Hi, I have recently came out to my school about being gay. A lot of people are supportive about it like my friends, teachers, and even my older sister. But on the other hand a lot of people were not okay with this. See, a lot of people have always bullied me for years now and i just ignored them like everybody tells me to. But this year is different. After about 2 months after i came out to my school i got threatened that somebody was going to jump me in the halls after 3rd period . I brought this up to my counselor and the police ended up getting involved. But it didn’t stop there. Most kids in my school are straight ( only about 6 out of 700 kids in my school are gay, bi, lesbian, or transgender.) So they feel like they have the right to bully all of us that are different. About a month ago i cut myself 3 times. I swore that i would never do it again, and i haven’t. But every know and then i fell the need that i want to do it. I’m scared I’m going to hurt my self.But know if i do cut my self then the pain will go away. What should i do?
Letter submitted by:
You mentioned that you feel bullied. It is difficult to emotionally handle being treated in a discriminatory way. It takes education for people, especially young teens, to understand diversity issues and to develop skills for inclusive behaviors. They believe that they will be more effective in “belonging” if they follow the majority of their peers in their view(s) about sexuality. So they bully in order to belong, even if it means belonging to the “non-inclusive” behavior group. Bully behaviors are hurtful and wrong and should be reported to an adult you trust, so that the adult can implement intervention practices at your school campus. Teens might not have learned, that to be effective, one must have good relationship skills and practicing “inclusive” skills (welcoming behaviors) will get one far in many positive relationships the long term (on the job, in school, with friends, family, etc.).
It is concerning that you have expressed a continued desire for self-injury. This response is not an effective solution for long term positive results. Managing difficult, painful, overwhelming emotions or stress is very challenging, and we must acknowledge that you are going through very challenging emotions. Self-injury might provide you some relief in the moment, but you might perhaps feel really bad about yourself afterward. If you list the pros and cons of self-injury, you will discover that not hurting yourself is the better solution long term. If you need immediate relief, try an alternative method that will not create damage to your body or emotions. Exercising such as taking a walk, taking a relaxing shower or bath, listening to music that comforts you, putting your hands in a bowl of cold water that has ice cubes, or calling to talk to a friend. Making a list of what might comfort you is a good start. Try each idea you have on your list and see if any of the new strategies work to help you decrease self-harming behaviors. If you are able to write down the experiences, people, or situation that triggered your emotional response, you might gain on insight on what situations to avoid. Celebrate by doing something rewarding for every week that you complete without hurting your self. Write down your successful experiences in a journal. Positive feelings might come from this practice.
Some individuals are genetically wired to be highly sensitive, respond more intensely, and take longer to calm once emotions have become disregulated. There is nothing wrong with being highly sensitive. If you recognize this about yourself, it is important to develop ways to cope. It is a matter of learning effective skills that can be helpful to you for many years.
Having a support group that understands what you go through is important to establish for yourself. Here are some resources you might consider. There are websites available including www.safe-alternatives.com and http://www.helpguide.org/mental/self_injury.htm that can help you learn about what you can do as a safe, long term response, when you have the urge to hurt yourself.
If you find that it is very difficult to stop cutting (or other self-injury), it would be important to tell a trusted adult about how you cope 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.
I hope that things get better for you. Writing to Ask Trevor was a smart start toward healing and effective skill development. You are on the right path to a healthier life and feelings of acceptance.