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Relapse

Question:

I cut for the first time a little over two year ago now, and finally managed to stop a few months ago. But lately I am finding it harder and harder to keep it that way.

I am bi, and I identify with the female gender but I am male. My dad was attacked by a gay man when he was younger and is very homophobic, he has always wanted a son to share football, airplanes, and cars with, and I humor him and learn it, because I always like to learn new things, it just isn’t my passion. Mom mother on the other hand is a lot more liberal, she has taught me how to do needlepoint, sew and a lot of other things, but my dad gets disappointed if I take interest in these things. I love fashion and I love drawing. I spend a lot of time drawing pictures of outfits and stuff, then throw them away so no one finds out. My parents have always been the ones who decide what I wear. and it basically only consists of black T’s and Jeans. This has been on my mind more and more lately. I don’t know if I should upset my dad and do what my heart desires, or try and find a happy medium.

I came out the December before last to my mother, and then we came up with a way to tell my dad. They both are okay with it, upset at the chance that they wont have biological grandchildren from my side of the family. They also suggested I try to ignore my homosexual tendencies because it is a harder life to live, and people will hate me because of it. I am not sure If I should not pursue a homosexual relationship to make my parents happy, even if it is a sacrifice on my part, because logically, I kinda do want offspring, and the picture of the perfect family is a husband and wife, with 2 kids and a pet, in suburbia. That seems nice, but I am not sure I would ever be content with a life like that. I am torn between two images of what I want to do with my life.

Two Novembers ago I was admitted to a mental hospital. Upon leaving my parents said they would find a therapist, but have yet to do so. I really try and keep my thoughts to myself, because no one would want to hear me complain. I have never really had any close friends, or any significant other, I am often alone, and I get stir crazy in my own mind. I love the blissful company of others, even if they are just there. I have been trying to make friends a lot more lately, but to no success. I just don’t have anyone to talk to, and nowhere to turn. I just don’t know what to do anymore. Or what I am doing with my life.

As of lately, I have been having more and more panic attacks about school, and my sexuality, and how I am realizing I may never be happy because of two conflicting ideas. I just want to be happier, I just don’t know how.

Answer:

Hi there,

Thank you so very much for writing us. It takes a ton of courage to even question one’s sexuality and gender, and the fact that you took it a step further and wrote in to us is a huge step in the right direction.

First and foremost, no matter the issue, there is never a time when cutting yourself is worth it – point blank. People cut for many reasons – to feel “alive”, to create a distraction, or sometimes for stress relief, to name a few. With the things you’re worried about regarding your sexuality, gender, and how alone you’ve felt, it sounds like you’re experiencing something similar. No matter the reason – If you feel that you’re unable to stop harming yourself, I strongly encourage you to immediately talk with a trusted adult (parent, relative, doctor, teacher, or school counselor), and don’t forget that you can (and should) immediately call 911 if all else fails. There are websites available, including www.safe-alternatives.com and http://www.helpguide.org/mental/self_injury.html that can you help you learn about cutting as well as additional things you can do when you have the urge to cut.

I commend you (lots and lots and lots) for having the courage to come out to your family, and I’m happy to hear that they’re okay with it, as you said. It sounds like your parents do indeed want you to be happy, they just aren’t sure just how to get you there because they too have so much to learn about sexuality and gender. As for the two images of your life, please keep in mind – your life is YOURS. You absolutely can identify as a bisexual female who has children someday, if that’s what you really want. There may not be many role models of that sort to look to for help, but again – creating a life in which you’re completely, 100% fulfilled IS possible, no matter the odds. The two images you mentioned have indeed already merged – and you yourself are the outcome! A pioneer? Yes. Hopeless? Absolutely not.

Based on what you’ve said, it sounds like the next step is to reeeeeally push your parents on getting a therapist or psychiatrist as soon as possible. No one expects you to think through these very difficult scenarios alone. It’s hard enough being 18 – throw in all of the other aforementioned factors that make growing up a bit more difficult (to say the least), and it’s practically expected that a therapist would be necessary, and very helpful at that. Perhaps you can call the mental hospital you previously visited to see who they recommend? I’d imagine they have plenty of options on hand.

It sounds like you’re doing your best to be brave about all of this, which is wonderful, and again, I admire you more than I can say for reaching out to us here at the Trevor Project. If you feel like you need someone else to talk to, I always recommend http://www.trevorspace.org, where you’ll find tons of other people your age going through very similar things. We really are all in this together, and we certainly have your back! We believe in you, even on the days when you don’t believe in yourself.

All the best,

- The Trevor Project