Depression due to sexuality issues

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Hello. I suffered from depression from January 2010 to January 2011. Honestly, I think I still suffer from it but, its harder to put a label on it ever since I quit counseling.
Now that I am going to start meeting with a new counselor, I need to know how or when to tell my new counselor about my sexuality issues. How do you tell someone something so
personal about your life? How do I open up about the issue?

I am a female who is attracted to other females, as well as men…the wierd thing is, I hate the idea of sex because ((I will never do this, nor have I ever done this)) but, in my head, sex and power and violation are always connected. Without that, sex is confusing to me. For me, it is always about power and control…it’s never been about intimacy. It makes me feel like a terrible person on the inside to think of sex in this way…….thats why I am depressed and also, because I am attracted to females and I live in a conservative Christian family and feel like a black sheep, like they would never understand or hear me, if I opened up about it. I hate feeling depressed about my sexuality but, its such a private and intimate topic to discuss in counseling and I wish to know how to articulate these same feelings to my new counselor so I can move forward and overcome my depression. I feel like I’m living a lie with my family, due to not sharing this intimate detail of my life with them. However, the helplessness I feel leads me to depression because I don’t feel as if there is any other choice?

A: You’ve written an articulate letter about a sensitive topic. I’m sure that there are many people reading it who understand. Sadly, you’re not alone in feeling so alone. Issues of sexuality and family acceptance are often what bring people into therapy.

Once you’ve established that you like and trust your new counselor, a simple way for you to introduce the issues is to ask him or her to read your letter. I do think it’s essential that you find some way to do this and do this early. It would be very difficult for a therapist to be effective in treating your depression without understanding such a central issue in your life. We therapists only have whatever people tell us to go on. When information isn’t shared, it’s hard for us to do our best.

Although I could venture some guesses about the basis for your beliefs and feelings about sex, I’d be stretching. Such issues are so individual and so complicated, that a general response often entirely misses the point. You’ve been wise to find a counselor who can really get to know and understand you. I urge you to make the commmitment to be a good partner in the effort.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 14 Jun 2011

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2011). Depression due to sexuality issues. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 29, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2011/06/14/depression-due-to-sexuality-issues/

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