I have a good friend Lara. She is gay and has Lyme. And she needs to come out of the closet and tell her new partner about her Lyme & chronic illness.
‘Coming out’ can be challenging, emotional, and create a lot of anxiety. Ultimately, there is a lot of FEAR associated with it. By definition, fear is ‘an unpleasant emotion caused by the threat of danger, pain, or harm’. The threat is often that of perceived rejection, or lack of support or understanding from the person you are going to ‘come out too’.
Together, Lara and I have come up with four ways you can ease your way out of the closet.
1.Choose LOVE over fear
Knowing that you are lovable, even though you are unwell, is the number one way you can ease your way out of the closet. Self-love is very powerful and will help you to overpower any fears you may have regarding self-doubt.
2. Manage your own energy
Any relationship, especially new ones, can place demands on you that are socially, emotionally, and sexually demanding of your energy. Be sure to take stock of your own energy levels and try to keep them in balance with as much self-care as you can.
3. Go with honesty as the best policy
Tell your story with pride and self-compassion. Explain what your partner can expect, how they can help you, and how you can work together to achieve a healthy relationship that supports each other’s needs.
4. Check in with one another
Set a reminder, be it weekly, fortnightly, monthly, or whatever works for you, to check in with each other. Ensure you are both on the same page when it comes to your relationship and your wellness needs and journey.
Lara felt that coming out of the closet as a gay woman was a walk in the park, in comparison to coming out of the closet with Lyme and chronic illness.
These four tips are our key recommendations that have supported Lara when the time has come to take the next step with a new partner in continuing to foster an open and honest relationship.
In a nutshell, coming out is ALL about ‘self-care’!
If you need some ideas on how to choose love over fear and implement your own self-care strategies, this FREE Self-Care Essentials Guide is a great way to start!
Article by Lisa Gumieniuk, Nutritionist and Lara Ryan, Naturopath both based in Sydney