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Coming Out Advice A supportive place to ask for and give advice about coming out. Includes a sub-forum for posting stories about your coming out experiences.

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Old 10th Jan 2017, 11:07 PM   #1
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Tips on Overcoming Crippling Anxiety?

Several weeks ago, I became resolute in the decision that I would come out to my mom on New Years Day... it didn't happen. I was so set and so sure, but when it came down to it, I had a full-blown anxiety attack, something I had never experienced before in my life. I'm already comfortably out of the closet at college as well as out to 3 of my 4 siblings, but this... I am at a loss. I don't know what to do. Every time I want to tell her I'm paralyzed with anxiety and fear; the words won't come out. I'm not even really that afraid of what she will think or say even though she is a Catholic. I don't know why I can't just say the damn words, "Mom, I'm gay." like I practiced so many times in the mirror and alone in my car. I feel like such a coward. Anyone else had similar issues with intense coming-out anxiety? Any advice would be appreciated.
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Old 11th Jan 2017, 02:17 AM   #2
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Re: Tips on Overcoming Crippling Anxiety?

If you have trouble saying the words you could always send a text or write a letter? I don't think a letter is any less personal than face to face. You mention that your mum is a catholic, has she ever commented negatively on LGBT matters before? If so I understand why you are hesitant, but if not you could test the waters by mentioning an LGBT book you read (just say you read one) and see how she reacts.

Do you have anxiety anyway or was this your first experience of anything anxiety related? I find that four-square breathing helps. I hope it all goes well for you
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Old 11th Jan 2017, 10:11 AM   #3
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Re: Tips on Overcoming Crippling Anxiety?

Hi there! First of all, I just want to say that what you are feeling is completely normal. This feeling of not being able to get the words out is something I, and I believe many others, have experienced. Don't force yourself to come out if you feel that you aren't ready. There's no shame in not coming out, or waiting to come out.
Like IceCream said, you might consider sending a text or writing a letter.
To deal with the feelings of anxiety, you might want to look into some self soothing techniques like breathing exercises (the four-square technique IceCream mentioned is helpful; in for four, hold for four, out for four, hold for four, and repeat).
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Old 11th Jan 2017, 01:38 PM   #4
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Re: Tips on Overcoming Crippling Anxiety?

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Originally Posted by IceCream View Post
Do you have anxiety anyway or was this your first experience of anything anxiety related? I find that four-square breathing helps. I hope it all goes well for you
Thanks for your helpful advice! This is actually the first time i've had any problems with anxiety so it kind of hit me out of nowhere. I wasn't even really sure what had happened until I described it to a friend with anxiety who told me that sounded like an anxiety attack. I couldn't control my breathing, my heart was racing, my hands were shaking; I felt like I was going to throw up and pass out all at the same time... it took me a couple hours to calm myself to the point where I didn't feel ill. Now I'm worried that i'll run into the same problem when I try again. Maybe a letter would work best for me? It seems crazy that I can't just tell her in person, I am out to nearly every person I know at college but I can't come out to my own mother? We have a pretty close relationship so I hope a letter doesn't seem too formal, I don't want to hurt her feelings. She hasn't ever said anything bad about the LGBT community in the past but she also hasn't said anything AT ALL about it, so I really have no idea what her thoughts are. She is a catholic but she's never lectured me or pushed religion on me. Recently she seems like she is just waiting for me to tell her though, dropping subtle hints; it's like she already knows and wants me to admit it to her, but I'm not sure if that's for real or if I just want it to be.
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Old 11th Jan 2017, 04:27 PM   #5
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Re: Tips on Overcoming Crippling Anxiety?

Sigh. Yes now you know what "anxiety attack" means. This means you will have more compassion for other people who have it uncontrollably, or unexpectedly. Too bad we have to suffer to learn compassion. Or is it too bad?

OK, but on to your real goal. There is always meditation -- not the full-on lotus-position zafu-sitting thing. But just clearing your mind so you are not thinking about anything. Note how that is not the same as "thinking about nothing". That's close... get there and then throw out the nothing.

Well, now that we've gone all new-age, well I think letters, e-mails, notes, text-messages are really all OK. Just say it right out "I tried to say it directly but it's too stressful. I just want you to know and this is the way I can break the ice." To quote a famous psychiatrist "People can put up with almost anything if they see a reason for it."

Also, phrasing is important. It's easier to say "I like girls" than "I am gay". Adjectives are less objectifying than nouns.

Good luck! I hope more people here have more suggestions. Remember to browse through older posts. Lots of good ideas there.

---------- Post added 11th Jan 2017 at 04:30 PM ----------

Oh right, and what caught my attention at first: yes cats are awesome. Maybe you could consult a cat to get some advice. They always seem to be so balanced and self-possessed.
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