LGBTQ Anxiety Is Real And Not Your Fault
It’s a sad truth that those in the LGBTQ + community experience higher levels of depression and anxiety. Experts believe that almost 60% of people who identify as LGBTQ+ will experience anxiety and depression throughout their lifetime.
This is contrasted to 20% of the total population. LGBTQ Anxiety is not because you are LGBTQ + but because society creates anxiety for the LGBTQ community.
While society, at large, has become more accepting, it’s not as easy to undo all the hurt and discrimination LGBTQ + people have felt for decades upon decades. And, honestly, many still face this today.
As society works to becoming more accepting and understanding, the issue of mental health should not be ignored and particularly how LGBTQ community as a marginalized group has a higher incidence of anxiety and depression, not because there is anything innately more anxious or depressed with being an LGBTQ person, but rather being LGBTQ person in a society that isn’t fully accepting (and frankly celebrating) yet causes anxiety and depression.
Anxiety Does Not Mean You Are Weak – Noticing It And Doing Something Means You Are Strong!
Just because you are experiencing societally induced LGBTQ anxiety, does not mean that you are weak. It does not mean there is something wrong with you. Rather, it is the direct response your brain has to the way you have been treated and the trauma you have experienced.
Alarmed LFBTQ brains experience anxiety and depression as coping strategies to survive society. It’s just what human brains do and the most helpful thing for you to hold on to is that this is not a personality flaw or character trait or something innate to being LGBTQ. It is a society issue.
Even though we are in a more accepting society, it does not mean that the bullying, ridicule, and discrimination has ceased. And this is why LGBTQ Anxiety is real. But, this doesn’t mean that there is no hope for a life free from anxiety. Here are some coping strategies to help you deal with anxiety.
And while society is the problem, society is not the cure! That would take too long. Thankfully, using the latest neuroscience tools, you can teach your brain and body and mind how to stay and feel safe from the inside out.
LGBTQ Anxiety – Tip 1: Practice Mindfulness
It’s hard to keep your inner critic quiet even on the best of days. It is even harder to try to keep your mind calm when the world around you feels like it is spinning out of control or to calm that sinking feeling you get inside of you when someone makes a snide comment about your sexuality or demeans you in some way.
Thankfully, there are tools that you can use to practice better mindfulness. You can quiet the storm by looking up meditation videos or even trying yoga or using a mindfulness app. Mindfulness helps you learn how to be in the present moment, with self support and without judgment. Mindfulness is a great tools when managing LGBTQ Anxiety. These are proven ways to help reduce anxiety and stress.
LGBTQ Anxiety – Tip 2: Challenge Your Thoughts
When you are experiencing anxiety, it is likely made worse because of the experiences you have had as an LGBTQ person. When you are feeling anxious, what are your thoughts? Are you belittling yourself? Is your mind trying to tell you that you aren’t worthy, or aren’t loved? Is your mind telling you that what the other person said is true?
Think about these thoughts. Where are they coming from? Are they words you heard from people in your family that you trusted and loved? From friends who you thought you knew better? Are they from a cruel society that makes you feel less than?
One way to help societally induced LGBTQ anxiety is by looking at your thoughts and where they are coming from. You can challenge them by replacing them with supportive ones. So if you are feeling like you are less than, remind yourself that you are just as worthy of love and acceptance as anyone else out there and especially deserving of care and compassion when you are struggling.
LGBTQ Anxiety – Tip 3: Find Support
It may seem impossible to find new support and groups to become a part of because of the pandemic. However, there are still resources available to you. Search out local groups that may just do Zoom meets, or groups through therapy practices. You’ll find new connections and people to relate to who know exactly what you are going through. Sometimes, just talking about your issues can help you feel more grounded. Learn more about support by clicking HERE and HERE. If you are concerned about your digital footprint on social media or if you are feeling unsafe in any way, click HERE to learn how to protect yourself online.
LGBTQ Anxiety – Tip 4: Move Around
You don’t need to do a HIIT work-out by any means. But, did you know that just walking can help alleviate stress and anxiety? Low impact exercises such as yoga and pilates can keep your body moving but will also help you focus on your breathing, posture, and calming your mind.
When you start to feel the pressure from society to just fit in, giving yourself something else to focus on can have a powerful impact. Moving your body is a natural antidote to anxiety. When you move, you literally help your body to release cortisol and adrenaline which results in you feeling less anxious and more capable of not only dealing with the problems of life, but enjoying your life that much more! You deserve to enjoy your life so please for your sake, get moving!
LGBTQ Anxiety – Tip 5: Work With AN LGBTQ Therapist
There is nothing wrong with needing support. There is unfortunately still too much stigma surrounding mental health. And for those in the LBGTQ + community, it can be hard to know who to trust.
It is not just important to work with someone who says they are LGBTQ+ friendly of affirming. You can take this one step further by searching for help with anxiety treatment by working with a gay therapist. As a member of this community, I know what it’s like, and I certainly know how it feels to be anxious.
Unfortunately there is increased anxiety when an LGBTQ + person is looking for a therapist. Thankfully there are many qualified and ready to help LGBTQ +therapists show specialize in anxiety, as well as helping the LGBTQ + community. Click to learn more about Counseling for LGBTQ + people and Therapy For Gay Men.
If you are ready to take the next step to overcome societally induced LGBTQ Anxiety, I’d be honored to help. Please reach out to me at my Honolulu or London office. I look forward to supporting you on this journey and helping you find relief.
I am a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in the USA and an Accredited CBT Therapist in the UK with over 15 years of experience. I specialize in anxiety, therapy for gay men and teaching the tools of self compassion for LGBTQ+ people.
I have received advanced specialist training in using Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Compassion Focused Therapy which have been shown to be very effective. Please feel free to contact me at my Honolulu or London clinic to set up a CBT Therapy Test Drive.