After a Nearly Fatal Bout with Depression, Gay Man Learns to “Smile for Yourself” And Live Authentically.

by David

I’m David. I’m from Toronto, Ontario in Canada.

Back when I was in high school, I was watching this YouTube video of this YouTuber. He was gay at the time. When I saw his video, he talked about when he came out to his parents. It didn’t really go well at all. He was effectively disowned by his parents and he became homeless. It really left an impression of… on me, like, the fear of like, what would happen if I came out to my parents.

And so fast forward to my… to when I went to university. So I went to a pretty good university. And then so I went into to the school’s pre-medical program. While I was in the program, it just felt incredibly lonely because, you know, everybody’s competing against everybody else for, like, these very few spots to gain to medical school. It made me feel like I didn’t really have anyone to turn to or talk to. And then, because I was all very closeted, I didn’t really have my parents to talk to.

One night, I just felt… I was so, in a way, fed up with just what’s going on in my life. I was just mentally exhausted from, you know, from having to deal with school, deal with my sexual identity that I just lost the boat lift.

It was around like nine o’clock at night and no one was in… no one was in the apartment that I was sharing with my roommate. I went to the convenience store that’s near my… that’s near my apartment. And I walked up to the counter and asked… and asked the clerk there whether or not, like, whether or not they knew where the Tylenol was.

He asked me, like, “Are you okay?”

And then I, and I lied to him and I said, “I’m fine.”

And he’s like, “Are you sure you’re not gonna do anything terrible with this?”

And I was like, “No, I’m sure. I just have a cold. Can you point me to where the Tylenol is?”

And he showed me where the Tylenol was. I bought the pills and then I walked… I walked back to my apartment.

I took the pills. I blended up with… I blended up with vodka and I drank it. After I drank the solution, I decided to lie on a couch thinking that, you know, This is it. I’m like… I’m about to die.

I think after maybe like an hour, an hour and a half, it, like, my stomach suddenly to… my stomach just suddenly felt, like, incredible pain in my stomach where I was just… I couldn’t bear anymore. I think the pain finally got the best of me and I essentially crawled my way to the bathroom. After I puked. I was like, Okay, like, I don’t know if this is okay, but I’m gonna call… I’m gonna call someone. And I called the ambulance.

What really stuck out from that moment was that, for me, was that, like, it was that very intense desire to be like, I want to live.

After the ambulance brought me into the hospital, I ended up staying there for about three days. After that, I got home and I was just… I’ve officially hit rock bottom in the sense that was kind of playing back, you know, I tried to kill it all myself. My stay in the hospital, it didn’t really do well for my… didn’t really do well for my grades. I did, at that point, decide that school wasn’t appropriate for me. So I decided to talk to my school and told them that I’ll be going on break.

And then while I was on this break, I was just kind of looking around, trying to look for some answers to like how… how to get better, essentially. But then I came upon this article that was… that was talking about, like, you know, how to deal with depression. And one of the recommendations was to try to smile for yourself, like, you know, look at yourself in the mirror and smile, even if you don’t feel like it.

So after reading this article, after a few days, I was… I was brushing my teeth in the morning and I was thinking about this article. And I was like, This is… this is so dumb, like, what is this supposed to… like, I don’t see how this could possibly work for me. I tried to smile. And it was… it was so awkward and I couldn’t help, like, it was… it was so awkward that I ended up laughing because it was just so awkward.

Did that like for quite a while and, and things slowly started to get better. So after a few weeks of doing this ridiculous thing of smiling to myself in the mirror every morning after I brush my teeth, I suddenly came to the realization that, like for the most part of my life, I’ve been really trying to live my life for someone else. And soon after I realized that I just… I realized that I needed… I need a fresh start.

I decided to transfer from my school that was doing my pre-med… pre-med program in to… to another school that was in a bigger city. And at that point I also realized that I had a really… I was really fascinated with math. I got really deep into the subject and I started pursuing… I started pursuing a career in actuarial science.

So soon after I graduated from university I got a job from with my current company. During all this time, what really stuck out in my head was… was that video of the of the YouTuber that came out and had a terrible time with his parents.

I remember I was at this dentist appointment and I was ready to kind of go home. I was on the phone with my mom chatting and one thing led to another. We were kind of bickering and I pretty much said to my mom, like, “You don’t understand because I’m gay.” And there was there was… there was a… there was definitely like a little bit of silence and she realized how big of a deal this was. And so she told me that, like, you know “I think we… we need to sit down and talk about this.”

My parents sat me down and were talking about, like, my coming out. My dad pretty much just broke down and said, like, he said, “I wish you should have told us sooner.” With my mom, it took her awhile to kind of get around to it. I was just in a little bit of a shock that my parents disowned me because of my coming out.

You know, the relationship I have with my family has definitely improved. The best part was I think after a year after my mom got comfortable with everything, I brought home my boyfriend. After my boyfriend left, my mom had the best line and she said, “You’re just like your dad. You, like, your boyfriend is so good looking. Like you just, all you care about is looks.”

And at that point I was like, it really just… it cracked me up because it really just made me feel like, you know, my – at least on my mom’s end, she really… she really got around to this.

People do get to sown for for being gay, for being trans, for being part of the LGBTQ+ community. You have to live for yourself. I struggled with it, I think, for my entire life, pretty much. You shouldn’t think that because you’re living for yourself, it’s a… it’s a selfish act. It’s not, It’s definitely better when you’re… when you’re living your true identity, I guess.

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