I’ve been off the internet and only heard her story a couple of days ago. If you’ve been AWOL too, I’ll catch you up.
Leela was born a boy on the outside and a girl on the inside. To ultra-religious parents who sent her for faith-based counseling to change her mind. Punished her by taking her out of school and barring her from online support. Told her God didn’t make mistakes, which by their interpretation, meant she was immoral and crazy to feel the way she did.
I love it when people tell you how wrong your feelings are.
So Leela stepped in front of a semi. Her suicide note came up later, on her Tumblr.
Oh, it’s been taken down. As well as her mother’s note on Facebook mourning her “son’s accident”.
Read the note. It’s a little self-serving and demand-y, but it’s also bleeding with despair. And I do not see how her parents could refuse to bleed with her.
Parents have dreams for their children. I’ve always hoped all mine end up with fulfilling careers and an opposite-gendered spouse and chubby, curly-haired kids. Because that’s what I think will bring them joy. But if it doesn’t, what’s more important—my dream or their happiness?
I don’t think Leela’s parents had to compromise their beliefs by aiding Joshua’s transition to Leela. But they did have a responsibility to send her to unbiased counselors who could help Leela cope and make plans.
And love her.
A beloved weatherman committed suicide recently. We watched him nearly every morning in my house, and we will miss him immensely.
He was a funny guy–clever, never mean, and certainly not afraid to look silly for the sake of a laugh. The kind of guy people flocked to because, well, he just made you feel better.
But he was suffering.
A large percentage of depressed people don’t look depressed.
It’s a corny cliché: “Laugh, clown, laugh.” But it’s based in truth.
When you’re flat, packed in cotton, humor is a stimulant. It’s self-medication.
Problem is, like any stimulant, it wears off.
We are all responsible for our own actions. If you can have a hand in saving someone, it is a blessing for both of you. If you can’t, it is not you’re fault.
Suicide is not a decision made in a rational moment–believing your loving family and friends would be better off if you didn’t exist–how could that ever, ever be true?
Just because someone can laugh and crack a joke, make you smile, doesn’t mean he feels joy or satisfaction or safety.
Try to hold his hand until the irrational moments pass, if he’ll let you.
Pray he’ll let you.