Dhyana, 18, shares how questioning her sexuality has impacted her mental health, and what has helped her cope during the process.
Struggling with your identity can be really confusing and stressful. There’s a pressure to know your identity – to label yourself – which can cause anxiety if you’re not sure or still working it out. I have experienced this when it comes to sexuality.
Society tells us that we should label ourselves so that other people know who or what we are – in other words, to make other people feel comfortable. It may be that finding a label is helpful for you, as it can lead to a sense of community. But it’s important to know that you don’t need to label yourself – it’s ok if you’re not sure about parts of your identity.
It may be that finding a label is helpful for you, as it can lead to a sense of community. But it’s important to know that you don’t need to label yourself.
My personal experience, in all honesty, has not been straightforward. There has been a lot of questioning in my life around my sexuality, and I’m still not sure. Making decisions is hard for me, but when it comes to understanding who I am, I find it particularly stressful.
I worry that not knowing where I belong within the LGBTQ+ community means that I won’t be accepted. This worries me because it doesn’t leave many places where I feel like I belong, which can affect my mood.
I worry that not knowing where I belong within the LGBTQ+ community means that I won’t be accepted.
What has helped me
Taking the time to talk to others in the community and researching more by watching videos and reading books has given me a better understanding of how people identify themselves.
During this process I have learnt that not everyone chooses to be recognised with any one label; often people are still figuring out how they fit into their own community, and as scary and confusing as that can be, it’s important to know that there are people that will accept you for you, no matter how you identify.
I really began questioning my sexuality over this past year and a half, and this has had a big impact on my mental health due to all the uncertainty and anxiety. But I have managed to keep going by looking at people that inspire me. These are often celebrities, but by following their journeys I have learnt that I can love myself, as hard as that can be, with time and perseverance. Some of these celebrities are Halsey, Ruby Rose, Lilly Singh, Emma Watson, BTS and the cast of Queer Eye. They in their own way have shown me that a little of self-love goes a long way. Taking time for yourself every now and then is so important when struggling with mental health.
It’s important to know that there are people that will accept you for you, no matter how you identify.
As easy as this is to say, it took me a long time to get to where I am and I continue to make my way on this journey of self-love and acceptance. If you are on a similar journey, know that there will be setbacks and boosts along the way, but you will come out the other side a more confident and incredible person because of everything you’ve overcome.
More information and advice
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Where to get help
However you're feeling, there are people who can help you if you are struggling. Here are some services that can support you.