My name is Chippy and to be honest, you probably wouldn’t suspect this story coming from me. I was well liked in high school, I was the captain or assistant captain of most if not all my sports teams and I was a good student. I walked through the halls in grade 11 smiling with my head up and my shoulders back – I was excellent at hiding my emotions. You would have thought I was on top of the world until I ended up in the ICU, I had overdosed. This wasn’t by accident, I didn’t drink too much at a party or try a drug, I was alone in my room broken hearted and angry. So let’s back up.
I started crushing on girls early, I didn’t know what it was called but I knew it wasn’t the norm in a small town and I shouldn’t talk about it. By grade 8 I had my first girlfriend, secretly of course but I was in love. We would chat on MSN for hours and I would await my hockey practices or games to see her as she lived an hour away. This went on until the middle of grade 9 when her mom caught us kissing in a hotel room. This is where everything changed. I wasn’t allowed to see her anymore, her mom pulled her from hockey for a while, or policed any time we would have to be around each other. She had told the other hockey parents, warned them about me and my friendships became strained. I was heartbroken and confused. My own family hardly reacted, my mom assured me nothing was wrong with me and my dad had the response of “great, now pass the salt”. My home life did not flinch at all, so why was everyone else’s parents treating me like I had Ebola? Aren’t parents supposed to be the adults? Set an example? Why is this happening?
The hockey year finished and we couldn’t play on each others team anymore, but we loved each other and snuck around. We would talk of the times we wouldn’t have to deal with this anymore, then the realities of our situation would flare and we would break up and try to date other people, fit in or mask the hurt. Parents loved me initially, I was always invited around until their own daughter would begin to show signs of being gay. Then I wouldn’t be invited around or worse, I was blamed. I am someone who believes in fairness and am an extremely logical person so to have these things happen to me regardless of my intentions was infuriating and as I kid, I couldn’t do much to change it. I became selfish to my close friends while trying to be liked by everyone else. I had a chip on my shoulder and a fend for myself attitude. I had lost myself and I had locked my big sensitive heart in a trunk in my chest. I was a good kid inside, I was responsible and nice to everyone. I didn’t care where you were from, if you wore the coolest clothes or if you “fit in”. That was who I was authentically and I believed I was a good person.SO WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME?!
And then one day I snapped. The way they show in movies after a bomb goes off and everything slows down in the middle of chaos. I downed a bottle of pills so fast I couldn’t stop myself. But I was so afraid of more judgement I left a few pills in the bottle because a whole bottle is too stereotypical. Then the immediate embarrassment of having to tell someone made me wait to say anything at all. I didn’t want to be judged anymore, to be a burden anymore but I didn’t want to die. I had this myth in my head that overdosing would be like the movies, eat the pills and then fall asleep blissfully but it wasn’t. It hurt like hell. My brain felt like it was bleeding, my stomach wretched and then I told someone and fell asleep. My dad answered a frantic knock on our front door from a paramedic team who said they had a call that someone had overdosed. I can only imagine his shock as they rushed to my room. I was woken up and rushed to the hospital. I will never forget the look on my moms face that night as she watched me throw up. I wreathed in pain for days until I was transported, strapped to a hospital bed directly to the psych ward. I had medical appointments, ate anti depressants from tiny paper cups and drew with crayons for 12 days. I was watched 24 hours a day and that gave me a lot of time to reflect. I imagined going to university, moving to a bigger city and finding a community who could accept me. I thought that this world is so big and there are so many people that I must be able to find a place to be accepted. I thought “there is no way that this could be the whole world’s view” And that’s when I decided to stay;
I want to say it was easy going back, back home back to school back to hockey after I overdosed. That people didn’t walk on egg shells around me for a little while, or stare but they did. However I was so lucky to see my real friends and my family show up for me in a big way. I realized I must ask for help when I need it and then actually accept it. I had previously thought strength was in handling everything myself with no complaints but I was wrong. Strength is in vulnerability, in asking for help and in lending a hand to someone else. It is showing up in this world more authentically, getting up after being knocked down and realizing that no failure is forever.
Submitted by Chippy