Welcome to Ask Trevor

Ask Trevor is an online, non-time sensitive question and answer resource for young people with questions surrounding sexual orientation and gender identity. Browse the published letters or submit your own letter.

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I just want someone to listen.

Question:

My sister a few weeks ago had to go to a facility that is used to help people who are dealing with mental issues. She went there because she had tried to kill herself because of problems at home. I have another sister who would smoke weed and told my sister that she did, and one night my sister thought my other sister was smoking weed so she told my mom. And according to my parents she had taken a bunch of pills either before or after this happened.

I love my sister so much and swore that ever since that day I wasn’t going to use self harm or write poetry. Poetry is usually how I would vent my feelings; mostly sad ones. But I decided to stop writing sad poems because I didn’t want to go through what my sister did. And also I vowed I would stop self harming, but I don’t know why anymore, but all I think about is wanting to self harm.

Last year I had been involved with a sexting situation where my friend sent me pictures of his lower body part. But I never told anyone that I sent him pictures as well. And it’s because of that painful memory that I have been self harming. Because after this happened my friend treated me like I was nothing. But while this was happening he made me feel special. And a lot of times all I can think about is the image of the picture he sent to me because its like it’s stuck in my head. And with self harming I keep thinking about doing it but I only use plastic CD cases to do it and I never cut deep. I only mostly make scratches. I tell my friends about my thoughts on cutting and they all say the same thing, “focus on something else,” but it never works and I really don’t know what to do because I have no muse to write about in my poems. I just try to dedicate them to the lead singer of this band I like. But I could really use a response because it feels good just letting everything out like this.

Letter submitted by:

Answer:

Hi!

I know it’s not easy, but like you said, it’s great to get everything out and I’m so glad you’ve written to us. And I’m so sorry to hear about your sister, but I’m very glad to know that she is receiving help and support during this rough patch. Because that’s what times like these are, they are rough, and they aren’t easy, but they are patches and they will not last forever. I can guarantee you that.

It’s also unfortunate that you had that sexting situation with your friend, but I know you can overcome it and see past it. Because right now only happens only once, the past is long gone and the future is right around the corner. When these images or that situation haunts you, remind yourself of the importance of living in the now and recognizing that numerous opportunities and life experiences lay ahead of you.

In regard to cutting and poetry – I really want to challenge you to explore other outlets. Your friends are right in the importance of focusing on something else, but that won’t get you anywhere if you find yourself sitting a home, with a CD case next to you, and the temptation to self harm comes along. Same with poetry, since it’s more static and less physical or group-focused, it will be easier to focus on negative thoughts during those times. My challenge to you is to look for opportunities around you that require you to get out of the house – whether athletic or artistic – that allow you to express yourself, exert emotions and provide a healthy, steady source of endorphins and adrenaline.

I also want to encourage you to explore the resources that are available to you, but before doing that I must say that self harm is perfectly normal and common. People self harm as a way of dealing with or managing difficult, painful, and overwhelming emotions or stress – and you’ve experienced some if not all of those things. For some, self harm relieves stress or tension or they find that the physical pain from self harm is a distraction from the emotional pain. Some people are angry at someone in their life, like your friend who wronged you, and take the anger out on themselves through self harm. Others feel that the cutting gives them a feeling of control when things in the life or their emotions feel out of control. Still some feel numb or “dead inside” and self harming helps them to feel alive. With all that you have been going through with your friend, sister and family, you may be experiencing some or all of these things.

But there are plenty of resources available to you and the first two I want to offer up are http://www.safe-alternatives.com/ and http://www.helpguide.org/mental/self_injury.htm, which can help you learn more about self harm as well as additional things you can do when you have the urge to self harm. And it can be very difficult to stop self harm, so 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 taking 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. But those routes aren’t always possible, so when you have the urge to self harm, you can always call the Trevor Lifeline at 1-866-488-7386 and talk with a Trevor Lifeline counselor about what you’re feeling and experiencing as well as your urge to self harm and this can help you delay or stop the urge to self harm. They can also work with you to find a therapist to help you.

Remember to keep your head up and to be who you were made to be. We care about you and want only the best for you. Stay in touch with us and take care of yourself!

~ Trevor