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This gay former college athlete found life in the midst of a suicide attempt

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Lars Egge now coaches in Minnesota to help youth.

Lars Egge ran track & field for Bemidji State Univ. in Minnesota.

If you are LGBTQ and considering suicide, contact The Trevor Project hotline at 866-488-7386. It is a FREE hotline, and someone is there to help.

The night before I came out, I attempted suicide.

At that time my grades were slipping, I was in an unhealthy relationship, I missed my family and friends back home, and I was not out. I was severely depressed. My mental health at that time was diminishing. It just felt like everything was weighing heavily on my shoulders and my world was crashing in.

I felt like there was no way out. I felt alone, I hardly ate, I was tired all the time. My motivation for life was slipping away from me.

I remember sitting on my bed in my dorm asking myself whether would anyone really miss me if I were gone. Never have I ever felt this low in my life. I was so embarrassed to talk about who I truly was because I did not know what my friends, family or teammates would think. What would the outcome be? Would I still be respected for the person that I am? Would life get easier or harder?

That night I attempted suicide for the first time I sent out a few text messages to friends saying something along the lines of “this is it.”

Before I knew it, a police officer was knocking at my dorm door. I was quickly rushed to a hospital in Bemidji. The rest is a bit hazy. I remember having horrible stomach pains, vomiting a few times. I remember being hooked up at an IV and other instruments. The next morning I was released to friend who had to watch me.

I kind of bit the bullet and said, “Screw it I am going to announce this I cannot keep this to myself, I cannot live this lie anymore.” My parents called wondering what happened, and I broke down and told them that I was gay and about the suicide attempt. They offered me their support.

Then I took to Facebook to share with my world that I am gay. This secret I lived with my entire life was now out there, and there was no turning back.

I received a lot of love and support about my post, but I still didn’t seem willing to let it in. Even with supportive messages I just kept thinking, “What the hell did I just do?” I felt like by coming out I ruined the future for me. I definitely got in my head and, despite the support on Facebook, I convinced myself that everything was going to go downhill now that I was out. I thought because I announced that I am gay, the opportunities in life were not going to be there for me.

A few days later I attempted suicide again. I had the realization that I had done something terrible by coming out as gay. I just couldn’t be gay. I was again rushed to the hospital by ambulance.

This time the hospital did not release me. I was sent over to mental hospital where I was put on a 72-hour hold. That 72-hour hold felt like a month. I was under constant watch. I had a variety of meetings with doctors, medical staff and university officials. There was a seemingly unending stream of tests and other screenings.

My mother visited me there in the mental hospital. Seeing her and watching her break down in front of me was unbearable.

I do not want to ever go back to that hospital, let alone be under that 72-hour hold again. The next time, it wouldn’t be 72 hours. Something about being in there and that environment finally woke me up. I never ever wanted to be there again. That hold in the hospital really opened up my eyes.

I grew much closer to my family after that, especially my brother, who is six years older than me. We can now actually appreciate each other’s company without the bickering and fighting. Never did I expect that to happen.

About a year after I came out I visited my old high school track and field sprint coach, Scott Wieker. He had coached my 4x400 relay teammates and me to a fourth-place finish at the state meet.

We got caught up about the current team and talked track. We also talked about my senior year in high school; He knew something was up, I just was not acting like myself. He reassured me that he did not care about the fact that I’m gay, and that he still respects and supports me for the person and athlete that I am.

In the winter of 2016 I asked if he needed help coaching for that upcoming 2016 season. He welcomed the help. I was asked this past March to coach for the 2017 season. This is my second year coaching track & field – sprints – at my old high school, Robbinsdale Armstrong High School in Plymouth, Minn. I coach alongside Scott Wieker who coached me while I was in high school.

The reason I coach is to help give back to those coaches who have helped me become the person I am today. I also aim to recognize the potential in athletes who do not necessarily see it in themselves and help them grow to become successful athletes on and off the track.

I know a few of the coaches that I work with know I am gay and support me 100%. Maybe only a handful of athletes know, but I guess this article will change that. Am I a little nervous? Kind of. I do not know how some will react. Nonetheless to the athletes I teach I am still their coach and my sexuality should not matter. Who knows, maybe I can be a role model to them, a person they look up too.

Coach Wieker is also currently coaching me, as I plan to compete at the Paris 2018 Gay Games. Competing at the Gay Games would be the highlight of my running career and also a chance to travel to a country and city that I have always wanted to visit. Hopefully I can run well and maybe get some PR’s. It would be pretty awesome to bring home some hardware for Minnesota and Team USA.

What happened to me six years ago really opened up my eyes. I do not want to ever go down that dark path again. It definitely changed me and molded me to become the person I am today, and I would not trade that for the world. Life is so precious and can be taken away at any moment. Today I am happier than ever and really excited for what the future has in store for me.

Lars Egge, 25, is an athlete and coach. He graduated from Bemidji State University in 2015 with a bachelors degree in criminal justice. You can find him on Facebook, or on Instagram @lars1egge.

If you are LGBT and considering suicide, contact The Trevor Project hotline at 866-488-7386. It is a FREE hotline, and someone is there to help.