Identifying as LGBTQ

First things first, identifying as LGBTQ+ is not a mental illness or disorder. Queer people are not “crazy” and there’s nothing wrong with them. Someone’s gender identity or sexual orientation should not be treated as problems that need to be prayed or therapized away. However, it’s important to note that members of the LGBTQ+ community are marginalized and they tend to be the most vulnerable to mental health illnesses and struggles.

Lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) individuals are twice as likely to battle a mental health condition than heterosexuals. Transgender people are almost four times as likely to struggle with their mental health than cisgender people. Younger LGB people stand the greatest risk of suicide and lingering sadness. Trans and non-binary youth are more prone to symptoms of depression compared to LGB and questioning youth.

Mental health for queers

Mental health for queers can be worsened by socio-economic and cultural factors, discrimination, sexual assault, bullying, lack of culturally affirming healthcare, harassment, isolation, human rights violation, rejection, stereotypes, shame, and trauma. It can be worse for queer people who are part of ethnic or racial minority groups like BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) and people with physical disabilities. Not forgetting the harshness and judgment of their religions.

Knowing that you’re queer can be a stressful process. Learning to love yourself, coming out to your friends/family, and finding ways to cope with discrimination can be a lot to deal with.

Getting help can also be difficult but you can take small steps every day to ensure that you’re taking care of your mental health.They are:

  1. Find a support group, club or community that feels right for you. This is very important especially when you’re still questioning or coming into your identity. Communities remind you that you aren’t alone on this journey and you also learn how from other people who’ve been through the same experiences. Surround yourself with positive and affirming energy. Resources: LGBT Life Center and Transgender support groups.
  2. Be aware of your own needs and make time to meet them. Monitor your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Examples of needs could be resting, self-care, timeout from people, affirmations, therapy, support, new experiences, etc. When you can’t meet your own needs, it’s okay to reach out to others for solace. Listening to your needs makes you feel like you are in control of your life.
  3. Avoid hostile spaces. Not everyone will be welcoming and accepting of your sexual orientation and gender identity. It’s noble to fight for your right to exist in these spaces but it can also emotionally drain you and push you to depression. Know when to back off. Know when the exchange isn’t worth it. By all means, stand up to bullies but not at the expense of your safety.
  4. Practice every day self-care. Get the basics right; healthy diet, hydration, rest, and exercise. A little self-care each day can improve your mental health, reduce stress levels and improve your moods. Setting personal boundaries is also self-care; openly communicate and uphold your values and limits with other people. Preserve and protect your energy.
  5. Seek affirming therapy. Not all therapists have experience working with LGBTQ+ individuals and others are not allies or their values don’t affirm queerness. A culturally competent therapist understands and validates your experiences and that’s what you truly deserve on your journey. You don’t have to look any further because we’re here for you. Our therapy sessions cater to your particular needs and concerns and we delight in walking with you.

 

Taking care of your mental health should be your priority.

Triggers are everywhere and if you’re not equipped with the right coping skills, it may be difficult for you to build resilience. Resilience is the ability to bounce back from adversity. Whether it’s taking a bubble bath to calm yourself or seeing a therapist, do what you must to ensure that you take care of yourself. Fiercely guard your inner peace and eliminate whatever threatens it. Our doors are open to receive you for your first therapy session. Schedule your consultation call today.