Does Coming Out Feel Like a Lonely Road? It Shouldn't.

Wednesday October 13, 2021

Jake Myers, LMFT, founder of LGBTQ Therapy Space
Jake Myers, LMFT, founder of LGBTQ Therapy Space  

By Jake Myers, LMFT

The holiday break during my junior year in college was supposed to be a time to relax and unwind on a fun-filled family vacation to Costa Rica. Instead, even in the white-hot sunshine, I was riddled with darkness, anxiety and fear. When I got back to school and the new semester started, I knew that I would need to come out as gay to all my friends and family.

The beautiful boy I had been secretly having an affair with, Mike, was planning on returning from abroad and said he couldn't hide anymore. If I were to continue being with him when he got back, I would need to be with him in a public way and break up with the girlfriend I was seeing. The thought of losing Mike at this point was too great, and I knew what needed to be done. A frightening precipice was ahead of me.

I was in a constant state of panic, afraid of what people would think of me for lying about myself this whole time. Costa Rica was a blur, minus one memory of being awakened out of my nightmares to watch the majestic sea turtles lay eggs on the beach at 3 a.m. The feeling I remember most during this time was being completely alone. Here I was on vacation with my family all around me but didn't feel safe to tell any of them what I was struggling with, and I didn't really know any other queer people.

4 Essential Tips for Coming Out

4 Essential Tips for Coming Out
(Source: Getty Images)

Embracing Your Identity on Any Day of the Year
With National Coming Out Day on Oct. 11, it's an important time to reflect on how petrifying and lonely it can be to own your true identity as an LGBTQ+ person. With our country divided more than ever, anti-gay rhetoric has been increasing, and it can feel unsafe to think about exposing yourself. Add to that the Covid pandemic, which has isolated us like never before, and it may feel like we have to carry the weight of the world in a void. However, it doesn't have to be as scary as it was for me. If I could speak to my younger self, I'd say, "Find someone to hold your hand through this."

Surround Yourself with Supportive Family & Friends
Having someone with unconditional support that genuinely understands what you are feeling, and is willing to back you through every step of the way, is imperative in making the coming out experience that much less unpleasant. As human beings, we need to be seen and accepted to subsequently love ourselves enough to take risks that align with that. Like the sea turtles that would pilgrimage up to that lonely beach in the middle of the night, risking capture—we are wired for connection and don't have to do this by ourselves.

Prioritize Your Mental Health
You may be wondering, who do I turn to? If you can't find that one friend who might accept you as you are, you can reach out to a local LGBTQ+ center for mental health services or groups or even find a group online. If you're a teen, you might think about calling The Trevor Project, or another hotline. You can also talk to an LGBTQ+-friendly therapist from almost anywhere, even the privacy of your home by accessing a virtual platform such as LGBTQTherapySpace.com.

Tell Your Truth
After Costa Rica, with Mike at my side, I did what I was too afraid to do; I told my truth. In actuality, the jump out of the closet door wasn't as hard as I thought it would be, but if I had found more support and validation, it could have been so much easier. When you get the chance to talk about what you're afraid of with someone who gets it, something happens where you feel stronger and more courageous than before. Little by little, with others at your side, you too can crawl out of the crashing surf, rest on the beach, and know you'll be okay.

Jake Myers is the founder and CEO of LGBTQ Therapy Space, the first LGBTQ+-owned and operated online therapy platform designed for LGBTQ+ clients. A Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who recently relocated from Los Angeles to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, when his practice moved online, Myers is dedicated to providing an affirmative and welcoming space for LGBTQ+ individuals and couples to navigate life's challenges.