Here I am with my partner of 38 years, a home we own without a mortgage, a daughter and three wonderful grandchildren. I don’t really know how I survived my teenage and young adult years but I am truly grateful that I did.

I spent much of my time as a teenager trying to ‘fit in’. I think I knew I was different but I really didn’t understand or even know what that difference was. In my early teenage years, I attempted suicide or at least sought attention in that way. I was a sad and depressed teenager.

Later, I actually spent a lot of time doing what I thought was expected: having boyfriends, having sex, partying a lot. I didn’t really enjoy sex but I kept at it for a couple of years because I thought I might learn to like it! Anyway, when I was about 17 or 18 I tested the idea of being a lesbian. I was driving my brother’s girlfriend home and I told her that I was really attracted to her. Her response was to say that I had a crush and it was pretty normal and I’d get over it! Well, tried to ‘get over it’ continuing with life practices that were uncomfortable for me. Eventually, that girlfriend married my brother and I still have a ‘crush’ on her! All of us – my brother, sister in law, their kids, my partner and my other siblings – often have a laugh about the ‘crush I had’.

I know how lucky I am to have failed in any suicide attempt and to have a wonderful partner and a truly loving chosen and given family.