The Dark Side of the Rainbow: Personal Identity, Mental Health, and Substance Abuse
I find myself utterly compelled to try and understand the truth about reality as it pertains to the struggles that the LGBTQ community has had to endure. An estimated 20–30% of the LGBTQ community abuses substances compared to about 9% of the population as a whole. (addictioncenter.com) When you hear this you may be taken aback. However, I would consider this number to be far greater. It is utterly disappointing that we have not yet put into place a system of prevention to help spread awareness and distribute resources. As I write this, a 27-year-old man, I barely, just today, realized that mental health, personal identity, and substance abuse were all nuanced variations of the same problem. I wouldn’t even know how articulate a feeling such as the one I currently feel. A few words that come to mind are despair, confusion, anxiety, and anger. *hits joint* Allow me to bestow upon you some mothafuckin perspective: I am sitting here all up in my feels trying to get over the fact that I allowed something so obvious and so inconsequential to compromise me, and the integrity of my character. I sat back and became a passenger in my own body. I watched the familiar shadow of my past-self arrest all my good judgment and detain any desire to even resist. Do not mistake for a victim though. I am no victim. We feel helpless sitting in our consequences, but assured in our action. As I sit and reflect on the past day-or-so I feel a looming sense of regret and disappointment. As self-empathy flutters through my conscience, I am briefly overtaken with sorrow and I cry for my younger self. In a primordial sense, as our ancestors and their ancestors have done since the first time a human looked at a reflection and recognized themselves sparking self-awareness and facilitating the advancement of our species’ evolution. *hits joint* So anyway, I guess what really baffles me, is that I can’t think of any actionable solution that would address and mitigate all the issues I feel represent the over-arching narrative of this article/ entry. This is an indication that I have not even identified the problem I wish to tackle. Let’s do that now.
Problem: The process of finding out who you are or developing your “personal identity” can take a toll on your mental health.
Mitigation: Since there is no fix-all solution for something so vast and complex as existential struggles one has to face in order to define their ultimate form, I will instead, provide resources that I think are valuable tools to help those struggling with mental health in any aspect whether it be finding the cause, preventing it, or educating yourself on effective and healthy practices to keep up your spirits, your energy, your mental cognition, and mental health as a whole. And if you don’t know what qualifies as “struggling with mental health” it can be things like being tired all the time/ not wanting to get out of bed/ feeling unmotivated, being too hard on yourself, having negative thoughts, feeling shame, or anxiety and not knowing why you feel that way. Some indicators can be more obvious such as: trouble at home, being physically or emotionally abused, struggling with your sexuality or identity in general. So if you see these things in your home or someone you love you can use the following links to educate yourself and hopefully help yourself or someone around you.
Nami, or (National Alliance for Mental Illness) is a very good resource. This link provides you with 10 common signs that someone may have mental health issues or a mental illness.
Know the Warning Signs | NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness
Learn to identify and talk about symptoms and behavior related to mental health. Find ways to get help, a diagnosis and…
Nami’s resource listing different types of conditions.
Mental Health Conditions
Learn about the specifics of mental illness including: causes, symptoms, treatment, and recovery and wellness.
Bellow are links for addiction and home/ health issues.
LGBTQ And Addiction
Members of the LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer) community face a number of challenges that have…
If you don’t find these helpful you can always go to na.org. This is the Narcotics Anonymous page. I didn’t personally use NA when I decided to become a non-drug user. I only included it because it has helps countless people and it only seems right. However, if you would like to really dive deep into your mind and learn how to optimize your thoughts and feeling to be happier and help cure things like severe addiction, trauma, memory, and just get a better intuitive sense of how the mind works, I suggest you read the following book and research the topic of Neuro-Linguistic Programming. So awesome!
By the team behind the bestselling NLP: The New Technology of Achievement comes an essential new guide to NLP…
So I provided some resources above pertaining to drug addiction or substance abuse. Now, I would like to address this topic more in-depth as it relates to this article and my reasons for writing it.
Problem: In the shadows of the gay community there is a subculture starting to manifest.
Context: This is the culture of communal drug use, or “party and play”, that is reminiscent of early pride days. All leather and ass-less chaps. You have everything from bears to twinks. Everyone has a carefree attitude and leather BDSM accessories. Except instead of leather and ass-less chaps you have electrical tape and dirty jock-straps. And instead of cool accessories, you have dirty used needles and burnt meth pipes. Another key difference is the dark aesthetic/ leather that you may associate with gay bars or gay culture is achieved through dying the hide dark to give it that classic black leather finish. Party and Play culture derives its dark aesthetic from dirty towels draped over the windows and burnt soot from broken meth pipes smeared on motel blankets. Don’t get me wrong the energy is exhilarating… in a manic, fast-talking, no attention span-having fem dude kind of way. I feel like the way the LGBTQ community and society, in general, have shifted to a more casual mindset when it comes to how drug use is viewed. This is good in some ways and bad in others. A few ways that come to mind are: Younger kids seem to have a better and more realistic understanding of drugs and what they do to people and society. They are no longer curious because they are aware. I think this is something that a lot of kids in my generation and before found appealing about drugs. I’m sure fringe culture ate that shit up.
Solution: Remind everyone, gay or not, that crystal meth is fucking bad for you. That subjecting queer youth to this kind of behavior is not the same as openly expressing you sexuality at pride. I was going to try an explain how the use of meth and other substances is justified or viewed in different sub-sets of the LGBTQ community. I’ll give it to you short. It used to be that the users “don’t use alone” because that’s considered addict behavior. This is no longer the case. It’s very strange to see a whole group of people simultaneously go through the different phases of addiction. I urge you to read this article in it’s entirety! Very Interesting.
Partying to Death: Drug Abuse and Gay Nightlife Culture - Michael's House Treatment Centers
High levels of drug abuse and drug addiction are common among these gay culture scenes - where a more hedonistic spirit…
In Conclusion: Everyone struggles with mental health to a degree. The important thing is to get help for those whom need it. To check your loved ones and make sure they are well. Do self checks and practice selfcare. Refer people to resources so they can learn and share as well.
You guys have to ability to ,not only moderate your app and ban such behavior, but to also spread awareness on issues that effect your users the most. Instead of moderating drug use, you decide to promote explicit behavior and in leu of public service announcement-type content you promote data collection bins disguised as cheap game apps on overpriced ad space. Do better.