Wednesday, June 8

When No One Understands... Or Cares

Living with same-sex attraction has been a lifelong series of ups and downs... and the time I spend down is pretty awful. Right now, my life is in order and I feel like I am on top of the world. But tomorrow, or the next day, it could very well start to spiral downward into an inevitable crumble into pieces... with or without my permission or any action on my part.

I have clinical depression that is unrelated to being attracted to guys or the rigor or stress of societal structures... which only adds to the conflict. When I write while I'm depressed, my writing is... somewhat depressing. So I thought I'd reflect on my feelings and then what gets me up and out while I'm currently not in the hole.

Sometimes I feel totally and completely worthless. Like no one could ever love me, even if they wanted to... and that if anyone knew about my struggles and the real me, they would reject me in an instant. I feel like everyone around me spends time with me just because they have to. People read this blog because they have nothing better to do. And even my family would disown or at least ignore me if it were allowed by Church standards.

In those moments, I don't want to talk with anyone. I don't want to do anything. And my mind wanders and offers me alternatives that could ease my pain - choices of addictions that could easily numb and soothe into an amnesia to cover my tears. If I give in, then I feel even worse. And even if I don't give in, finding the strength to pray for help and live my own life the way I want to, the pain is still there. It really doesn't make sense to ever give in... and thankfully I've developed habits that have kept me safe.

For me, peace only comes through the Spirit - from God. I can exercise until I'm exhausted, give service until I'm broke, organize activities and do missionary work... but ultimately the healing comes from God - not from any individual thing that I do.

I felt that way not that long ago. I had run out of coping strategies and finally found myself, at the end of the day, at the temple... asking the Lord to give me peace in the midst of the chaos. I asked, and asked, and asked, and asked... and then, as I was listening, He suggested that I pray for others - that I focus my thoughts on them. I did... and spent the next half hour praying for people, by name, asking for specific blessings on their behalf. By the time I left the Celestial Room, and had finished writing names on the prayer roll, my face was streaked with tears. And as I walked outside, I realized that a burden had been lifted from my heart. Somewhere, between my fervent pleas and the exit door, the Lord had given me the peace I needed... as I had focused on others, and sought the Lord in their behalf.

That's the one thing that always gives me hope and lifts me from the depths - finding some way to lift another. Seeing a need, and being able to fill it. Being a shoulder to cry on, a listening ear, a teacher, a friend. Somehow, my own problems disappear when I pray for others and reflect on their pain.

And then the days go on and the world is beautiful. Depression can be beaten, over time, and with help, on a continuum. And even if it doesn't go away or respond to clinical efforts, I can still live and breathe and find peace and joy in life - which is the same as living with attraction to guys... and all the emotional baggage that accompanies it. Peace, joy, happiness, love, hope, faith, salvation - it's all available to me. Yeah, it'll take a lifetime of hard work. Yes, it may not happen as I want or in my timeframe. But the sun always comes out, one day after another. The clouds always clear from my sorrows. There is hope shining brightly before me, and I know that deliverance is nigh... because God is with me, at my side, through it all - even when it feels like no one understands... or cares.


  1. Part 1 - I use to believe straight people could at best only tolerate gay people. I even believed my own mother who I know loves me unconditionally would struggle knowing she had a gay son. I continued with this belief despite once in a while meeting straight people that didn't seem to have a problem with me.

    I have since learned that I was wrong but it took a while before I eventually learned to accept that straight people could love me just as I am.


  2. Part 2 - I don't know if this goes with your teachings but I have found a lot of straight people could care less or are even very accepting of gay people just as they are and that the straight people that would want to hurt me are actually a tiny minority by comparison.

    As a result of this knowledge, I no longer live in fear of straight people; a fear I wasn't aware of until I let go of that fear and started trusting straight people again.

    So just be aware our sexuality is often a bigger deal in our minds that it is in others.

    And I live in Phoenix not exactly a hotbed of liberalism.


  3. So sorry to hear you are struggling so much. My uncle (who is one of my best friends) has had a similar struggle, although at least his religion is slightly more tolerant. Still, watching him face so much adversity breaks my heart. He can be so isolated sometimes. I continue to hope that one day things will be easier.

    I hope you feel better soon, and that the depression lifts.

  4. Lisa -

    I don't have depression right now... this was a recollection post. And I'm going to have to push back on your tolerance thing. I don't think that there is a more truly tolerant place than the LDS Church. I've felt loved, supported, helped, inspired... yes, the Church teaches right and wrong, and all of the members are terribly imperfect in living its teachings, but I honestly believe and have personal experience that being in the Church is the absolute best place possible to work through problems in life... the best place to learn to be happy.

  5. People care. Even if you don't feel it they care.

    I live with serious depression as well. And I have a seemingly perfect life! You do the right thing - exercise, service, love, prayer - when you get down but sometimes it isn't enough. I had to learn (and continually remind myself) that my depression isn't me. "Depressed" is not an adjective that coincides with my name. I am separate from my depression. It is strong, it is loud and it is exhausting but it isn't me. I often just have to wait out the pain and anguish and loneliness - asking Heavenly Father to ease my anxiety and let me breathe.

    It works.

  6. I'm grateful you shared your experience about listening to the Lord and focusing on helping others. I frequently forget that simple task and that allows my depression to get the best of me at times. I'm also grateful for modern medicine that helps me cope with my depression. It helps, but doesn't fix it. I still have to work at it. My favorite line- "Somehow, my own problems disappear when I pray for others and reflect on their pain." very true.

  7. Great description of how one feels while depressed-- it all seems rather melodramatic when you look at it with non-depressed eyes, but once the depression actually sets in, it feels so real. Sigh. What a painful, difficult journey for you and for so many of us humanoids. Keep on keeping on, just like the rest of us!

    And it's not true that people who do not experience same-gender-attraction would reject you in an instant. My learning of orientation has never caused me to love anyone any less. My thought is that more people do not share with others around them because they choose to keep it as a sacred, personal journey with their Savior rather than subjecting such a personal issue to the opinions and 'stereotypes' of the world. But friends value you for who you are, not at all for which gender you happen to be attracted to. In my opinion. Not that you can really test it out. Frustrating.

  8. I just want you to know that I feel like I have been given a gift. A gift to read your blog (which I just recently discovered). A gift to have a small glimpse into your mind and soul. As a straight LDS woman, have ALWAYS struggled with the idea that people really deal with same sex attraction. I never understood why a loving Heavenly Father would allow such a harsh trial. I never understood how it began, and how it ends... or if it ever does.

    I am AMAZED at your strength, dedication and insight. You have given me strength and will to deal with my trials more aggressively rather than just wait it out. I KNOW that the Lord loves you... I felt it so strongly reading this today. You are truly remarkable. Thank your for sharing the deepest parts of your strength and struggle so that people like me can be more understanding, inspired and lifted up.

    May God always be with you. Please know we are praying for you.

  9. Again thank you for sharing how you leaned on the arm of the Lord. I think this is a great example of just how the Lord fulfills his promise of "... I make weak things become strong ..." I know this is what I always ask of the Lord. Thinking that meant he would take from me my draw to guys all together. It something I hear a lot when the general authorities talk. The change is a slow and steady lifetime eternal process. In my marriage I have learned that the Lord is more concerned with how we travel the path in life. How we move along the path is where we find eternal bliss. I think Elder Bednar's comparison of a sunrise to revelation in the last general conference can also be used to illuminate how the Lord expects us to change. Sometimes it's like a light switch being flipped on while most of the time I think it is a subtle almost indiscernible change. It's only over great spans of time and consistent honest reflection can we see our progress. Like your experience it is in prayer I find my most strength. When on bended knee I admit to the Lord my weaknesses and my gratitude for the indebtedness to Him.

  10. Hi Guy! I've heard about your blog and finally came over for a read. I'm honored to be here. You're example is something we can all learn from, whatever struggles we deal with in this life.
    I suffered through a time of depression after my first son was diagnosed with autism. I felt sad and then numb...numb all the time. But I grew up in the church and I was ashamed to admit that I couldn't seem to overcome the sadness I felt. I went through the motions of church activity for several years, trying every day to dig myself out of that dark, numb place. Then, finally, I realized that I wasn't meant to dig myself out. The Lord needed me to admit that I didn't have the ability to heal on my own. I needed Him. And while relying on that other part of the Atonement...the part that deals not with our sins but with our sorrows, He did heal me. Now, I look at my eight year old son who will maybe never speak in this life, and I only feel joy that I get to live in close proximity to such a sweet spirit. Sometimes it's a difficult life, but the things I get in return are beautiful and unique.
    Please know that I don't compare my trial to yours and I don't pretend to understand what it is that you go through each day. But I think you are doing such a beautiful job with the life you have been given. You are overcoming and becoming strong in ways that many of us are not asked to do. And I believe that the blessings you receive for that are and will be unique and beautiful in kind. I hope that is not presumptuous of me, not being acquainted with you. It was what I felt as I read your words today and I look forward to reading more of your words in the future.

  11. I think that was one of the most forthright and accurate descriptions of depression I've ever read. Thank you for what you are doing. Thank you for having the courage to share what is deep inside you and for being stalwart.

  12. i'm so sorry to hear about your struggle. i know it is only easy for me to say this because i am not on your shoes. just count the blessings even you thought they are always outnumbered by whatever... i am here... i a can be a distant friend.

    will be praying for you...


  13. You are amazing. I can't imagine how it would feel to be going through all this. I'm Jewish and Judaism seems to have the same opinion on gay marriage and relationships. You have taught me so much already these past ten minutes. I've heard that according to Judaism, (and Christianity too, I guess)when the Jews were told about the law regarding this, everyone cried.

    I just have a question. Lets say you date a very "boyish" sort of girl, could that be intellectually satisfying? I really feel for you, and others like you. Best of luck! (and faith;) )

  14. I have two cousins that are gay and one was accepted by his imediate family and the other was not. My hearts breaks for my cousin that is "not good enough" for his parents. As a parent I wonder why they don't have unconditional love. I watch him struggle more with his family then the outside world and it breaks my heart.

    Your blog is so good to read. As I suffer from depression and anxiety and find help reading others stuggles with it.

    May you continue to keep ahead of your depression and contiue sharing. You have a gift.

  15. ...just a friendly reminder; there are always people who care and understand. ;)

  16. My Dear Brother...
    I know you're not really my "brother", but you're my brother in God's eyes. I'm also a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and I just want to tell you that you are NEVER alone. Our loving Heavenly Father is with us through EVERYTHING! I hope you have seen brighter days since this post was made and remember who you are... A HANDSOME SON OF GOD!

    With Love from a Fellow Sister,


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