Hi Lily, you have had quite the journey, do you mind sharing your story with us?
I have a history of gender dysphoria, depression and self-harm. However, I have always had a very supportive family, lots of friends, a good psychologist, access to services and my family is well-off.
Despite all that, my depression, suicidal thoughts and self-harm began during puberty. They went away with therapy and then resurfaced 10 years later, which led to self-harm, sometimes with and sometimes without suicidal intent.
Why do you think they resurfaced?
A combination of factors including my depression, gender dysphoria and social anxiety; systems-level discrimination; and disengaging from work, hobbies and friends. At the time, I was involved with some online communities that were reinforcing negative thoughts and feelings.
That is a lot to process and work through. What helped you?
Once, when I was having thoughts of suicide, I was sitting on the beach and posted my thoughts on Facebook.
Within minutes of this post, over 20 friends commented, messaged and called me to say that they were there for me and asked what was going on. Three of them even drove to the beach and sat with me and hugged me until I felt better.
It must have felt nice to receive that support to your post.
Social media can be a double-edged sword when it comes to feelings. On the one hand, you get so much support from your social networks. On the other, you can fall into social groups that exacerbate what you’re going through.
It sounds like your social network was really helpful at the time.
Yes, I think it is important to mention that being able to talk and be open about my mental health with my friends was really the key that allowed me to more effectively work through them in therapy, to achieve the fine mental health profile I have now in 2021.
So you also found therapy to be helpful?
A supportive psychologist, my golly, they are worth their weight in gold!
It seems like you have worked really hard and made a lot of progress. Thank you so much for sharing 😊