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Therapy/support advice

Discussion in 'LGBT Later in Life' started by ERS2016, Aug 13, 2016.

  1. ERS2016

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    After signing up here recently, I've seen quite a few suggestions about the potential of seeking some kind of therapy to help tackling the problems with my sexuality. I have accepted I'm gay (or at least I think I have) but every time I go to take any step - tell anyone, meet up with some just for chat and a coffee, anything that could be described as actually living a gay life even in a small way I have serious problems with anxiety and just end up shutting myself away.

    I feel like I do need to seek some help as this has been going on for a long time (I'm in my mid-30s now) and it's starting to dominate my life. I was hoping some people might be able to share something about their experiences of therapy - how helpful it was, that kind of thing. And maybe even some suggestions of where to go to find that kind of professional help (I'm in the London area in the UK).

    It's a very open question, but although I've browsed some websites about it it would help a lot to hear how such help has worked for people and if anyone has any advice about how to go about it.

    Thanks very much!
     
  2. bingostring

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    If it is holding you back in life, it would be a very good idea to think about therapy to understand the reasons behind your stuckness and for a professional to help you find a way forward.

    You can get advice from various sources, but my suggestion would be to see someone with LGBT expertise. Try googling the Pink Therapy website. Or British Psychological Society website as a starting place. You can ask for a one-off session to see if you get along before committing to anything long term.

    Do you yet know anyone who is gay to open up to .. to help you in going to events / opening up generally so you are not alone in this?
     
  3. ERS2016

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    Thanks for those suggestions - I will have a look at those resources now. It makes sense to see someone who has LGBT specialism, provided I can go through with seeing someone.

    In terms of there being anyone gay to open up to, I do have gay friends that I have tried to tell and who I know will be supportive but I always freeze and have physical panic symptoms when I try it. That problem is something that I'm hoping some professional help might be able to change.

    I like the idea of having someone I know being supportive but I just lose it completely when I try and speak to them.

    Speaking to people on here since signing up has helped though. I felt completely alone for a long time before but this has changed things a little.
     
  4. bingostring

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    I think opening up to just one gay friend would be immensely helpful.
    If only to have broken that barrier and proven to yourself the the world did not come crashing down. In fact the opposite I am sure will be true.

    You could text the one you want to talk to and just say ... fancy a drink ? something I want to ask you then you won't get off the hook so easy ?
     
  5. ERS2016

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    It makes a lot of sense, and I've tried writing versions of that kind of message to make something happen so many times - do it almost every day. I will keep trying - maybe one day I will accidentally hit send!

    It's that irrational part of me that takes over that I'm finding hard to get round. The thing is that I know the world won't come crashing down but there's still something there that I can't get round.
     
  6. bingostring

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    Hey, don't stress... it will happen when you are ready.
    Maybe you'll just be in a conversation with the right person and it will just happen :thumbsup:
     
  7. Nickw

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    Hey

    I never did any therapy my whole life. Then I arranged a gay hookup to cheat on my wife. I didn't do it, but completely lost it. I knew I was bi but thought I had it "under control". Therapy saved my marriage and maybe my life. I was able to just flat out tell the therapist out loud that I liked men. So, he helped me understand what that meant and how to discuss it with my wife.

    I am a pretty direct guy. I just called therapists at random and asked how they felt about homosexuality. Not sure that it would not have been better to go to an LGBT center for references...but I was desperate.

    More than the gay issues, the therapist helped me with my anxiety. Helped me work on coping tools appropriate to me. It was worth every penny.
     
  8. ERS2016

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    Interesting to hear that it worked so well for you. In many ways, my situation is much simpler than yours as well, so even more reason to be confident that it would be right to sort help. Just saying I am gay out loud to someone seems like an impossible thing right now (ridiculously) and even that would help so much. Thanks!
     
  9. Lesayala41

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    My son is 14, just told me he was gay. I'm crying and upset. I love my son unconventional, his dad is totally against homosexuality. I talked with my son, I'm asking questions, help.
     
  10. Nickw

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    I had a great therapist. At the end second session as I was walking out the room he asked me how I did the big ski drops ( I am an extreme skier) just out of "curiosity". Did I think about the entire chute all the time? I told him of course not. You must concentrate on each turn. Not the one down the slope or the one you almost botched behind you. Not the cliff far down the mountain. He just said "does that give you any ideas? And closed the door behind me"

    The other thing I was able to say to him was. "I am gay" out loud. As a bisexual, I could not really accept this until I did that. Now, I remind myself, my wife, and my gay friends that I am gay. It is a part of me since before I knew otherwise. A lot of bisexuals don't need this but I do or a will sweep it under the rug. And, here's the thing you will find... You will like it!
     
  11. WanderingMind

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    Hi Lesayala. It sounds like *you* need some help in order to be better able to help your son. You might find more support by posting your worries/questions in this thread: For Parents and Family Members of LGBT People - Empty Closets - A safe online community for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender people coming out.

    Meanwhile, you're doing the right thing by wanting to support your son, and by asking questions and talking with him. Keep focused on your love for your son, as it will give you strength to continue to ask the right questions and be a safe space for him.

    ---------- Post added 13th Aug 2016 at 11:22 PM ----------

    Hi! Therapy helps me, although it took a bit of searching to find a therapist I felt comfortable with. I agree with others who've posted that someone with LGBT expertise/interest is likely going to be more helpful than someone else, however just because someone lists that in their profile doesn't mean his/her/their process will work for you. This article helped me decide to switch after a few sessions with a therapist who I didn't work well with: 50 Signs of Good Therapy.

    I hope you are able to access support and get the help you need! It's very worth it.
     
  12. ERS2016

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    Thanks for the link WanderingMind - very useful. Interesting to know it took a bit of searching - will keep that in mind in case it doesn't work out for me at first.

    Good to hear that it helps you, that's really encouraging.
     
  13. BenFreeman

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    What has happened is that you have built up a social image that is not you. Its now really difficult to change that as you are so used to living behind the mask of a straight person that you dont know how else to be. That's really unhealthy. Its really important that you make room in your life for being yourself without the masks...without the closet. Talking to an accepting therapist can really help. Once you have had the acceptance of one person for who you really are...the rest becomes easier. Make sure that that therapist or friend is the right one though...

    Good luck.
     
  14. ERS2016

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    I do feel that it's very hard to break through that. It's getting harder and harder in many ways as I get a clearer idea of who I really am. I hope that some help will make it possible to live as I really am.
     
  15. Nickw

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    ERS2016

    I was thinking about you a bit yesterday. How societal expectations of how a man should behave can have such an impact on self acceptance when you step outside that norm. You, seemingly, could be gay with limited risks. No wife, religion, conservative government. Yet, it is still, understandingly, difficult to accept this.

    So. Enough of this messing around. Go on a date with a guy and give him a kiss in public! Immersion therapy. Joking here a bit...my style...but, you may just need to jump in with both feet and get wet. I promise you won't drown!
     
  16. ERS2016

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    What you say is 100% right. There are basically no major downsides in my situation so I really should be able to make that step easily. That, in itself, is quite confusing - so many people have it way harder but I end up hitting that brick wall. I'm actually quite ashamed of that given what some people have to go through.

    I like the sound of your immersion therapy suggestion though! I absolutely love the idea of being able to go on a date and do that! That's what I'm working towards.
     
  17. Nickw

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    Hey. I realized after posting that I may have not given your anxiety enough credit and didn't mean to diminish it.

    When I was a kid I was afraid of the high board. One day I climbed it and was so struck with anxiety and fear I could not jump. The other kids were lined up on the ladder...no turning back. A big bully started teasing me and threatening to throw me off. So, the risks of not jumping were higher than jumping. I jumped arms out got slapped with water. It hurt. But not as much as not jumping and having this kid push me off.

    You didn't choose to be on that board. But you are. You have to jump or the risks of not doing it will be profound. It is your life. You must live it!
     
  18. ERS2016

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    Don't worry about diminishing it - I really appreciate hearing what you have to say and it's definitely helpful.

    I do feel like I'm at the point where not jumping will be worse for me than jumping - I'm going to keep trying to find ways to do that.

    I hope I'll get there and the help of people like yourself in the short time since I've signed up here will be key to that.
     
  19. yeehaw

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    Hi there. Something else you can consider is going to see a therapist and planning only to tell the therapist that you have something to say that is very very hard for you to say and you aren't ready to say it yet. And just see how that is. See what it's like to connect with a therapist. Figure out if you like the first one you meet. I would strongly suggest picking one you know is gay friendly, and then take the tiniest baby steps knowing that you don't ever have to go beyond saying that there is something you are scared to say.

    ---------- Post added 15th Aug 2016 at 10:12 PM ----------

    You could also ask for help with dealing with anxiety, panic attacks, and maybe even phobias to see if that seems useful before you ever even decide if you to *consider* telling the therapist that you are gay.
     
  20. I'm gay

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    I was able to find a therapist who is gay. That helped a lot.