I’m fourteen and I am bisexual. My family and very few of my friends support me and recently, because of this, I have been cutting myself, each time getting deeper, and each day I just wanna die even more than the day before. Several people at my school threaten me. I’m so scared. I don’t know what to do. Please Help me.
Black Snowflake, 14,
You are a very strong and confident person, being open with people in your life about being bisexual. I’m so sorry that very few of your friends support you and that several people in your school threaten you. It’s understandable that those things would cause you to feel very hurt and scared. Though you said that you don’t know what to do, by writing to Dear Trevor and reaching out for help, you’ve taken a step in trying to keep yourself safe and to make things better for you.
We at The Trevor Project care about you and are very concerned for you and your safety especially when you say that you've been cutting, each time getting deeper, and each day wanting to die more than the day before. Though some people cut as a way of dealing with painful, difficult emotions and situations, cutting can be very dangerous. It sounds like that may be part of why you cut but that it also sounds like it’s a way for you to die. It’s very important for your safety that you immediately tell a trusted adult such as a parent, relative, doctor, teacher or school counselor about the cutting and your desire to die so they can help keep you safe. If you feel you’re going to act on the thoughts of killing yourself, call 911 or get to the nearest hospital emergency room. If there is no one you feeling comfortable talking with, please call the Trevor Helpline immediately at 1-866-4-U-TREVOR (1-866-488-7386). Our counselors are here for you 24 hours, 7 days a week to talk about everything you’re going through including your feelings of wanting to die, your cutting, the lack of support you’re getting around being bisexual and the threats you’ve been getting at school. They want to do whatever is needed to keep you safe. As you're experiencing, depression can be very painful to feel and can make you isolate from your friends and family, cause you to be tired all the time and take away your motivation to do things, make you not enjoy the things you usually like to do, make you sleep and eat much less or much more than usual and make you see everything in your life in a negative way. Sometimes the depression can get so bad it can make a person think of ending their life. Sometimes people think about ending their life when they're feeling very depressed, feel hopeless that things will get better and helpless to make things better in their life. On www.us.reachout.com you'll find facts about depression by clicking on “struggles with feelings.” On www.helpguide.org/mental/depression_teen_teenagers.htm you can learn more about depression and its treatment. Please know that there is treatment for depression including therapy/and or medication. It would be important and can be helpful to talk with a mental health professional, such as a social worker, psychologist or psychiatrist about everything you’re feeling and going through including wanting to die and the cutting in order to understand what's causing them and to get the correct treatment to help you to feel better and to help you see choices and options you may not be aware that you have. You could ask a trusted adult such as a parent, relative, doctor, teacher, or school counselor to help you find such a person or you can work with a Trevor helpline counselor to find a mental health professional for you to work with. You could have a trusted adult contact the Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists by calling 215-222-2800 or visiting their website at www.aglp.org for help in finding someone in your area for you to talk and work with.
As you’re experiencing, people cut as a way of dealing with or managing difficult, painful, overwhelming emotions or stress. For some, cutting relives stress or tension or they find that the physical pain of cutting is a distraction from the emotional pain. Some people are angry at someone in their life and take the anger out on themselves by cutting. Others feel that the cutting gives them a feeling of control when things in the life or their emotions feel out of control. With what you're dealing with regarding people not being supportive of your sexuality and being threatened at school, you may be experiencing some or all of these things. Cutting may help you to feel better briefly but the longer it goes on, the more dangerous it can become as it can cause permanent scars, infections and serious, and sometimes life threatening medical problems especially if you cut a major blood vessel. It can also cause you to feel shame, guilt, depressed and out of control. If you feel like cutting, there are lots of ways to help yourself feel better without putting yourself at risk. Think about how you feel before and after you cut yourself. If cutting helps to release anger, you might try getting the anger out in another way like hitting a pillow, stomping around in heavy shoes, ripping up an old newspaper or flattening aluminum cans. If cutting helps you when you’re sad, do whatever makes you feel taken care of and comforted. That may be listening to certain songs, calling a good friend or eating a favorite food. Sometimes, writing in a journal or drawing/painting helps a person to feel better. For some people, doing something physical like running outdoors or yoga can help relieve stress. If the cutting helps you to feel less numb, do something that creates a sharp physical feeling like putting your hand in ice water or stamp your feet on the ground. There are websites available including www.safe-alternatives.com and http://www.helpguide.org/mental/self_injury.htm that can help you learn about cutting as well as additional things you can do when you have the urge to cut. It sometimes can be very difficult to stop cutting and it would be important to work with a therapist to find safer and healthier ways to deal with the hard things you’re going through. If you’re not comfortable talking with your parents, you could ask a school counselor for help finding a therapist or call 1-800-DON’T-CUT. When you have the urge to cut, you can always call the Trevor helpline at 1-866-4-U-Trevor (1-866-488-7386) and talk with a Trevor counselor about what you’re feeling and experiencing as well as your urge to cut which can help to delay or stop the urge to cut. They can also work with you to find a therapist to help you.
Please know that you have the right to be yourself and to feel safe in school and no one ever has the right to threaten you or bully you in any way. In 2005, Virginia passed laws that direct schools to take action to reduce school bullying. It would be important for you to talk with an adult at school such as a the principal, school counselor, school administrator or teacher as it is their job to make sure you and others are not being harassed or bullied by anyone and that you feel safe in school. You said that your family supports you so you might have them go with you as they can be a support to you. There are a number of organizations that work specifically in schools to address bullying and harassment of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) students. One of these is the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) which works to ensure safe schools for ALL students. On their website at www.glsen.org click on "what we do" where you can find programs which may help people in your school become more understanding and supportive of you. One program is called "A Day of Silence" which brings attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment in schools. Each year, the event has grown, now with hundreds of thousands of students coming together to encourage schools and classmates to address the problem of anti-LGBT behavior. Another program is the No Name-Calling Week which is a week of educational activities aimed at ending name-calling of all kinds and providing schools with the tools and inspiration to foster a dialogue about ways to eliminate bullying in their communities. On GLSEN's website, there are also links to articles and blogs where you can learn how students at other schools are educating each other on the subject of intolerance. GLSEN also has information on how to start a GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance) which is a student club that works to improve school climate for all students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. It's a place where students can come together, offer support to one another and help make your school a more accepting place. On http://www.gsanetwork.org/resources/start.html you can get information on how to start a GSA. Another resource that can be of help is The Trevor Project's workshop program which contains the film "Trevor" to be used with the workshop guide (which can be downloaded for free) to open up discussions with ALL students about how language and behavior can affect the way an individual feels about themselves. You can find these resources by going to The Trevor Project home page and clicking on "read more" under "parents and educators" or by calling The Trevor Project offices at 310-271-8845. If there is a school counselor or administrator at your school with whom you feel comfortable, you could talk with them about using these programs to help people become more understanding and accepting of you and other LGBT people.
Some people have a difficult time accepting someone who is bisexual due to a lack of information or misinformation or because they believed that the person was straight and with help, can move to a more positive and accepting place. Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) is a great organization, made up mostly of parents, which supports LGBTQ people and works to help parents and others, including friends, to become more supportive and accepting of their loved one's sexual orientation. On their website at www.pflag.org click on "Get Support" then click on "For Family & Friends" where you'll find the pamphlets "Our Daughters and Sons: Questions and Answers for Parents of Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual People" and “Frequently Asked Questions about GLBT People,” which, if you’re comfortable, you can share with the people in your life to help them become more understanding and accepting of you. PFLAG also runs support groups where parents and others can discuss questions and concerns they have about a loved one's sexual orientation and where LGBT people can discuss issues they're having with people in their life. On their website, you can search for a chapter near you. If no chapter is near you or if the people in your life won’t attend, you could still contact the nearest chapter and get support and learn ways to help them become more understanding of you.
It would be very important for you to get the support you need during this time. It can make a huge different being able to talk about what you're feeling to someone who is understanding and who will not judge you. You mentioned that your family and a few friends are supportive so you might think about talking with them. You might also talk with a teacher or school counselor. It can also help to talk with other LGBT people. If your school has a Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) you could attend some meetings. You can get peer to peer support by calling the GLBT National Youth Talkline which is open from 8pm to midnight and can be reached at 1-800-246-7743. You could join TrevorSpace at http://www.trevorspace.org, the Trevor Project's safe online social networking site for LGBTQ young people ages 13 to 24, their friends and allies. It's a great supportive community where you can reach out anytime to young people all over the country, get support and learn what's helped them when people in their life are not accepting of their sexual orientation.
To talk more about this and to get more support, remember that you can always call the Trevor helpline at 1-866-4-U-Trevor 24 hours, 7 days a week. Our understanding, supportive counselors would welcome your call to give you support and talk with you about everything you're feeling and going through. Please keep fighting for you because you're worth fighting for. Please know that we're always here for you at The Trevor Project.