Sexual identity/Gender Identity/LGBTQi Issues
We are all individuals living in a world that bares influence on our sense of individuality. Our sexuality is an individual and a hugely significant part of who we are and it informs how we relate to others. Our sexual orientation is a part of our sexuality, alongside our gender, and biological and physiological reproductive systems. Our sexual orientation is not necessarily a result of conscious choice and there is debate around finding a 'single' cause, of which there has been no success.
Sexuality is subjective, multifaceted and unique. The media, family norms, socio-cultural norms, heteronormativity, religion etc. can all have an impact on our ability to be authentic, affecting our sense of self. It is OK to make decisions on the way you feel inside. It is OK to be different from others expectations. Coming out can be full of pitfalls, provoking anxiety and influencing an individual's mental well-being. In this vein, up against these influences on our sexualities, they link into our self-esteem, self-confidence, identity and affect our mental well-being. Your sexuality is not about whom you have sex with, more rather the sexual thoughts and feelings of attraction you have towards others.
The perceived fear of prejudice and discrimination and the experiences that may validate this, limit an individual’s ability to feel accepted, to feel respected, safe, secure and validated. Sexuality can be confusing and whilst many may feel they know of their sexual orientation in early adolescence, even late childhood, many do not find what fits for them until later in adulthood.
Psychotherapy offers a space to explore the many facets of our experience in an environment without judgement. It offers opportunity to build and maintain a safe and trusting, empathic relationship, whilst validating your own inner resources.
Depression symptoms can vary from mild to severe, and include:
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
- Changes in appetite, with weight loss or weight gain
- Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
- Tiredness, decrease in energy
- Insomnia, excessive sleeping
- Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness
- Excessive self-criticism and self-blame
- Feelings of guilt, unworthiness
- Persistent sad, anxious or "empty" feelings
- Thoughts of suicide, a sense that things would be better if "I wasn't here"
Depression is a complicated disease. The causes of depression are largely unknown, but a number of factors are linked to its development. Depression usually results from a combination of recent events and other longer-term personal factors, rather than one immediate issue or event.
Life events - job loss, relationship breakdown, chronic illness, can all bring about a depressive episode. Depression can run in families and some people will be at an increased genetic risk. Some people may be more at risk of depression because of early childhood trauma, low self-esteem. Mostly likely depression is caused by a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors.
Treatment for depression may involve psychotherapy, medication or a combination of the two. Psychotherapy can help alleviate the underlying issues beneath depression and depressive episodes. It helps clients challenge the negative self-beliefs and self criticism. It helps clients make the necessary changes in diet, life-style and work balance, to achieve lasting relief from their depressive symptoms.
Gender Identity/Gender Dysphoria
Many people with Gender Dysphoria and who are exploring their gender identity issues are struggling to make a decision about their futures. Others may have made a decision to transition from one gender role to another or indeed may actually be transitioning. Whatever the situation it is often helpful to get support from psychotherapist, trained and experience in working with gender identity issues.