tw: suicide mentions

27 May 2017 || Tonight, I sit in front of my laptop - writing the words that I have been terrified to officialise in any way. I know this isn't going to be shared today. I know that the people I know need to know first. But it doesn't come naturally to me. Using my actual vocal chords to verbalise words which have been floating in my brain for years is difficult, especially when I'm not sure how much it matters to the people when I'm not in a relationship. In some ways, it feels like I've known this feeling forever - and I don't really want to share it with the world. In others, I'm scared of blindsiding people by waiting. At the hardest of moments, I worry it's too early to come out - because what if the label doesn't fit me enough? Labels are great. They're a great way to get an immediate understanding of someone, before you get to know them. They act as a little reminder on your phone, one that reaches the forefront of your memory when they appear in your life once more. But, in some ways they can feel restrictive. There's this myth that goes around that people can switch their sexuality like they can a light switch. It's one I've internalised - because a part of me is afraid I'm not sure. I'm not experienced in any sense, so in some ways, it feels like I'm announcing something without being sure. The thing is? I am sure.

I don't like labels when it comes to sexuality, but no, I am not straight.

Now || The shitshow and that's the only thing I can call it with this plebiscite has been exhausting. The vitriol and the shitty comments and the sheer lack of compassion from some is not fun. And really, I've snapped more than once - and my Instagram is proof of that. In reality, I've done this 'coming out' on one forum and not really properly when I found the following quote:
"It's easier to admit you are mad, than admit that you are hurt."
That was enough for me to say it once. I got it off my chest, but now I just need to do it again. Why?

Yesterday was an important day. Yesterday was 'R U OK?' Day - a day run by a suicide prevention charity called 'R U OK?' which aims to promote the importance of meaningful connections and empowering people to have life changing conversations in an effort to reduce instances of suicide. The campaign exists as a reminder to ask 'R U OK?' - as long as you are prepared to listen, and offers a 4 step process to starting the conversation.

This cause is so important because suicide is way more common than you think, when it's so constantly swept under the rug. Suicide is the leading cause of death among young Australians, accounting for 1/3 of deaths among 15-24 years. Every 3 hours, someone dies by suicide - and for every death, it is estimated that up to 30 more attempt suicide. Asking 'R U OK?' matters because it could legitmately save a life.

I guess this brings me back to why yesterday sparked this post from me. In the midst of one of the most important days of the year, Malcolm Turnbull threw in his two cents. And I realised the following:

You cannot pretend to care about the mental wellbeing of others, if you do not care about the LGBTQI+ community (http://lgbtihealth.org.au/statistics/).

  • The LGBTI community are twice as likely to have symptoms associated with a mental health disorder in the last 12 months.
  • The young (15-27 year olds) LGBTI community is five times more likely to attempt suicide in their lifetime.
  • Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual people aged 16 and over are over six times more likely.
  • Transgender people aged 18 and over are nearly eighteen times more likely.
  • People with an Intersex variation aged 16 and over are nearly five times more likely
  • LGBT young people who experience abuse and harassment are even more likely to have thoughts of suicide.
In the midst of a 'respectful debate' about whether a community deserves the same human rights about everyone else, these facts need to be heard more than ever. When you declare your opinion as something you just deserve to speak about - remember these facts. Remember what 'R U OK' Day stands for. One of the reasons suicide is the choice that is made is because they feel like a burden, like they are part of the problem. Mental health in itself does not discriminate, but people do. And people affect how we feel. These facts show that. If you care about mental health and wellbeing, you should care about the people affected by it too - regardless of any other predispositions you may have.