4. Once alone, always a loner. This is one of the deepest daggers to a gay man's self-esteem and a leading cause of depression is loneliness — self-induced or otherwise. All LGBT individuals confront the "loner kingdom" internally and externally as they come to terms with their sexuality. Depending on the support received from family, friends, and society, they may never be able to escape this wrenching feeling of "I'm alone." On the other hand, they may throw themselves into the gay culture, being whomever they believe they are supposed to be, to be accepted by gay society, only to find themselves once again, alone because they don't measure up.
The quickest remedy for being at peace with being alone is to realize that the quite solitude of self is where we find ourselves. Within that realm of seclusion, there doesn't have to be a dive into abyss of depression. The peace that prevails in quiet time alone, is a gift to be appreciated. Removed from the constant barrage of "be this," "do that," and "act like this," to be a gay man, one is invited to find his true self. When you can be your true self, then you aren't pretending to be someone you're not. When you're not pretending, then you show up in the world, raw and real, and your life of purpose. Raw and real, attracts raw and real. How does that sound to you?
5. You're not quite "out" to everyone. I'm a huge advocate for transparency and authenticity. That doesn't mean that you have to throw yourself "out and proud" where it makes life miserable. In fact, let's be honest: at last count there are still 29 states where you can be fired for being gay. This fact, combined with potentially hiding that you're gay in certain circles of family and friends, leads to constantly living a dual life. Stress, pressure and keeping stories straight. What kind of a life is that? Not very fun.
To reduce this stress and avoid the potential depressive state of "I can't be fully me," I invite you come to terms with your "outness" and wrap your loving arms around the "out factor" that best serves you. While you may feel like you're hiding, you’re actually protecting yourself. However, think carefully about is there truly a threat to being more out. At times, the oppressive state of "I can't be out at work because... " may be more self-created than it actually appears. Also, in these moments, ask yourself, "Why is it important for me to be out in this situation?" Again, I'm suggesting you spend time getting very clear on the "Why?" When you're solid on your "why's" it becomes much easier to decide how you're going to be "out!" It's your life, your comfort zone, and your emotional state of feeling good. Embrace where you are, and be fully supportive of yourself and your "out factor."
There are many other causes of depression in gay men including alcohol and drug abuse, sexual addictions and, of course, physiological deficiencies. Yet at the end of the day, the most important way to address and overcome depression, as a gay man, or for anyone for that matter, is to admit without shame that you suffer from this disease — mild or massive — and obtain the appropriate support from your doctor, therapist, or life coach. Find the support that works for you, and go for it.
After all, you're a beautiful gay man, with a beautiful life to live, and fabulous gifts to share with the world. Anyone who says otherwise, just send them my way. I'll set them straight ... gay ... whatever. You get my drift!
Rick Clemons, The Gay Man’s Life Coach & The Coming Out Coach – CPC, ELI-MP, ACC
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