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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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Runaway

Question:

My main problem is my mother. She is so controlling and she hates that I’m lesbian. So I cut because of something that I can’t figure out. Plus school doesn’t help and so I want to run away but I can’t cuz I can’t drive and I don’t have a job yet. So what should I do? I want to run away but can’t and I have a crappy home life like I’m in the closet again. She doesn’t even support me so I’m just pretending that nothing happened and I can’t tell anyone in my family if I wanted to. Plus I don’t make friends easily. So when I finally got a girlfriend and then she dumped me I got worse. Plus I feel hyper some days and then depressed and horrid the next. I wish I could be committed so I could find people who feel the same and I could rest properly and fully.

Letter submitted by:

Answer:

Dear Red,

It sounds like you must be in a lot of pain right now. With your mother being controlling and not accepting who you are, that can be a really horrible feeling. It took a lot of courage coming out to your mother, but I understand that you feel like you’re in the closet again since she doesn’t support you. Running away can seem like a way to escape all of the pain you are in, but you are right to acknowledge that it would be very difficult since you don’t have a way of supporting yourself.

It’s really good that you are able to recognize that you need help and a place to rest and feel safe. You mention wanting to be committed. You can go to the nearest hospital emergency room to have a mental health evaluation and they can determine how to help you. If you are not able to do that, you can ask your regular doctor to refer you to a therapist.

I know you said that some days you feel hyper and others you feel depressed.  Take a look at at this site on teens and  depression:  http://www.helpguide.org/mental/depression_teen_teenagers.htm You might also want to look at the the section on Bipolar Disorder, which is under the “mental health topics” on the left. Please know that there is treatment for depression and bipolar disorder including medication and/or therapy. It can really help to talk with a mental health professional, such as a social worker, psychologist or psychiatrist about what you’re feeling and going through.

As far as local places to find other people who may be going through similar things as you, since you live near NYC, you can go to the LGBT Center in NY: http://www.gaycenter.org/youth  They have different programs for young people aged 13-21. There’s also the Pride Center of NJ in New Brunswick, which has two groups for people 17 and under: http://www.pridecenter.org/groups/support-groups/

You also mentioned that you cut sometimes and you don’t know why. 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. 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 like http://www.safe-alternatives.com  can help you learn about cutting as well as additional things you can do when you have the urge to cut.

When you have the urge to hurt yourself or run away, or just need someone to talk to, 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.  They can also work with you to find a therapist to help you.  We are always here for you!

~Trevor