Today’s post is extra special, my beautiful friend Ellie has been involved lots and helped me write this. If you’d like to know more about them they’re on instagram as mentalillnessfighter 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. Ellie 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 Ellie 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:
Thank you for reading, this was really interesting to write and I enjoyed having a really good friend help me. See you in 2016!