I’m not having friend or family issues right now, but somehow this is even worse. When I try to figure things out, I feel kind of threatened by myself. Theres a sort of voice inside my head that I call “The Shade”. The first time I really noticed it was when I was eight, I messed up a gymnastics trick, and it told me how everyone thought I was stupid. It got worse, then better, and now it’s getting worse in a big way. I feel lonely all the time, sometimes numb, or angry, or just scared. I try to tell myself to be strong, to wait it out and find my friends, and I feel a little better then, but then it comes back, talking about how I’m not really strong. Right now it says I’m just looking for attention, and maybe it’s right, but I don’t want to feel like this anymore. I’ve started to think about running away just to change what’s going on, or that I should just die because there are a thousand others who can take my place. I’m dreading school horribly even though I’ve got nobody who bothers me there, and plenty of friends. Part of the problem, I think, is that I’ve only told one person that I’m questioning my sexuality. She was amazing about it, but for school and family reasons I can’t see her and talk as often as I’d like to. I don’t want to tell my parents how I feel, but I’m not sure why. It’s gotten to the point where I can’t even tell when I’m lying to myself, and I feel physically tired after fighting with myself. I’m not going to give up any time soon, but I feel like I’ve lost control of myself. Any kind of help would be appreciated. Thank You, Skye.
Thank you for writing into the Trevor Project with your concerns. You are very brave to be so open and honest about what you are feeling and going through. That takes a lot. Thank you for trusting us with something so personal. Your feelings of fear and loneliness are understandable given the many problems you are faced with.
Many people experience an inner voice, that you call “The Shade”. This inner voice can be positive or negative and often it is replaying what we fear the most. It seems like in your case it is negative and even hurtful. Do you hear this voice only when something goes wrong or do you hear it all the time? Has the frequency increased recently? You said that it went away for a bit and now it has come back. Can you think of any recent events that caused it to come back? Did it start when you started questioning your sexuality?
It might help to journal what The Shade says to you. One thing this does is it gets the negative voice out of your head and onto paper. It might also help you understand what happened that day that made the Shade speak to you. Have you tried speaking to a school counselor or a family member about the voice you hear? You may find it helpful and comforting to speak to someone else and seek their help as you try to deal with the negativity and hurt. Even if you are looking for attention right now, that’s no reason to be ashamed. Explore why you feel that way and what will help you get the attention you need. Maybe you want to be heard by a family member. Try to get to the root of what you feel and that will reduce the power the Shade has over you because it will be telling you things you already know and things you are working to improve. Don’t fight the voice you hear, let it say what it needs to. Try not to take the negative voice to heart. Let it pass through you.
Questioning your sexual orientation and having a wide range of feelings and emotions is a part of growing up. We all have different experiences as we explore ourselves and discover who we are and what we like. It is perfectly ok to be Questioning. Take your time to discover who you are and don’t feel rushed to be someone who you are not. Being someone you are not is generally a source of pain and self-loathing. Do you think this may be part of the fight you are fighting with the Shade? Is the uncertainty of how people will react to you a source of concern and fear? Do you think your parents might not understand what you feel if you tell them about questioning your sexuality? Have they said things that make you wonder how they would react? Be patient and introspective and you will reach the point where you are comfortable in your own skin. Give the process time. I am glad that you had someone you could talk to about your feelings. How did it feel to speak to her about what you are feeling? Did the Shade say something to you after this experience as well? Is there any one else you can talk to about this?
Skye you mentioned in your letter that you feel like running away or that you should die because a thousand others could take your place. I want to tell you that each one of us in unique. You are very important to many people around you. They might not put it in so many words but they feel it. You mentioned that you have a lot of friends. Your family and friends care about you and you should care for yourself and love yourself too. By running away or harming yourself, you will deny yourself a lifetime of experiences that you were always hoping for. I know you are in a dark place right now and you don’t see much hope but that does not mean things will always stay this way. Things may change for the better sooner than you are expecting. We care for your safety and hope you take decisions with your safety as the highest priority. If you ever feel that things are getting really hard call us at the Trevor Lifeline at 866-488-7386. We are here for you and want to help you in any way we can.
It is natural that the many feelings you are experiencing right now must be overwhelming. This may be the cause of your anger, fear and loneliness. Try to spend more time with your family and friends, this should help stem some of the loneliness you feel. Keep yourself engaged in things you enjoy and things you look forward to. You have shown such incredible strength in facing your problems and sharing them with us. Please keep your safety in mind before you take any next steps. If you feel that you are loosing control or just need to talk, remember you are not alone. You can call in at the Trevor Lifeline or write back to us. We will be here to listen to you.
Take care and stay strong,