Days of Dysphoria (& What to Do About It) | MTF Transgender
Dysphoria is a common challenge for those going through gender transition. It can seem ever-present and difficult to overcome. However, there are ways to better understand, cope with, and even reduce dysphoria through conscious effort over time.
This article explores the causes of days of dysphoria and actionable steps an MTF transgender person can take to alleviate it.
Understanding Your Dysphoria
Each person's dysphoria is a little different depending on what causes it, how their anxiety works, how they think about things, how they potentially obsess about things, and what they can do to mitigate it.
A key factor is someone's self-talk, which programs their brain. The quality of self-talk and inserting positive commentary into it is an important tool and skill. This can be called perception management.
There are moments when someone can step back and see themselves seeing something, becoming part of their own way of seeing. This often comes up when there is a miscommunication.
The person can take a step back and say, "I saw it this way, and you were trying to mean it that way. I can see how you meant that. Let me recalibrate, and now we can realign." This concept of recalibrating perception is important for mitigating dysphoria.
Coping With Dysphoria Over Time
Stopping dysphoria completely is not necessarily cut and dry. Dysphoria has different levels calibrated to where someone is in their transition, what actions they've taken to change their experience, and how long they've worked with it.
When dysphoria is new, it can feel really bad and knock someone down. But after two or three years, one can get used to it, identify it, and build coping mechanisms and mental perception skills to mitigate the damage.
The process becomes familiar. So how to stop dysphoria depends on the individual's stage and circumstances.
Here are some actionable steps that MTF transgender people can take to alleviate dysphoria:
- Be aware of your self-talk and insert positive commentary.
- Take a step back and look at your thoughts from a different perspective to recalibrate your perception.
- Remember that stopping dysphoria completely is not always possible.
- Be patient with yourself and give yourself time to learn to cope with dysphoria.
- Accept your body and love yourself at every stage of your journey.
Anchoring Your Perception
What has worked is changing how one anchors their perspective on what a female body is, like a ship anchoring its center. Everyone has a constructed internal definition of womanhood. How this is defined and absorbed subconsciously as an internal gender schema varies.
One issue that persists is the "vagina problem"—not having a vagina yet believing that would complete one's sense of dysphoria. This fundamental definition sits deep in the subconscious.
Some dysphoria simply cannot be resolved without surgery and must be acknowledged and accepted.
In early transition before passing, looking in the mirror and proactively seeing "her" instead of "him" can shift perspective. The mind fixates on what is looked at and obsessed over. One must work against their own mind.
Avoiding Unrealistic Comparisons
Another helpful anchoring shift is avoiding unrealistic images of women on social media as the standard. Idealized bodies are often unattainable and shouldn't be the anchor.
A conversation with a surgeon helped shift perspective—comparing oneself to shorter women gives unrealistic proportional ideas. Looking at similar height women provides a more realistic anchor.
Accepting Your Body
Coming to terms with one's own body type and accepting it is important. Not everyone's body matches their idealized image. But trans bodies have their own beauty. Promoting variation is valuable. Recalibrating self-talk to accept and love one's body can mitigate dysphoria.
Radical self-love requires releasing rigid attachments to any one version of an ideal. Your spirit and essence transcend physical forms.
You are worthy and deserving of love at every stage. Internalizing this empowers you to embrace your body's journey with compassion.
Days of Dysphoria: Summary
In conclusion, gender dysphoria is a complex experience that can be difficult to manage. However, there are ways to cope with and reduce dysphoria, such as understanding its causes, recalibrating your perception, and accepting your body.
One key factor is to be aware of your self-talk and how it programs your brain. Inserting positive commentary into your self-talk can help you manage dysphoria.
Additionally, by taking a step back and looking at your thoughts from a different perspective, you can learn to recalibrate your perception and mitigate dysphoria.
It is also important to remember that stopping dysphoria completely is not always possible. Dysphoria levels vary depending on where you are in your transition, what actions you have taken, and how long you have worked with it. However, with time and effort, you can learn to cope with dysphoria and live a fulfilling life.
Finally, it is important to accept your body and love yourself at every stage of your journey. Radical self-love requires releasing rigid attachments to any one version of an ideal. Remember that your spirit and essence transcend physical forms. You are worthy and deserving of love at every stage.