How do you cope with dysphoria? After I got my hair cut all my anxiety and dysphoria has been centered on my chest. It's gotten so bad I feel like throwing up just from looking at myself in the mirror. I can't even bring myself to shower or go to school. Please help.
Hey dude, that’s rough. Dysphoria is the absolute pits and I’m sorry yours is eating at you so badly right now.
Whenever my dysphoria gets really bad, what I usually try to do is preoccupy myself with something else. So like, if showering is difficult for example I’ll try to bust through that part of it while giving my brain something else to chew on like listening to a favorite song or podcast while I do it. Or in a non-shower scenario I’ll play a videogame or make up a story in my head or throw myself into some menial task like doing dishes/working/etc. while I crank my favorite jams.
Sometimes, if I have ten or fifteen minutes to wallow and process, I just let myself be miserable for a bit, which can be really cathartic depending on the headspace I’m in. It’s what I do a lot for anxiety and depression and other confidence issues I have and a lot of times I find that if I acknowledge my shit feelings and let myself be angry or grieve or whatever I need to do, it makes it a little bit easier to carry them.
Working out sometimes help me and sometimes doesn’t - it really just depends - but other things like that, taking small functional steps to move closer to the body/existence I want to have will help alleviate it a little bit. Stuff as simple as wearing a shirt that I feel makes me look especially masculine, or even just reassuring myself by taking a peek at my leg hair, which might sound weird but has done wonders for me in the past.
If I feel like I can’t deal with or assuage my body issues I’ll find a small, solvable problem like doing my laundry or going grocery shopping because sometimes lightening the balance in another area can make it more manageable to be stuck under heavy shit in dysphoria-land.
Reaching out to supportive friends and other trans dudes can sometimes help, too. It’s nice to hear that you’re not alone in your misery when you feel so divorced from yourself.
Again, I’m not a pro. I can’t just shake my dysphoria off like water off a duck when it gets bad. This comic actually started as a way for me to cope with that. I wanted to take something that was causing me considerable pain and turn it into something I could laugh at. I also keep a journal to help me get some if my feelings out onto paper. There are literal pages on pages in it with the phrase “Someday my body will feel like it is mine” repeated over and over and over again because I needed a mantra to help me keep my cool and be able to breathe when I was stuck in a place I couldn’t step away from to fall apart privately.
Snuggling with my idiot dogs usually helps too. It’s awesome to interact with a creature that’s so endlessly stoked on your existence when you’re having trouble mustering the same enthusiasm for yourself.
There’s no checklist solution for dysphoria, since it’s such a subjective experience and at the end of the day the broad-scope answer to how to deal with it is “anything that helps you without damaging you.” I hope that maybe some of my weird bullshit helps even a little, and if any of my other fellas out there have any recommendations I’ll pass them along.
For what it’s worth, I know we’ve never met, but I’m proud of you for making it this far and I know you’re strong enough to make it further still. You’re doing great, and you look handsome as fuck. You can beat this, my guy. Your dysphoria might be loud but you’re stronger, and that sumbitch ain’t got any arms so you’re gonna wrestle it into submission no problemo, bud.
I hope this helps!