A large percentage of the LGBTQ community deal with anxiety and depression, but why?
This question is one that interests me, why is it that so many members of our community are dealing with mental health issues. Being personally affected by it myself, I looked into why we may feel this way.
The difference between heterosexual and homosexual individuals dealing with anxiety and depression is 1.5-2.5 x higher. It’s important to understand why this is the sad reality.
With LGBTQ individuals being in a world that isn’t fully accepting of their lifestyle, we have generated an acute awareness. This means that we are very aware of our surroundings and can determine if we feel safe or not in that situation. Although this skill is amazing, it allows us to get anxious as we over think a situation.
It can affect how we portray and see ourselves to the outside world, if we feel we don’t conform in a way that will suit our surroundings, our thoughts trail off into negative ideas about your self image.
If you say you aren’t good enough, or no one will ever accept you enough times, the sad truth is that you will start to believe your own negative thoughts. It’s thought that LGBTQ individuals feel like 2nd citizens as in some countries being gay, lesbian, trans etc… is a crime and in extreme cases punishable by death.
So no wonder coming out seems like a daunting task, even if your country is accepting of the LGBTQ community. Although coming out is very liberating, to some that can be scary and that’s ok. We are all wired differently, we don’t have to deal with the same situations in the same way.
But the main question is what can we do to stop the LGBTQ community feeling so anxious and depressed?
But sometimes the issue lies within yourself, in order to start taking the right steps to being at peace with yourself. It’s ever so cliche, but in the words of Ru Paul;
In order to self heal, you need to see how special and unique you are. Everyone has their quirks, everyone has their bad habits. But it’s what makes you, YOU. There will never be anyone like you.
A great site that highlights ways to help depression and anxiety is Collective Evolution. They give 5 amazing ways on how to cope and self heal with depression. If you are going through this right now, maybe check it out.
As I have learned myself, with depression the smallest little thing can set us off. To others it may seem dramatic but to us it’s just the last straw and it can cause us to go back into a bad state. This is why it’s so important for us to develop our own coping mechanism. Personally, I’ve found a few ways to help myself.
- Occupy yourself: I find this one to be the most important and truthfully I’ve only been putting it into practice for the last couple of months. I started going to the gym, at first it wasn’t something I wanted to do but after going a couple times I started wanting to do more and more. Now I like to go 3 or 4 times a week – it’s almost addicting. By doing this, I’m distracting myself, I don’t have time to sit and dwell on my problems because my mind is focused elsewhere. The progress I’ve made is amazing – both physically and mentally. I’m in a much better mind set than before and I only wish that I started doing this a long time ago.
If the gym doesn’t take your fancy (it didn’t take mine for a long time), there are many other things you could do in your spare time. Go for a walk, read a book, take up dancing or singing. Try something new, you could surprise yourself. One of my favourite quotes is something along the lines of ‘stop worrying about what could go wrong and start getting excited at what could go right’, this is the perfect opportunity to put that into practice!
- Keep a diary: This is another thing I’ve found to help and put my mind at ease when I’m in a bad place. I keep a diary and try to write in it as often as I can, most importantly when something bad happens – write it down, write how it makes you feel, just rant all of your thoughts onto the page. I’ve also found it great to write down good things too. So when you have a good day or something amazing happens, put that in your diary. It’s really nice reading back on your old diary entries and you can see how much you’ve progressed.
Again, these are just some coping mechanisms that have worked for me on top of professional help. If you are in a bad place, go see a doctor or talk to somebody. It can be a daunting thing but it’s a massive stepping stone to getting better.
The Unite Team