This June marks Pride Month, a month dedicated to recognizing and celebrating the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community! Pride Month is a time to appreciate how far society has come in accepting LGBTQ+ individuals and also to address areas for growth that still exist.
Every year during the first few months of the summer, cities across the country celebrate Pride Month with festivals and parades. People gather to remember those lost along the way and look forward to a brighter future for members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Despite the outpouring of positivity, sometimes Pride Month can be a difficult time for people, too. It’s challenging for people who aren’t yet out to family or friends as they watch other members of the community share their truth. This can feel incredibly isolating for these individuals and could instead be a triggering time of the year.
How can you celebrate Pride Month while honoring your mental health and maintaining your recovery? Or if you have a loved one in the LGBTQ+ community in recovery, what can you do to support them?
Recognize Problems that Still Exist in the LGBTQ+ Community
Research shows that even though there has been incredible progress during the last decade or two, problems still exist within the community. For example, LGBTQ+ individuals face higher rates of mental illness and substance use disorders compared to their straight peers.
The prevalence of eating disorders among these individuals is another common concern. According to a study from the National Eating Disorder Association, more than half of LGBTQ+ individuals ages 13 to 24 received an eating disorder diagnosis. Even worse, an additional 25% believed they met the criteria for ED but hadn’t yet been diagnosed.
Eating disorders offer an illusion of control. LGBTQ+ adolescents often grow up feeling a lack of control and incredible stress because of who they are. Developing a strict regimen around food intake is one way to maintain some control over their lives.
Pride Month serves as an important springboard for conversations about these topics. There’s nothing wrong with celebrating the positives but it’s also good to recognize the ongoing opportunities for growth.
Remember Body Positivity
If you’re in recovery from an eating disorder, Pride Month celebrations can sometimes be a trigger. People often dress in fun and exciting outfits for parties and festivals that tend to reveal more than usual. Trying to decide what to wear for celebrations could trigger negative thought patterns that challenge your recovery.
It’s important to remember body positivity when you’re celebrating Pride Month in recovery. Feeling self-conscious is a normal part of the human experience. There are all kinds of people in the LGBTQ+ community who deal with the same struggles as you. There’s no right way to look for Pride; showing up as yourself, exactly the way you are, is perfect.
Check In On Your Friends
Whether you’re part of the LGBTQ+ community or you’re a supportive ally, it’s always a good idea to check in on your friends. You never know when a friend might have a hard time with Pride celebrations and need to talk things through with someone. Reaching out to check in on your friends opens the door for them to lean on you for support if they need it.
If you notice a friend is distant or feeling down, give them a call or send them a text. Make yourself available to your loved ones who are LGBTQ+ during Pride Month. It never hurts to let someone know that you’re thinking about them. Helping others through their struggles is a great way to get out of your head and maintain your recovery, too.
Seek Out Support If You Need It
One of the best ways to celebrate Pride Month while in recovery is to keep your support system close. Your support system is made up of anyone or anything that you can lean on to get you through the moments where your recovery feels shaky. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help, whether you’re new to recovery or you’ve been behavior-free for years.
Let trusted family members and friends know that you may need some extra support this month. Again, asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness; it’s a sign of strength because you recognize what you need to maintain your recovery.
You can also seek out professional help if it feels too difficult to manage your recovery alone. Going to therapy or reaching out to an outpatient program can provide the additional support you might need during Pride Month. It’s better to ask for support before you reach a breaking point instead of waiting until it’s too late.
For those who live in Ohio, Toledo Center offers compassionate, supportive eating disorder treatment in the Toledo area. We know that the path of eating disorder recovery isn’t always straightforward; sometimes you need help during those unexpected twists and turns. We’re here to provide that extra support you may need during your recovery.
To learn more about the programs we offer, give us a call at 419-885-8800 to speak with an