do you have any advice for coping with gender dysphoria? i'm an AFAB demiguy and i just really can't stand myself sometimes and lately it's just been getting really bad and i'm not really sure what to do, because from what i've heard from other trans people it just gets worse and worse. i'm closeted to my family and i have so much going on i don't have the time or energy to come out but at this rate i'm just kind of hopeless. i'm sorry if this is awkward but if you have any advice i'll take it.
Urgh, I just had a bout of dysphoria last night and this morning. I dealt with it by changing into my dude-clothes, which helped a little. Oddly enough, cleaning the corrosion off my car’s battery helped a lot, probably because it took my mind off things for a while.
Here are some of the things I’ve done, and heard of other people doing:
- If possible, wear clothes that make you feel comfortable, or which at least don’t make you feel worse. Putting a bit of time into your appearance to reflect your gender identity may help. On the other hand, don’t try to get it looking perfect or dwell on it too much, that might make you feel worse.
- Don’t look in the mirror any more than necessary. Don’t look at your body any more than necessary. Try not to focus on the parts of you that feel wrong.
- Express your feelings in writing, music, or art. I write essays, and listen to music that feels like it describes how I’m feeling.
- Find ways to take your mind off it and focus on something else. I find that doing something productive or creative helps a little, because even if you still feel bad you’ll at least get a nice feeling of accomplishment. (I like to clean things.) Alternatively, you could find something so fun or fascinating that it absorbs your attention, like a great book or a new TV show to watch.
- Talk to other people who are going through similar problems, and who are supportive of your gender identity. You can also read about other trans/non-binary people’s experiences online or in books, or join forums about trans/non-binary stuff.
- Find celebrities or fictional characters you can identify with. Read about their lives and stories. Read about their problems and their triumphs. And remember that you can do that, too.
- Avoid contact with people who misgender you or who make you feel bad as much as possible. Hang out with people whose company makes you feel good, or spend some time alone. Dogs and other furry animals you can hug are great for when people are too much.
- Pamper yourself. Do things that make you feel good. Order your favorite food, take a bubble bath, play videogames. If you can, take a short break from work or school, or buy something nice for yourself. Remember that you deserve to be happy, and that you’ve earned this by dealing with all the shitty stuff in your life.
- Do nice things for other people. Give someone a random compliment, volunteer at an animal shelter, help someone with their homework or chores, donate money to a good charity. When you brighten someone else’s day, if often brightens yours, too.
- Drink enough liquids and eat enough food. Sleep in, exercise, and spend some time in the sun. Take care of your body even if you hate it, because feeling ill will only make dysphoria worse.
- Keep a log of how dysphoric you feel every day, and take note of any things that seem to make it worse. You may be able to identify triggers or cycles for it, and then you might be able to mentally prepare yourself for them or learn what to avoid.
- Read up on mental illness, especially depression and anxiety disorders, and warning signs to watch out for. It’s possible for gender dysphoria to contribute to these illnesses, so if you do get one, then recognizing it for what it is will help a lot. Your mental health is important and you should never feel bad about seeking help.
- I also found a pretty great list of ideas on Autostraddle, you might like some of those.
- Whatever you do, don’t give up on yourself. Don’t give up on the possibility that your life will get better. Remember that you can be happy, you can get through this, and even when you’re feeling weak and shitty you are still so much stronger than you realize. Some days will seem dark and bleak and you’ll doubt that you will ever feel better, but you will, so you must not give up.