Dysphoria

From Queer Voices. http://queer-voices.com/2015/10/dysphoria-bodily-mentally-socially/

The article categorizes three forms of gender dysphoria: Social, Mental, and Physical. Before hormones, I would get a lot of Physical dysphoria. Treating that is the reason I take hormones, which help immensely but not completely. Mental dysphoria I used to deal with more pre-transition as well, but it’s easier now that forces beyond myself (friends and sometimes family) are helping validate my gender (and that my physical form and my inner narratives are now more validating of it too).

Social dysphoria I still get all the time. I don’t pass as female as often as I pass as male, so people misgender me lots still, which causes its own sort of pain beyond social awkwardness.

I was in a bowling alley a few weeks ago watching two high-school-age women in the seats across from my team. They were being…I think the appropriate phrase is “TOTES ADORBS.” Sitting in each other’s laps. Hugging. Giggling and fawning at cute things on their phones. It was a display of proto-femininity I found difficult to ignore, partly because I have always wanted to express my femininity so easily in public, partly because I was envious of the acceptance and invisibility they received from their friends and passersby while behaving like…like themselves. Partly because I envied it so much it hurt to watch.

Watching the girls ended up killing the evening for me. My mood plummeted, I noticed I was tearing up when I gutterballed, I withdrew from conversation with the friends I was bowling with, and I started to despair, to feel lethargic, to want skip my turns or leave the alley completely.

But I didn’t say anything, because my friends were enjoying themselves, catching lucky strikes and telling Star Trek jokes. Later on, David spoke in the car: “That was fun.” Ben said, “AGREED,” doing his best Picard. I was sitting in the front passenger seat, nexus of car conversation, so I had to respond. I didn’t want to seem ungrateful, or like I was sad because my scores were bad, or like I didn’t enjoy socializing (though that’s becoming increasingly true) since we hadn’t gone out much in the past few weeks. So I said yeah, it was fun, which was a lie, and therefore disrespectful of my friends.

Had I said it wasn’t, would that have seemed disrespectful too? I didn’t want to talk about why. I had told Ben earlier about my mood and the women. He said he could understand why social situations were hard for me. As much as I appreciated his words, I knew he couldn’t mean them fully.

Does the Buddha say Desire is the source of all suffering? Am I wrong to desire the type of easy outward public femininity the high schoolers were displaying? Am I a coward for avoiding the scorn such a display would invite? Whose lap would I sit in? Who would I take to http://www.cuteoverload.com to gush over images of baby polar bears and hedgehogs and hedgehogs again? To be honest, so much of these feels feel so instinctual it feels wrong to resist or interrogate or question them. How can one not desire what one is drawn to?

I bring this up to illustrate social dysphoria. Something as simple as encountering femininity in the world can trigger it.

I suppose I am lucky that I do have respite from the dysphorias. Hormones mitigate the physical dysphoria to the point of restoring function to my life. When I say “my life,” I mean the whole thing. Being alone is the easiest way I’ve encountered for mitigating the social dysphoria–the job I just received lets me work from home, and I love that. The mental dysphoria, feeling “trapped by gender confines,” interplays with all the others, but I don’t have to go through the crippling self-doubt that kept me from transitioning until two years ago anymore, at least.

Anyway, there is that. Thanks for reading.

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Hormones Running Out, Need Help

Hey folks.Sorry I haven’t been posting for the last few months–been trying to focus on the book of poems I’m finishing, and other writing drains my available daily writing energy.

Today I write because I need some help. My scrips for hormones and antidepressants are about to run out. Most of the doctors and clinics I’ve researched are either too expensive to pay out of pocket (no health insurance, Obamacare is too expensive, basically unemployed yatta yatta) or won’t take on uninsured patients.

Some of the clinics I researched would have made me pay for two visits just to renew the scrips (the first visit is an assessment for the new doc to see if I do in fact need hormones, ie if I am still transgender, ie if my last docs were not kooks, and the second visit is the occasion upon which the new doc says “Why, yes, Z, my profesh medical opinion is that you are still transgender and you do still have gender dysphoria and you do still need this medicine that anyone can see you will need to take for the rest of your life so how can we justify making you do this expensive ritual every few months anyway beyond general cultural stigmatization and pathologizing of transgenderness?”).

I can be all “This is bullshit!” and “Fuck the capitalist patriarchy machine!” and “You are not the authority over my body!” and “Why isn’t there some over the counter remedy for this yet!” and “Fuck the gatekeeper medical establishment!” And I have been like that, but right now I need resources and solutions.

If I don’t get my hormones renewed, my neato gender dysphoria will kick back in. I often say things like “It’s a big future out there” and “No worries, things can change” and “Who am I to shut down possibility?” but based on past experiences, if I don’t have these goddam chemicals in my blood, things will get bad, and fast. That’s a euphemism for saying something like “I’ll get really, persistently depressed and suicidal again, and I’ll risk getting overwhelmed by my body’s wrack to the point that I won’t be able to function as a social creature or a semi-responsible adult.” Mental health don’t fuck around. Not fun to think about, but that’s reality: not a cakewalk, not a barn door, not a placid day at the beach.

So if you know of any general practitioners or endocrinologists who are trans-friendly, who prescribe hormones, who take uninsured clients, and practice in St. Louis, or if you have any friends in St. Louis who might know about these things, please email me whatever you got. Greenteawithdali@gmail.com.

Be well. Fuck the capitalist patriarchy machine.