How to Handle Dysphoria and Stress - MTF Transgender
Gender dysphoria has become a well-known issue in the trans community. It is faced by most trans people and involves symptoms of distress, discomfort, and depression.
Since the biological components of trans people do not align with how they identify themselves, feeling inauthentic is a large part of dysphoria. However, the association between dysphoria and stress is not as heavily explored.
Needless to say, when you feel a dissonance or a disconnect between who you are on the outside and inside, it can lead to intense feelings of stress.
Stress is usually accompanied by feelings of anxiety, since your brain is overwhelmed by intrusive thoughts. The mismatch may make you feel like you have relinquished all control over who you are.
Typically, this stress tends to be present all the time if your dysphoric symptoms are high in magnitude or frequency.
You might try to repress it, but unfortunately, repressed emotions and feelings still remain within you in a latent manner. As such, they may emerge during worse times.
We broadly experience two kinds of stress. The first type is associated with specific stressors that we can resolve with time. For instance, you may be stressed about an important exam.
This stress alleviates once the exam is over. On the other hand, there are other more persistent stressors such as gender dysphoria and chronic health conditions.
Here, the stressors do not disappear. Consequently, we may struggle with chronic stress.
The only way to tackle your stress is by managing these conditions. With dysphoria-based stress, it is crucial to understand how stress impacts your awareness, energy, and your perception of the world. Stress and dysphoria feed off of each other and thus, must be dealt with as one unit.
Stress comes with a host of side effects such as the inability to focus on everyday activities and mental fatigue and exhaustion. The reason is that a lot of your energy is directed towards stressing out.
Stress can be completely debilitating because it has mental and physical implications. More importantly, you might not be consciously aware of how stressed you are at all times.
Thus, you may feel like you have it under your control until you abruptly reach your breaking point.
This threshold is typically reached due to an external factor. Sometimes, the external factor may be a minor inconvenience but you end up dumping all your stress in that scenario.
If you are struggling with gender dysphoria, you might unload your stress on those symptoms. Therefore, your dysphoria might end up carrying the burden of all the stressors in your life.
What does that mean? When your stress due to multiple factors is attributed to your dysphoria alone, your mind might try to justify this association by exacerbating the symptoms of dysphoria.
That tiny voice in your head will get louder since it is getting blamed for all your stress anyway. However, when symptoms of dysphoria worsen, this could lead to further stress. Thus, you are caught in a vicious cycle.
Many trans people swear by separating their stress and dysphoria. By compartmentalizing them, you could try to make sure that they do not feed off of each other. For instance, you could try disassociating your professional/academic stress from the stress of transitioning.
That is easier said than done, however. Separating your transitioning from other facets of your life may seem impossible, since you are consistently working on your voice or movements or other transitioning aspects.
It takes conscious effort and awareness to differentiate between everyday stress and transitioning stress. If this demarcation is not made, they could pile up on each other, making transitioning even more challenging.
If possible, we highly recommend seeking the assistance of your loved ones to help you filter out the negative self-talk and focus on mere facts of your life.
A lot of times, an objective outlook can go a long way in putting things in perspective and mitigating stress. This is especially true with your gender dysphoria.
We hope this article helped you understand the relationship between stress and gender dysphoria so you can learn to manage them better. Good luck!
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