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Gay Boise State volleyball president survived two suicide attempts and found happiness

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Nick Bogar is a triathlete and president of the Boise State men’s club volleyball team.

Nick Bogar is now an out and proud gay athlete.

If you are LGBT and considering suicide, The Trevor Project is there to help, and they can help anonymously. You can visit their Web site or call their hotline at 866-488-7386.

I am so incredibly happy to be an out and proud gay man at Boise State University. Just a few short years ago in high school I could never have imagined my life being where it is today, a triathlete and president of the men’s volleyball club team at the school.

Yet this time of year always brings mixed emotions for me. It was around Halloween of my sophomore year in high school that I had my first suicide attempt.

I had been struggling with being gay, knowing deep down it was who I was but rejecting it like so many other teenagers. I just wanted to “fit in,” be normal, and lay low so I didn’t give people the opportunity to talk. I had girlfriends here in there, but I was always putting on an act.

Back then, coming out in middle school and high school was like jumping in a pool full of great whites. You were the laughing stock of the school and within five minutes, people from multiple schools would know.

No matter what, I had “rumors” go around that I was gay. When that happened, I was hit by a huge depression wave. No matter what I did, I couldn’t be happy with myself or anything else. I still was sickened by the fact that I wasn’t “normal”. The depression grew to where I did have thoughts of suicide and the “the world would be a better place without me in it” type of thinking.

Getting home after one of our high school football games, I felt particularly alone. My parents were going through a pretty bad divorce, which added to my stress. I sat down after getting home and my brain was running a million miles an hour with different thoughts and worries. It spun out of control. I needed to get out of this misery.

I went to the cabinet and grabbed different pills from different bottles. I downed them all at once. Then I went downstairs and found a rope to hang myself. As I was getting the rope, I grabbed it, dropped to my knees and cried so hard that I couldn’t breathe for a moment, my sight distorted by tears. I just thought of how my family would feel if I actually did go through this.

Those thoughts of my family saved me that night. I went back upstairs, calmed down, and went to bed and woke up trying to accept the fact that I am who I am and I can’t control certain things.

Months later my dad and I got into a huge fight over the divorce, and I went back downhill from there. Nothing could cheer me up. I started down the same self-destructive path, this time actually putting the rope around my neck. Again it was thoughts of my family – visions of my mom – that saved me. As I walked back to my room I decided this could not become a cycle or one day it would go to far. I had to somehow learn to love myself.

Shortly after I found the right moment to talk to a friend. We were talking about our fears, and I told her everything that had happened over the few months and that I did try to end my life. I asked her to not say anything, and she agreed.

Thankfully she broke that agreement and went to our school’s SRO officer. I was sitting in class when he walked in and asked my teacher if he could see me. Right when he and I were leaving, the principal came on the intercom and asked the teachers to pull up the email she just sent and read it to all the students: The email was about suicide prevention and what you should do if you are ever feeling down and need someone to talk to.

It was then that I finally believed people cared, and they cared about me.

The next two years in high school were amazing. I found a solid group of friends, I came to the realization that just because I am gay, I don’t need to tell everyone all at one right away. I can tell people when I want to and how I want to.

It was only at the end of my first year at Boise State University that I was anywhere near ready to come out to my college friends. One day just before finals one of my best friends in Boise said that we needed to talk. I had a feeling he wanted to ask me if I was gay, but I was wary of sharing it.

As we drove to the store in my car, he opened the dialogue.

“Is there anything you want to tell me?” He asked. “Because there is, I won’t judge you for it”.

At that moment I was so close to just coming out, but I still had that thought in the back of my mind that it could go terribly wrong.

“No,” I replied.

He wasn’t taking no for an answer. He suggested that he would say a secret, and then I could if I wanted to. I agreed.

“I’m bisexual,” he said.

Well that was a shocker. I never saw it coming. I never got that vibe when I was hanging out with him.

He must have gotten it from me though. He asked if I wanted to share something. I paused, then stuttered a bit still grasping for confidence.

“I’m gay.”

That summer I started telling everyone. My closest friends were so accepting and didn’t care at all.

For some reason the hardest person to tell was my mom. She knew something was up because she kept asking if something was bothering me. When I finally found the time to tell her, I sat on her bed and cried.

“Sweetie,” she said, “I think I’ve known longer than you.”

I think I was more upset by the fact that my mom knew before me. We laughed. It was great.

With every person I told, it was easier telling the next. I was also meeting other gay men and making friends who were gay, entering a new world that I had never come across or really even considered. I found some guys who really helped me understand everything. They built a support system whenever I needed advice.

My sophomore year I got more into club volleyball. I have met other gay volleyball players, and they have introduced me to other volleyball opportunities and even a whole league called the North American Gay Volleyball Association. It is just another way to network and meet other gay men and women and hear their stories. It’s pretty inspirational when I hear someone’s story and the different struggles that they had to overcome. Each story reassures me that I am not alone.

My teammates don’t treat me differently at all, and that probably makes me the happiest of all. I just recently came out on Instagram on National Coming Out Day because I was completely ready, and why not come out on the day designed just for tha. The amount of support from family, friends, and teammates really showed me that I am loved and accepted no matter what I do or who I am.

My goal in life now is to be that shoulder or ear someone needs when they are trying to find themselves. I want to let people know that they are not alone, and they don’t need to be in a rush to come out. It is your life, not anyone else’s, so don’t let anyone rush you.

Now that I am finally out, I have never been happier, more free, or more thankful for the different opportunities that come my way or that will come my way.

But the best part about me is that I am different and I accept that. I am gay.

Nick Bogar is a junior at Boise State University and president of the Men’s Club Volleyball team. He has completed two full Ironman Triathlons and a half Ironman.

You can find Bogar on Instagram @nicholaspbogr. You can also reach him via email at n-bogar@hotmail.com.

If you are LGBT and considering suicide, The Trevor Project is there to help, and they can help anonymously. You can visit their Web site or call their hotline at 866-488-7386.