By Chad Sewich
Assistant Director, Kiloby Center for Recovery
June is PRIDE month and along with the celebrations and parties, a renewed commitment to protect existing laws while fighting for an expansion of LGBTQ+ rights is critical right now. In this divisive political climate, that can feel like a daunting task, particularly for a community that faces a potential assault on marriage, reproductive, gender care and adoption rights, just to name a few.
Making the issue even more important, many in the LGBTQ+ community have never dealt with the trauma and emotional scars they suffered growing-up in a biased world, hostile to their very existence. Even those that didn’t suffer bullying or intimidation growing up likely still carry some fear of that happening. While acceptance has changed remarkably over the last ten, twenty and thirty years, every age group is still susceptible to being ostracized over their sexuality or gender. Depending on where they live, it can be nearly impossible to live as their true self.
Dealing with trauma, whether it was from childhood or occurring right now, is critical to living an authentic, happy life. Trauma doesn’t disappear. It accumulates and festers. It thrives on other trauma and links together. Many times, you may not even be aware of how trauma has affected you. When I was young, I suffered what could be considered minor childhood bullying. But what I didn’t know was how that was still affecting me decades later. It was a shadow of insecurity and self-doubt that chipped away at my self-esteem. I wasn’t sexually harassed or physically assaulted, but my mind took that self-doubt and influenced me like a quiet, insidious song playing in the background. It wasn’t until I started working with a Kiloby Center facilitator that I was able to even recognize that I was suffering through trauma and then was able to work on undoing the damage.
Trauma is a universal issue, not just for the LGBTQ+ community. However, due to societal persecution and being made to feel like an outcast, members of the LGBTQ+ community have had a particular target on their back which has created unique trauma-related mental health issues. As mentioned earlier, these issues don’t go away on their own, they must be dealt with.
Working with a facilitator at the Kiloby Center is a great first step. Our compassionate, caring and highly qualified staff is trained to address issues unique to the LGBTQ+ community and unique to you. Give us a call to let us know how we can help, 833-474-4064. We offer in-person and telehealth options. Insurance is accepted for primary addiction clients.