Oh, bloody hell! I swear I never heard of the Cubby House before I named my blog! In any case, it’s a bloody good read, so you should definitely check it out.
I’ve been thinking lately about how far I’ve come as a person over the last ten years, and I’m proud of it, as we all should be of our personal growth. What I’m extremely proud of is how far I’ve come as a gay man.
When I was a kid, 16 years old, I made the decision in my mind to stay in the closet forever. I didn’t know if it was possible, but I knew it was what I wanted. I even went so far as to plan my life – I would marry some faceless woman, have some children; a semblence of a normal (read: heterosexual) life, and I would sleep with men on the side.
Now, obviously there is a lot wrong with this, and I regret ever thinking it, even despite my age at the time. But what interests me now about it is that I never made provisions for emotional relationships with men – just sex.
When I got older, I thought I had accepted myself as homosexual, and in a small way I had. But I was suppressing so much about myself. I was so effectively keeping my secret that I had succeeding in hiding a large portion of it from myself. Yes, I knew I was gay, but until I came out, I had no real sexuality, just a sexual orientation. Only when I finally did come out, did the flood gates opened. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
During my earlier years at university, I had begun to develop deeper insecurities and poor self-image. Though low self-esteem wasn’t new to me, it did begin to take on a more substantial shape. And why? I had no idea. I began to suspect that mentally, I was not completely in control any more.
One night, when out with friends, the paranoia that was becoming a permanent fixture of my personality forced me to actually tell my friends to go home and leave me alone. When they obliged, I left the nightclub we were in and started walking toward a gay bar I knew of. For some reason, I knew that some of the openly gay guys from my class would be there, and I wanted to be ‘found out’. Sure enough, there were some familiar faces in the crowd.
In the months preceeding that night, I had noticed that my moods were becoming incredibly unstable. I knew I was depressed; I would cry for no reason. I would avoid social situations, and some days it was so hard to arrange the muscles of my face into a smile that the effort of it would make me cry. What was harder to identify were those times when I was so contented and happy. Those days made me feel like I had a grip on things, and that just maybe my attitude today was better than yesterday. But slowly, I began to realise that I was too happy, and for no obvious reason. I would become effusive, energetic, and I stopped sleeping as much. Sometimes, the stream of thought in my mind was not gently narrating to me, it was screaming at me. But then without warning, somebody would look at me the wrong way, or they would say something with a particular inflection, and my mood came tumbling down.
I was diagnosed with cyclothymia, which I like to call ‘bipolar lite’. It is a similar mood disorder, but less severe in its symptoms. Normal mood does not sit static on the neutral line, with occasional dips up or down. A normal mood is like a pendulum that constantly swings from elevated to depressed, passing through the neutral range each time it oscillates. The only difference between a normal mood and cyclothymia is just how far or hard the pendulum swings each time it moves. In short, the highs are high, but the lows are very low.
I’ll admit there were even times that I felt like I wanted to commit suicide.
The day after I went to the gay bar, I came out to my immediate family. I told friends, roommates, anyone that played a role in my life, starring or cameo. It was a tour-de-force, and in a few short days, the bandaid had been effectively torn off. Of course, nobody cared that I was gay, and for a few brief moments I regretted waiting so long.
The interesting thing is that shortly after coming out, my moods stabilised. I had attended talk therapy briefly, but had never been started on medication. Without being conscious of it, my mind had finally discovered the corrupt file that was threatening it’s whole system, and had simply removed it.
When I came out, my mind was assaulted by all thoughts homosexual. I really find it hard to describe, this phonomenon of gay preoccupation. I feel as though I must have been suppressing so much of myself even to the extent that I didn’t allow myself to think about men and sex in any deeper context than passing thought, and whatever barriers I had created to protect myself from these thoughts came crashing down the minute I uttered my first “I’m gay”.
This post is getting extremely large, so I will save the rest for another.
The important thing is this: If you feel as though there is something wrong with your moods, trust you instincts. Seek help earlier than I did. Don’t wait until your mind takes you to consider suicide before being proactive.
I love you all.