LGBTQ Self Care: Staying Mentally Healthy When It Seems Impossible
What happens if your in a “funk”? Or depressed or you feel like your spiraling downward? Truthfully, its okay. Don’t panic. You can come back out of it and not have to worry about what people think.
Just because you reached a breaking point doesn’t mean you failed. It means you reached a breaking point. It may have been one little thing that broke it, something that normally you handle well, but today you snapped. Its okay. It just means its time for some self care. What’s not okay is to neglect yourself. We are designed with specific desires that need to be met. Each of us may be different in this regard. But within the LGBTQ community we have needs that require a different kind of attention.
We have a tendency to suppress our own identities to protect those around us. As if us being who we truly are is impossible because of our profession or environment. That may be the case, but, you still have to express that side of you. If not there, then somewhere. This is a realistic example of when not taking care of yourself can really hurt you.
We need to be around peers. At least every once in a while. We need to be able to talk about our uniqueness among people who understand. Otherwise those feelings build and inside that can lead to feeling isolated, which can lead to feeling depressed, which can hurt your career and social network.
Its important to realize that self care for us is really important. We are fighting unseen battles all day and this taxes us emotionally. So outlets are important. So connect with the LGBTQ community. Even if its just online, or a luncheon. Maybe its a dinner with a couple every few weeks or some wild friends. Maybe you can afford a gay cruise or one of those famous “gaycations”. There are hundreds of support groups out there. These are people just like you, they aren’t broken, there smart. They understand that they need to connect with those that are most like them. For stability and happiness. There is nothing wrong with that at all.
If you are in that depression now, if you feel you have done damage already and that its impossible to recover, ITS NOT TO LATE! Listen to me carefully, this is important. You can turn this around with brutal honesty. You can tell your boss why you’ve been the way you’ve been. Or your spouse, or school administration or coworkers. You can’t get support in things which are hidden. Its OK to privately talk to someone and explain to them that you have personal things going on. Especially when you tell them that your peer support is lacking. You may have a lot more support then you realize and by talking to those who are effected by your actions you may get some really good advice.
Everyone, I mean everyone goes through ruts or depression. There isn’t a person in the world who doesn’t feel it. Some are extremely well equipped to handle it, some are calloused about it. Find positive people, talk to them and then don’t be afraid to be wrong. Embrace the fact that minor changes need to be made. Many people enjoy helping, by asking for help you could really be building some seriously strong foundations both professionally and personally.
So take time to do self care, take a day or two off. Do nothing, or do lots of things. Get your makeup done, or go to a club, or both! Let loose, just for you. Get a little out of control, do something off of your bucket list, accomplish something, WHATEVER! Just do something just for you. You’ll be thankful later.
Jeff Utnage 823469
Side Note: We are no good to others if we are out of sorts and disheveled. To effectively do our jobs or make a difference in others lives, we must take care of ourselves first. We cannot lead if we can’t see where were going. It doesn’t mean you have to be there, just knowing where you want to be and the willingness to get there.