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Depressed about coming out

Question:

I’ve been depressed for so long. It’s really stressful to deal with. At my age I should be happy. I should be thinking of goals for myself. But I’ve been letting go. I’m doing things I don’t even want to do. I hardly go to school anymore. But I love school. I love making good grades. When I was a freshmen in high school I thought about all the things that would change. I would make more friends. Be open. Attend school. And for the first few weeks I did. By then I started making up excuses not to go. Or skipped classes, it was so bad to the point I nearly failed. And I was distracted with drama.
For as long as I could remember. I’ve thought as myself as a lesbian. I can’t even remember how I came to that conclusion. I just realized, I spent most of my time thinking about how pretty girls were. And how much I liked their personality. Boys never interested me. But I tried to be interested in them for the sake of the fact, my parents are Christian. Try taught me homosexuality was wrong. I tried to think that. But it wouldn’t happened. I got older and and realized, I don’t need to change for anyone’s pleasure. But as much confidence that I had inside, I couldn’t let it out. So I would lie about dating. I would say I dated boys when I dated girls. It was depressing.
My freshmen year, things really changed. It was when my best friend asked me out. And after thinking about it, I told her yes. I was even able to find out about a LGBT Club my school had. And I attended it every week with a close friend. By a couple of months everyone who knew about my relationship, knew I was lesbian. And to my surprise, I wasn’t teased or joked about it. Maybe by a few guys, but I simply ignored it.
After ending this 6 month relationship with my girlfriend, things of course changed. We weren’t close, because I was going to move soon. Our breakup was unexpected for me, so of course it hurt. And I had friends to turn to, but I hadn’t been in a relationship that long, and my feelings weren’t strong like they were, so I wanted to turn to my mom. Of course, I couldn’t because of how she thought of homosexuals. Once she asked if I was a lesbian. I lied and said no. And she said, “good I don’t want a lesbian daughter,” and even though that was years ago. Those words stuck in my head. So I lied to her. I was crying and cried even more at that fact I had to tell her I broke up with a guy, instead of being truthful and saying it was a girl.
I feel so alone though I have so many friends that support me. I want my parents support more than anything. I’ve been dating this girl, for almost a year. That’s a very long time to me. We’ve had only one big problem. But we’ve never had a argument that was serious. We don’t fight. And of course that’s a big thing for me because my friends seem to always have issues in their relationships. And this girl, I’m deeply in love with. We have so many plans. And girly day dreams about couple things we could do like go on dates and ect. But we can’t. Because my parents don’t know I’m a lesbian.
If it wasn’t for the fact that my parents didn’t have a open mind. It would totally take stress off my shoulders, and I wouldn’t be afraid to tell them. But I’m afraid of change. I don’t want to be restricted. I don’t want my parents thinking, I fantasize about every girl I hang out with. Or I don’t want them to think, I can’t be trusted spending a night at a girl’s house. Because I’ve never looked at friends in that way. But it’s the way my parents present their opinions to me, that makes me stressed out about it. I need guidance from an adult. I’ve been depressed about telling my parents for a while. A couple of years. I want to get my life back on track. I can’t have depression keeping me from my responsibilities but it does. How should I handle this?

Letter submitted by:

Answer:

Hi,

Thank you for writing into AskTrevor. From you letter it is evident that you are going through a tough time and I know it must have been difficult to share your feelings so openly and honestly. You should be proud of yourself for having the strength to reach out.

Everyone desires acceptance and love especially from the people we love the most. Your wish that your parents support you and that you could be more open and honest with your parents stems from this desire and is completely understandable. Not being able to talk to your parents about what you are going through because of the fear that they may not accept you is tough and may leave you feeling hopeless. But I think you should garner hope from your own courage. You have had the courage to accept yourself, something many LGBT people struggle with their whole lives. You have had the courage to be honest with your friends. You have had the courage to enter into relationships and survive the pain of a breakup. While these achievements may seem small to you, they are not and you should gain a sense of confidence from these. You are also lucky to have a supportive friend group that has accepted you with open arms. Surely, this does not take away from the pain and apprehension you feel about your parents accepting you, but these are powerful achievements that can be a source of enduring strength to help ease the depression you are going through.

Coming out can sometimes be tough. Knowing your parents may not be accepting makes it all the more difficult. Since this is such a huge personal step only you know when the right time is to come out to your parents. However here are a few things you should consider before you decide what to do next. First and most importantly ensure that you do not do anything to endanger your safety. If you think your parents might react negatively or kick you out, since you are still at school and dependent on them it may not be the right time to come out. Many LGBT youth try to get to a point in their lives where they are independent, working or away at college before they come out for this very reason. Weigh the pros and cons of coming out now versus coming out in a few years. I know this may sound like a tough path but you really should keep your safety as your highest priority.

In case you do decide to come out it might help to check out http://www.hrc.org/resources/entry/resource-guide-to-coming-out . It is an excellent resource and covers situations that may resonate with what you are experiencing. This may prove to be valuable in your decision making process as well. If you decide to come out however you should be prepared to deal with the situation where your parents are not accepting. Make sure you are mentally prepared to hear discouraging statements. Have a support system of friends in place that help you get through it. PFLAG (http://community.pflag.org/page.aspx?pid=268) also has some excellent resources. At your local PFLAG chapter you may have the chance to interact with other adults/parents of LGBT youth. You might find their support helpful and their advice valuable.  Another resource you could try is trevorspace.org, a social network for LGBTQ youth run by the Trevor Project where you can discuss anything in a safe space. You may meet other people facing similar situations and find strength in their experiences. They will also be a great support during difficult days.

Sometimes acceptance it takes time. I know that we all want immediate acceptance but sometimes parents need time to digest and come to -terms with you being a Lesbian just as it may have taken time for you to accept yourself. Be patient and keep communicating. Communicating is often the best way to clear misconceptions your parents may have for example about sleepovers and will help build the trust between you and your parents.

This is all a time consuming process but in this period it is important to stay away from trouble as that would only complicate things further from you. Try hard to focus on school since you love it so much. Your grades are important. The better your grades the faster you can become independent and live the life you want. Your dreams and aspirations will be the most important tools to get you through a hopeless day. So don’t give up on them. I know it must be tough but try your best to refocus on school as this may be the key to the future where you can be open, honest and happy.

I want to thank you again for writing to us. I hope you find the strength to get through this difficult time. If you feel the need to talk to someone please call us at the Trevor Lifeline at – 1-866-488-7386 or write back to us. We care about you and your safety and are here to help and support you.

Take care of yourself and stay strong,

Trevor Staff