Dysphoria is not a monolithic universal experience. You can read more on how it played out for me here. No two people have the same trigger(s), so you may not relate to some or any of my struggles, and vice versa. Ditto with strategies I suggest to address them. What follows are a list of triggers, which are briefly explained/contextualised, the bulk of the content are strategies that helped me manage or resolve the trigger.
I won’t mention surgeries as a strategy. If you feel it’s what you need and have the means to access it: go for it. I don’t discuss how I saved up for the procedures I paid out of pocket, there are too many variables from one person to the next. I don’t go into how I got insurance coverage for the rest because the policy’s changed; my experience is no longer relevant.
This will be broken down in 3 sections: environmental, psychological and physiological.
If there’s a topic you don’t find listed, whether you’d like some suggestions or to offer some of your own, let me know through the contact page. Note in the comment if you’d rather I didn’t share your name/identity when answering publicly.
Credit: Fernando Morales/The Globe and Mail
Death/Rebirth narrative or Reconciling with one’s past
Helpful: resuming childhood hobbies
Helpful: reframing transition related surgeries as reconstructions
Helpful: realising socialisation is not gendered
Helpful: realising I had masculine/male privilege all along
Waiting for or In Between Surgeries
Helpful: Find language that works for you
Helpful: Don’t beat yourself up if what used to work doesn’t anymore – validate it’s an indication of how long you’ve been managing/enduring
Helpful: Hang out with people who don’t know your medical history
Helpful: Nurture a hobby or two
Helpful: Hang out with trans folks that share similar struggles
Helpful: Find links with non-trans dis/ability stuff
Helpful: Create music playlists by themes of validation and resilience
Helpful: Mindfulness breathing
Helpful: Plan and execute the mountain of things to do before hand
Bonus: Build up core muscles
Helpful: Stone/ace and disassociation
Helpful: Manage boredom
Helpful: Spend some time in a sauna
Helpful: Get the glans tattooed (for those who had phalloplasty)
Drafts currently in progress or topics for future pages:
Dating, disclosing/not disclosing
Navigating cisnormative queer spaces / cultural queerness
For those of us who aren’t (entirely/at all) white English speaking Christians (would particularly love collaborators to expand this far beyond my own experience.)
[Header description: MIND THE GAP as it appears on the edge of tube station platforms across London’s underground.]