I find myself in a paradox lately. I have always been extremely accepting of others who are different, especially those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ). But it's been extremely hard for me to accept that I am genderqueer. While this is common with people who suffer from mental illnesses, it is a huge problem with LGBTQ individuals. LGBTQ people have a much harder time with self-acceptance thanks to a hostile environment that does not accept their sexuality and gender identity. In short, gender dysphoria affects my depression.
Anxiety – The life: LGBT
For the past few months, I have struggled to accept my gender identity and the fact that I am genderqueer. I've been having a hard time trying to label my gender identity, especially since our society puts only two labels to gender: man or woman. Thanks to the social websites like Tumblr, though, I am starting to see that there are other people just like me out there.
As a person who identifies as pansexual, I've met my fair share of ignorance and discrimination when it comes to my sexuality. I have rarely seen positive depictions of bisexual people; instead, we are seen as chronic cheaters who have sex with anyone. This is extremely problematic because it directly affects the bisexual/pansexual community. Even within the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning (LGBTQ) community, bisexuals often meet resistance and ridicule. We don't fit in with the straight world, yet we find isolation within the LGBTQ community, too. Where do we truly belong?
Hi, I am Vanessa Celis and I consider myself a loving and compassionate person. You can usually find me reading or writing prose and poetry. I identify as pansexual and support the lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) community one hundred percent. I'm Hispanic, vegan, a feminist, and a lover of animals. I also suffer from depression and anxiety, but I am trying my best to not let it define me.
You can feel yourself slipping away. Again. You don't feel anything. You don't see the dirty laundry and dishes that have piled sky high. You don't hear the kids yelling, the dog barking or your wife talking. Life is on mute. Or quite the opposite, you find yourself in such emotional chaos that you see, hear and feel everything simultaneously. You can't think straight. You don't care about anything or anyone anymore. Except you really do which is why you decide to seek support in addressing your mental health issues. However, finding LGBT friendly mental health care can be very challenging, particularly for the uninsured. I've been there.
Just in case you haven't heard the news by now, with very few exceptions, yoga is good for you! And if you happen to be an LGBT individual committed to better mental health, then you may find that a simple yoga practice is just what you need. Anxiety, depression and high stress levels are serious problems for many of us in the LGBT community. A study of 4,000 people by the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society (ARCSHS) concluded that "almost 80% of LGBT folks have suffered intense anxiety within the last year"! It seems to me that we are carrying a disproportionate share of mental health issues across the globe, and yoga is a no to low cost way for our community to practice mental self-care.
School is back in session in our home and with it has come a torrent of changes not only to our daily routine, but also in our relationships and associations. For my 3 daughters; a senior in high school and two middle-schoolers going back to school is an exciting time as they look forward to meeting a new set of teachers, friends, soccer coaches, etc. However, for many LGBT families, going back to school can mean anxiously making decisions about how out to be in the school environment, if at all. Given how heated the international debate about same-sex marriages (and the families we create) are, it is not without reason that as LGBT parents, we may worry about the impact coming out in our child’s school will have.
Each new year, I believe the universe gives us an opportunity to reflect on the year passing and to set new goals or intentions for the year ahead. The goal-oriented overachiever in me had a love/hate relationship with this time of year because no matter how great my achievements for the year, I always came away feeling like I failed in some way. As atonement, I would vow to “do more” and “be better”. At the beginning of 2012, after approximately 4 months of intensive treatment for my never ending panic and anxiety, I gave up on goal setting and instead set intentions for the new year, the most important of them being to practice better mental self-care.
Talking about holiday stress, this time last year (2011), I was a holiday wreck and my mental health was in shambles. I searched high and low for a reason, any reason, to celebrate the holiday season. But I was still recovering from a severe bout with post-traumatic stress and overlapping bipolar moods that left me anxious, agitated and unemployed. My relationships with nearly everyone important to me, including my wife and children, were suffering in some way. Nothing really made sense to me (least of all happiness) and my ability to reason had temporarily left me. It was an odd feeling, being so pessimistic and not being able to help it. For the sake of my kids, I always managed to be an instant party in a box! But I could no longer counter my inner darkness by being the light of family photos and dinner parties. There was no energy left for coordinating gift exchanges or any other festivities. I just didn’t have it in me anymore.