Bi Mental Health Tips For New Activists
Research has revealed that bisexual people are more likely to experience serious and long-lasting mental health challenges when compared to their the gay or straight peers. So it is vital for bisexual people, especially activists, to treat themselves well and do what they can for their mental health. Here are some tips my personal tips that will hopefully help.
- It is ok to say “no” on social media: Especially when you first come out, it seems like it is imperative to attend every biphobic “debate” that crops up on your Facebook and Twitter feeds. It really, really isn’t. You can say no.
- Bring reinforcements: If you do get involved, on social media or in person try and bring back up. It is much easier to affect meaningful change when you and others have a united front. Also if things get too stressful and draining for you, it’s nice to be able to tag someone in.
- It is O.K. to enjoy things: I made this mistake when I first started doing activism. I dove in head first, off the deep end. I was very much all-activism all the time. I felt that everything I watched, listened, read, ate and thought had to be 100% free of problematic elements. This very shortly lead to me having nothing left. This inability to have a separation, to still enjoy and share with others was a huge blow to my mental health. No media, especially mass media, is ever going to be problem free. Our job as activists is to acknowledge these problematic, even oppressive things and work to fix them. But while doing that we can enjoy things. So you love “Teen Wolf,” but maybe you are frustrated by queer – baiting plot lines and scenes. You can work with other fans to create change, while still tuning in every week to get your werewolf fix.
- Don’t let your identity become a weight. Coming out, being able to be ourselves authentically, is vital to our mental health. But at times being out can bring on new stresses. From suddenly becoming everyone’s personal bi educator, to direct biphobia our once liberating identity can feel like a weight. If you feel that way it is ok to refer to #1 on this list and say no. You can pass on educating cousin Sammy at the family BBQ, they can easily conduct research online using Google. You can choose to only participate in affirming fun activities that celebrate who you are. And if it’s still too much, you can take a break.
- You, healthy, happy and alive is the most important thing. You being you, healthy and happy as best you can be, is the ultimate triumph against biphobia and oppression. Living, breathing bi people are what create change and triumph. Take care of yourself and you are already winning.
By Aud Traher, Vice President, BiNet USA