Ask Angelo - Angelo Pezzote
Gloomy Gus and Anxious Andy
I hate being gay. I hate the prejudiced world we live in. Depression and suicidal thoughts are increasingly more common. What can I do?
Signed, Gloomy Gus
Dear Gloomy Gus,
First off, for your own safety, please seek the support of both a gay affirmative psychiatrist and psychotherapist, plus a suicide hotline. Having said that, while things are improving, being gay is still hard. Homophobia seeps in and takes its toll. Albert Einstein said "The most important question any human being can ask themselves is 'Is this a friendly Universe?" We all have a choice to answer "yes" or "no." A choice that determines the course of our lives, since our thoughts (expectations) shape our experience.
So our answer must be "yes!" We all face existential dilemmas regarding our mortality, freedom, isolation and meaning-making. But we must believe things can get better. The following sad story illustrates the alternative.
I had a successful private practice in L.A., but I wasn't happy there, so I decided to move to the big apple. My first NYC roommate was a total stranger to me. Rents are so high, that this living situation isn't uncommon. Despite a thorough telephone interview from L.A., he surprisingly went on a crystal meth binge within several months of me moving in. He suffered a psychosis from hallucinations, paranoia, homicidal and suicidal intent when he used. I intervened the best I could to help him. But he didnt want help. He didnt even want to live. For my own safety, I moved my things into storage. With a budding New York City private practice and an upcoming invitation to appear on Montel as a mental health expert, I checked into a hotel until I could land my own lease; a difficult feat in the city. But when all was said and done, I secured a lease, made it to Montel, and rebuilt my private practice in Chelsea, surpassing the level it was in West Hollywood. But tragically, about a year later, I heard my ex-roommate hung himself.
This relocation experience reminds me that while nothing comes easy, we must choose life. You can turn your life around and triumph as a gay man in the world. You can thrive and sustain satisfying relationships, starting right here and now. It doesn't matter what others' picture of you is. What matters is the picture you have for yourself. Until my first book comes out next spring, you may want to pick up The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. It has inspired many with hope, manifesting more happiness in their lives.
All The Best, Angelo.
I'm always anxious, but I don't know why. Do you have any insight that might help?
Signed Anxious Andy
Dear Anxious Andy,
You may be avoiding something. Like Abbey Mallard says in Chicken Little, you have to stop messing around and deal with the problem. Carl Jung said, "What you resist persists." In other words, we get more of what we avoid. When we dodge feeling bad stuff, we feel more bad stuff.
Anxiety works like this. I tell my anxious clients to imagine living in a small room their whole life, having to avoid one small forbidden area smack in the middle of the room. They'd be nervous all the time, worrying about not bumping into the taboo zone. Similarly, anxiety comes from not dealing with something important that's threatening in some way. It's a warning signal saying, "you need to pay attention to me over here."
So face it head on. If you're not sure what "it" is, insight therapy is a good place to start.
All The Best, Angelo.
The Gay Man's Therapist
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