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I'm Not Out Yet and Feel Stressed and Depressed. What Can I Do?

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Teenage girls
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Question: I'm Not Out Yet and Feel Stressed and Depressed. What Can I Do?
A teen who isn't out about being gay yet, feels like there are a lot of athletic expectations put on him. These factors combined are making him experience stress and depression.
Answer:

A gay teen writes:

"I'm a 15 year old teen in the closet. That's stressful enough for me, but I'm also the star distance runner at my school who allways has to be perfect. I've worked my butt off this year training for county, and when it finally came up, I completely blew it.

I just need help now but I don't know where to go. It seems like every day after practice I come home, eat, do homework, then lie in my room all depressed for the rest of the day. My weekends aren't any better. I never go out with friends because I'm just anti-social like that. I have friends, but I just see them at school and no one knows I'm gay. I literally can't do it. I just feel like I'm going to be a big disappointment to my family and that's the last thing I want but at the same time I feel like if I don't do something soon I might just explode."

Thanks so much for writing! It sounds like you are under a whole lot of pressure and you need to find a way to feel better.

What you are describing could be a sign of depression. For a lot of teens, symptoms of depression include not only deep feelings of sadness, but also feelings of emptiness, the desire to sleep more than is needed, a lack of interes in socializing, and even thoughts of self harm or suicide.

But how you are feeling can also be related to the fact that you are keeping the fact that you a gay a secret. That's enough to make anyone feel like they were going to explode!

Though coming out isn't something all teens can or should do, doing so can be very freeing because you no longer have to live a lie. Plus, once you are out you can feel more confident meeting other GLBT teens and participating in GLBT community life. Also, coming out can help you get appropriate support if you need it. But every GLBT teen will have to decide when, and if, it makes sense to be open about their sexual orientation. But it is important to realize that staying closeted can pose as many challenges as can coming out.

As another teens wrote in response to this letter:

"I went through the same thing, only I'm a swimmer. I would recommend that you just try to meet and talk to as many other gays as you can. I think you just want someone special in your life, but I'm not a psychiatrist. I find that talking to people going through the same/similar thing is VERY helpful. It WILL get better, I promise."

It sounds like you really need to talk to someone right now. As a first step, it is probably a really good idea to touch base with your guidance counsellor at scholl or your family doctor and see what they recommend. Doing so might seem really unappealing, and it might take a little bit of work on your part to get the help you need, but getting help is one of the best ways to feel better.

Here is important information on how to find a GLBT-friendly therapist, both with your parents help and without.

Lastly, you might really want to think about talking to your parents. While it might seem like they won't be able to handle your news, parents are often a lot more supportive than teens expect.

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