Unpacking my life has been a surreal and exhausting experience. Depression has hit pretty hard of late, I’ve spent much of the last few days moping around my apartment. It’s not healthy, and a tad self indulgent, but there it is. So what do I do to pull myself out if the melancholic stupor? Examine every part of my life from every angle 😀 and you get to come along for the ride.
As a child I saw my feelings of dysphoria as a personal failing. My mind was always running, a facet of ADD I’m told. I’m often juggling multiple trains of thought, one of those threads was almost constantly dedicated to gender, and it had a tendency to weave through the others. I considered every possibility, I internalized every opinion regarding transgender folk. One possibility that’s never left me is the idea that it’s just plain wrong to feel this way, and I am therefore doing something wrong.
Even now there are many people of this opinion. I read it from lobbyists and pundits, celebrities, family and strangers. For me the feeling of dysphoria seems indelibly tied with failure. I failed at a lot of things, I was called a failure by a lot of people, they may have used different verbiage but they all meant the same thing. I would fail and tell myself it was because I was being too feminine, I had to stand up, stop being such a… well I don’t feeling comfortable putting that word on the page. Anyway it became self feeding. I would feel these urges, and believe that I was failing in some way. I would fail, and believe I was condemning myself further.
I became terrified of failure, and obsessed with self improvement. Ironically my biggest problems have always been stress related. One thing I hear a lot is the idea that my problems will be solved by a closer relationship with Christ. I honestly can’t remember a time when I haven’t turned to Christ with my problems. I went to bible camp every summer, I’ve been baptized more times than I can easily remember, one time was in a lake. I did my absolute best to live by the gospel, and still do, but the feelings persist. Is this another sign of my failings?
What is it that I’m doing wrong? The other night I had an epiphany of sorts, I was feeling particularly low and I asked this very question, the answer that came to me is that I’m not doing anything wrong. I cried, I knew where the answer came from and still could not believe it. I’ve spent a lifetime hating myself and I’m finding it very hard to let go of that. This is why a good couselor is so important 🙂