So, I’m not sure if I’m lesbian or bi. I seem to have more of an attraction to women and have been battling the fact that I might be bi because I do like men…in fact I have been dating a guy for a little over a year but feel I would be happier with a girl. I have had one experience with a girl before and it was a straight best friend….she doesn’t know how I felt about her but she refuses to talk about the moment we had…and now because of something else we are no longer as close. I have been cutting and self mutilating since the end of 6th grade and she has been there for everything and now she is not…I have found new friends but it’s not the same…my parents are strong conservative type and are way against the idea of being gay lesbian or bi. I’m in the 11th grade and don’t know what to do…..please help me, I have been searching for way too long for answers and just so happen to stumble on a book mark I found in my library at school that had this website on it. thank you.
Hi there. That was really lucky of you to find that bookmark and I’m so glad that you decided to write. It took a lot of courage for you write what you are going through. It sounds like there are a few things that you are dealing with right now and I’ll try to address each one. First, you said seem to have more of an attraction to women and have been battling the fact that you might be bi. In trying to understand your sexuality, it might help to remember that sexual orientation involves emotional, romantic as well as physical feelings and attraction for people of both genders (bisexual), people of the same gender (lesbian and gay), and people of the opposite gender (heterosexual or straight). It can also help to think about whom you have crushes on and who you fantasize about being with–girls, boys or both. On http://www.bisexual.org/resources.html and click ”Bisexuality 101 from PFLAG” you can find information that may help. It must be difficult to not have your best friend to discuss these things with, especially after the moment you shared. I’m glad you have other friends but I understand that it’s not the same.
As far as the cutting and self-mutilating that you’ve been doing since 6th grade–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. With what you’re experiencing with your friend and the stress you’ve been experiencing in trying to figure out your sexual orientation, you may be experiencing some or all of these things. 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 ground). There are websites available including www.safe-alternatives.com and http://www.helpguide.org/mental/self_injury.htm that can help you learn about cutting as well as additional things you can do when you have the urge to cut.
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-DONT-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.
You might also want to check out www.trevorspace.org. It’s the Trevor Project’s safe, online social networking site for LGBTQ young people ages 13 to 24, their friends and allies. It’s a great supportive community where you can connect with others who might have had or are having the same questions that you’re having about your sexuality.