Many people may deny this, but let’s face it; the LGBTQ community actually records a higher rate of depression and anxiety than the heterosexual population. And, this is not because they are cool in their way or feel dissatisfied with themselves, but because society doesn’t accept them.
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Being criticized and bullied, especially at a young age, for following your heart, living your life your way, and pursuing something you have no control over can easily push you to depression and other mental health issues. Anxiety, depression, ignorance from society, and lack of acceptance is painful. It can not only result in low self-esteem but also trigger thoughts of suicide.
So, instead of focusing on the negatives, we have compiled a list of some amazing tips on how to fight depression as shared by 10 self-made, inspirational and proud LGBTQ experts. We hope their beautiful experiences help you heal and encourage you to enjoy your life in whichever way you want.
1- Laganja Estranja
The three most effective tips I can give for protecting mental health are as follows: medicate, exercise, and love.
1# Medicate: For me, discovering cannabis as medicine has been a crucial stepping stone along my journey, both as an artist and as a human being. Because of the plant, I am able to regulate my eating and sleep cycles, which provides me with the best groundwork for my mental health. You must have a healthy body to have a healthy mind— which brings me to my next tip.
2# Exercise: For me, I choose yoga and dance to achieve this, but any type of movement is good for the brain.
3# Love: Lastly, you must love yourself and be kind to your own soul. My therapist always asks if I would treat a child the way I treat myself when I made mistakes. As a perfectionist, this way of thinking is very hard for me to do. But again, I find the use of cannabis really helps me with this action. Overall, we are in control of our mental health. It is up to the individual to find the best methods for themself to keep an active, healthy existence.
2- Plastique Tiara Edwards
1# Stay Positive and Channel Your Energy: I think staying positive and channeling your energy into something that makes you happy is a great starting point for anyone.
2# Stay Connected: I also would say to stay connected with friends/family as they are always there for you, and you can trust them.
3# Watch RPDR: Plus, you can watch lots of RPDR because at least you’re not cross-dressing for a living to make a dollar! I always just want to remind people that they are loved more than they know.
3- Stefan Arestis and Sebastien Chaneac (Nomadic Boys)
Our 3 effective tips for mental health are eating clean, keeping fit, and feeding your soul.
1# Eating Clean: We always strive to eat a balanced and healthy diet consisting of plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables, healthy unrefined carbs, and enough protein needed. We also try to vary our protein source ranging from chicken, fish, and other plant-based sources like chickpeas and lentils. We try to cook all our meals – something we love doing together and helps us get the most out of our meals.
2# Keeping Fit: Keeping Fit is super important to us. It makes us feel good, not to mention is an amazing boost to our confidence. We make this a priority in our daily lifestyle, and always try to find time to – go to the gym workout, go for a run, go for a swim where possible.
3# Feeding Your Soul: We always try to make time for things that make us smile. For Seby, it’s playing his guitar. For Stefan, socializing and being around people. The Covid-19 pandemic has allowed us to discover more hobbies we didn’t know we had, such as gardening, baking, and reading. Obviously, traveling is our #1 passion, but this has been limited as of late due to the global pandemic.
4- Ray Alexander
1# Take Exercise: Well, it’s scientifically proven, and this is by far most important for me. I’m not a fitness freak, but I go running every morning and get some other exercises in the evening. If I skip it for a day, I start to feel myself being so serious and pessimistic. 10-minute jogging or weight lifting fixes my mental health quickly every time.
So, force yourself to go out – whether it’s a snowy or sweltering hot outside. 5-10 minutes of the brisk walk can make a difference.
2# Make Sure You Have “Two-Way” Happy Relationships: Real-life relationships matter. I appreciate that I have a husband and a pet dog who both love me and make me happy like no one else in the world does. So I promise to myself each day that I love them back and give them the happiest life as I can.
So yes, this may sound corny, but life is about giving. Think about people who care about you, and try to show them that you care about them more.
3# Ask Yourself What You Can Learn from Bad Experience: As a blogger, I get abusive messages from time to time. How to handle them is one thing, but making sure not to let the bad incidents get me down is another. Every time I ask myself, “What have I learned from it?” and find a positive outcome. Every negative experience makes me stronger and wiser… Positive thinking, basically! If someone or something’s bothering you, tell yourself it’s normal, it happens to anyone, and try finding out what you can learn from it. For example, next time, you can handle them better.
5- Michael Nulty Author
In the beginning, it’s hard to wrap your head around the idea that what you think and do can affect the hard times you’re going through. But once you do, you better your life and change your future.
1# Be Present: Because your mind is more often focused elsewhere in time, you can get lost, even trapped in times that are no more or have not happened yet. Being present doesn’t mean you ignore or deny thoughts of the past or future, but simply choose not to dwell on them. When you do think about the past and the future, have a purpose for it and do it in small amounts. When you are present, you find that your mind is no longer filled with past or future scenarios. You are just here, with your attention focused outward towards whatever you are doing. Being present isn’t a magic pill, but when you are aware and present, you’ll see solutions to life challenges that otherwise remain hidden; after all, it is the only time that is, and the only place that you can create change. At first, when practicing being present, you may slip into thoughts of the past or mental thinking traps of the future for a time, and that’s okay. Just accept that you’re not present, and you’ll find it easier to move back into the present moment again.
2# Acceptance: Fighting ‘What Is’, won’t make it any different. When you do battle with reality, you create a lot of turbulence in your mind that prevents you from being able to cope with what has manifested and finding a path forward. Accepting ‘What Is’, helps you be aware of your experiences as they actually are, rather than how you would like them to be. But acceptance doesn’t mean you reduce the significance of the impact of what is happening on your well-being or even approve and like how you’re feeling about it. It simply means you’re willing to acknowledge ‘What Is’, and no longer waste your energy resisting, avoiding, and denying what is already present. You might want things to be different in the future, but in the present moment, you need to accept things as they are. After all, rejecting reality doesn’t change reality.
3# Appreciation: In troublesome times, your mind focuses more on what is not present rather than what is. Appreciation is a shift in conscious choice, which alters your perspective and relationship with the present. It allows you to see and place a value on what you have even when it seems insignificant instead of what you lack or think you need to make life feel more satisfying and happier, now. Appreciation does not diminish how difficult ‘What Is’ is right now, make everything instantly better, or cover up the fact that you’re worried or struggling to cope. Appreciation creates a temporary positive emotional experience when you recognized that something even a little bit good has happened because of your efforts or the efforts of someone else. In any situation, you can choose to focus on a feeling of lack or abundance; one lifts you up, the other keeps you stuck in a place of misery. When you are present and accept things the way they are, for now, you are more able to appreciate all aspects of a situation, without judgment.
If you are not present, you will not act on what can appear as inconsequential changes, but over days and weeks will have a significant impact on your thinking, feelings, and actions. If you can’t accept ‘What Is’, you have no true beginning point and real idea of what needs to change as you forge a path forward to something different and better. And if you can’t change your perspective, you will always see less than enough, regardless of how much you receive and have. Remember, your life won’t look much different while you stay within the limits of what you already know and do. Open your mind and try unfamiliar things because when you have hope that you can make things better, you can bear the hardship of this moment.
6- Sam Wise
From experience, I know there is no quick fix when it comes to depression. But here are some tips I TRY to abide by when I hit my darkest days or even to help maintain my mental state on ‘good days’:
1# Appreciate yourself: Write down your best qualities (ask others what they are as we; they’ll outweigh what you perceive to be the ‘bad’.
2# Appreciate what you have: Appreciate what you have instead of what you don’t have.
3# Appreciate the people in your life: Appreciate the people in your life, past and present, who have contributed to your growth.
7- Luke Benn
I believe in the quote “each morning we have the opportunity to be a completely different person,” being a member of the LGBT is extremely hard, it really is a hard life.
1# Accepting yourself before making people accept you: The biggest tip I can make is accepting yourself before making people accept you. Once you express and accept yourself you’ll be be able to enjoy life a lot more.
2# Educate: We live in an ignorant world. A lot of LGBT members forget that we must educate the naive and ignorant people in the world. Majority of homophobic and transphobic people aren’t bad people, they are just completely oblivious to the struggles we must face in day-to-day life. I found that if someone says something you don’t agree with, don’t argue. Simply express the struggles and educate them. It’ll make you feel more comfortable and confident, which a lot of LGBT members struggle to overcome (whether that’s body dysmorphia or anxiety). If you overcome this HUGE hurdle it’ll create a world we’re you can change the minds of anyone.
3# Forgive: Ask yourself; “are you depressed because you’re unhappy with yourself, or others are?”. You can’t change the past, it is set in stone; what you can do is forgive, forgive the people who bullied you, they were ignorant, forgive your family for not being supportive. Forgiveness is more powerful than hate. Hate and anger are the only things that protect us mentally, depressed people lack the emotional ability to be angry or happy. It’s not just about being “happy”. It’s about getting ALL of the emotions we once had back. If you learn to forgive, eventually the anger you felt for them will be a distance memory. You will be able to allow happy memories into your life. You’ll live again.
8- Dahlia Adler
1# Close yourself off to other voices: Close yourself off to other voices for a while, or at least give yourself greater control over your exposure. The #1 way I do this is by taking Twitter off my phone, so I have to sit down at a computer to use it. Social media can definitely mess with your head!
2# Retreat into something safe and familiar: Allow yourself to retreat into something safe and familiar for a while. Rewatching TV shows, gentle games like Stardew Valley…all of it helps me come back to myself.
3# Validate your feelings: Validate your feelings To yourself. To anyone around you who needs to hear them. The worst thing you can do for yourself is berate yourself for something you can’t control, or to let anyone else do it. It doesn’t matter how you think you *should* feel if your brain won’t follow. Embrace who you are, cry if you need to, and recognize that feelings don’t have to be logical to be real.
9- Dr. Debbie Hayton
Depression happens – it’s not our fault, but it easier to get out of it when we have.
1# Good friends alongside us who say, don’t worry; its OK;
2# Sunshine, fresh, air and space away from the troubles of the world;
3# Purpose, no matter how small: something that matters to us.
10- Samuel Lucas Moir-Smith
I live alone, so I like to pay a little extra attention to my emotions as I have less distractions from them. I actually already have some tips I try and stick to!
1# Finding something you enjoy: A tip to live by is finding something you enjoy and that you’re pretty good at, and try to practice it often. I cycle a LOT, it takes my mind off things and changes my scenery; a lifesaver.
2# Keep in contact with friends/family: Keep in contact with friends/family even if it’s not consistent. Knowing that at least one person is there for you and will listen when you need to talk can be a real help. Don’t feel guilty if you can’t reply to messages all the time though, everyone needs space.
3# Make small goals for yourself to complete: On my worst days, just doing the washing up can feel heroic. I like to write little lists every morning (even if it’s just to do housework) and cross tasks off as I go. By the end of the day, I have a sense of achievement, even if the list isn’t completed.
11- Cara Vaughn
My 3 quick tips for depression would be;
1# Self-care routine: Establish a really good and solid self-care routine, skincare, bath, shower, eat your favourite food or watch your favourite show.
2# Parent yourself: Treat your depression like it’s a separate entity that needs tending to so that it turns into something lighter.
3# Reach out and communicate to those that love you: You’re not alone, and you’re loved by many people! Friends, family, whoever is important to you!
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