Trigger Warning: This article discusses fear, anxiety, dysphoria, and thoughts of suicide.
It is 5:03 AM, as I awake suddenly. I must have been dreaming. About what I have no idea, but I am overcome by a state of panic. In two hours I am supposed to get out of bed and get ready for work. That is when I will continue to live the life that was built by a person who had no will to live. I am stuck and I know it. Stuck in the choices made in a former existence.
This person didn’t care about the future; they just did what needed to be done. They made sure everyone in their life was taken care of regardless of the consequences or what it meant for them personally. They liked the abuse, the pain caused by being in a dead end job full of confrontation. At least it reminded them that they were still alive. There was no future to think about, no hope to hang on to. This person couldn’t bear the thought of existing another day as they were, so they just focused on everyone else. For my former self it was a noble justification, at least in my own mind, to see my family find happiness and it gave me a reason to go on.
“THERE IS SO MUCH THAT I WANT TO DO, BUT I FEEL LIKE I AM SPINNING MY WHEELS.”
But that person in that dead end job is now me, and my name is Mila. Now I want to live and I want to have a future. I have a million ideas, thoughts, and dreams. I don’t want to live a meaningless life anymore or work in an abusive environment. There is so much that I want to do, but I feel like I am spinning my wheels. All because a person who didn’t want to live stuck me in the mud of a former life, and now I can’t get out of it.
It is now 5:20 AM, I am torn as the panic and the anxiety sets in. I have come so far. I did the hardest part; I came out to the whole world and said, “This is ME!” So why am I scared now? Why am I so afraid to take the big leap with the rest of my existence? After all, I only get a half of a life to live, if even that much.
For one there are people involved. My wife and my children, I have already put them through enough have I not? How could I just quit without knowing how we will get by? How could I do that to them? At this point my thoughts are rambling in my own head. I am supposed to be one of the lucky ones. I didn’t lose everyone in my life, but I think about what it must be like to be able to choose your own journey without having to worry about anyone else. In a way I envy those who lost everything, yet I feel guilty that the thought even popped into my head. They have it so much worse than I do and I am a horrible person for even having the thought. I also love my wife and kids more than anything in this world. I know I am lucky. Now I feel even more guilt.
“WHY AM I THINKING ABOUT MYSELF WHEN THOSE I LOVE ARE SO MUCH MORE IMPORTANT TO ME?”
It is now 5:42 AM, and I start to spiral further. Here I am. In my mind, at this moment, I am an incomplete science project that will never be finished. I will never have the money to do anything about it; not without hurting those I love. How can I selfishly spend a dime on myself when I have a kid in college and a house that needs repair? Why am I so selfish as to have such thoughts? Why am I thinking about myself when those I love are so much more important to me? The tears start rolling down my face, as the anxiety gets worse. I look at my beautiful wife sleeping as I wonder if she knows that I go through this process on a daily basis. Why did I begin this journey that I may never complete? Why did I put my family through all this? I am a mess.
Who am I to even think that I have a chance? The world sucks. There are bigots everywhere. Who would hire me anyway? It is foolish for me to think I can change my life. Up until now my existence has been a bunch of “almost’s” and “so close’s.” I destroyed everything in path because of my gender issues. A music career that I will never have the time to get back to as my real self, a career as a writer, a transgender activist, or running a community center. How do I make any of this work when I give 60 hours a week to a job that sucks the life out of me and doesn’t even provide insurance that covers transgender care? What a foolish existence. I am controlled by the fear and destined to live a life of disappointment and dysphoria.
It is 6:04 AM, and then it happens. The thought just pops in my head. Maybe I shouldn’t exist at all? I begin to think of ways I can do it. Razor blade? No too typical and way to messy. I wouldn’t want my wife to find me that way. Gun? No, I don’t have the guts to do that. I would probably do it wrong and survive somehow being further debilitated. Perhaps a drug binge until my heart stops beating? That may be an interesting way to go. Would I write a note? Maybe I would write my suicide letter and have it post a week after my death on Transgender Universe. In a way just like Leelah Alcorn did, but she was much tougher than I was. I am weak. I didn’t have the courage to say who I was at her age like she did. I certainly would have ended up with the same fate. The world is so messed up. I always think about her. Would anyone care anyway if I didn’t exist? They would have nothing to be embarrassed about. They wouldn’t have to feel awkward when they were in my presence. After all, they look at me as if I died already. Are my kids better off without me?
“..I AM SUPPOSED TO BE THE ONE WHO HAS IT ALL TOGETHER.”
Wait, what the hell am I thinking about? I look at the clock and it is now 6:24 AM. Am I really thinking about ending it all? I am Mila Madison, I am supposed to be the one who has it all together. I write for Transgender Universe and I run a transgender community center. I am supposed to be the one who gives everyone else hope and encouragement. If only everyone knew the truth about me. The truth, that I am just as hopeless and broken as the rest of us. In this moment I am a fraud and a fake. I have no business being here. How the hell did these thoughts get in my head? “Mila get it together,” I say to myself.
At around 6:45 AM, I manage to get back to sleep. My alarm rings at 7:00 AM. I get up and get ready for work. I put on my makeup and chisel away at the last remnants of that person who put me in this crazy routine. I wonder if I will ever get there. Can a transgender girl really have it all? Could I have a family and a career doing what I want to do? Could I have a life of helping others while being able to support a family? Will I ever be able to complete myself without hurting those I love? I wish I knew the answer, but I will keep trying to figure it out.
If you are a transgender person, some of this may make sense to you. I really don’t know to be honest. In the end we all go through these moments of weakness and doubt no matter how far we get in our journey. I just get through it, pick myself up, and get out the door. But I will keep trying to find the answers as I push forward. Some people may read this and say, “Wow that is pretty messed up.” They may call me a troubled soul or a person with some serious issues. But or me, I just call it Monday.