Some gay men experience depression after coming out. This can be for a number of reasons, including loneliness, family rejection, or change in lifestyle. Before and after coming out, few men take the time to create a personal inventory which can help you map out your future goals as openly gay men. Giving up a life in the closet doesn't have to mean giving up on your goals, which may or may not include building a relationship, family, or kids.
Dealing with the pressures of a life re-examined (especially in the midst of anti-gay environments) is rather difficult and can lead to depression. But, the good news is depression is treatable.
Symptoms of Depression May Include the Following:Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions Fatigue and decreased energy Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and/or helplessness Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping Irritability, restlessness Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex Overeating or appetite loss Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment Persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" feelings Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
Roughly one in five gay men experience symptoms of depression according to a study conducted by the New York based Medius Institute for Gay Men’s Health (http://www.mediusinstitute.org/depression.htm).
Rates among the general population are less than half of that at roughly one in twelve. Surveys have shown, that depression can contribute greatly to gay men’s decisions to engage in unsafe or compulsive sex, illicit substance use, irresponsible alcohol consumption, or a combination of the three. As a result, nearly 60% of gay men in the survey have sought or are actively considering mental health counseling. (http://www.healthyplace.com/Communities/gender/site/depression/depression_in_community.htm)
Wondering if you or someone you know might be suffering from depression? Take the following self assessment to see if you may currently be experiencing some of the symptoms. Are you currently experiencing the effects of depression in the form of substance use or out-of-control sexual behavior? Help is available through one of our individual counseling programs that can be found under community resources.