Gay Men’s Health – Depression and Anxiety
It is hardly surprising that gay men are more likely to experience anxiety and depression than their straight counterparts, because of the additional issues their sexuality can bring up. Even though there is generally a greater tolerance towards people of different sexual orientations than there used to be, being gay can still make life difficult in some instances. The chances are a gay man will have encountered some form of bullying or discrimination whilst growing up or as an adult, and this is bound to have an impact on his self-esteem. Not all gay men choose to be open about their sexuality, but this can lead to additional problems.
Depression and anxiety can affect anyone whatever their sexuality, race, age or gender, but when you’re gay you also have the added burden of being ‘different’ from the heterosexual norm. You have to go through a process of accepting yourself and coming out to other people, and this can sometimes lead to problems. You may find that not everyone is as accepting of your sexuality as you would like and that you are bullied for being gay or that you are discriminated against or face physical violence in certain situations. Homophobic comments might be aimed in your direction and it may be challenging trying to come to terms with your sexuality when you encounter so much negativity.
When you’re continually exposed to negative images of what it is to be a gay man and read about the discrimination that gay men can face, it is no wonder that some men decide to avoid opening up about their sexuality. It might seem easier to avoid coming out and to pretend that your sexuality isn’t an issue, but trying to pretend that you’re not gay can actually make the situation worse. Men who are open about their sexuality are more likely to find the support and assistance they need, so that they can deal successfully with their depression and anxiety. Unfortunately, gay men are more likely to attempt suicide than those who are straight and to actually succeed in doing so, which is why it is essential to seek help if you’re feeling down.
Some men are scared to be open about their sexuality within a medical setting. They’re afraid to come out as being gay to their own doctor, for fear of being judged in a negative way, but trying to keep such a huge part of your identity a secret is hardly likely to improve the state of your mental health. It can take time to come to terms with the fact that you’re gay, especially if you’re concerned about the reaction you are likely to get from friends and family. It is these concerns that may contribute to the fact that gay men are more likely to drink and use illegal drugs than straight men. Trying to block out negative feelings you have towards yourself in such a way will not fundamentally change anything and will only make you feel worse.
It obviously isn’t going to do your health much good if you come to rely on drink and drugs to get you through the day, which is why you need to be able to confide in people. There are plenty of support groups out there for gay men who are struggling to open up about their sexuality. You may be worried about how being gay could affect the way you are treated by the people you are closest to, but it is surely better to be open and to find out who is really there for you than it is to pretend that you’re something you’re not. After all, the chances are that lying to yourself and other people will be extremely burdensome and lead to a deterioration in the state of your mental health.