When I was younger, about elementary school, I felt like I didn’t really fit in with my friends. I was always anxious about talking to people. I thought it was normal to feel sad all the time. The kids in my school were wealthier than I was, and so I felt left out. In middle school, I met my best friend, who told me she also felt sad all the time. We talked together about how we felt.
In high school, a lot of my friends started going to therapy. At that point, I hadn’t really thought about seeing a therapist. I mentioned it to my mom, who wasn’t very receptive. She thought counseling was only for people who were seriously mentally ill. The further along in high school I got, the more sad I was. I had this feeling of worthlessness, like I wasn’t going to be able to do anything important in my life.
Then I came to USC and I met the girl who is now my girlfriend. She had already been diagnosed with mental disorders, so a lot of our relationship before we started dating was talking about the ways she coped and ideas for how I could cope too. I made more friends and started to branch out. In Spring, I started seeing a counselor on campus. I was diagnosed with persistent depressive disorder, social anxiety, and general anxiety. I knew I probably had some sort of depressive disorder, but I was surprised to learn that it was persistent depressive disorder. The more I read about it, the more I realized how much it made sense. The difference between this disorder and others is that this one started early in childhood. It was good to finally put a name on it, and figure out that I wasn’t the only person feeling this way.
In my experiences with other people in the LGBTQ+ Community, most of the people I’ve met have some sort of mental health concern. It’s not just lesbians or gay people, but it’s also asexuals and queer people of color. Luckily the LGBTQ+ community is very supportive, because they understand these struggles. A lot of people who aren’t in this community don’t recognize that depression and anxiety are so common for us. Some parents aren’t very supportive of your identity, which causes distress. Awareness is really important, I would say.
If you’re struggling with a mental health concern, talk about it. If you have a trusted person that you talk to most of the time, and you’re having a negative thought, voice it. Make sure someone else is aware that you’re having that thought, then break it down. Where did originate from? What caused it? How can you turn that negative thought into a positive thought? There’s always help available."