As long as I can remember, I’ve been gay. There has never been a moment where I wasn’t gay. In fact, I rarely thought about my sexuality as different until I am reminded by someone else that I’m gay.
My childhood is like many LGBTQ peers: If I would have been outed in high school, I can’t imagine what I would have done. It was terrifying to just hear the words sissy or have someone call me names they were naming my truth, but their intention wasn’t to help me. It was all about calling out how I was different from them.
As an adult, I realize there is a term for this: Trauma.
When I was diagnosed with depression and ADD, things started to make more sense.
The speech impairment as a kid.
Being tied to my chair in class in order to get me to focus.
The anxiety, the inability to learn like the other kids, or even to read a book like them.
So many years later, I learned that I needed to think about my mental health as something to attend do, to have an active relationship with. It requires daily work, and when I invest the time, I am able to live the life I want to live. And it’s not something that I could have done alone.
As I write this down I reflect upon the three things I have learned:
- There are people out there who can help. It’s not always clear to us at the moment yet they are waiting for us to invite them in and help us.
- It WILL get better, but you have to make a commitment. For me, a mix of therapy, medication, and working on this as a daily practice made life feel better.
- Kids that have to go through this? I’m here for you. It’s incredibly hard, it’s not fair, and you deserve better. I’m here to listen.
In my 2nd act of life, I think about how proud I am of my identity. And all of the support of those around me as I continue to come out and figure out ways to get involved in progressing Queer rights.
Mental health isn’t one-size-fits-all and everyone has their own path. As I worked with Ben to draft copy for TAD, I was compelled to write down the common thread, because it’s the truth: With the right support from friends and family plus therapy, there can be better tomorrows.
Talk. Share. Help.