Gender Dysphoria and Mental Illness

Hiya!

Today’s post is extra special, my beautiful friend El has been involved lots and helped me write this. If you’d like to know more about them they’re on instagram where they document their battle through anorexia, OCD, anxiety and depression. I really can’t urge you enough to go and follow them, El is the most caring and kind and lovely person there is!

We have been writing about how being trans/non-binary/gender queer people are affected by mental illnesses because of their gender dyspohoria. To some of you this may be a new term so I will explain what it is: gender dysphoria is when someone experiences discomfort or distress when their biological sex and gender identity don’t match up.

2 years ago I developed an eating disorder called anorexia. I have linked a page on it so if you would like to find out more about what it is you can click the link.

At the time I had no idea that gender dysphoria was a main cause of it. El explains this further very well, ‘Your body feels wrong and unlike how you need it to be, you gain a sense of control through your relationship between your weight and food. It makes you feel like you can control your body, when usually you feel out of control.

When I lost weight the dysphoria eased and gave my brain the impression that losing weight made everything feel better as dysphoria leaks into absolutely everything. Another thing that could play a part in dealing with dysphoria that El pointed out is that when you’ve lost a certain amount of weight you lose your period, so for people were assigned female at birth, this would help and even be something to strive for.

Although we’ve focused on anorexia, gender dysphoria can also cause depression, anxiety and destructive behaviours like self harm and binge eating disorders.

Dysphoria causes some incredibly negative feelings like a fear of not being accepted, and being misunderstood and confused by your own unwanted feelings. Your body feels alien and wrong so there is a possibility someone would harm themselves in frustration or do something reckless or impulsive (symptoms of BPD).

If you or someone you know is possibly suffering from gender dysphoria, proper support is needed. There are many transgender, LBGTQ+ and general helplines that can offer help.

A few that pop into mind:

Counselling directory

The Gender Trust

Beaumont Society

Get Connected

PFLAG

Mermaids

Thank you for reading, this was really interesting to write and I enjoyed having a really good friend help me. See you in 2016!

Liam 🙂

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The Gender Tag

Hey there!

The gender tag project was started by Ashley Wilde on youtube to encourage all types of people to talk about their experience with gender. You’ll get to know me a little better through this and if you’d like to do it please do and link me to your post below!

1. How do you self-identify your gender, and what does that definition mean to you?
I am transgender ftm, meaning I was assigned female at birth but am actually a male. I don’t like to use the phrase ‘born in the wrong body’ as this is my body and as I am a boy, my body is a boy’s.

2. What pronouns honor you?
He/him.

3. Describe the style of clothing that you most often wear.
Androgynous describes it best, however at work I wear smart typically ‘feminine’ clothes as its an environment with children and I feel I have to present myself as a girl.

4. Talk about your choices with body hair. How do you style your hair? Do you have facial hair? What do you choose to shave, or choose not to shave?
I like tying my hair half up and plan to get my hair cut shorter as soon as possible. I’m actually struggling a lot with self care at the moment so I’m shaving very rarely but usually I shave my armpits regularly and occasionally shave my legs. I do however feel better when I shave my legs, cleaner almost, its just a laziness thing if I’m my usual self.

5. Talk about cosmetics. Do you choose to wear makeup? Do you paint your nails? What types of soaps and perfumes do you use if any?
I don’t wear make up but I did get a really nice lipstick for Christmas so I do plan on wearing just lipstick sometimes if I feel like it. To me makeup just feels very uncomfortable on my face and I don’t like how it makes me look. I rarely paint my nails but when I do its usually dark colours like black or purple. I wear perfume on special occasions – it’s an opus one which is advertised as a men’s perfume.

6. Have you experienced being misgendered? If so, how often?
All the time. Online and with close friends the correct pronouns and name are used but otherwise I am called she/her and my birth name.

7. Do you experience dysphoria? How does that affect you?
I experience dysphoria very badly and it causes intense depression and contributes towards many of my illnesses.

8. Talk about children. Are you interested in having children? Would you want to carry a child if that were an option for you? Do you want to be the primary caretaker for any children you may have?
I’m interested in looking after and caring for children and plan to do that as I am planning to be a teacher at a special needs school (for children with things like down syndrome or severe autism etc), otherwise I have always wanted to foster children or maybe even adopt but never carry my own.

9. Talk about money. Is it important to you to provide for a family financially if you choose to have one? Is it important to you that you earn more than any partner you may have? Do you prefer to pay for things like dates? Are you uncomfortable when others pay for you or offer to pay for you?
I’m not sure about this at the moment.

10. Anything else you want to share about your experience with gender?
You might feel alone, especially if you are questioning or not cisgender, but there are going to be people in real life who feel similar and there’s a whole WORLD on the internet of the LGBTQ+ community.

That’s the gender tag! I have loads of ideas coming soon so follow if you’d like to see them 🙂

Till next time,

Liam 🙂

Summary of 2015

Hey there it’s me again.

It’s Christmas day and I have done lots of present opening and eating and tidying and have managed to get through the day so far. It’s really hard still getting all these cards saying ‘to my daughter/sister/niece’. I’m hoping next year will be easier and my family will start accepting me as Liam.

I found this on tumblr and thought today would be a great time to answer these questions! Feel free to do these yourself or see just the questions on my tumblr promised-liam.tumblr.com

1: What did you do in 2015 that you’d never done before?
A lot of things, the most rewarding was starting to look after children at a nursery and child minder’s. I also started DBT which I’d only just heard of this time last year!

2: Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don’t remember the resolutions I made, but yes, next year I will be making some goals I will keep track of to hopefully increase the likelihood of me actually keeping to them 😛

3: Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yes, a family friend to a little boy

4: Did anyone close to you die?
Sadly also yes, my great aunty ❤

5: What countries did you visit?
Nowhere except the UK this year, where I live

6: What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015?
A lot more confidence to be myself

7: What dates from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
December 3rd – the day group started again after the 2 week break, there were 5 new people and I had an instant connection and love for all the people there
December 7th – my birthday which was incredibly exciting and had lots and lots of happiness in it, something there hasn’t been much of this year

8: What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Starting a job at a nursery and also just getting through this year without having to have high security inpatient treatment

9: What was your biggest failure?
My biggest failure was when I was at my illest. It was the fact that my mum couldn’t sleep because she was scared I would kill her and I couldn’t sleep because I was scared she would kill me. My mum believed that during my worst long episode of paranoia that I’d ‘be that kid on the news that killed all their family because they were mentally ill’. I’m so ashamed the thought even entered her mind because of my behaviour

10: Did you suffer illness or injury?
Yes, this year has been the hardest struggle with mental illness but its also had some less worse points and I’m satisfied with that, it feels like things are still moving forwards if not up or down

11: What was the best thing you bought?
The Christmas presents I chose for my family, and also for myself a Gryffindor hat and a unicorn purse

12: Whose behaviour merited celebration?
My own actually. In the recent weeks/month I have been incredibly skilful and I’m very proud of that

13: Whose behaviour made you appalled?
My dad’s inappropriate, rude and ignorant comments and jokes on mental illnesses when we were talking about my friends at group

14: Where did most of your money go?
Towards new clothes for myself, and achievement as it’d something I have struggled to do for a long time

15: What did you get really, really, really excited about?
My birthday 🙂

16: What song will always remind you of 2015?
21 Pilots – Car Radio (triple layered)

17: Compared to this time last year, are you: (a) happier or sadder? (b) thinner or fatter? © richer or poorer?
Happier, healthier and able to actually spend the money I have on myself

18: What do you wish you’d done more of?
See my friends

19: What do you wish you’d done less of?
Worrying about things I have no control over

20: How did you spend Christmas?
Tired and in lipstick half the time

21: Did you fall in love in 2015?
I fell out of love and then in love with a certain girl…

22: What was your favourite TV program?
This program about the school in Harrow, I won’t let my family delete it 😀

23: Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
I don’t hate anyone but there are certainly people I respect less and dislike compared to this time last year

24: What was the best book you read?
A little in Love by Susan Fletcher

25: What was your greatest musical discovery?
Triple layered songs and Melanie Martinez, a very individual and weird artist

26: What did you want and get?
The ability to be happy

27: What did you want and not get?
Stability

28: What was your favourite film of this year?
About a boy

29: What one thing made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Being out as Liam to the people who matter

30: How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2015?
Fashion concept?! What’s that? If it means what I wore it was a lot of simple ‘girly’ clothes but then more masculine and then more androgynous. The reasons for the change was realising I was really uncomfortable in the girly clothes and the masculine clothes gave me much more confidence. It changed to slightly more androgynous when I realised I didn’t need to dress to masculine just because I was a boy

31: What kept you sane?
My friends and family AND family friends! Especially a certain woman

32: Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
SCARLETT JOHANSSON

33: What political issue stirred you the most?
I don’t really know, a friend of mine has been affected very badly by the lack of money going to adult mental health services and I feel very strongly about that

34: Who did you miss?
My ex boyfriend and close friend that I think I’ve lost

35: Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015
You have to let people help you

36: Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

And all those things I didn’t say, wrecking balls inside my brain – Fight song by Rachel Platten

Merry Christmas everyone!

Liam 🙂

About me

Hi there! I’m Liam. Just about 16, a bit different and a tea drinking, broken pen hoarding guy who’s also transgender!

I absolutely love writing and it helps me get through my struggles, like mental illness. I have struggled with mental illness for several years but it has been at it’s worst during the last 2 years.

My illness is a mystery but presents itself in many different ways, such as mental illnesses like depression, anxiety disorders and many others such as schizophrenia and anorexia nervosa.

Follow me to watch my adventures through looking at my past, recovery and life as a transgender boy.

Liam 🙂