Windy City Media Group Frontpage News Home
CELEBRATING 28+ YEARS OF Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender NEWS

Search Gay News Articles
Advanced Search
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2014-07-30
Download Issue
  News Index       Archives   About WCMG    Publications    Bars & Clubs     Calendar   Videos   Advertisers    OUT! Guide    Classifieds   AIDS @ 32
 Local | National | World | Politics | Obits | Profiles | Views | Entertainment | Theater | Dance | Music | Film | Art | Books | TV/Gossip
 Travel | History | Marriage | Youth | Trans | Lesbian | Celebrations | Food | Nightlife | Sports | Health | Real Estate | Autos | Pets | Crime

Edgewater business caters to clients' needs Edgewater business caters to clients' needs
His dad owned multiple restaurants and his brother also have worked in ...

Browse Gay News Index   Browse Gay News Archives
  Windy City Times    Download PDF Issue

VIEWPOINTS Propping the closet door of depression wide open
Bob Kazel
2012-10-03

facebook twitter del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email


When I recently saw an apartment ad boasting, "Closets everywhere," I thought: Life can be that way.

Most of us face decisions, regularly, about staying in or stepping out of the closet. But for some, choices of concealment or revelation are even more complicated. LGBT people who have psychiatric problems, such as clinical depression or bipolar disorder, must decide again and again to keep masks on or take them off. Even if we've come out heroically to friends, family and co-workers about our sexual orientation, this additional hurdle to being genuine remains in our path: To whom should we talk about our illness? At what point?

Thirty years ago, when I first got my bipolar diagnosis, the rule espoused by the doctors was "need-to-know basis." Their advice: Our psychiatric conditions were our business, to be discussed—like some state secret—with those few people we completely trusted.

For years, when I formed new friendships, I'd try hard to present myself as having no unusual problems. I didn't talk about doctor appointments, the true reason my mood appeared up or down, or why I ordered 7-Up at bars instead of a cocktail. (Alcohol doesn't mix well with meds.) If I learned someone else had a mood disorder, I'd tentatively view him as a kindred spirit and talk about myself. But it hardly ever happened. Thus ensued the years of Bob, Man of Mystery. Almost none of the people I routinely saw knew much of substance about me.

The need-to-know strategy created an existence that stretched on like one big lie of omission. It felt like I had the right to remain silent about some of the most interesting aspects of my life. Worse, I felt isolated. Living one's life close to the vest, because of fear of rejection, can evolve into deceit. Before we came out as LGBT, many of us spun yarns for relatives, friends and colleagues to conjure quasi-fictional lives that they'd view as "normal" and non-threatening—another awkward situation avoided. The same sidestepping or stretching of truth easily happens when we try to hide illness.

Partly, I think, lack of candor is a reaction to the outrageous demands for supposed perfection that sometimes emanate from the gay and lesbian world. Online dating ads specify "no baggage." These ads seemingly travel across the cosmos, transmitted from a Bizarro Chicago where everyone leaps from his bed happy each morning, has never paid a therapist a dime and never has dishes pile up in the sink. Yet I find myself with more "baggage" than the United carousel at O'Hare. Thank you, SEXYEDDIE60657; maybe it's best if I pass.

Lucky for me, I found kinship a few years ago, when I learned through Windy City Times of a local organization called the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA). My chapter, DBSA GLBT Chicago, is designed for our community. Now in its seventh year, the group could best be described as an airy, sunlit space where strangers are met on arrival with friendliness instead of apprehension.

It's not a therapy group; there are no professional counselors or doctors. The rationale behind "peer power" is simple: Uninhibited conversation happens best when people are among others with similar issues and identities.

Our group is thriving and growing, with men and women who've attended for years plus new folks showing up nearly each week. I've stopped counting how many tell me it's been instrumental in staying healthy and stable and maintaining a positive self-image. It's a source of friendship for many. Plus, we've attracted attention: One of a very tiny number of LGBT-oriented DBSA chapters anywhere, we'll officially accept a "Leadership Award" at a national meeting in Portland, Ore., this fall—a recognition that we rate among the best of the hundreds of groups in the United States.

Of course, we're not serious all the time. What would any gay assemblage be without socializing? We've shared in holiday parties, movies, beach outings, countless lunches and a lot of laughter. But the marrow of the group remains 90 minutes of sincere self-disclosure each week—unashamed and as real as it gets.

It's called vulnerability, and it's underrated—need-to-know basis be damned.

Bob Kazel is a freelance writer and president of DBSA GLBT Chicago, which meets Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Howard Brown Health Center, 4025 N. Sheridan Rd. For further information, call 872-216-3272 or visit www.dbsa-glbt-chicago.com .


facebook twitter del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily
agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here.
Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you
stay on this page, the more you help us.

Life: The Beginning 2014-07-30
As we advance LGBTI rights, the UN is a key ally 2014-07-30
MOMBIAN How the makers of D&D won my family's heart 2014-07-29
VIEWS Hobby Lobby already affects LGBTs 2014-07-23
HIV cure: One step back, many paths forward 2014-07-16
Report looks at youth of color views on LGBT agenda 2014-07-16
UN music video for gay rights Exceeds One Million Views 2014-07-15
Open To Thinking: The Millennials and the American Dream 2014-07-09
VIEWS What's next for the CDC? 2014-07-02
Protesters decry Rauner's marriage views 2014-06-26
GUEST VIEW: HBHC marks 40 years of service 2014-06-25
University LGBT centers and ex-gay attacks 2014-06-24
A time to act: Promoting LGBT rights here and abroad 2014-06-24
VIEWS: We get two lives: My trip to the D.R. and back 2014-06-18
GUEST VIEW: What's Next for the CDC? 2014-06-17
VIEWS Lessons from a modern family 2014-06-11
VIEWS Not one more 2014-06-10
Sand Blast, other fun events in Atlantic City this summer 2014-06-04
Open To Thinking: The American Dream: Going, Going, … ? 2014-06-04
VIEWS Pam Anderson inspired me to reveal sexual assaults 2014-06-04
Our Destination Full of Hope: Marriage Equality in Illinois 2014-06-01
Illinois LGBT leaders, allies press Rauner on marriage 2014-06-01
VIEWS Racial divide could have halted Mass. marriage debate 2014-05-28
VIEWS: Trans* people and access to health care 2014-05-28
VIEWS Goodbye... sweet home Chicago 2014-05-21
LETTERS Now hear this; It's the law 2014-05-21
ASK LAMBDA LEGAL The Ryan White Program and insurance 2014-05-20
VIEWS: LBQ women invited to join town hall 2014-05-14
Open To Thinking: Rancher Bundy, civil religion in US 2014-05-07
HBHC town-hall meeting to look at health, aging 2014-05-07
Gay white men not the culprits gentrifying Harlem 2014-04-30
LETTERS Business alliance's business 2014-04-30
VIEWPOINTS America cleans up homophobic lexicon 2014-04-23
LETTERS Action and reaction 2014-04-23
VIEWS: ALMA 25 years later: No longer on the margins 2014-04-16
VIEWS Sexual harassment in the queer community 2014-04-16
ASK LAMBDA LEGAL: LGBTs in immigration detention facilities 2014-04-15
Letters to the editor: Poll position, Terrible trifecta 2014-04-15
VIEWS Why Sexual Assault Awareness Month important to all 2014-04-10
Letter to the editor: Pigeon-holed? 2014-04-09





Copyright © 2014 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 



 

First couple to adopt looks back
 
Illinois takes step to end trans insurance bias
 
MUSIC Lakeside Pride Freedom Band director Zurcher resigns on a high note
 
SCOTTISH PLAY SCOTT Grand-scale Greek drama
 
WCT's Baim named to NLGJA's Hall of Fame
 
Windy City Times Current DownloadNightspots Current DownloadQueercast Current Download
Windy City Media Group BlogsJoin Our Email List!Donate Now



  News Index       Archives   About WCMG    Publications    Bars & Clubs     Calendar   Videos   Advertisers    OUT! Guide    Classifieds   AIDS @ 32
 Local | National | World | Politics | Obits | Profiles | Views | Entertainment | Theater | Dance | Music | Film | Art | Books | TV/Gossip
 Travel | History | Marriage | Youth | Trans | Lesbian | Celebrations | Food | Nightlife | Sports | Health | Real Estate | Autos | Pets | Crime



About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video      News Videos      Nightspots Videos      Entertainment Videos      Queercast Videos      Comedy Videos     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.