What you can do

Jacob's story

I remember this one school lesson so clearly. Discussion turned to gay people, and I remember the teacher asking if anyone in the year group was gay. Everyone started saying things like ‘There’s this one guy who doesn’t really talk but we’re pretty sure he’s gay.’

I really wanted to know who because I was like them!

That night at home I was trying to work out who it was when the truth hit me, they were talking about me… they thought I was gay. That scared me so much. The fact that they’d somehow worked it out made me fear for how they’d see me. That was when I started to become withdrawn at school. I avoided every single guy's gaze in case they thought I was ‘checking them out’ or something. I just became obsessed with hiding it as best I could and that tore me apart more than I realised.

I left that school shortly after. I became suicidal and hated myself so much because of my sexuality.
My teenage years are pretty much a blur because of all the problems that stemmed from my self-hatred over my sexuality. I look back and think what could have been some of the best days of my life were spent hiding away at home in case someone from school saw me. 

 I look back and think what could have been some of the best days of my life were spent hiding away at home

It just feels wrong that what are years of self-discovery and confidence-building were just completely stolen and so over the last year I’ve had to play catch up with my peers on the most basic of things, like going out without parents, travelling around with friends and just loads of fun stuff that everyone's been doing since they were 13-14 years old.

Managing my mental health is difficult and it never completely goes away. You have good days and bad days but it’s all about coping strategies.

I struggle at night and it can get so bad that I’ll lie in bed overthinking and getting worked up and end up having zero hours of sleep. 

I know I need help and don’t want to be denied it. So I hide it.

Some of the doctors and psychologists I’ve seen over the years have been great, but I’ve yet to feel confident even mentioning that I’m LGBT. I know I need help and don’t want to be denied it. So I hide it.

It’s really hard sometimes to stay positive about my mental health but I have dreams, and they may be the only thing keeping me going.

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