The LGBTQIA+ community, as a whole, has endured a lot.
For example, many have a hard time accepting their sexual orientation. Others struggle with getting that acceptance from close friends and family. Some feel like their physical bodies don’t match their identities.
These painful experiences alone significantly affect the mental health of the individuals navigating them. Anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and suicidal thoughts are some of the most notable.
If you’re going through any of the above, please know that you deserve to feel good about who you are and where you’re going. Embarking on a healing path will help you achieve this. But keep in mind that healing looks different for everyone.
Diverse Coping Mechanisms
When we go through tough things in life, we develop different ways to cope with the pain, emotional instability, and mental health challenges that result. Some of us adopt healthy coping mechanisms, while others take the unhealthy route.
Substance abuse is one of the most unhealthy yet common coping mechanisms people adopt. Alcohol, in particular, is a go-to within the LGBTQIA+ community with over 44.6% participating in behaviors associated with alcoholism. This is for a variety of reasons, but namely, many use alcohol as an unhealthy coping mechanism.
As good as the liquid courage might feel in the moment, alcohol can negatively affect the body. For example, alcohol can depress your Central Nervous System and cause severe mood swings. It can increase stomach acid, causing damage to your stomach’s lining and the ability to get rid of bacteria. And your desire for sexual intimacy can lessen.
Other unhealthy coping mechanisms include:
- Avoiding issues altogether;
- Impulsive spending
- Disordered eating
All of these might seem like they’re helping you cope with hard things at the moment, but they’re stalling your ability to truly heal.
We hope that everyone eventually comes to the side of healthy coping mechanisms. These acts help you feel better while also helping you work through what you need to work through.
Passion projects, therapy, learning to eat well, exercising regularly, mindfulness activities, and spending time with supportive loved ones are all healthy coping mechanisms worth adopting to fast-track your healing.
You’ll know your coping mechanisms are healthy and working when:
- Stress doesn’t ruin your entire day;
- Your physical body is healthier;
- You can control your impulses;
- You stop distancing yourself from others;
- You can reveal your true feelings without acting irrationally;
- You can be open about what you’re going through with loved ones;
- You’ve accepted a situation and have gained a new perspective on it.
It’s all about finding coping methods that support a healthy mind, body, and life.
Different Therapy Options for Different Healing
People say, “Therapy isn’t for everyone.” However, this doesn’t have to be true. There are many different therapy options to choose from. And you can make your decision based on the type of healing you need.
For example, let’s say you want to understand why you developed certain unhealthy behaviors. In that case, behavior therapy can help you understand your role and that of others in developing these behaviors.
Or, let’s say you want to stop negative thinking to restore your self-esteem. Cognitive therapy can help you change your thoughts and, in turn, how you feel and what you do.
If you need to do both of the above and tackle a few other issues, holistic therapy blends different approaches and assists you in navigating various parts of your healing journey.
There’s a therapy option out there for everyone. You just have to find yours and be brave enough to partake in it.
Focusing on Past Traumas
You’ve probably got a list of current issues you need to heal from. But to recover from these issues and ensure they don’t get the best of you again, you need to understand how your past traumas contributed to your most current challenges.
If you can heal your past traumas, you can heal triggers. When you heal triggers, these things will no longer prompt you to engage in the same cycles that lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms.
So, focus on your past traumas in therapy. Ask your therapist for help in healing painful experiences of the past. Talk with those who participated in these past traumas if it’s safe to do so. Turn inward and be honest about what affected you, how, and why.
Healing from past traumas only supports a healthy present and thriving future.
Constructing a Supportive Community Around You
Spending time alone to understand yourself better is crucial in healing. But that doesn’t mean you must embark on your healing journey alone. You need a supportive community around you to thrive through your mental health challenges and establish a better relationship with yourself.
Find people that you can genuinely lean on for support. Your support system could include:
- Online friends;
- Social media groups;
- Your primary care physician;
- Kids and teens you mentor;
- A specific support group;
- Those you volunteer with.
Having people you can count on and relate to is influential in your healing. Sometimes, knowing that you aren’t alone is all the comfort you need.
Being a part of the LGBTQIA+ community is something to be proud of, even with all the harrowing experiences that can come with it. Don’t let the painful, stressful, debilitating experiences grab hold of you forever. Instead, heal from them through therapy and with a supportive community behind you.