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Dear Mark,

I recently read your column in Hotspots Magazine giving someone advice. After reading the column, I decided to write you this email with hopes you can help me. I have lived in the Fort Lauderdale area for the last 11 1/2 years, having moved here from up north. I am 35 years old and deeply depressed. I have battled depression since I can remember. My life as a child and well into my adulthood has been nothing but pain.

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Dear Mark,

I recently read your column in Hotspots Magazine giving someone advice. After reading the column, I decided to write you this email with hopes you can help me. I have lived in the Fort Lauderdale area for the last 11 1/2 years, having moved here from up north. I am 35 years old and deeply depressed. I have battled depression since I can remember. My life as a child and well into my adulthood has been nothing but pain.


Granted I do have a very supportive family, sometimes that is just not enough. Please, let me explain. As a little boy until my teen years, people picked on me because I was different… I always felt inferior, not part of society but more of someone who just existed and was outside looking in. As you can imagine, this was not easy for my family, it put a great strain on it.


Now that I am an adult, I am still experiencing much of the same treatment, just within the gay community. I feel inferior and not accepted. I cannot tell you that my parents are so supportive of me and have no problems with who I am and my lifestyle. This is just not enough, Mark. While I am experiencing a life of pain, my parents are feeling the same for me, because to see their child hurt is so very painful. So this has caused the family not to grow closer but is ripping us apart because it is hard.


The truth is I have no friends, no happiness… I do everything alone and I am so tired of being invisible to the people within the gay community. I am tired of being rejected, hurt and used. My self esteem has been so picked at that there is nothing left. I am feeling numb and not worthy of even going out anymore. I am losing my will to live, which scares me. I somehow keep going because I have pets that love me and depend on me, though without them I fear I would not have made it this far. I have tried everything to meet people. I am deeply in debt because I thought that if I wear label clothing guys would look at and like me; I tried buying friends and even marked up my body with tattoos, all trying to fit in. None of this worked – now I face the fact that by week’s end I have no money to eat because I am busy paying bills. I hate who I see in the mirror and cannot believe that my life has spun so out of control… I often cry because I do not know how much more I can handle…I need to keep this email anonymous until I can be assured that I can build trust. I have insurance but cannot afford a co-payment. I also cannot afford to be placed in an in-patient facility because I cannot miss work or I will not have a job. I hope you can help me in some way, shape or form. I have no idea why I cannot find happiness and I am so tired of being depressed. Please help me, please.


Please help me,

A Guy in Fort Lauderdale

 

Hey there. It sounds like you are really struggling with a myriad of emotions. Sitting with the sadness you are feeling for such a long time can be catastrophic. I can hear in your words that you really need help. I would be happy to see you and talk with you more in depth about the feelings you are having.

 

Have you tried contacting the folks at Sunserve? Sunserve is an amazing organization. They are a collective of LGBT therapists who are committed to helping members of our own community who are struggling…regardless of the person’s ability to pay. I have been a member of Sunserve for many years. Whatever is bothering you may seem overwhelming to you at the moment, but with time and intention any problem can be manageable.

 

Please remember this feeling of isolation you are experiencing is actually quite normal, especially within the gay male community. The nature of institutionalized homophobia is that we grow up in a culture (and a mindset) that continually reaffirms our “outsider” status. Many of us long to “fit in” at some point in our lives. We look for something that connects us to our gay brothers. Sometimes it works. Gay churches, gay community organizations, gay athletic leagues, gay bars. Even HIV has been used as a forum to bring gay males together. Often, despite our best efforts, we still feel disconnected and, ultimately, unloved. I believe the work is finding what works for you as an individual. Stop trying to do it the ways others have done it. Following the “mentors” before us can be very helpful. But if that hasn’t worked for you, it’s time to switch tactics. Think about what you love. What brings you passion. What makes you feel alive. What makes you feel less alone. And then try to incorporate that behavior in your life. I would be happy to speak with you about it in more detail if you want. Hang in there. Tomorrow can be a better day.

 

Best, Mark Rutherford LCSW

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