Depression in Gender/ Sexual Minorities
Depression doesn’t care who you are. It doesn’t care if you where you live or if you are rich or poor. Depression doesn’t mind if you are short or tall, thin or overweight or have blond hair or red hair. No one is immune as depression targets everyone.
Though this is true, depression does discriminate. Sometimes depression targets certain groups more often than others. For example, people with a chronic medical condition like multiple sclerosis or psoriasis have higher rates of depression than people without these conditions. In a similar way, people who identify themselves as being a gender or sexual minority (GSM), including but not limited to the LGBTQ population, have higher rates of depression. Being gay is clearly not a chronic medical condition, so what is the link?
The link is stress. Anytime stress comes into your life and stays for a while, life becomes more of a challenge. People that are LBGTQ have more than their fair share of stress. They not only have to deal with the everyday life stressors associated with being a teenager or adult, but they have to do it while gaining an understanding of themselves on unique levels. Although there may be different factors contributing to the depression, the best antidepressive interventions work for everyone.
Build your Identity
Having a strong, firmly established sense of self is a sure depression buster, but many in the LBGTQ community struggle to find due to their own uncertainty paired with the lack of knowledge of others. Know your identity to fight depression. Here’s how:
- List your strengths. Knowing your strengths helps you to focus on the positive aspects of your personality and identity. What do you like about yourself? What are you good at? What do other people like about you? Tracking these allows you to boost your self-esteem while learning more about yourself. Ask others for their opinions for a more complete picture.
- List your weaknesses. No one is without flaws. Working to objectively take an inventory of your weaknesses provides you with needed information. Weaknesses represent areas to improve upon. If the negatives become overwhelming, consult with trusted supports that are willing to be caring and honest. If you cannot think of any weaknesses, ask what you may be hiding from yourself.
- List your goals. Many people find volumes of self-worth from their goals. You can know who you are by what you aspire to be. What are you working towards? Listing what you would like to accomplish in the coming days, weeks and months helps bring about motivation as it reaffirms your identity.