As much as I want to say that my sexuality has no bearing on my mental health, it has. Both can start to develop during the same time period in a person’s life.
When you grow up in a small town, you are only exposed to so much of reality. Heterosexuality is society’s proposed default for sexuality. So, picture little gay me surrounded with my female friends, and they are all talking about boys. Sure, I thought there were some cute boys, but I was not interested in them the same way. They wanted to date them, and I didn’t.
These conversations were crucial in planting a seed of doubt in whether or not I felt the same way that they did. However, I reasoned with myself. I told myself things like: “Maybe I just need to try it”, “God wouldn’t make me different than them”, and “Maybe I just haven’t developed that way yet”. So, I waited. However, this journey may have gone quicker if in the meantime my mental illness wasn’t rearing its ugly head.
Most of you know that I had a hard time in high school, and may blame that on the death of my father. Rightfully, so. However, that was just added misery that made it tough for me to come to terms with my poor mental health. His death triggered my mental illness to manifest in ways that it hadn’t before. It ended up masking my mental illness within myself and others. This prolonged the journey of discovering my mental illness, and the pursuit for an intervention.
The combination of not being as interested in boys, and my mental health, probably prevented me from being successful in the dating aspect of high school. Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on how you look at it), I did have experiences with men later on that would validate that I was indeed not interested in them romantically. However, the lack of success would trigger a vicious cycle in my mental health.
Being unsuccessful in the dating arena that is high school is brutal. The combination of being so different than what your friends can understand in both sexuality and mental health was isolating. I suppressed a lot. I wasn’t open and as easy-going as the other girls. So, not only was my sexuality holding me back from dating boys, but also the boys weren’t interested because of how I portrayed myself.
Now, I have come to terms with being different than the default. My mental health is no longer triggered by hiding or wondering whether you would still interact with me. I’m sure my mental illness isn’t only entangled with my sexuality. Given that I still have a mental illness, and coming out wasn’t a magical cure for it. The source of my mental illness is my brain. My brain may have been shaped by these entanglements or it may have been predisposed, or a combination of both. However, acknowledging this entanglement has allowed me to be able to look for other entanglements, which should help in the intervention process.
There are several entanglements in life. Things that you simply cannot separate and put in their own boxes, and life is about understanding those connections. This space is made up of those intersectionalities and entanglements. Everything has a part in others, which makes writing these blog posts more difficult than if I could just focus on one topic. These entanglements are important to acknowledge because it embodies the complexity of life. I hope that this gives you a good example for acknowledging the entanglements within your own lives.