Long post ahead!
There is something I would like to write about today that is going to be tough for me. It’s a little strange that it’s tough for me, since there isn’t a whole lot that I’m nervous to write about, even on my blog. I meant to write about this on June 30th, but I ended up deleting it as I was in the middle of writing it. I’m going to write about being a part of the LGBT+ community, and in which ways I find myself a part of it.
On June 30th, the last day of Pride month 2020, I intended to write a sort of coming out post. That clearly didn’t happen, but now I feel like I can come out on my blog and to the world. I want to write this because I want to tell this side of my story as well. I want to be just one voice in the LGBT+ community who also struggles with mental illness. I have been fairly silent over the years about my queerness, but now I think I’m ready to break that silence.
Back before high school, I learned about bisexuality and realized that really fit me. I also realized that I liked girls a lot more than I liked guys, but I was also “supposed” to date guys – so that’s what I did. As the years passed, I started feeling more and more attracted to women, but I didn’t want to be “different”. I was already different enough in life, and I didn’t want to stick out any more than I did. So I mostly kept quiet about my love interests, and I continued to date guys. Even so, I knew I was bisexual.
Later in my life, when I was in college (and after my first engagement was broken off), I had an exclusive relationship with a beautiful, intelligent, and amazing woman. I was starting to feel like I might even want to marry a woman one day. In college I protested against a proposition in the state I lived in at the time; I wanted equal rights for my community. When I entered college, I decided I didn’t want to be as quiet about my bisexuality and I told several people. Mostly they reacted a little awkwardly, but I didn’t mind. After my relationship with my then-girlfriend had ended, I started compulsively dating men again. I was looking for love and I wasn’t finding it. Eventually I met my husband, and we hit it off right away. I realized that I was never quite completely in love with any of the men I dated, until I had been dating my husband for a little while. I knew I had been in love with women. Even though I am married to a man, I am still bisexual and I always will be. This concept can be hard to understand for some people, but honestly they don’t need to understand in order for me to love who I am.
As more years passed, I learned that I am also asexual. I don’t have much interest in sex, and I quite prefer other ways of being intimate with a partner. I had married my husband by this time, when I started really realizing my asexuality, and I was extremely worried that he was going to be upset if I didn’t want to have sex much anymore. Surprisingly, he wasn’t upset at all. He even admitted that sex is more like “just a bonus” for him and he is fine going without. He believes that our relationship outside of sex is what matters the most. I always find it funny when speaking with my primary care doctor during those not-so-lovely pelvic exams, because she asks me about my sexual activity. When I answer that we don’t engage in much sexual activity she seems worried that maybe my relationship with my husband isn’t going well. On the contrary! I always have to chuckle a little bit. My husband and I love each other more deeply every day it seems, and we are nearing our seventh wedding anniversary.
My last bit of queerness has to do with gender. This is the hardest part of my queerness for me to discuss. There was a period of time I thought I might be transgender, but that turned out to be not entirely accurate. I present as female, I have very feminine features, and I don’t mind being seen as female, but that’s not entirely how I feel about myself. At times I feel quite masculine, and it has been this way for a long time for me. More recently I have decided on the term genderqueer to describe my gender. I often feel like a mixture of masculine and feminine, and there’s not really a rhyme or reason to it. I also love the term ‘queer’ in general because I use it like a reclamation for myself. I love reclaiming words. I often bind my chest (very safely, of course, thanks gc2b!), and it makes me feel better about my body. I don’t enjoy having breasts, and I quite frankly don’t like mine in particular. Another benefit of wearing a binder, for me, is it helps quite a bit with my anxiety. The gentle pressure around my chest makes me feel secure, much like sleeping underneath my weighted blanket does. Because of the lowered anxiety, I feel more comfortable and confident in going out in public. Yeah, some people might look at me funny, but you know what? If I’m more comfortable and confident in my own skin then it really doesn’t matter what some strangers think about my flat chest. I realized that I am perfectly fine with my feminine body and features, except for my chest. Bras never fit me exactly right anyway, and are a lot more uncomfortable that my binder – even the ones without underwire.
I am starting to care less and less about what other people think of me and the way I live my life. I want to be free of the pressures of other people to be “typical”, because I’m not. I’m a disabled queer person, I’ll never be “normal” in the eyes of society. So why not embrace who I am? It is very freeing to embrace myself rather than continue to pretend like these parts of me don’t exist.
Aside from my queerness, I am considering try to decrease the Abilify even more than I have recently. The hallucinations are almost non-existent right now. Almost. The paranoia is still bothering me quite a bit, and I’m having mood swings frequently, but that stuff is ok. I think I can deal with these things now that my hallucinations are a lot more under control. I’m nervous to go down on the Abilify, at the same time, because I don’t want to end up like I was a month or so ago – with voices a fair amount of the time, and background noise almost constantly. I’ve been on the higher dose for about a month. I needed to increase it by about five milligrams for a week because of severe depression. I decreased it again, by the five milligrams, a few days ago. The depression is there, but it’s not overwhelming me. Fifteen milligrams might be the “sweet spot” as it has been in the past. If I need to stay at twenty milligrams, though, that’s ok with me too.
I have an appointment with my doctor next week on Wednesday morning, I might wait until then to see what she thinks about lowering my Abilify. I’m hoping at our appointment that we can narrow down an official diagnosis for me. It’s helpful to me to have a name for what I’m going through. She was last thinking of a Bipolar Disorder of some kind, or possibly Schizoaffective Disorder. We’ll see what she has come up with. I believe we are having another Zoom meeting, which I liked last time. It was nice being able to see her while having our appointment.
Stay insane, friends