I haven’t been blogging much this last year. Why? Several reasons.
When you transition, most of the big, new, happy stuff happens in the first year.
When you transition, most of the shitty stuff catches up with you after the first year.
On paper, my life is shit. Unemployed and exiled in Montana where people just don’t take too kindly to my type.
I don’t want to dwell on the negative stuff.
And yet, a few days ago, I went through one of my worst dysphoric bouts in years and the memories are so fresh, I think I can write the experience down and shed some light on the whole dysphoria thing.
So, this blog entry will be about dysphoria.
Dysphoria is like an emotional pimple, and it has a similar life cycle. It gets red, festers, grows, hurts… and you know it is there. You know it is growing. You try your best to conceal it.
Then it explodes.
Then it scabs over and fades away, and if you are lucky, it doesn’t leave a scar.
95-98% of the time, my dysphoria is manageable, still there but drowned out by normal, human emotions a person would expect to feel.
Then it pops. It is gross.
It is so complex. My mind is filled with self-loathing, just like most anyone else, if they allow it. I am also full of internalized transphobia. There is so much about me that I can so readily hate, and when that dysphoric zit is popping, not only do I want to hate myself, I want everyone else to hate me too. Most people are more than happy to hate me when I am like that. Some stubborn lunatics will have none of it.
Then the dysphoria lifts, and I wonder why everyone hates me so much. I feel weak and depressed and vulnerable to another dysphoric bout if I don’t fix things quickly (something I struggle to do after being weakened by such a bout).
The dysphoria wants to rule my life, make all the decisions, and I am left feeling helpless to it at times.
It is Dexter’s Dark Passenger, it is Mr. Hyde.
And THAT is when the suicidal feelings can come in. If I could just take control, I could kill everything I loathe about myself. It would be an act of defiance. It would be me finally standing up for, and against myself in one grand gesture.
Shit’s fucked up. You know?
I was convinced a couple years ago by my dysphoria that I would be doing EVERYONE a favor by just ending it all. Convinced. No doubt in my disturbed mind.
Imagine that. Fresh out of Grad School and then suddenly suicidal, so I transition, to get away from those suicidal thoughts only to discover they still return every 3 or so months. My last bout was around Christmas, and then one before in late summer, early autumn… almost every three months like clockwork.
I am so afraid to live my life because of this dark festering zit that keeps popping up.
Many people think all trans people are crazy. At times, I totally agree. God knows I experience a level of crazy that could win an amateur crazy competition.
So that is dysphoria.
What is it like to come out of a dysphoric bout? A bit like I imagine a rape victim feels. Helpless. Hopeless. Questioning what part of it was your fault.
And then, catharsis.
It is as frightening, ugly and beautiful as the birthing process. Every time the dysphoria lifts, in spite of the damage it does, I am left stronger, wiser, and with more tools at my disposal. It is a time of relief and bursts of joy.
At this rate, it will either kill me or make me stronger than I ever could dream. It is the type of life experience you brag about overcoming in job interviews. You know?
I really do think some day, I will have full control over my dysphoric tendencies. That day just can’t come soon enough.
If I don’t write about this soon after a bout, I begin to forget. Humans forget pain very quickly. It is an evolutionary survival instinct that is well documented. I have wanted to blog about this before but just never did it in time so I lost track of the specifics.
So, in the meantime, I am in exile, trying to stay away from people for fear I will hurt them in an effort to get them to hurt me back. I live more life online than off.
But my God! I can taste the freedom from this bitch of a disability. I will get there eventually, or die trying.
I know this is not a happy entry, but it needed to be shared to give people a fuller picture. I would not wish dysphoria on my enemies.
People read my words and relate them to their own lives. That brings me much joy. There is something about the human condition, trans or not, that we all relate to. Everyone experiences dysphoria in their own way, just typically on a much smaller scale than I.
Transition is hard. It is filled with self doubts and second guessing. Who wouldn’t feel bitter when they give up male privilege for a life as a third class citizen? I far too often HATE being trans and just want it to go away, while knowing full well, transition is keeping me alive. It is a complex relationship.
There is a logic to my insanity. I’d be crazy to not go crazy at times with all this shit to balance in my head.
I almost transitioned in my mid 20’s, then my neighborhood was attacked by hijacked airplanes. Suddenly, my dysphoria lifted because there were more important things to deal with. Many trans people with children say similar things. The birth of a child lifted their dysphoria for years because they had more important things to deal with. Of course, then everyone wants to know why they would transition when they have children. They don’t understand that the dysphoria often returns a decade later crippling the parent much like it cripples me.
Anyway, thank you for reading. It is wonderful to finally get some of this off my chest.