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How to Safeguard Your Mental Health Amidst the Same Sex Postal Vote

In recent times, the topic of marriage equality has dominated the internet and media like never before. The intensity of discussions over the past few weeks has been unparalleled. Alongside this surge in conversation, there's been a concerning rise in anxiety and feelings of shame, emotions many believed they had overcome. It's impossible to silence everyone's opinions. However, it is important to learn how to safeguard your mental health amidst the same sex postal vote.

A 'Civilised' Same Sex Postal Vote Discussion?

The proposal of a marriage equality plebiscite wasn't universally welcomed. Mental health organizations expressed concerns about its potential negative impact on the LGBT community. Just last week, several of these organizations highlighted a significant surge in calls from LGBT youth, with some reporting a 20% increase. Despite assurances of a 'civilized debate', the deeply personal nature of the topic made such a promise seem questionable.

From the moment the postal vote was announced, the emotional toll became evident. Friends, who were typically emotionally strong, shared feelings of distress from news and online comments. Surprisingly, even those who had been 'out' for years found themselves affected by the narrow-mindedness of others. The debate stirred emotions many hadn't felt in a long time.

Social Media Amplifying Same Sex Discussion

Social media platforms became arenas for expression. Many who usually remained silent felt an urge to voice their feelings. The survey brought back memories and emotions reminiscent of the challenges faced during their coming out phase. The anticipation of the 'no' vote was initially approached with logic, but as the debate intensified, it evoked unexpected emotional responses.

Same Sex Postal Vote Testing Friendships

Friendships were tested. I once believed that cutting ties with anyone voting 'no' was extreme. However, when I stumbled upon an old school friend's profile advocating the 'no campaign', I felt a deep emotional conflict. I realized that these beliefs touched the very essence of our identities. Perhaps it was time to cherish the memories and move on.

The vote transcended a simple 'yes' or 'no'. It became about authenticity and self-acceptance. As RuPaul wisely said, others' opinions of you aren't your concern. While we can't control others' beliefs, we can choose our circle. It's essential to surround ourselves with those who celebrate diversity and equality.

The fear of losing friends, the shock of discovering a close one might vote 'no', the dread of rejection, and the pain of being labeled 'flawed' or 'unlovable' are reminiscent of the challenges faced during the coming out phase. It's no surprise that many in our community are grappling with these emotions.

Making the LGBT Community Antagonists

Moreover, the 'no campaign' portraying the LGBT community as antagonists adds to the distress. Recalling incidents like my friend Stephen's ejection from the Prahran Hotel due to homophobic remarks reminds us that discrimination still exists. Claims that the LGBT community no longer faces harassment seem far from reality.

Given these challenges, it's crucial to find ways to stay mentally strong.

Recognizing Your Emotions

Your feelings are genuine and shared by many. Instead of suppressing them, allocate a specific time daily to acknowledge and process them.

Engage in Conversations

The ongoing debate might be stirring various emotions. Share your thoughts and fears with trusted individuals. Remember, many non-LGBT individuals and even several Christians support marriage equality. You might find more allies than you think.

Express Through Writing

Penning down your feelings can be therapeutic. Dedicate a few minutes daily to jot down your emotions.

Embrace Acceptance

Everyone has their beliefs. Understand that their views reflect more about them than you. Focus on what you can control – your reactions.

Steer Clear of Triggers

Know when to switch off the TV or log out of social media. Sometimes, a break from the chaos is essential for your mental peace.

Spot the Silver Linings

Amidst the negativity, train your mind to see the positives. The support for equality is vast, and the 'no campaign' represents only a fraction.

Stay Active

Exercise releases endorphins, which can uplift your mood. Don't let negativity make you passive.

Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness can help you navigate through negative thoughts and feelings. It fosters acceptance and self-compassion, reminding you of your worth.

Seek Help When Needed

If it all becomes overwhelming, reach out. Organizations like Mind Australia, the Victorian AIDS Council, Switchboard Victoria, Headspace, and Beyondblue are there to support you.

Photo: Instagram: Anthony Dann

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You may also like to read:
OUTthink – Talking About Marriage Equality with Joe Busuttil
Release Hypnosis’s Lawrence Akers on JOY FM
Why Gays & Lesbians Need To Focus More On Mental Health
OUTthink – Matthew Cooksey – A Discussion on ‘The Velvet Rage’