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Mental Health

Depression can hit anyone: gay or straight, rich or poor, male or female.  You may be a young person dealing with school, work and making ends meet in a 3-dollars-a-gallon economy. Or you may be a professional, overwhelmed by your career, home, family and relationship issues. Research tells us that depression and anxiety do affect gay men, lesbians and transgender persons more often.

Why? Dealing with stigma and discrimination can really weigh someone down. There may be friends or family that reject us or hurt our self-esteem. And for some of us who don’t feel like we can be totally honest about who we are, there’s the stress of living a dual life. Sometimes negative thoughts can come from within because we feel like we have done something wrong, or failed ourselves. Often there is not support available to help you deal with these issues, and this can lead you into depression.

Depression afflicts many of us at one time or another. How can you tell if you have clinical depression or you are just in a temporary rut? Depression does a one-two punch – to our bodies and our emotions too.

Physical Symptoms may include:

  • Lack of energy
  • Insomnia
  • Agitation
  • Changes in eating or sleeping patterns
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Aches and pains you didn’t have before
  • Overuse of  painkillers, pot, alcohol or drugs

Psychological Symptoms may include:

  • Increased anxiety
  • Low self-esteem
  • Obsessive thinking or focus on media, such as a book, album or film
  • Feelings of isolation
  • Difficulty getting excited, having fun, and laughing
  • Suicidal thoughts

What can you do about it?

You can talk to a friend first. Tell him or her what you are feeling; It can help to vent, and it is okay to cry if you need to. There are support groups in San Antonio that can help: see the links below for more resources. Talking, even though it can be hard to start the conversation, is free and it will help to know you are not the only guy going through this.

If your depression persists, you may want to talk to a counselor that specializes in mental health. Just like you can go to a physician to get treatment for a physical ailment, you can get treatment for depression. There is nothing wrong with talking to a professional, and for many people, depression is not something they should deal with alone. Sometimes it takes a professional to point out underlying causes that are hurting us. A counselor can help you discover why you are feeling bad, and provide you with tools to feel better. The important thing is to not be afraid to ask for help. We can provide you with information on mental health care professionals in the area at our clinic.

Strategies to reduce stress:

  • Talk to a friend, teacher, or co-worker
  • Make an appointment with a counselor or attend a support group
  • Realize it takes baby steps to heal your mind and soul
  • Get enough rest, eat right
  • Exercise, exercise, exercise
  • Meditate, pray or attend a religious service
  • Limit intake of alcohol and other drugs--they can further destabilize your mood.

Take one day at a time. There is hope. You will feel better. Take the next step--ask someone for help.