Hi, my name is Bibi *. I am 23 years old, study medicine and I am gay. The fact that I like girls is a bit sensitive in my family; my parents are very religious. That, combined with a bit of culture, makes them not open to the fact that I am gay. It is a very difficult situation and I found myself needing help to deal with this. I received online help during my coming out, and this is my story.
For 4 years already, my mother has known that I like girls. I have a very close relationship with my mother; we talk about everything. I know my parents love me very much and I love them too. They don’t mean bad, but their beliefs make them genuinely afraid that I will go to hell if I get in a relationship with a woman. That makes them anxious and sad, which left my mother crying on my bed for weeks. It was so difficult to see my mother like this. So I decided to give it one more chance and go on a date with a guy.
I am gay
That date ended in a relationship. In the end I caught myself liking him too; he was a sweet boy. But I think I mainly liked him because we looked picture perfect together. I kept it up for 1.5 years, until I could no longer fool myself. I fell madly in love with a girl and decided to come out to both my parents, again. My parents had a hard time dealing with it, but my sister, who was my rock and was always there for me, supported me in the beginning. Unfortunately, she eventually changed her mind. I was sad and felt very alone. I have felt bad before, but I always knew how to deal with those feelings or how to put them away. Now they were unavoidable and I knew I had to do something; I had to talk to someone.
Anonymous but personal
I started looking online for help, for someone who could listen to my story. There were a number of helplines, but those didn’t feel right. One day, I came across NiceDay and soon felt a slight relief; I had been searching for so long and the anonymity of the NiceDay treatment really appealed to me. I downloaded the app and sent an instant message to the NiceDay Team. Here I quickly received a response in which they asked me how I was doing and what I would like help with. As a result of that information, I was linked to a psychologist. This felt so personal; the only doubt I might still have was immediately taken away.
I was not sure what to expect from an online treatment; how well would it really help through video calling? It may be 5 sessions with the same person, but how personal can online be? I noticed that the treatment being online doesn’t matter at all! I really liked the fact that there is a balance between being treated anonymously and regular personal contact.
Relationship with practitioner
I was linked to NiceDay psychologist Maaike and we clicked. I thought it was very clever of her that she could highlight different perspectives so well, even though my parents come from a different culture than her. She was able to explain to me where their concerns and actions came from, which helped me a lot. I also really liked that when I said something related to 3 sessions ago, Maaike still recalled that and could respond well with the right advice!
Contact in between sessions
The treatment via NiceDay was very accessible and my practitioner Maaike told me that I could always send her a message, so that I could talk about what I was dealing with. I was able to process these feelings through a registration or a note in the app, or by just sending her a chat message. I really liked that; when you write down your thoughts and worries you already kind of process them, but the fact that someone is also looking at and responding to these thoughts felt very reassuring. So, I also benefited a lot from the registrations and mood tracker. This made me take the time to reflect on how I really felt; whether this was happy or sad.
The right tools
Via NiceDay I was able to tell my story by having regular sessions with my practitioner, but also by processing my thoughts and feelings in the NiceDay app. When I now end up in risky situations, I immediately notice that I hear Maaike’s voice in my head reminding me of all the tools she has given me. I would 100% recommend NiceDay to everyone, and I have already!
Bibi received anonymous coaching through NiceDay. This process consists of 5 to 6 conversations of 30 minutes with a psychologist, this can be done via (video) calling and / or chatting. You do not need a referral letter for this process, it is intended to introduce you to psychological help, to offer you tools and possibly to help you find the right care. You can find more information about this here.
*Bibi’s real name is known to the editors.