Over the last year or so I’ve been working through various issues in my life. In short these have been my faith, my sexuality, my relationship to my work, and self acceptance.
A friend suggested that I maybe go and talk to someone about everything that was going on, to which my attitude was ‘I don’t think I need to see a counsellor.’ And she said, ‘Best to go before you need to go.’ This convinced me somewhat, along with her insistence that everyone can benefit from talking to someone outside of their immediate lives, and that this also wasn’t a weakness. To cut a long story short, I went to see a counsellor on my university campus for 5 weeks. And surprise surprise, it was really helpful.
After this finished I began looking for an alternative, as I wanted to continue talking through things. A sexual health nurse I went to see told me that I should see my G.P. and ask if there were other options available, as I was considering paying for therapy in order to continue. I did this and my G.P. told me that I was able to refer myself for mental health care through the NHS. It’s called Increased Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) – for more info see…http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/Pages/free-therapy-or-counselling.aspx
I wasn’t aware that this scheme was in place. I’m mentioning it so that you know now if you didn’t. My attitude towards mental health has changed considerably in the last year, and perhaps I’ll write about that at another time.
Again, the second set of therapy proved helpful and, as is often said, it is just really good to talk to someone every other week about how you’re feeling with no pressure to say the right thing or worry about their judgement. Sometimes I did worry, but this was more about being afraid of hearing myself say certain things rather than about what my counsellor was going to think. So I had about 6 sessions, and we were discussing options for after my sessions were going to come to an end. One of the things she suggested was that I write a book. I laughed a little, as one of the reasons I was seeing her was because I have been feeling unable to write my thesis. I wondered if she’d been listening at all! But the suggestion was more to write as a creative outlet to further explore and help me work out where I was at and what had been going on with me over the last year or so.
Feeling unable to be super personal, I decided I’d read a book about Bisexuality (a classic strategy of mine where I think that reading will make sense of everything and make everything safe). But, regardless, this is what I’m doing as a starting point, in the hope that in time, I’ll be able to write about the overlaps, connections and knots between my faith, work, sexuality, and self acceptance with more direct correspondence to my personal experience.
I’m aware that for some people reading, this will be a little odd, if not concerning. I’ll have to address you at a later date. But in writing this, I’m hoping to get to a point where I can engage with you on a more personal and honest level without getting angry and closing down conversations out of impatience and frustration.
The main reason this is difficult is because I grew up in, and opted into, a Christian faith and community which did not accept sexualities that were not heterosexual. To be a man attracted to men, or a woman attracted to woman, was/is sinful, ‘not God’s best’, and various other ways of demonising people with same sex attraction.
Part of writing this blog is to address this type of homo/bi/transphobia.
I’m sure there is some more I want to say to justify why I’m writing this – because I do feel a certain sense of need to justify what I’m doing and why. But, in an attempt to refuse this neurosis, I’ll leave it there.