

But the point is, the trauma of coming out almost killed me!! There were no pre-existing conditions. But I do agree with you that the struggle to accept/repent of being gay is probably not enough in and of itself to result in suicide, but I do feel that "coming out of the closet" could result in suicide (and by the way, I don't recommend coming out for every person. For some, it's just not wise. For some it's better to say that the man you are always with is a friend and roommate, rather than your lover, because the family actually prefers to live in denial. It's just easier on everybody.)

So I just wanted to point out that trauma in and of itself can be enough to drive a person to suicide. That's why we need as a society to be better educated on what being gay is and how it can impact our sons and daughters. We also need to realize, as gay or even non practicing gay people, that coming out of the closet is not always a wise choice. We have on this list married men who told their wives of their past and it seemed to result in no good. Ann Landers once commented on this issue and said sometimes it's better to let "dead dogs lie" (especially for those husbands who are gay oriented and have no plans to return to a gay life.)

As A.A. says, "Take what you need, and leave the rest." :-)

Had I committed suicide because I had "ruined" my family, I would have never learned that within a few years my sister and I would be back on good terms again, and closer than we've ever been (she still doesn't discuss being gay with me. It's easier for her that way, it seems.) My father and mother seem to be in total denial, but we are also very close. My sister who had quit writing me, can now freely discuss homosexuality with me in a non-judgmental way and has shown me so much compassion. And my brother and I discuss it freely. Quite a change from "ruining" my family.  

What if I had done it? What if I had killed myself? I would have never learned that these trials made me a stronger and more compassionate person. I would never have learned God's grace in this situation. I would have never learned that life is worth living!!

* To protect the privacy of our subscribers, all names are pseudonyms, unless otherwise mentioned. 


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