Deciding to ‘come out’ and admitting to friends and families that you are homosexual can be very difficult for some.
Here at The Holistic Healthcare Group, we hope that in recent years it has become easier for children, young people and adults to be confident in expressing their feelings about others and how they identify themselves and their sexuality. However, we know that is still not easy for everyone and that there can be a range of emotions for the individual, even with really supportive networks around them.
In this blog, we focus on the some of the different emotions you (or someone you may know) may be feeling when making the decision to come out and when sharing this with loved ones and friends.
First of all, many individuals need to feel brave. For all of the education and acceptance we hope there is in 2022, coming out can still be a process that takes a vast amount of bravery.
You may feel very comfortable sharing your feelings and sexuality with some, but not others. Therefore, it is likely that you may feel that you need to really build up both your bravery and confidence to have what may be a very difficult conversation and to face rejection or other negative reactions.
You may also need to feel brave to enable you to convince some to accept who you are and how you are feeling.
Whatever the reason for bravery, be proud of this feeling and your choice of coming out at this time.
We started on a positive, because that is really important to us here at The Holistic Healthcare Group. However, we also appreciate some of the emotions surrounding coming out may be more negative.
Isolation is a common feeling, because some people feel ‘why me?’. They feel isolated that this is something they have to ‘go through’ whilst others, particular those who identify as heterosexual, don’t have to do this. They are ‘accepted’, seen as ‘normal’. Horrible and outdated phrases but this can still cause feelings of isolation and unfairness.
Feeling scared or nervous is also a common emotion that surrounds coming out. Even if you are quite excited to be open about your feelings, you may still a bit scared or nervous – a bit like going on stage or making an important phone call.
It is because this means something to you. It is an important part of you.
You may also be scared about what others will think or how they will react. If there are people in your life whom you feel may react negatively, then consider first how this will make you feel and how you can handle this. If you haven’t told anyone before, then you are likely to start with those who will be supportive, accepting and loving. Try to surround yourself with these people. You may wish to have one of them with you when you feel you need to tell others who are less accepting. It’s important to have support when we feel scared.
As therapists, one emotion that we are often presented with by those we see who talk about their coming out experiences are that of anxiety and, even, depression.
If the thought of coming out is making you feel extremely anxious and worried, then do seek professional help. It can really help speaking to an experienced therapist, to help you work through all of your emotions and particularly to approach those whom you are worried about telling.
Anxiety can actually stop individuals from admitting their true feelings and identity – we don’t want that for anyone. We want to help individuals who need mental health support and we certainly don’t want anxiety, stress or worry about homosexual feelings to become a serious mental health issue.
If you are confused, unsure or very clear about your sexual identity, but it is causing you anxiety, then do consider getting professional help. We have a range of people you can access via our virtual clinics.Virtual Clinics
We wanted to finish on a positive…Did you know that many people feel a sense of relief after coming out? A study from Centre for Studies on Human Stress (CSHS), associated with the University of Montreal, found those who have come out have “lower stress hormone levels and fewer symptoms of anxiety, depression, and burnout.”
Coming out can be a very positive experience – removing feelings of ‘carrying a burden’ or ‘keeping a secret’. Those who you were worried about telling may surprise you and you can find more acceptance, love and plenty of that ‘doesn’t make any difference to me at all’ type reactions than you expected.
Even if your coming out does entail some more challenging or difficult conversations, these can also be insightful. Once you have been through this, the sense of relief can be very rewarding.
Coming out with confidence
We hope in this blog we have shown you that if you decide to speak to friend and family about your sexuality a range of emotions are completely normal.
If you are worried about your sexuality, sexual feelings or have any other concerns about gender and identity, then do explore our virtual clinics and services.
We also offer a wide range of mental health education and support to schools, for students and for teachers. Do get in touch if you wish to find out more.Mental Health Education for Schools