First I’d like to commend you for taking the team to reach out to The Trevor Project. By writing to this letter, you have taken a crucial step towards a happier life. Coming out is not an easy hurdle to overcome and I can certainly relate to your apprehension towards coming out to your family. But I can guarantee that things do get better, Aranza! I hope that the advice I have to offer will make sure of that.
It sounds like you are undergoing a lot of stress right now. People cut as a way of dealing with or managing difficult, painful, overwhelming emotions or stress. For some, cutting relieves stress or tension or they find that the physical pain of cutting is a distraction from the emotional pain. Some people are angry at someone in their life and take the anger out on themselves by cutting. Others feel that the cutting gives them a feeling of control when things in the life or their emotions feel out of control. Still others feel numb or “dead inside” and cutting helps them to feel alive. Considering what you’ve been going through lately, it’s likely that you feel stressed and alone as you try to navigate your sexual orientation and share your thoughts and feelings about it with others.
It’s important for you to know that cutting may help you to feel better briefly but the longer it goes on, the more dangerous it can become as it can cause permanent scars, infections and serious, and sometimes life threatening medical problems especially if you cut a major blood vessel. It can also cause you to feel shame, guilt, depressed and out of control. If you feel like cutting, there are lots of ways to help yourself feel better without putting yourself at risk. Think about how you feel before and after you cut yourself. If cutting helps to release anger, you might try getting the anger out in another way like hitting a pillow, stomping around in heavy shoes, ripping up an old newspaper or flattening aluminum cans. If cutting helps you when you’re sad, do whatever makes you feel taken care of and comforted. That may be listening to certain songs, calling a friend or eating a favorite food. Sometimes, writing in a journal or drawing/painting helps a person to feel better. For some people, doing something physical like running outdoors or yoga can help relieve stress. If the cutting helps you to feel less numb, do something that creates a sharp physical feeling like putting your hand briefly in ice water or stamp your feet on the cground). There are websites available including www.safe-alternatives.com and http://www.helpguide.org/mental/self_injury.htm that can help you learn about.
It can be very difficult to stop cutting and it would be important to tell a trusted adult about the cutting in order for them to find a therapist for you to work with to find safer and healthier ways to deal with the hard things you’re going through. If you’re not comfortable talking with your parents, you could ask a school counselor for help finding a therapist or call 1-800-DON’T-CUT where you can be referred to a therapist in your area. When you have the urge to cut, you can always call the Trevor Lifeline at 1-866-4-U-TREVOR (1-866-488-7386) and talk with a Trevor lifeline counselor about what you’re feeling and experiencing as well as your urge to cut which can help to delay or stop the urge to cut. They can also work with you to find a therapist to help you.”
Coming out to a loved one is difficult and it it can be even more difficult when that loved one is not very receptive to your decision to come out. Though coming out allows you to share an important part of yourself with another person, it’s important to remember that there’s no right way to come out and no right time to come out. You should only come out to another person if you feel both safe and comfortable doing so. If you are ready to come out to your father and other members of your family but are worried about how they may react, you may want to consider having a plan to ensure you have a safe place where you could live and continue to go to school, just in case you feel unsafe in your home. Some people decide to wait until they are away from home and independent to tell their parents about their sexuality. If you are ready to tell them know, that’s great! But it’s important that you are safe and comfortable, first. The Trevor Project offers addtional resources that can aid your coming out process, such as our “Coming out as YOU” guide, found here: http://www.thetrevorproject.org/section/YOU.
I also encourage you to talk to someone at school about these issues. Perhaps you can discuss your sexuality and the issues you’re facing at home with a close friend, a teacher, or a guidance counselor? I do encourage you to find a psychologist if you feel you need one, as well. On www.helpguide.org/mental/depression_teen_teenagers.htm you can learn more about depression and its treatment. On http://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/MHTreatmentLocator/faces/quickSearch.jspx you can
search for mental health services in your area. You could also contact the Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists by calling 215-222-2800 or by visiting their website at http://aglp.memberclicks.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=14&Itemid=74 for help in finding someone in your area for you to talk and work with.
Also know that the Trevor Project is always here for you, Aranza. As I mentioned before, you can always talk to us by calling 1-866-4-U-TREVOR (1-866-488-7386) or through Trevor Chat (http://www.thetrevorproject.org/pages/get-help-now). You will also find a supportive community through TrevorSpace, which I encourage you to join (https://www.trevorspace.org/). Please let us know if you ever need any help! Rember, Aranza: You are safe, You are loved, You can handle this.
The Trevor Project