Hello, the name I almost consistently go by is Faith, and I am 18 years of age. I have been trans, and a part of the LGBT community for what feels like a lifetime now, experiencing feelings from the worst like isolation from all of the people around me, to the best, where I met the best people I have ever known in my life.
Ever since my childhood, I have been unfortunately plagued by a numerous amount of issues regarding my mental health. This meant that while others around me were coping in my own eyes, I was struggling to wake up in the morning, struggling to speak to people around me, and to even find a purpose in anything at all. Being transgender in this day, still comes with unfortunate discriminations. I live in a family with 2 brothers, and I almost consistently get called transphobic, homophobic or just generally rude remarks. This negatively impacts my mental health, because as is, I struggle with gender dysphoria, and being surrounded by people telling me things such as “overweight” or worse, makes the ability to cope with the prison of a body feel much more of a pointless investment of time.
Earlier this year, things took a positive turn. After spending years with CAMHS and feeling so done with everything, I was given the opportunity to meet up with likeminded people in a programme run by The Wild Mind Project every Sunday. At first I was worried that it wouldn’t work out well, but as I ventured into my first session, I already felt so safe and warm, something I have never felt in my entire life, as I never had friends. From this, I found the purpose I have been severely lacking in my life from almost the very start, and I finally realised how amazing it feels to be loved, and to matter to those around you, while also being able to discuss important issues about gender identity, equality and so much more beyond those lines.
I believe from my experiences, that people would be very unwilling to open up to anyone about their issues, ironically, I think more so for therapists and GP’s. It’s been a constant opinion for me, that seeking out mental health support is best among friends and people you trust, instead of going to a place, such as CAMHS, where even if they do try to help, they will almost all of the time barely understand the situation you are in. This will leave the person walking out, with maybe even more questions than they had walking into an appointment, and it can cause more conflict, especially among the LGBT youth. I personally find it much easier to go and sit down with my friends, than to talk to a doctor or therapist about issues they most likely can’t, or haven’t comprehended.
While I was growing up, mental health wasn’t even a thought on the minds of people. It was a time where we had no sorts of campaigns, or weeks to explore these real issues regarding mental health, among others. Mental health was something that existed, but it wasn’t ever really taken seriously with teaching staff, or teachers in general while I was in primary school. When feeling depressed, or feeling completely afraid to go back to school, you were told to grow up, or “man up” as my parents used to say, which also wasn’t a very nice thing to hear, being who I am.
As I have grown, from a child to an adult, I have learnt so many things not just about mental health as a subject, but my own too. It started off as feeling like this unshakable burden to carry on your own, and you felt wrong in the presence of others, but now I know I have amazing friends when my brain paints me as worthless, and I feel minor things, or severe things such as acting on intentions. Learning from others has also dramatically increased my knowledge, and makes me much more helpful in situations where friends need advice or support from me. It also means that I can more so understand my emotions.