A Personal Story Dealing With Depression & Self Identifying as Gay

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“I came out to my parents about my sexuality at the age of 16. To say the least, they did not take it well, nor were they supportive of who I really was. They thought it was not normal, that I was going through a phase, and if I continued to identify myself as ‘gay’, then I would live a life full of suffering and people looking down on me. I felt betrayed and hurt. Their words really hit me hard, because I was their son, someone they were supposed to love and support unconditionally. If my own parents do not want to accept me for who I am, then who else would? My depression and anxiety got worse. I started to take drugs, suicide crossed my mind many times. I had no self-esteem and felt as if I had no self-worth. I felt hopeless. I remember thinking ‘is there something wrong with me? Why can’t I be normal like other boys and change how I feel, to make my parents accept me?’ and I tried. I hid my sexuality for a long time and let my depression turn for the worst when I overdosed on drugs to get rid of all the pain I felt. My parents found me in my room unresponsive and took me to the hospital. A few days later, I was transferred to CAMH (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health) where I was treated for my depression, anxiety and drug addiction through their Mood and Anxiety Program. I also learned about an organization called ‘The 519’ that works towards bringing LGBTQ individuals together to meet, participate and celebrate together. I decided to take a chance and attended some of their programs and met many people who were just like me and had gone through a similar situation as me. About 2 years later, with treatment, therapy and making new friends, I finally started to notice a change in myself, I finally felt accepted and safe. I finally felt normal. My parents are still not completely open to my lifestyle choices yet, but I know they will come around slowly. It really shocked them when I tried to kill myself, and they went through a lot of guilt, but now they are trying their best to understand me for who I am. I want to educate others with my experience and remind other LGBTQ youth that they are not alone, there is help out there, and it is not the end of the road.”

Dealing with depression and other mental illnesses is tough and challenging, but when an individual identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer (LGBTQ), it can become much more difficult to cope when some people do not accept the for who they truly are. Many LGBTQ individuals feel alienated from others, and find themselves battling with their true identity versus the public’s perception. Sadly, many LGBTQ individuals find themselves resorting to suicide, because there does not seem to be a better option (their risk of suicide is 14 times more compared to their heterosexual peers and 20% greater for those living in unsupportive environments1,2). For those of you living with a mental illness, there is help out there- you do not have to suffer in silence. Let’s work towards creating more safe and supportive environments. Let’s talk depression.

LGBTQ- friendly Crisis Lines:

Trans Lifeline: (877) 330-6366

PFLAG Canada: 1-888-530-6777 ext 226

The Lesbian, Gay, Bi Trans Youth Line: 416-962-0777

For more information about ‘The 519’ click here : http://www.the519.org/index.php

For additional resources, help and support, visit: http://www.camh.ca/en/hospital/Pages/home.aspx

~Joti, Humans of Depression Representative

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References

  1. http://rhvp.ca/lgbtq-youth-suicide/
  2. http://ontario.cmha.ca/mental-health/lesbian-gay-bisexual-trans-people-and-mental-health/