DEAR ABBY: I am a 15-year-old girl who is losing the will to live. I am bisexual, but my parents are very anti-gay/lesbian, so I can't tell them about my sexual orientation.
Every day I engage in self-injury using a metal chain, and I think about suicide a lot. Please help me.
- Hurting in Orlando, Fla.
DEAR HURTING: As you already know, your sexual orientation isn't something you chose. It is something you were born with, and your parents' disapproval - as intimidating as it may be - isn't going to change it. What you are experiencing is not uncommon in young people who have discovered they are "different." But there is help, not only for you but also for your parents.
The first thing you should do is contact The Trevor Helpline. It is a nationwide, 24-hour helpline for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning young people. A counselor there can help you sort out your feelings and figure out some options. You can find out more about it by going to www.thetrevorproject.org. The toll-free number is 1-866-488-7386.
Another terrific resource is PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays). PFLAG was established in the 1980s and offers specific advice on how to deal with your parents. You will find its Web site at www.pflag.org.
Both of these organizations provide the support you need, so please don't wait to contact them.