Tashwyn Brickless shares about the struggles he faced because of his sexuality and dealing with depression caused by societal pressure.
Homosexuals often deal with judgment and discrimination. This can be very hard, especially if it starts occurring when you are in primary school like it did for Tashwyn.
The 20-year-old grew up in Midrand and says he had a normal childhood, but things changed when he started primary school.
“Growing up I always knew I was different. Although my family never made me feel awkward, things began to change when I started school,” says Tashwyn.
“It started in primary school. My peers and teachers would give me weird treatment. At first, it was subtle, but then teachers would tell me ‘you can’t do this or act this way’.”
Sadly, it got worse when he moved to high school. As a result of the pressure, Tashwyn says he developed a negative and harmful coping mechanism.
“When I was in grade 7 things got really bad. I started choking and cutting myself. I didn’t know how to deal with a lot of stuff I was going through. I didn’t have a place where I fitted in. I had friends, but nothing was genuine. I was just going through emotions. Whenever something would happen, I’d keep it in, and deal with it through self-harm,” says Tashwyn.
He said he felt he deserved the pain, because of who he was.
“I felt I deserved that because I was different, and people didn’t really like me,” he says.
“When I reached grade 11, the self-harm was minimal. In grade 12 it stopped after I joined a band at church. I was doing something I loved and enjoyed, and it boosted my confidence.”
A few years later Tashwyn is working on his solo career and says his single will be out soon.
“I think I’m at the strongest point I’ve ever been. I used to feed myself with lies. I still have feelings, but they don’t control the things I do. I’m able to resist the thoughts,” he says.
“When I was at my lowest, and people were giving me negative messages, I’d hear a voice say, “I love you just as you are”.” Tashwyn says he believes that was the voice of God.
“Seek your identity in God and not society, regardless of what people say. There is no value in what people say. The only voice I listen to is God’s.”
Tashwyn says he is now able to answer critics in a positive way.
“I am able to respond in a positive and clear minded way. In the past I was negative.”
He says what kept him going is knowing that he did not create himself and was born this way.
For LGBT support contact Out on: email@example.com or 012 430 3272