Postdysphoria

This blog creates space and a network for those of us who experienced dysphoria, and have since resolved and/or found ways to manage our triggers. Because life goes on following the resolution of dysphoria, and sometimes our medical history and/or how we addressed dysphoria brings up unique situations.

Isn’t that called “post-transition”?

Numerous people use post-transition to mean “since starting” medical transition whether or not they still experience dysphoria. I initially understood it to mean “following” transition, back when I (mis)understood transition to be a process with a neat ending. My reality is that there will always be a next dose of hormones. I have a penile implant that will eventually fail and need to be replaced or removed. There are just two examples of why there’s no absolute “end” to the medical process for me.

My social transition is hard to pin down in any fashion. I legally changed my name and sex designation over fifteen years ago, on a day to day basis my “coming out as male” days are long over. But when I return to my hometown, go to funerals of long time family friends, attend a relatives milestone birthday with guests who knew me when I was still in diapers, I’m either having a chat or awkward avoidance. As such, there’s no distinct “end” to social transition in all contexts forever more. There’s until next time.

My personal experience with dysphoria

A longer version can be read here. At around 18 months on T (by which point I’d had chest reconstruction), so many trans people told me I didn’t belong in trans spaces anymore, because I got read as cis male everywhere all the time I went, they insisted. 2 things knocked the wind out of my sail:

a. even in the instances in which it was true, and certainly it was true the vast majority of the time (see pt b), I wasn’t okay with my body; I still experienced dysphoria. I didn’t care so much how others took my body up, I cared about my relationship to it. And all this emphasis on others’ relationship to my body and gender expression grated my nerves; I wanted to feel at home in my skin, screw the the rest of the world.

b. I was read as cis male so long as I was dressed and not having sex. I could have had sex without disclosing, but it would have made me extremely anxious/dysphoric and depending on the sexual act, I wouldn’t have felt my intimate partner as I enjoy. Constructing/controlling portions of my life where I otherwise (with lack of construction/control) would have been disclosed made me hyper-aware of my medical history at best, but typically dysphoric. And I wasn’t interested in being a man*
*caveat: peeing at urinals and having sex safely comfortably, swimming, public showers, change rooms, not included.
I wanted to be a guy not constantly monitoring his body, activities, interactions to avoid disclosure. It severely compromised my quality of life to be hyper-aware of my body and gender so often.

Over time, the line between “straight up” dysphoria and distress from safety concerns blurred until it disappeared. This was not in the proverbial brochure. Getting colpocleisis and phalloplasty resolved the vast majority of my last manifestation of dysphoria. The day I no longer needed to pack silicone, I cried tears of joy every moment I realised I no longer needed to be aware of my body’s movement. I’d figured out how to pack well and safely enough to go swimming. But no longer seeing a packer in my underwear while I sat to pee, not having to wash it/transfer it from underwear to underwear, freed up so much mental space. The dysphoria about not being able to use urinals at packed public venues intensified, but by then, I knew there would be a definitive end to my distress.

tl;dr I no longer experience dysphoria but that doesn’t erase my medical history. I think this blog will contribute something different from what’s already happening elsewhere. I’m open to taking questions from those who struggle with dysphoria. I hope those who can relate to my resolution of dysphoria and interested in meeting others in our shoes will drop me a line, offer to contribute casually, more regularly, whatever.

An older iteration of this blog appears on tumblr, but I wanted a platform that offered more.

One thought on “Postdysphoria

  1. Pingback: Why I started this blog | Life Post-Dysphoria

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