Scroll down for a full transcript of this episode…
We spend a lot of time saying we need to talk about mental health. Let’s go ahead and have that talk. My friend Zach has had a long road through mental illness and recovery, and he wants to be a therapist to try to prevent other trans folks from going through what he did. Content note for serious in depth discussions of mental health and recovery, including references to self harm and suicide. Above all, take care of yourselves, friends.
Here’s a link to Zach’s fundraiser if you’re in a position to help: https://bit.ly/2woO5Ct
Here’s some information about Emotional Dysregulation Disorder: https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Conditions/Borderline-Personality-Disorder
Note: A more common name for Emotional Dysregulation Disorder is Borderline Personality Disorder. That phrase comes with some pretty serious stigma, and Emotional Dysreglation Disorder is a proposed change to the name that has been suggested by some professionals, and is the term Zach prefers.
Here’s the skills workbook Zach talked about: https://www.guilford.com/companion-site/DBT-Skills-Training-Handouts-and-Worksheets-Second-Edition/9781572307810
Here’s some info on Dialectical Behavioral Therapy: https://psychcentral.com/lib/an-overview-of-dialectical-behavior-therapy/
Callie: [00:00:00] Shouts out this week go to Liam, The Clyde, Matt for becoming new patrons, and for Mark for increasing his pledge. Thank you friends. Love you to pieces. My name is Callie Wright, and this is Queersplaining.
This week you’re going to meet my friend Zach. He’s working on becoming a therapist, but there’s a lot in his way. He’s overcome a lot. But there are still a few hurdles left. And a quick note before we get into his story. This is a super deep dive discussion on mental illness and recovery, and it includes discussions of self-harm and suicide. Please take care of yourself.
Zach: [00:00:36] I was looking at some documentation from a former psychologist I saw. And there was paperwork. It was like, there’s this psychological exam testing that I had done that was basically like 20 questions and, they start the sentence, and then you finish it. And it says- the beginning of the sentence is: when I grow up I want to “blank.” And I said, I want to be a writer, a therapist, or marine biologist.
So it’s something I was always interested in, but I didn’t think I could be because I was mentally ill. And the reason I thought that I couldn’t be was because my mom had said that she looked down on anyone who was mentally ill or mentally unstable, and was a therapist. And she thought they couldn’t do their job and that they would cause more harm. But when I went back to therapy, I started working with my therapist and I got the correct diagnosis, and I realized that there actually was hope that that was something I could actually do.
My parents began taking me to mental health professionals when I was four years old. I have had a lot of issues. The symptoms I had then, it’s clear that I was experiencing trauma that was going unrecognized and unseen or, you know, ignored in some cases. I had started experiencing abuse and trauma from at least the age of 18 months if not sooner, and I at the age of four was displaying a lot of symptoms that were like, they thought that I might have Oppositional Defiance Disorder, they thought I might have obsessive-compulsive disorder. Schizophrenia was on the table at one point… And at the age of 11, my mom took me to a therapist again I,I, before the age of 11, I had gone to a lot of professionals but I don’t really remember much prior to that age. She took me to a psychiatrist when I was 11 because I’d been talking about killing myself in school.
And so I went and got diagnosed with major depression, which was accurate, but then a year later, I got diagnosed with bipolar disorder, which turned out to be inaccurate. And I was treated for that the entire time. Meanwhile, the PTSD was going unacknowledged and the emotionalal dysregulation disorder was going on unacknowledged. And I was also being mistreated for bipolar disorder when I didn’t have that at all. And it’s actually a very common misdiagnosis for the diagnosis that I do have.
Callie: [00:03:01] So when you see you’re being mistreated, is that just like, on the wrong medications or…?
Zach: [00:03:06] Wrong medications is one of the – I was on a lot of different medications that cause a lot of different problems over the years. And that’s one of them. But another is that, all of my issues stem from trauma and stem from abuse, and all of that was ignored by professionals my entire time.
I had a – the therapist, actually, that my mother most appreciated was the therapist who did not report my parents to child protective services. A lot of getting the wrong treatment had to do with you know, my parents, and their feelings being prioritized and not mine. So like the therapist that I currently have was the first, first therapist who listened to me, believed me, and validated me. In my family, I was the scapegoat. A lot of what I’ve talked about in therapy has been…
The feeling that I’ve come to, the conclusion I’ve come to is that my parents took me to therapy thinking maybe to some degree that they were trying to help me, but I think underneath all of that was the desire to like “if we fix Zach, then we fits the dysfunction in our family. And so that was the role I played in the family and that bore out and therapy so that it wasn’t about helping me. It was about fixing me.
My mom used to coach me before I went into therapy sessions and used to tell me what was and wasn’t okay to talk about. It wasn’t okay to talk about the abuse. But that was where all of my problems were, were stemming from.
That’s why I was suicidal. That’s why I had trouble regulating my emotions. That’s why I got into fights with my parents a lot, and I didn’t want to cooperate at all with anything. So, you know a lot of my issues stem from that. I think over 90% of them, but the abuse and the trauma wasn’t part of the equation in treating me.
Callie: [00:04:59] So, because of these bad experiences, Zach stopped going to therapists as an adult. He tried to see another therapist his freshman year of college, but it was a campus clinic, the therapist was a student and not really equipped to help. It was another four years before he tried again in 2015. He started working with his current therapist, and it wasn’t even primarily to address his mental health issues.
Zach: [00:05:21] I went there too, because I wanted to medically transition. When I called him initially, I told him what my issues were, because I knew I would need to address them in order to transition. So my motivation was primarily to medically transition. I don’t think I would have gone back if I wasn’t trans.
He pretty immediately diagnosed me with major depression and PTSD, those were the first diagnosis. But we had a conversation a few weeks later because he had made a comment at a therapy session one time that really bothered me. Which was, he made a comment about my bag being really big, like I brought a backpack because I had this work to do for this internship later. And he made this comment about it being you know, really, the bag being really big and how it was like a symbol of my burdens and stuff.
I was like, I got really irritated by it and I called him later and he’s like, you know, later in session, he… And I still think he was he was being a little too psycho… It’s a little too much psychoanalysis there for something that I don’t think was an indication of that at all. Despite that it did spark this conversation, which you know, he’s, I call him later and then that session he said, “you know Zach I’ve never gotten a call like that from someone before, is, have you considered this diagnosis?” And I’m like “yeah, but I don’t have black and white thinkin” and he laughed and he was like “you do have black and white thinking.” And I was like “you’re… You’re… Yeah. Okay,” and I start to see that
and it’s actually… One of the the struggles with emotion dysregulation disorder is that I have a tendency to put things into black and white categories, all or all-or-nothing categories. And that’s how I very much move through life. And it’s a it’s a function of trauma where like, you know, people are either good or bad and that’s how you survive the trauma and survive being abused. So there’s this term called “splitting” which is, usually it means going from putting something on a pedestal to like putting it like, stepping on it. So like throwing it down
And that more so happens with myself than it does with anyone else. So I tend to direct that inward. I’ve always been more inward with my splitting, but it’s it’s also something that happens with other people. Part of the reason I struggle with it so much with myself is because, It’s much easier for a child to blame themselves then to blame the people who are responsible for taking care of them. Because if I’m to blame then it’s my fault that I was harmed and I can change it. But if it’s someone else’s fault is out of my control.
There are certain mental health issues that when you are trans and you want to medically transition you have to quote – unquote “have things under control” and one of those diagnoses is one of the ones I have. But more so when we’re looking at symptoms, if you are chronically suicidal and you are chronically suicidal to the degree that I was, it is… It is not, under WPATH standards, which for those who don’t know is the World Professional Association for Transgender Health. You are not allowed to have any medical intervention until you meet a certain standard. So I had to… On a regular basis. I was wanting, I was, I was calling him in crisis about. At least three times a week. If not more.
Usually it was five times a week, sometimes every day. Up until this point I had attempted suicide on several occasions. I don’t know how many exactly, but at least three times throughout my life. And had struggled with a lot of self-harm and suicidal ideation before and so because of the degree of risk I was at, he couldn’t sign off on me having hormones
If I was a cis woman, and I wanted to get a boob job. I wouldn’t have to have anyone sign off on that and technically I didn’t need a letter from him, but I wanted him to be on board, because I need it I needed that support. I’m so I don’t necessarily blame him anymore. I still don’t think it was the right decision.
I equated it to you know, when you go in for mental health issues, and I know this because I’ve been to a lot of therapists and a lot of psychiatrists over my life. And I know that often they have you go get blood work done to make sure there’s nothing else going on and that there’s not some, they rule out physical health causes. How is it any different than a cisgender man who has a testosterone imbalance that is impacting his mental health? How is it any different?
Because the reality is that if a trans person is asking for hormones, the likelihood of hormones messing up their mental health instead of improving it is significantly slim. So, I think that this idea that trans people have to meet a certain standard when they are asking for those procedures is absolutely ridiculous.
Because if they want it, I don’t see how it’s going to harm their mental health. I think that it’s more an issue of the system and how mental health professionals and health professionals in general are taught to think about trans people, and the standards that the WPATH sets, although not law, are what most medical and health professionals go by.
Callie: [00:10:55] And so here we have kind of a weird situation, right? Medical gatekeeping is bad. But what got Zach into mental health treatment was medical gatekeeping that led to him getting the treatment he needed. So gatekeeping maybe had a positive outcome and this one specific situation, but it’s complicated right?
There’s a good chance that gatekeeping delayed his recovery. We know HRT has a positive effect on the psychological well being of trans folks, so he might have gotten better sooner if not for that gatekeeping. The whole things just kind of a mess.
Zach: [00:11:28] Like because what it forced me to do is it forced me to tell white lies. So like most sessions, not so much anymore because I don’t struggle with suicidal ideation nearly as much as I used to. Most days it’s at a pretty low number now. At some point during the session he usually asked me on a scale of 1 to 10 where suicidal ideation, and on a scale of 1 to 10, where’s self-injurious ideation and so 1 being not likely at all to engage in this behavior, and 10 being I’m going to right now
And I would fudge the numbers a little bit. Because I figured out that like, he was okay with like a six, so I wouldn’t let it get any higher than a six. So let’s say it was at a nine, I’d be like, it’s a six. Just because I knew that if I did that for long enough, maybe I’ll be able to get hormones sooner. So put me in a position where I had to lie to the person who was trying to help me.
And that’s a big part of my motivation in what, getting back to, you know, why I want to be a therapist is like, yes my going back to therapy and getting help gave me the ability to see that I had other skills and values that I also through my own experience of the healthcare system and trying to navigate having mental illnesses and chronic illnesses and also being trans and getting trying to get transgender healthcare I’ve noticed that there is a huge issue with gatekeeping in the lack of knowledge on the part of healthcare professionals.
And I think that the more trans people get into Healthcare, the better it’s going to be for transgender and gender non-conforming clients.
Callie: [00:13:11] In a hypothetical reality where you weren’t trans, and you didn’t have to seek out, you didn’t have to seek out mental health care related to that, what do you think would have happened? Because, because you said that your… Not the only motivatio,n but the primary motivation for you seeking mental health care in the first place was being trans. Because you had such a bad experience with mental health care previous to that.
Do you think you would have sought that out had it not been for being trans?
Zach: [00:13:35] I don’t know. I really don’t know. I think at that point in my life, probably not. But I do think eventually I would be in a position where I’d be forced to. It would either be you know, at some point I would have to ask myself the question “do I want to live everyday planning out my death, or do I want to, to do something about it?” And I do think eventually I would have
However, I got help sooner because I was trans. It’s a complicated issue. Because like, on the one hand, I got helped sooner because I was Trans. On the other hand, you know, there’s this whole issue with gatekeeping that prevented me from being able to be completely honest.
So much of the way that I managed to have some baseline of functioning was that I dissociated a lot. So to, It’s very difficult to tell you in detail what happened. What I can tell you is that the next thing I remember is bringing up the hormone conversation. He said “I don’t think you’re ready because of you know, Where you’re at with your you’re suicidal ideation and how you’re in crisis pretty much all the time. So what I want you to do is I want to get you into a dialectical behavioral therapy skills group.”
DBT is a therapy, a therapeutic method developed by Marsha Linehan who is a psychologist and she works out of the, I believe it’s the University of Washington. It’s in Seattle. It’s a university somewhere in Seattle and she does research primarily on suicide
ut it is a behavior that was developed to treat people who are at high risk of engaging in high-risk behaviors. And initially the disorder that I have which is emotion to dysregulation disorder, It is the gold standard for that disorder, the gold standard treatment.
Basically what it is it’s, and I can only talk about the skills group. So I don’t receive the full DBT treatment. So I’m just going to talk about what I receive. But there is a full treatment and I can give you a link maybe for people to check out that talks about it more in detail. But what I basically, what I do is I go to a weekly skills group and there’s four modules mindfulness emotion regulation, distress tolerance, and interpersonal effectiveness, which Target all of the symptoms that people with emotion dysregulation disorder have issues with.
My experience is that I go into this group. And the beginning group, you go in and you know initially I was like “I’m just here to get my hormones.”
I start practicing these skills. And you know, if you don’t complete the homework, the psychologist who runs the group he’s like “why didn’t you do it?” So it was like he, the way he engages with you, he forces you to reflect on why you don’t do things. And so over time as I’m slowly practicing these I’m starting to see some small benefit I eventually realized it was it actually was making a difference.
But the thing about it is it’s so incremental that if you’re not paying attention, you can easily ignore that. Something that you don’t know in the beginning and that I repeatedly had to hear, was that you have to practice in order for it to make a difference.
So when you’re living… I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to end my life. And so because I grew up, you know, from a very young age hearing my dad tell me that I was the biggest mistake he ever made, and I never should have been born, and I was the reason for all the problems in the family. So I thought that my death would solve everything. And so I felt, my life has always felt like a waste or like it’s burdening other people.
So when I, when you’re spending your entire life, you know in crisis like every single day is a crisis and a good days extremely rare, it’s hard to believe that anything can ever get better.
So for me, I knew I needed hormones. And so this was my primary motivation, but I get in you know, and I’m very reluctant to be there because I’m only there in the first place to actually get what I needed.
I’d say it wasn’t until about two years in that I really felt like my brain was functioning more like healthy brain. I feel like I was very much like I was completely unable to regulate my emotions. Part of the disorder is like I said, trouble with regulating emotion. Some people might be like, well, what does that mean? That means that little things can set me off. So like I might be totally fine one minute and like things that wouldn’t bother other people like. Can completely ruin my day so…
And not anymore but at the time, so like I…, The last time I was in the hospital for a suicide attempt before I went back to therapy was over an English paper, which is part of the reason I wasn’t able to finish my English degree.
So there is this this mindfulness activity called loving kindness, what I think that my, my main issue is is that I tend to see myself in very negative ways. And so loving kindness is where you just sit down and you’ll start with yourself and you’ll say kind things to yourself. And you say “may I be happy, may I be hopeful and I be at peace” and just, it can be whatever you want. But it’s just basically sending Loving Thoughts towards yourself or others
And then you move on to maybe a close friend, and you’ll send those thoughts to them. And then you might move on to someone who’s just an acquaintance, then maybe you might move onto an enemy. So you start with people who are closer to you and then you move on to people who it’s harder for you to do that with and then maybe the whole world after that
Some things I have said to myself is, because I’m disabled and I have so much trouble with being as engaged as I want with helping others, I have to remind myself that self-care is not selfish. And so something I tell myself a lot is “may I understand that self-care is the foundation of service to others.” The thing is like, I feel like there’s a lot of lip service to self care in social justice communities, but we don’t really focus on how important it is. Because if you can’t take care of yourself you’re going to harm other people.
That’s one of the reasons I’m so focused on my recovery. Because if I can’t get my issues under control, if I can’t take care of myself, If I can’t know why I have trouble with the things I have trouble with, I’m going to bring that all into the room with a client when I become a professional and I’m gonna cause harm to them. Because if you’re not aware of your own issues, you’re going to put it on someone else.
And I’ve had that experience with therapists in my past. You know, I had, I went to a group for male survivors of childhood sexual abuse, and the therapist was a survivor himself, which is fine and I love that information. But over time he started to cross more and more boundaries and it became therapy for him, and it felt like we were giving him therapy.
And that’s the kind of thing I want to avoid. And I think anyone who wants to work in the any sort of Human Services field or be a clinician, If any kind, you need to be aware of your shit. Because you can easily, when you are a survivor of trauma, or you have any kind of mental health issue… It’s a double-edged sword because it may help you empathize with other people and understand them. But if you’re working with someone with very similar issues as you, you can easily bring your own shit into the room and cause harm to them.
And that’s why I feel like it is so important to get therapy and to focus on your own recovery when you want to be a clinician
Callie: [00:21:40] and so Step One is mindfulness, what was the… what was the second one?
Zach: [00:21:43] So it doesn’t, it varies. So like the way it works in the group that I’m in, is it depends on when you come into the rotation. So I don’t remember which one I went to next.
Callie: [00:21:54] Gotcha, so it’s not that like you start at step one and work your way to step four? It’s just like you need all of these things and its….
Zach: [00:22:00] Yeah, so it rotates so like it’ll always, when you come in, you always start with mindfulness. But then depending on where it’s at in the rotation, you might go to interpersonal Effectiveness, which is focusing on… It is what it says, it’s interpersonal Effectiveness.
There’s communication with others. There’s you know, building relationships, knowing how to set boundaries, knowing whether or not a relationship is healthy for you and you need to you know, cut it off, you know, balancing relationships, all of that. And then there’s emotion regulation, which is learning how to regulate your emotions and one of the things when I talk about, you know my difficulty with regulating emotions, one of the aha moments for me, and why I talk about self-care, Is that I am very sensitive to not having my physical needs taken care of.
So one of the skills that is important that my therapist is constantly talking to me about because I have trouble with it is the PLEASE skills, which are, it stands for Treat Physical Illness. That’s what the P and the L stand for, and then balanced eating, avoid mood-altering drugs, exercise and sleep.
Those are like really, really important skills, and it’s the basis… Because if you don’t, if you don’t take care of your… There’s this huge Mind Body Connection. Like people… It used to be when… There used to be this idea of the Mind and Body being disconnected, but they’re usually reliant on each other and they have a huge impact on each other.
So if you’re not, if you get a bad night of sleep, if you didn’t have a good night of sleep, if you’re not taking care of your sleep hygiene, if you’re not eating balanced meals, if you’re not drinking water, if you’re not taking your medication, You’re not going to be able to manage your emotions at all.
And so that’s been huge for me in terms of regulating my emotions. Making sure that I’m taking care of my physical needs, and then the last one is distress tolerance which, distress tolerance is basically managing crises. So it’s a bunch of skills for how to help ride out a crisis and how to lower crisis levels.
Callie: [00:24:11] Do you remember the first time you had to try to apply one of those skills?
Zach: [00:24:15] I can tell you that the first thing that was most beneficial to me was distress tolerance. Because I was pretty much in crisis all the time. The first skill that I remember applying. I don’t know if it was the first one, but the first one I remember applying was the ACCEPTS skill.
So ACCEPTS stands for learning how to distract from stress and self-soothe through Activities, Contributing, Comparisons, opposite Emotions, Pushing away, and Thoughts. So one I focused on a lot was activities. That was something that I could reliably engage in. Because if I was doing something I wasn’t able to like… So cleaning was a big one for me. Cleaning is something that’s very repetitive that forces you out of your head and into your body, or like,you know, intense exercise.
That was something I did a lot after I started testosterone and I was in crisis. Because I had all this energy. But I also was like, I needed somewhere to put it. So doing stuff through intense exercise.. Other activities, I might read, I might go out with a friend, I might leave the house, one time when I was in crisis I just rode the UC shuttle for an hour because it kept me away from anything that I could have used to harm myself, but it was it wasn’t particularly… Its, I wasn’t doing anything, but I was away from from harm.
So the thing about distress tolerance is, and something my DBT leader always says is “don’t measure these skills by whether or not they’re necessarily making you feel better because it’s not what it’s about.”
It’s about “is it helping you to avoid engaging in the behavior?” And over time, you will see a difference. But in the moment like these skills aren’t necessarily about like, “oh, I feel a hundred percent better” because it’s not how recovery works.
And this is something you know, my mom struggles a lot with because I’ve always been suicidal my entire life. And she’s like in her mind, and I think part of my black and white thinking comes from her. Because in her mind, she’s like, “oh if you ever think about suicide then you’re not any better,” and that’s not how recovery works.
There was a lot of discouragement of doing anything besides writing from everyone around me because writing was what I was good at. And so when I went to college, I didn’t feel like I had anything else offer. So when writing began to become one of my triggers, and it became to harm me, I completely lost all sense of self and that’s another part of…
Something I didn’t mention before, but that’s another part of this disorder is not having a sense of self. And so when I got to college, that’s what I did because that’s all I thought I had um, and. Then it started to cause problems and I felt hopeless because I was like, “what am I going to do? If I can’t do this?”
I go back to therapy and I started talking about in that first summer is when I started thinking about trying to be a therapist, but I had already gone to school for four years and I was going for a fifth year and my parents really wanted me to graduate. And I start taking some psychology classes, really loved, it did really well, tried to finish my English degree. Couldn’t do it.
I ended up having an incomplete, but I never finished in the final class because it was too triggering and too stressful for me. So I took a year off. I worked at the casino and I came back to study psychology and substance abuse counseling in the fall of 2016.
Callie: [00:27:53] So you said that writing actually became triggering for you. Can you tell me tell me more about that?
Zach: [00:27:59] I think a lot of it has to do with perfectionism because people were telling me that I was going to be a New York Times bestseller when I was eight years old. And that is an immense amount of pressure to put on a young child child. I spent my entire life, you know prepping for that.
By the time I was 12, I was writing for three hours a day. And so I was dedicated to it. But at a certain point, it felt more like everyone else’s dream for me instead of my dream. I didn’t feel like mine. It felt like everyone else’s. So, much like I think that this decision to become a therapist in some ways was hand in hand with being trans because it felt like I was taking control of my life, you know, I was seeing my value outside of what everyone else saw for me and I, for the first time had someone who was seeing me through their own lens. Not through my parents lens, not to my teachers lens, but just in a one-on-one relationship with me. And saying “I think, have you ever thought about being anything else?” And I bring up that I think I would be, I would like to do therapy and he agrees that it I’d be a good fit for it.
And so, you know, I think through coming out as trans, a lot of it has been, in addition to my dreams of you know, providing something for my community and, and you know, being this this place, this safe space for other people who are trans or gender non-conforming. I also feel like in a sense, I’m coming into my own and I’m I’m.
For the first time I have ownership of my life, as opposed to my life being written out for me because of other people’s dreams they have for me for who I was supposed to be.
I was supposed to be a writer. I was supposed to be a woman. I was supposed to be Catholic. I am none of those things, but this life where I you know, I’m going on and I’m doing these things that everyone told me I couldn’t do or be.
I am doing that now, and it’s taking back ownership of my life.
Callie: [00:30:14] And so you went back to school in the fall of 2016?
Zach: [00:30:17] Yeah, so I actually, so after I started seeing my therapist, my parents agreed to pay to do the FAFSA for one more year. And they wanted me to finish my English degree in that time. I didn’t. I wasn’t able to. And I decided that I was going to take a year break and I was going to… I took one credit hour courses each semester just to maintain services at UC. But I took a few psychology classes for that last year that my parents pay for and then when I went back, I went back part time in the fall of 2016 and I start taking psychology courses, changed my major to psychology and added a certificate in substance abuse counseling.
And then through taking those substance abuse counseling courses I started doing research, I found I really loved it. And I decided this past fall semester that I wanted to add it as a major. And so I’m now going for my bachelor’s in psychology as well as substance abuse counseling.
I believe in the power of trans people in healthcare, and I believe that there are not enough people from marginalized groups providing therapy. That’s true regardless of what marginalized group you’re looking at whether it’s people of color, poor people, LGBTQ individuals, regardless of who it is there aren’t enough people who are from marginalized backgrounds who are providing services.
Because of the, the issues that transgender people face in accessing healthcare and because of the issues gender non-conforming people face, I really believe in the power of trans people getting into health care and providing those services.
Because we don’t have a seat at the table right now, or there aren’t many of us sitting at the table. And I think that the, part of the way that we change the way the healthcare system looks at us and treats us is by getting in there and advocating for our clients who share those identities with us. And I want to be that safe space that I didn’t have for years, you know.
I think that.. um when we talk about the fact that I was, I faced gatekeeping. If I had had the resources I needed as a child. If I’d had someone who was there and he was paying attention to what was happening to me instead of going along with my parents idea, which was “oh Zach’s the problem, we need to fix him” instead of thinking “no Zack is a, Zack’s symptoms are a reflection of the environment he’s in, then I might have not been in a position in the first place where that would have happened to me.
I feel like recovery is… Isn’t a destination. It’s a mindset. You know, it’s not… It’s like, everyday I choose whether or not I want to engage in behaviors that will lead to a better life for myself and those around me or do I want to engage in the behaviors that keep me down and that’s a decision that I have to make every day. And some days that, some days my ability to do that is harder than others. But I’ve had the resources that I can make that decision.
I’m not saying that… I’m not trying to say that you choose to be mentally ill, no one chooses that but once you have access to the resources, and you’ve given this, you’ve been given the skills, recovery is is a choice that I’ve, I have to make every day. So it’s really, to me it’s a mindset more than anything else.
Callie: [00:33:45] Big thanks to Zach for sharing his story and his life with us this week. Zach is fundraising currently to help him cover the cost of housing and tuition to help him finish school and achieve his dreams of becoming a therapist, and helping underserved communities get the services they need. If you want to help, check out the page for this episode at queersplaining.com/Zach. Please check it out and throw him some bucks if you can. Just like with the show, even a little bit makes a difference.
If you want to learn more about the mental health issues and the tools for coping that we talked about, there are tons of links in the show notes for you to check out, I’d encourage you to jump in and take a look when you get the chance. Thanks friend.
Before I go, I want you to know that if you’re lost, you’re hurting, you’re scared – if you feel like no one cares, and no one understands – you need to know there’s a community out here that loves you, cares for you, knows that you’re capable of amazing things and that you are worthy of love. If you’re struggling, please don’t be afraid to reach out. Until next time friends, my name is Callie Wright, and this is Queersplaining.