Best Posts in Forum: Mental, Medical and Sexual Health

  1. Ockydub

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    My Two Cents.....

    Plenty of men are not into anal sex. If its not what you're into I think it goes with out saying no one is forcing you to do it. To help with alleviating the frustration, maybe stop getting sexually involved with dudes who want it (or want it on the regular) and link up sexually with guys who are into "frottage" or "sides"; we've shared this before on Cypher Ave Guys on the ‘Side’: Looking Beyond Gay Tops and Bottoms

    Frot (slang for frottage; ult. from the French verb frotter, "to rub") is a non-penetrative form of male-male sexual activity that usually involves direct penis-to-penis contact.[1][2] The term was popularized by gay male activists who disparaged the practice of anal sex,[1][2][3] but has since evolved to encompass a variety of preferences for the act, which may or may not imply particular attitudes towards other sexual activities.
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    Also...(don't know if this is your issue) but some dudes have watched so much porn through out their lives and have become so accustomed to masterbating while watching, that they are not able to perform sexually due to the difference in stimulation and sensation.
     
    #2 Ockydub, Apr 16, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2017
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  2. Ockydub

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    Interesting. My partner has had bouts of depression steaming from the military and takes medication due to PTSD. He also was on some meds that he had to stop taking because they made him gain weight.

    My point...a lot of times we are more similar than you know AND a majority of the time, your problems are not unique. We as black people and men don't like to discuss parts of our true selves.
     
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  3. Shon

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    I posted this on FB last week and I'm sharing here too...just in case someone needs this...


    Mental illness is serious! Depression, anxiety, bipolar disorders, OCD, PTSD and other mental health issues ARE REAL! If you feel something isn't right or you're constantly battling internal issues that you don’t understand, it doesn't make you weak to seek help. It’s not disrespectful to your religion to seek therapy instead of “praying it away” or “not claiming it”. It’s not something to sweep under the rug or be ashamed of. Let go of your pride.

    Remember this, we're not as weak as we think...but we're also not as strong as we think.

    For me, there are times I wish I could turn my brain off due to constant worrying, negativity and OVERTHINKING that can lead to drastic mood shifts. I've felt hopeless and useless. I've been to (and still frequent) VERY dark places. I’ve battled with addiction. Hell, I've been suicidal. I’ve lost years of my life wanting to do so much, but feeling defeat and angst before I even start and didn’t know why.

    However, one of the best decisions I ever made was to seek professional help and begin healing from the inside. It's NOT a destination, it's a journey…a rocky journey that I’m still on seeking strength, answers, purpose and more importantly, to BREAK CYCLES!!

    I want anyone going through this to know that you are NEVER alone and it's ok to admit that you can’t fix it by yourself. I want to see everyone win. I want everyone to understand that they're good enough. I want any and EVERYONE who may be struggling to overcome it. So, take it easy on yourself, breathe, HOLD TIGHT TO YOUR FAITH and NEVER feel bad for taking care of YOU!

    Much Love!
     
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  4. NikR

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    Cover art from Black Man in a White Coat, by Damon Tweedy.



    As a doctor (who happens to be a longtime Cypher Avenue member), I suppose I should have said something sooner. But I think now is as good time as any.

    Primary care is integral to your health. Just like maintenance is important for your car, it’s also important for your body. It’s not good enough to show up when you’re sick- you need to periodically check in with your doctor to anticipate problems you may not even be aware that exists.

    For full disclosure, again, I’m a primary care doctor. Yes, I do this for a living. My purpose here is to help you think about optimizing your health and to help you determine where there might be improvements.

    Primary care for men who have sex with men (MSM) is like most primary care- preventative. MSM is not a PC term- it describes behavior, not orientation, so it’s more useful.

    Before you go to see your doctor, prepare an agenda of issues that you’d like to discuss. This will help guide the interview and possible interventions.

    Ideally you should have a doctor (or PA or NP) who is open to you and is not judgmental. I’m one of those people. Yes, I have many gay patients…and even though I’m not out to many of them, I think the word might be out that there might be a young, black, gay male primary doctor who prescribes PrEP and also does home visits. I say this to say, find someone you trust. And if it doesn’t work, ask for a transfer or seek another provider. There are plenty of LGBT or LGBT-friendly clinics around.

    These are some of the things I discuss with patients:

    *General health, hospital admissions, family history, current medications, allergies.
    Social stuff like living situation (is it secure or not?), work life, drug or substance use (smoking increases risk of cancer, alcohol increases risk of cirrhosis, other drugs increase STD risk and dependency).

    *Depression and anxiety – both very common with at least 20% of the population experiencing at least one episode in life.

    *Fitness, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol.

    *General immunizations like flu and tetanus.

    *Age-specific concerns like osteoporosis, vitamin deficiencies, erectile dysfunction (yes, also happens in the 20s!).

    Specific MSM Issues

    Sex practices – I break it down. Are you top? Bottom? Vers? Using condoms or not? Using drugs during or not? HIV status of partner(s)? Number of recent partner (s). Yes, all uncomfortable questions, but important to ensure we can decrease risk factors. This ends up being a long discussion since I also recommend STI testing and provide education on PrEP and even PEP (pre and post-exposure prophylaxis for HIV prevention).

    Intimate partner violence – friends, it happens. We need a plan to keep you safe if it’s happening.

    Cancer screening (if necessary) – including prostate, testicular, colon cancer, rectal cancer. Please note that information regarding screening has changed, and generally, NO, you DON’T need an anal pap…unless you are HIV positive.

    Immunization Status – Hep A, Hep B, HPV (until 26), bacterial meningitis (everyone)

    STI Screening – when done properly, you should have every possible site of exposure tested. So, if you’re an “oral top” (or whatever people call themselves now… ), your penis and throat need to be cultured/tested. Vers dudes need 3 site testing – throat, penis, rectum. For “total bottoms”, 2 sites. This should be done at least every 6 months. For some, every 3-6 months is needed. You’ll also need blood tests for: syphilis, HIV and at least Hep C. Know your status friends!

    STI screening is really important since untreated STIs facilitate HIV transmission. So yes, chlamydia increases the possibility of contracting HIV. That’s one reason why the health department calls people to tell them about possible exposures. I can’t stress this enough.

    Whew, ok that was a lot. Let me know if you have any questions @NikR





    Read the whole post here.
     
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  5. DreG

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    My idea was for this thread to be dedicated to helping each other out during tough times.If anyone has a problem one day,or even one that's persisted for a long time,they can post here .You can just say you need help,or tell us what the problem relates to,or eleborate in full.

    My hope is that any of you who come through here will respond to this thread ,or privately ,to anyone seeking help if you feel you have something to offer.
     
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  6. Jaa

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    I grew up with both parents and a fairly evenly split extended family, but spent more time with women because dad worked odd hours and they often seemed more outwardly warm and inquisitive (or nosy).

    My family didn't make me particularly fond of men or women. I felt somewhat distant from the men because the easiest to way to reach many of them is sports and I was more interested in nerdy stuff. I used to wonder if my mother would be better off without my father because she would talk about wanting nicer things and sometimes complained about his behavior, while my father seemed content as long as he had food, water (and soda or juice) and cable TV. I wondered if he held her back and she merely settled for him, even if she seemed happy and talked about him always making her laugh. I don't recall him doing much to make me a man other than wanting but not pushing me to play sports. Maybe it was indirect. I think we'd be closer if I were an athlete.

    Thinking about it, a few of my single mother relatives often seem to have harsher attitudes than other women in my family. I don't know if it's because they had a harder life or feel shit on by society or what, but they tend to be touchier and less pleasant than those who were married at some point. Despite my relative distance from male relatives, maybe I've been indirectly affected by a large male presence in my family.

    But I wasn't particularly fond of male or female relatives. I was a kinda soft kid and didn't feel like I strongly related to either. Men seemed relatively limited and aggressive and I felt like I often failed to meet their standards. I was baffled by some women's interest in shopping and materialism when they speak of having no money or being in debt, the gossip about certain relatives, and the way some had kids while young and financially unsound. They seemed somewhat illogical and mean in different ways. And some of the men were also illogical and materialistic but about different things and in ways that fit their standards, and some of the women were just as aggressive. I felt uncomfortable around both because I liked guys and was a weird, loner kid, in general.

    My experience lead me to see people more as individuals rather than the social groups they're part of because I have myself as an example of someone who just doesn't fit in with most people. I also kept a lot of things to myself because I felt people didn't want to hear about it. Never hurt myself but have had the thought, "I wouldn't mind (peacefully) dying early but I won't actively make it happen."

    Everyone just seems to be varying levels of flawed. I have had more male than female friends. They're somewhat rare, but I encounter more who share my interests or vibe with me.
     
    #7 Jaa, Feb 7, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2016
  7. Jaa

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    I was diagnosed with depression many years ago. I'm not sure it ever left, I just stopped seeing doctors and taking meds after a few months because I questioned whether it was necessary and didn't feel a substantial change, though the afflicted are often not best at diagnosing themselves. I did continue seeing counselors for some time afterwards. It felt good talking and venting to a neutral party.

    I tried to address issues that seemed manageable and minimize damage to other areas of life. I left school because I had just failed most of my classes and there was a possibility that I could return if I could prove I improved my state of mind. Eventually, I began looking into changing my diet and becoming more active and lost a substantial amount of weight. But despite some ups like going back and getting my degree and the weight loss, I've made a lot of questionable decisions and often have a fairly dark mentality that I keep somewhat concealed from most.

    I'm not sure what I'd suggest. Try not to isolate yourself. Maintain a comfortable distance from those close to you if you feel it's necessary but shutting people could make you lonely and them confused. They say exercise helps. I know I often feel better when outside breathing "fresh" city air, walking around and people watching. When I have the opportunity to get away from the city and out into nature, it's relaxing. Talking with my nerdier acquaintances about stuff that most people I know don't care about is comforting.

    I'm not sure. Part of me thinks you should try to do healthy things that you enjoy and reach out to your closer loved ones, but I've also been in states in which I don't want to talk to anyone and feel that I've lost interest in most, if not all, of my hobbies. Then after some time and reevaluation, I decide to change my outlook. Maybe mine is more situational than clinical, though it's lasted for quite some time. And I know it can sometimes be frustrating repeatedly hearing similar advice.

    Take care of yourself. You took the right step by finding a therapist. If you ever come to the conclusion that they aren't helping, seek other alternatives rather than giving up on therapy altogether. I've found that I enjoy working with some much more than others.
     
    #7 Jaa, Nov 6, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2015
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  8. Rico

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    Ditto!

    And since this is a medical question...

    Paging Dr @NikR ...
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    And as Ock said, don't feel pressured to engage in a particular sex practice if it's not your thing. There is no right or normal among consenting adults, you don't have to answer to anyone gay or straight, just be sane, careful and health-conscious.
     
  9. Ockydub

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  10. Sean P

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    @Jdudre, I can be a guarded MF, but depression is such a serious issue that I want to speak up. I am so glad that you posted this thread and are addressing your situation head-on. That is strength!

    My brother committed suicide 7 weeks ago as of tomorrow. The outside world would never have known that he was struggling. I wish that he hadn't been the stereotypical Black man who thought that seeking help was a sign of weakness.

    It appears that you have a supportive community on this site who not only understand the challenges of depression, but can recommend available resources to help you and others stay on track (THANK YOU Cypher Avenue!). Congratulations for recognizing that this is not your fight alone. And, as many others have said already, all the best to you. We've got your back!
     
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  11. Cyrus-Brooks

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    I've dealt with bouts of depression. I've been seeing a therapist. At one point I was even on Paxil. I stopped taking it because it made me gain weight. How I deal with depression is going to the gym. The therapy helps, but the gym is how I deal day to day stress. It also helps that I've set a goal on improving my employment situation and have been sticking to it.
     
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  12. BlackExcellence

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    I have a couple best friends that I tend to go to or talk about when I have issues but what really helps me is just kinda diversifying when talking about your issues. I try not to share everything with one person because you never know if it's too much.
     
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  13. acessential

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    Depression is rough. I can see you're already on the right track with talking to someone about it. I don't really have anything profound to say. I just know it's a struggle. I've seen other people go through it and I've dealt with it in the past. The thing about having someone to talk to is it has to be consistent. You build on it each time you discuss. Different techniques work for different people but one of the things I did was keep track of things that made me happy each day no matter how small they were. It could be something as simple as a person smiled at me when I walked down the street. It was nice to try and find the silver lining even when I felt like everything was going wrong. Good luck man. I wish you all the best.
     
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  14. Jdudre

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    I would say that what happen to you was more because of the person your mother was and not really a "women thing" no disrespect as I don't know her so I can't go off by anything other than what you said happened.
    Secondly, try talking to her about some of these things she herself may not have realized what she was doing to you; parents don't always see how the the things she was doing effected you.
    If she doesn't want to talk about or acknowledged any wrongdoing well then your going to have to decide what to do about if you want her in your life.
    As far as the anger issues I would try and find a good family therapist or counselor as your anger stems from family issues just know it may take awhile to find the right one and that there is nothing wrong with you it's natural to feel anger at parents especially when we feel they did not help or provide us with the emotional support we needed.
    Good luck to you
     
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  15. Ockydub

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    Artists and students Jeana Lindo and Richard Bryan grew up longing for more representation of themselves in the cartoons and films they watched, and video games they played. Most of what they saw featured white protagonists and ‘good guys,’ whereas black men and boys were portrayed as criminals or thugs.

    In their new anthology, “Black Boy Feelings,” Jeana Lindo and Richard Bryan are looking to give readers a look into the everyday lived experiences, thoughts, memories and feelings of black men, fighting the kind of stereotypical portrayals that make it hard for black boys to express their feelings and see themselves as more.

    They began the project by spreading flyers on the street and on social media that asked for submissions relating to black boyhood, not knowing what kind of responses they’d receive. When asked what the majority of reactions to the project were, Lindo said, “people were really grateful”; most submissions started with a thanks.

    In the book’s introduction, Bryan writes that “growing up as a black boy, you see a lot of things that other people don’t see and feel a lot of things that other people don’t feel. A lot of things are expected of you. A lot of things hurt you.” Because of “archaic and poorly explained principles of black masculinity,” he writes, “we don’t even talk about most of it.”

    Bryan told NewsHour that as a fan of anime and manga, even today he sees a lot of black characters being portrayed as “borderline minstrelly” — a reference to early American minstrel shows in which entertainers would dress in blackface and lampoon black people. “We’re trying to combat this massive systematic wackness” in the anthology, he said, as an avenue for black male expression.

    Lindo said she hopes this book will reach many different kinds of people, and allow for a better future in which “boys are more honest with everyone and especially themselves.”

    Below, read some of the submissions — which range from photos to personal memories to original artwork and poems — that are included in “Black Boy Feelings.”

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    This new book explores black men's feelings on masculinity and boyhood
     
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  16. Ockydub

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    When he would yell at my mother, I would start crying. I didn’t know any better. I was only 6. As soon as I started sniffling he would turn around and scream “Shut up Sean!! Don’t be no f*cking punk!” I was so scared. I was scared he would hate me like I thought he hated my mother. I learned from that to shut up whatever feeling I was goin through. Back then it was fighting other kids. As I got older I would drink, smoke, or just zone it out. Years later being with my own kids made me realize something was wrong. I was angry all the time. I started to see that I had been doing something that was pushing me away from people I cared about….”*

    What happens to little Black boys, who learn to hate their feelings? Who do they become? What is the “inner child” and how is this all connected? The answers to these questions aren’t easy to hear. Nor are they as one dimensional as we might imagine.

    The “inner child” represents the emotionality and perceptions we learned as children that, if left un-engaged, we carry on as adults. For all Black children, our inner perceptions are highly likely to be informed by a number of traumatic experiences. Despite this, African American Americans overall are not likely to access mental health services, much less Black men. This creates a considerable challenge: On one hand Black men and boys are traumatized constantly. But on the other hand, we are not given emotional tools to transform that pain. We are taught, like Sean, masculine norms that do not support mental health. The consequence of this is evident: climbing rates of suicide, abuse, and assault against ourselves, Black women and Black gender non-conforming individuals.

    To explore this further, I spoke with Washington D.C based Therapist Douglas Gotel. Gotel has been working with African American men and boys for nearly 10 years and had much to say on how inner childhood trauma is playing a role in Black men’s lives.

    Akili: How do you see child trauma impacting Black men and boys?

    Gotel: Trauma literally changes the emotional map in the brain, it alters perception. Left unaddressed, these emotional imprints can negatively impact perceptions held by Black men (and any person); perceptions of self, others and circumstances that can cause problems in every relationship in a person’s life. For men, it often manifests as anger or rage, a product of fear and powerlessness.

    Akili: How have you seen inner child trauma show up in working with adult African American men?

    Gotel: I remember a time as an intern on a home visit, witnessing what unresolved inner child trauma looked like in vivo. I was visiting with a single father who was doing the best he could trying to raise his teenage son to keep him out of foster care. Their relationship was, in a word, combustible. As I look back on that home visit, what I witnessed were two people with unmet needs, two child states in conflict. A young man, who had been abandoned by his mother, his defiance fueled by competition with his father’s girlfriend for his father’s attention; a father, who could not read, conflicted with wanting nurturing and attention from his girlfriend and feeling his authority challenged by an acting-out teen. Both had childhood traumas of parental separation.

    The young man had skipped school the day before and I arrived in the middle of an altercation between father and son. The father literally had a tantrum before me. He was jumping up and down, stomping, fists clinched, screaming at the young man saying, “You don’t appreciate anything I do for you!” The best I could do in that moment was to create some space between them before it got physical. The father, with his own emotional needs, was not ready developmentally to parent. This is one way that unresolved childhood trauma can show can show up in relationships, explosive anger. When we are faced with unmet needs, particularly attachment needs of feeling safe, secure, comforted and validated from those with whom we have community, how we respond to those unmet needs is reflective of the degree that our inner child has been nurtured.

    Akili: What can we as adult Black men do to address and deal with our inner child trauma?

    Gotel: One thing that Black men can do to help to resolve inner child trauma is to cultivate awareness of our systems of meaning. What I mean by that is the ability to recognize when behavior reactions to someone else’s behavior are being seen through the lens of adverse childhood experiences. Awareness is the antidote to impulse. Awareness puts you in a position to choose—a different way of thinking, a different behavior. In order to heal, you have to open up the emotional baggage, suppressed material of past hurts and confront it. Feel it. Name it.

    Akili: What would you say to Black men who feel this work is not important?

    Gotel: To Black men who feel this work is not important, I say watch the local evening news. The local headlines are rife with stories about felony crimes—domestic violence, murder— There is always a back story pointing back to a “troubled childhood,” unresolved childhood trauma. There has been a great cost to communities and families already when the emotional needs of Black men and men in general are disregarded and the emotional expression of Black men is stifled by messages such as “be a man,” “man up,” or “big boys don’t cry.”

    Akili: What do we as people who love Black men, need to do to help Black men and boys grow emotionally and heal? What’s the best way we can be supportive in creating a healing community?

    Gotel: What we must do above all things is preserve childhood and ensure that parents across the spectrum of financial affluence have the tools and means to make to make home an extended learning environment for their kids; that Black boys and Black girls—all Black children—experience enough of the “Crucial C’s” in childhood that build resilience and a healthy sense of self as they face life’s challenges and changes.

    All children need four interpersonal experiences regularly in childhood to develop a healthy sense of self. These are the four Crucial C’s developed by psychologists Amy Lew and Betty Lou Better that I refer to often in my work.

    We all need to feel Connection (I belong), Capable (I can do it), I Count (I matter, I can make a difference) and Courage (I can handle what comes). When children don’t experience enough of the Crucial Cs, they will act out in any of the four ways: Attention seeking, revenge, power/control or avoidance/withdrawal. When Black boys act out, the penalties and stigmatization is greater. We can ensure healthy social-emotional development of Black boys by providing experiences with Crucial Cs.

    Akili: The message is clear: the little boys in all of us are begging to be reconciled with. Black boys in this country need our support in cultivating and maintaining emotional literacy. Black men need to get support in cultivating healthy emotional lives. This is a pressing priority for the wellness of the Black community. If national entities can build campaigns to support Black men and boys with ties, business suits and coding skills, then we can do the same with teaching emotional literacy that is informed by Black feminist and Womanist theory. Because all the other things are useless if they only serve to remake us into emotionally dead patriarchs who cannot nurture our families and communities. Our communities need black men, all Black men—gay, heterosexual, trans, disabled—to show up and be present, and be loving full adults. The inner child in you needs the same.

    About The Therapist:

    Douglas Gotel, LICSW, RPT is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a Registered Play Therapist.

    He maintains a private practice in Washington, D.C. and has extensive experience providing behavioral health services in school settings and community-based settings as both as a clinician and administrator. He specializes in child-centered play therapy, sand tray therapy and cognitive therapy.

    A graduate of the Howard University School of Social Work, Mr. Gotel has been a presenter at The Center for School Mental Health National Conference and the Mental Health Association of the District of Columbia. He is a member of the Association for Play Therapy. For more information about Mr. Gotel’s work, visit www.douglasgotel.com

    *Person’s name and story have been changed to protect confidentiality, personal account from an open forum on masculinity and maleness,

    Exploring The Inner Child Trauma of Black Men | Huffington Post
     
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  17. Infinite_loop

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    TLDR: gifted and talented persons are more likely to experience a type of depression referred to as existential depression, which arises when an individual confronts certain basic issues of existence. Yalom (1980) describes four such issues (or “ultimate concerns”)–death, freedom, isolation and meaninglessness.

    It has been my experience that gifted and talented persons are more likely to experience a type of depression referred to as existential depression. Although an episode of existential depression may be precipitated in anyone by a major loss or the threat of a loss which highlights the transient nature of life, persons of higher intellectual ability are more prone to experience existential depression spontaneously. Sometimes this existential depression is tied into the positive disintegration experience referred to by Dabrowski (1996).

    Existential depression is a depression that arises when an individual confronts certain basic issues of existence. Yalom (1980) describes four such issues (or “ultimate concerns”)–death, freedom, isolation and meaninglessness. Death is an inevitable occurrence. Freedom, in an existential sense, refers to the absence of external structure. That is, humans do not enter a world which is inherently structured. We must give the world a structure which we ourselves create. Isolation recognizes that no matter how close we become to another person, a gap always remains, and we are nonetheless alone. Meaninglessness stems from the first three. If we must die, if we construct our own world, and if each of us is ultimately alone, then what meaning does life have?

    Why should such existential concerns occur disproportionately among gifted persons? Partially, it is because substantial thought and reflection must occur to even consider such notions, rather than simply focusing on superficial day-to-day aspects of life. Other more specific characteristics of gifted children are important predisposers as well.

    Because gifted children are able to consider the possibilities of how things might be, they tend to be idealists. However, they are simultaneously able to see that the world is falling short of how it might be. Because they are intense, gifted children feel keenly the disappointment and frustration which occurs when ideals are not reached. Similarly, these youngsters quickly spot the inconsistencies, arbitrariness and absurdities in society and in the behaviors of those around them. Traditions are questioned or challenged. For example, why do we put such tight sex-role or age-role restrictions on people? Why do people engage in hypocritical behaviors in which they say one thing and then do another? Why do people say things they really do not mean at all? Why are so many people so unthinking and uncaring in their dealings with others? How much difference in the world can one person’s life make?

    When gifted children try to share these concerns with others, they are usually met with reactions ranging from puzzlement to hostility. They discover that others, particularly of their age, clearly do not share these concerns, but instead are focused on more concrete issues and on fitting in with others’ expectations. Often by even first grade, these youngsters, particularly the more highly gifted ones, feel isolated from their peers and perhaps from their families as they find that others are not prepared to discuss such weighty concerns.

    When their intensity is combined with multi-potentiality, these youngsters become particularly frustrated with the existential limitations of space and time. There simply aren’t enough hours in the day to develop all of the talents that many of these children have. Making choices among the possibilities is indeed arbitrary; there is no “ultimately right” choice. Even choosing a vocation can be difficult if one is trying to make a career decision between essentially equal passion, talents and potential in violin, neurology, theoretical mathematics and international relations.

    The reaction of gifted youngsters (again with intensity) to these frustrations is often one of anger. But they quickly discover that their anger is futile, for it is really directed at “fate” or at other matters which they are not able to control. Anger that is powerless evolves quickly into depression.

    In such depression, gifted children typically try to find some sense of meaning, some anchor point which they can grasp to pull themselves out of the mire of “unfairness.” Often, though, the more they try to pull themselves out, the more they become acutely aware that their life is finite and brief, that they are alone and are only one very small organism in a quite large world, and that there is a frightening freedom regarding how one chooses to live one’s life. It is at this point that they question life’s meaning and ask, “Is this all there is to life? Is there not ultimate meaning? Does life only have meaning if I give it meaning? I am a small, insignificant organism who is alone in an absurd, arbitrary and capricious world where my life can have little impact, and then I die. Is this all there is?”

    Such concerns are not too surprising in thoughtful adults who are going through mid-life crises. However, it is a matter of great concern when these existential questions are foremost in the mind of a twelve or fifteen year old. Such existential depressions deserve careful attention, since they can be precursors to suicide.

    How can we help our bright youngsters cope with these questions? We cannot do much about the finiteness of our existence. However, we can help youngsters learn to feel that they are understood and not so alone and that there are ways to manage their freedom and their sense of isolation.

    The isolation is helped to a degree by simply communicating to the youngster that someone else understands the issues that he/she is grappling with. Even though your experience is not exactly the same as mine, I feel far less alone if I know that you have had experiences that are reasonably similar. This is why relationships are so extremely important in the long-term adjustment of gifted children (Webb, Meckstroth and Tolan, 1982).

    A particular way of breaking through the sense of isolation is through touch. In the same way that infants need to be held and touched, so do persons who are experiencing existential aloneness. Touch seems to be a fundamental and instinctual aspect of existence, as evidenced by mother-infant bonding or “failure to thrive” syndrome. Often, I have “prescribed” daily hugs for a youngster suffering existential depression and have advised parents of reluctant teenagers to say, “I know that you may not want a hug, but I need a hug.” A hug, a touch on the arm, playful jostling, or even a “high five” can be very important to such a youngster, because it establishes at least some physical connection.

    The issues and choices involved in managing one’s freedom are more intellectual, as opposed to the reassuring aspects of touch as a sensory solution to an emotional crisis. Gifted children who feel overwhelmed by the myriad choices of an unstructured world can find a great deal of comfort in studying and exploring alternate ways in which other people have structured their lives. Through reading about people who have chosen specific paths to greatness and fulfillment, these youngsters can begin to use bibliotherapy as a method of understanding that choices are merely forks in the road of life, each of which can lead them to their own sense of fulfillment and accomplishment (Halsted, 1994). We all need to build our own personal philosophy of beliefs and values which will form meaningful frameworks for our lives.

    It is such existential issues that lead many of our gifted individuals to bury themselves so intensively in “causes” (whether these causes are academics, political or social causes, or cults). Unfortunately, these existential issues can also prompt periods of depression, often mixed with desperate, thrashing attempts to “belong.” Helping these individuals to recognize the basic existential issues may help, but only if done in a kind and accepting way. In addition, these youngsters will need to understand that existential issues are not ones that can be dealt with only once, but rather ones that will need frequent revisiting and reconsideration.

    In essence, then, we can help many persons with existential depressions if we can get them to realize that they are not so alone and if we can encourage them to adopt the message of hope written by the African-American poet, Langston Hughes:
    Hold fast to dreams,
    For if dreams die,
    Life is a broken-winged bird
    That cannot fly.
    Hold fast to dreams.
    For if dreams go,
    Life is a barren field
    Covered with snow.

    ~Langston Hughes

    original link: Existential Depression in Gifted Children | The Unbounded Spirit
     
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  18. Nick Delmacy

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    And nikkas still wonder why I don't care to be "Out" like these other gaylebrities. There are only 4 or 5 gay ppl I would text or email revealing gay shit to...And there are only 3 gay ppl that I would leave in my home alone without a second thought.

    DO NOT TRUST THESE HOES!
     
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  19. NikR

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    So apparently @Rico can conjure me out of thin air lol.

    Sex is fucking complicated- plumbing AND a mental component? And then you add at least one other person? I'm surprised anyone gets born.

    I'd say initially, don't panic. Erectile dysfunction is pretty common. I have young men, one who's 21, who come and ask about this. And it ends up being a long discussion.

    There are soooo many reasons why dudes can't stay hard, from structural to biochemical to poisons to mental stuff and everything in between. For most people, there are multiple factors at play, one of which is psychological. It doesn't even have to be about desire for your partner, it's just...something else. And that 'something else', performance anxiety and other feelings, can be as debilitating as physical problems.

    I'm sorry that you're having a rough time with this. Honestly, I'd be anxious too. But (and it's a big but) we know you can get hard. We know you can get a nut. Now all we need to do is optimize.

    You should talk to your doctor about this. Yes, even if she's a woman- they understand too! You'll need to review medical history, medications, drug and smoking history, have a physical exam (including a digital rectal exam-it's procedure), some limited bloodwork (ugggh 'low T' isn't really a thing), and some psychological screening tests (GAD7 and PHYQ9). And then you might need to talk to a sex therapist. They're phenomenal.

    Medicine is a team sport and people are around to help. But you gotta speak up.

    I'm glad you've taken the first step. Keep us updated
     
  20. African King

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    I saw a psychiatrist and therapists. I was never diagnosed with clinical depression or clinical anxiety by them but they told me to keep talking it through and the treatment given to me by the psychiatrist was to begin an exercise regimen. I started that and I have not looked back.

    My anxiety and depression (possibly "situational" I guess) was mostly tied to my sexuality and living a lie to please my parents. I went so far as to believe a story that I told myself over and over again. Long story short, I was in medical school for one year and the experience was tough. I ended up leaving that program for medical reasons, mostly tied to the anxiety and depression. Then during my downtime from school, I realized I made the wrong choice so I am finding my way on the right path in graduate school for anesthesia. I still get to do the medical field but have time for other things I want to do when I finish this 27 month program. Medical school and becoming a doctor would not have allowed me that freedom. I would not have been happy. My parents would have been happy to have the first doctor in the family but then I would have most likely been miserable. I started to really form my own identity outside of the one my parents created for me from childhood around 22 or 23 years old.

    The key is management. We are all built differently so while you might think you're the only one going through it, others are dealing with mental or other health issues too. For me, I manage it by healthy living, exercise, fueling positivity into my life... I hope you find what works for you buddy! All the best!
     
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  21. DreG

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    My advice for countering depresion is always activity.Stimulation is the exact opposite of depression so literally work through.Some kind of activity that keeps you moving helps you to work through it ,even when you don't realize it.Otherwise the stagnation fells like it's swallowing you whole and you can't escape it.You gotta work through those hard moments and days,so the best way to do that is by moving forward.
    And do things that give you some sense of obligation.Being needed will help you to not dwell unnecessarily on yourself,or rather your issues, and do something progressive.
     
  22. Nick Delmacy

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    The friends that I do have, we typically fall into the long periods away from each other then talk for hours when we reconnect. I'm not sure how sustainable this will be as I get older. I may have to join some kind of weekly club or activity group for the fellowship.

    [​IMG]

    As I've started traveling more, I'm not against joining a travel group as well. One of my gay friends is in one, but its filled with straight black women. I like the idea of "Guy's Trips" more than "Girl's Trip with the token Gays."

    Maybe that will be the evolution of Cypher Avenue after our Tenth Anniversary, a meetup group/club.
     
  23. acessential

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    I dated a dude who was HIV+. He didn't find out about his status until after we already started talking. Not gonna lie, it shook me a bit at first, but I moved past it. There's definitely a huge stigma attached to HIV. I'm not going to police anyone's dating choices, but in my opinion, if you meet someone you really vibe with on every other level, but they just happen to have HIV, that shouldn't necessarily be a deal breaker. I became a Google expert on HIV after learning about him. Looked at studies related to same-sex serodiscordant couples, thought about PreP, researched what practices were safer, and looked at how to support an HIV+ partner. Ultimately, things didn't work out. It wasn't because of his status in itself. It was because of other issues. Anyway, I'm rambling. I just think people need to be more educated on the topic. Especially since our demographic of black gay men are the hardest hit by the virus. Many of us almost exclusively date other black men, so we may run into when dating at some point. Just be prepared.
     
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  24. ControlledXaos

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    I have an rX.

    I think every single black gay male should talk to their doctor about it to see if the pros and the cons for you. If you are in a high risk group, you should be learning about it IMO. I was doing research on it for about 4-5 weeks. I know 2 other guys who are on it and they are fine. Between testimonials online and my own digging, I was more prepared when I went to my PCP than he was when talking about it. I was referred to an infectious disease specialist.

    It was easy to actually get the rX after going through the tests required. It was harder to get through the hurdles my insurance company required to actually get it in my hands than getting the rX in the first place. It's expensive. THOUSANDS of dollars before insurance kicks it down. $35 on my insurance which ends up being just over $1 a pill.

    Once you have cleared the battery of testing for STDs and getting your blood work done, once you get your Rx, you'll meet back with the doctor and they'll run the tests again. At that point, you'll know how your body has reacted to the drug in the first month.

    60 days after that, you should be due for the next testing and at that point, you should be on a 3 month schedule. You can talk to your doctor about your activities to see if you even need it.

    To answer the question, yes, I do trust that it will keep me from getting HIV, especially if the other guy is on his meds. TruVada is actually a drug that some HIV+ people take and those people are doing just fine. I only had some very interesting lucid dreams nightly and those eventually went away.

    I'm not hooking up. I'm not high risk at all. So I don't have to really worry about taking it daily. If I were out there like that, then yes. I'd like to have the extra barrier simply because... "never trust nobody." It's there if I felt I needed it. Taking it 5 days a week is minimum to high protection. It takes about a week to keep you fully protected.

    Not everyone has a use case for it so it's not a panacea for everyone. Condoms clearly work and are enough. I won't lie though, condomless sex feels great but where I am in life, that's something that I'll only do with someone I'm in a serious relationship and after we have both been tested at the same time.

    One thing thing, and I think this is really the most important to be honest, it has freed me in that I have not ruled out HIV+ guys from the dating pool. I got a really educated on it and HIV so I'm really not worried about acquiring HIV. Most people who are taking their meds are not trying to transmit the disease so I'd rather someone tell me that they have HIV and I know where they stand than someone lying to me that they don't. A lot of people will flat out not date someone with HIV. You know who you are.
    Not everyone how has HIV got it from being a THOT and most often than not, they acquired it from someone they trusted who lied to them. I don't think people should be punished for a small mistake because mostly everyone has had a slip up and sat in the doctor's office replaying every instance where they got caught up hoping that that wasn't the time that will give them a positive diagnosis.
     
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  25. ControlledXaos

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    I agree that it is something that people should talk about more but there's a lot of shame people have about it where they just don't want to talk about their experiences publicly. I think we should respect that.

    Men get battered, men get raped. A lot of young boys are taken advantage of. It definitely happens. I think it's important for those people to feel that they can talk about it without judgement or shame. But if they don't feel comfortable they won't.
     
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  26. NikR

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    ...and all sorts of other stuff, anecdotally anyways. I think care and restraint is sometimes lost on some people, esp young kids who fly outta the closet with little/no experience.

    5 rules.
    1)common sense- if u think it's a bad idea, it probably is. If, while getting your back blown out, you have much more discomfort than usual, if there's waaay too much pressure, stop!
    2) L-U-B-E
    3) take it slow (at first anyways)
    4) if dude comes at you with a baseball bat, just smile and have him to put that bad boy away. You don't want a Dignicare later. I'll just sit over here and let you google that.
    5)be open about problems with your regular doctor- the earlier you speak up, the greater the chance of a solution
     
  27. grownman

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    First of all, just know that when it comes to me you can always inbox me or put a thread out. I love this-because we all learn from each other. Their is no "clique and clack" with me. I totally understand. It's probably 6 posts of me on here sharing my mental well being. I feel like this site is a place you can let go and be yourself. Everybody needs to have a place to rest. My first place of sanctuary is my music. I love music and it's healing for me. I have my sister and cousin(who is one of my best friends).

    I agree w @DreG that you need at least one person that will not judge or criticize your feelings. We all have hangups, insecurities, physical and psychological issues that need working through. If you feel like you're always burdening people than you might want to question who you are around. Or, it could be just you holding on to your pride-maybe you feel like that makes you soft? I am not sure, but you know.

    I handle mine similar to the way you do-hahahaha. The difference between me and you is that my face and body language will show. You will know when I am depressed or pissed off. I have never been able to hide it. I have become more vocal and because all of those years of suppressing it has caused me to be extremely defensive. But we will get there. I usually close off-especially during this time. This is how we start down the path of healing , by sharing. Happy healing my friend.
     
    #3 grownman, Dec 13, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2015
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  28. SB3

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    Well, I think that's because sexual assault is a much bigger and devastating deal, than interracial dating. With that said, ppl aren't always so forth coming abt such a topic. Can't be easy for a man to say that he was sexually assaulted by another man..ijs
     
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  29. tigerbreaux

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    No one is surprised by this. He's lived a reckless lifestyle and Denise Richards has BEEN talking about his lifestyle. Also, I'm sure words like "hero", "brave" and "fighter" will start to be thrown around and he'll be the new "face of the disease".

    It's a much different conversation when we're speaking about straight, white people contracting the disease. Conversely, I'm sure a question will come up in the interview or on blogs or a new leaked story about him having dalliances with men, cause you know, gay disease.
     
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  30. ControlledXaos

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    So a well known popular black male gay blogger/vlogger has disclosed someone's HIV status on the internet. I have a few feelings on this issue.

    I think regardless of what someone does in their personal space, I don't think it is the job of "HIV Vigilantes" to disclose this information, especially when they have a good amount of online followers, for the entire world. However, if someone I knew was dating someone who I knew for a fact had HIV, I would bring it up to that friend personally, not putting whoever they are dating on blast online.

    Many HIV+ people are using the fact that they are "undetectable" as a way to go about saying that they are HIV-. I do not agree with this. I think if you are 'undetectable' just say that. That's not negative. These are different things. And while a person could do this, I don't think that exposing them online as actually positive is helpful.

    The vlogger has also included an unedited photo of the HIV+ person's prescription bottle which includes that person's home address. This is dangerous. Who is to stop an angry mob to going to this person's home and throwing Molotov cocktails in the window, nosy folks who to just drop by and watch the place to see who is coming and going, or worse?

    I just do not think that exposing people online is helpful. At least not in this way. Hell, I could print up label for any drug under the sun with your name on it with a color laser printer, stick it to a bottle, and take photo and claim that YOU are taking whatever drug I want to say that you are on. This also brings into question that if this is in fact said person's pull bottle, how did the vlogger obtain the photo? Rummaging through the trash? Going to someone's medicine cabinet (which by the way, isn't where you want to keep your rx pills anyway)? There's a lot here and with the way people don't vet things, they just run with it without trying to determine if it is actually true or not, sharing the postings on their own social circles and things just take off.

    I don't see the point other than to try to shame people or to come off as 'holier than thou'.
     
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  31. Ockydub

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    [​IMG]
    When it comes to emergency care, you may have a tough time if you’re in pain and not a white man.

    Previous research has shown that black and Hispanic patients who reported severe pain in the the ER were 22 percent less likely to receive pain medication than white patients who presented with the same complaints. And women suffer similar disparities: A 2008 study found that women wait an average of 16 minutes longer to receive pain relief for acute abdominal pain in the ER than men do.

    Now a new study is shedding some light on this phenomenon. “We’ve been looking at racial bias and pain perception to try to understand why there are these large racial disparities in pain management,” study author Kelly Hoffman, a psychology PhD candidate at the University of Virginia, told The Huffington Post.

    The study, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in March, surveyed 222 white medical students and residents about biological differences between blacks and whites. A few of the survey items were true (“Whites are less likely to have a stroke than blacks,” for example), but the majority of the items were false (“Whites have larger brains than blacks”).

    The results of the survey were distressing. Forty percent of first-year medical students and one in four residents answered that they thought black patients had thicker skin than white patients, and a full 50 percent of the respondents thought that at least one of the false facts was possibly, probably or definitely true.

    Why are doctors-in-training so misinformed about basic biological concepts when it comes to race? While we can’t know for sure Hoffman suggests that these entrenched misconceptions are simply a stronger force than medical education.

    “Previous data would suggest that these are notions that are just so pervasive throughout our society and are so entrenched in our history that they are [beliefs] that people hold,” she said.

    In other words, it’s not a few “bad apple” doctors and residents with racist tendencies — it’s sadly a more pervasive problem than that.

    Racial disparities plague the health care system
    This finding is particularly disheartening in light of rampant racial disparities that continue to plague the U.S. health care system. Blacks have worse health outcomes than whites for nearly every conceivable metric of health, including breast cancer mortality rates, HIV infection rates, and heart disease and stroke risk. Black Americans even get less sleep than white Americans. Black children are more likely to die in infancy, more likely to suffer from childhood obesity and more likely to have childhood asthma than their white counterparts. And, like their parents, if black children show up at the ER with appendicitis, which requires surgery, they’re 80 percent less likely to receive opioids — the most powerful pain medication — during their treatment and recovery.

    So what’s a black patient to do? A study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology in March found that black patients were 20 percent less likely to die or have major complications if they received treatment at a racially diverse hospital, as opposed to a hospital with less racial diversity.

    “Our underlying hypothesis is that hospitals and providers that treat more minority patients have higher levels of cultural competency,” study author Dr. Philip Okafor, a researcher at the Mayo Clinic, told Reuters.

    Being understood by your doctor is a key component of receiving good medical care. In addition to increasing the cultural competency of doctors, as Okafor mentions, increased diversity among doctors would help, too.

    “In an ideal world, the race of the patient or physician wouldn’t matter; we would all treat each other strictly as individuals,” Dr. Damon Tweedy, a psychiatrist at Duke University Medical, wrote in the New York Times last year. “But we’re quite a ways from reaching that exalted goal. For now, we have to attack the problem of racial health disparities from as many angles as possible. Black doctors are an important part of this mission.”
     
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  32. NikR

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    Anal paps. I know, what the hell is that?!


    Well, it’s something you should at least be aware of.


    Anal cancers are relatively rare in general public (approximately 1-2/100,000), but there are some estimates that this becomes 40/100,000 for HIV- men who have sex with men (MSM) and an astounding 80/100,000 for HIV+ MSM. Anal cancer is something everyone should be concerned about. Among men who top, the risk of anal cancer is associated with 10 or more sexual partners and a history of anal warts, syphilis, or hepatitis. So, if you’re thinking “hey, this doesn’t affect me, I don’t EVER bottom!”…think again.


    Anal cancers are caused by the human papilloma virus, or HPV. Yes, this is the same virus that is implicated in cervical cancer and genital warts. Within a few years of sexual activity, many people have been exposed to HPV. Many people have been vaccinated against many strains of HPV, and the vaccine is close to being 80% effective. At this point, the HPV vaccine (Gardisil) is given to all males ~11-26 as well as women.


    So, do you need an anal pap? Well, maybe. While the rationale for anal pap testing is strong, routine testing for all MSM is not yet recommended by the powers that be- being the CDC, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and the American Cancer Society. Why? There isn’t enough existing data to make a firm recommendation. So, essentially, it is subject to change and will be a moving target in the coming years. Now, don’t get me wrong, many people need an anal pap right now; for example, here in NYS, they are performed for HIV+ men annually after a baseline is obtained (HIV makes HPV worse an HPV makes HIV worse!). Also, if a patient were to develop vague rectal symptoms that otherwise couldn’t be explained by other common disease processes, an anal pap would be recommended.


    The take-home message: talk to your doctor! Review your risk of common illnesses and STDs. Get vaccinated against HPV. Prevention is both a push and a pull. Protect yourself!


    For more info, check out this website that has a handy checklist of things to discuss with your doctor: GLMA - Ten Things For Gay Men


    The CDC also has recommendations for thinking about your health here; For Your Health | Gay and Bisexual Men's Health | CDC
     
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  33. derrick-gordon-12327

    derrick-gordon-12327
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    To all of the men that grew up surrounded by mostly or only woman in your family, do you feel that it has effected you for the worse?
    This has been a question that i have asked myself, since i was a teenager. I remember a few times after an argument with my sister, i would verbally express that i hated woman, as a teen. (thinking back on it, i realized that, it was poor choice in words. I didn't hate females, but i did/do hate being the only male)
    I really feel that growing up around only females have effected me mostly in a negative way. Yes, i may be a responsible person, amd be reliable at work and be a man when it benefits other people, but i have so much self hatred and anger.
    Growing up around only woman, with they female views, i grew up yo not be a confrontational guy. Also i keep a lot of things bottled in. I would write journals, raps, poems or even draw about it, but at the end of the day, it doesn't really help. Allnof my life, while I would be at home, i would spend most of my time in my bed room, because i didn't share the same interests as my mom and sister.
    Also, any of the problems that i may have had, in the house, i never expressed it because I know how my mom and sister are.
    Obe time, when i had went to Busch Gardens with my sister, i had to watch her while we were at the theme park, that both of us were new to. Before we left, my mom fussed at me about staying with my sister and not be aggressive and control where we go. Long story short, as i was waiting for my sister to get off of a water ride, she had actually ran off to see her boyfriend. I had no idea where she was. When i finally did find her, I fussed her out. When we got home, my mom ended up yelling at me for what i said to my sister. Saying if it wasn't for her boyfriend then I wouldn't have went to Busch Gardens.
    When my mom talked to.my sister about walking off, she talked to her so sweet. That angered me to the point that i ended up cutting myself, from my shoulder down to my wrist. Multiple times. It wasn't the first time i had did that because of them.
     
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  34. acessential

    acessential
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    So I always tell people to reach out to others when they're feeling anxious, depressed, or otherwise mentally unwell. I'm not very good at taking my own advice though. I feel like talking to someone places a burden on them. Everyone has their own shit to deal with, so sometimes I feel like sharing my shit makes them feel even more overwhelmed so I usually keep everything to myself. And it starts to build up overtime. That's definitely not healthy. It's weird, but I don't want to hurt others so I don't talk about my shit. My question to the squad is how do you keep yourself from feeling like a burden on others?
     
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  35. cypher21

    cypher21
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    Hey Guys,

    In the spirit of getting to know one another I was wondering any of you would be willing to take a test for me if you have the time! :nerd:

    Right Here!

    Don't worry it's a personality profiler that I'm sure we've all taken in some form at least once in our lives that gives a detailed look into a group you might fit into based on 16 personality types. It will only take about 12 minutes to complete, if you're free, and They go into all kinds of stuff like what kind of parent you'd be, what you tend to be like in relationships, what you look for and need in a relationship and other stuff. It's worth the time I promise and some of the questions are fun and make you think hard on the answer. Not in an academic way, but just introspectively as they are mainly what would you do type questions.

    If you do take it please post a link or tell us what you got, I sooo curious to know!!

    I'm an INFJ The Advocate

    Strengths:
    Creative
    Insightful
    Inspiring and Convincing
    Decisive
    Determined and Passionate
    Altruistic

    Weaknesses:
    Sensitive
    Extremely Private
    Perfectionistic
    Always Need to Have a Cause
    Can Burn Out Easily
     
    #1 cypher21, Oct 20, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2015
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