A Guide for Pride:

Navigating Emotional Distress

Pride month is momentous for members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, beyond a celebration of existence. It is a time of reflection, a discussion of progress, a time of mourning fellow Queer folks who are no longer with us, and a month of connecting with community. 

This year is different from 2020 and 2021 celebrations, as pride festivities are to return in person. Over two years we were kept in isolation for safety, as illness and fear kept us more than 2 metres apart.  

Friends of Ruby is a safe place to connect with community and come out of isolation as your true self – for Pride and throughout the year. As we reconnect for June 2022, it’s important to recognize the complex emotions and emotional distress Queer folks may be navigating.  

Find attached below some toolkits to navigate emotional distress and help cope with mental health. Note that Friends of Ruby offers same day appointments for crisis-support at our Youth Drop-in Centre

Identifying Emotions: Signs and Behaviours

  1. Anger Annoyed, Enraged, Frustrated, Irritated, Mad
    – Arguing, blaming 
    – Clenching fists, feeling hot, increased heart rate 
    – Raising voice, yelling 
    – Staring 
    – Stern or harsh tone 
    – Trembling 
    – Using Insults 
    Skills to cope with Anger
  2. Anxiety Dread, Fear, Jittery, Nervous, Scared, Stressed, Timid, Uneasy, Worried 
    – Avoidance  
    – Crying 
    – Difficulty concentrating 
    – Digestive issues 
    – Headache  
    – Muscle tension, tapping foot, trembling 
    – Nail biting 
    – Pacing, racing heart, racing thoughts 
    – Shortness of breath, sweating 
    – Mindfulness skills to cope with Anxiety
  3. Sadness Depressed, Despair, Disappointment, Grief, Guilt, Lonely, Shame
    – Apathy 
    – Changes in eating 
    – Crying 
    – Difficulty concentrating, rumination 
    – Fatigue, inactivity, sluggishness 
    – Loss of interest in activities  
    – Negative thoughts, poor self-esteem 
    – Neglecting self-care 
    – Sleep problems 
    – Social isolation 
    Skills to cope with Depression

Coping skills give us an important break from mental and emotional distress. If you are unable to identify how you are feeling or which coping toolkit is right for you, here is a general guide for coping techniques when you need them: 

  1. Distraction Absorb your mind in something else: 
    Conversation, listening to talk radio, reading, doing puzzles, watching TV, playing video games, doing sudoku, making a list, learning something new, practising a new language, cleaning & tidying, gardening, arts & crafts. Find more distractions here.
  1. Grounding Get out of your head and into the world:
    Smell fragrances, slowly taste food, notice the colours around you. Walk barefoot on grass, squeeze clay or mud, do yoga, meditate, exercise. 
  1. Emotional Release:
    Take a cold shower, let yourself cry & sob, try yelling or screaming (into a pillow works too), put on a funny movie & laugh, blast music & dance like nobody’s watching, or go on a run. 
  1. Self-Love:
    Give yourself a manicure or pedicure, massage your hands with nice cream, cook a special meal, clean your house (or make your bed), take a bubble bath or hot shower, brush your hair or do a hair mask, try a face mask, buy yourself a small treat. 
  1. Thought Challenge:
    Write down negative thoughts then list all the reasons they may not be true. Imagine someone you love having these thoughts – what advice would you give them?  

To all 2SLGBTQIA+ youth, however you show your pride, this year is the time to leave isolation behind and find togetherness. Whether virtually, at home, or together in-person, Friends of Ruby creates safe spaces for you to build and surround yourself with community. Wishing you a warm and safe Pride!  

#QueerlyConnected #FindTogetherness