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Author Topic: Am I transgender?
DLCWRGT
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Hi everyone, new guy here. I'm almost 20, gay and the last couple of days I've been in a state of panic and fear pretty much most of the time because of this... for simplicity, I'll just copy paste what I wrote somewhere else and I'd appreciate if anyone has any useful advice or support..

~~
I started going to a psychologist to help with my many issues this Wednesday and ever since it's been constant worrying and stressing over things - the day I went to see her, I began doubting my ability to love another person despite me wanting to. I kept worrying I won't feel the same way everyone does and any relationship I would be in would be based on a lie and I freaked myself out.

And then I freaked myself out even more by starting to question my gender. It's so... I'm so damn scared and frustrated, because I (first of all, I'm a guy) know I don't think of myself as a woman, never did. I never had any desire to dress like a woman, or apply make-up, or anything like that... I never desired to have breasts or a vagina, I never wanted to be referred to using feminine pronouns, 'he' or 'him' are more than fine.. The thought of being a woman doesn't make me weirdly happy, I never even thought (let alone fantasize) about being one (apart from the time when I was 8 and thought I'd have to enroll in the army and be away from my parents, but I'd say this doesn't count) and I still don't. The thought of having a sex-reassignment surgery scares me and part of it it's because of what others would think, but an even bigger part is that the fact that I'm scared of what others might thinks absolutely means I'm just denying it. And it kills me, because I know it's not the case...

Like I said, I don't want to change anything about myself physically.. sure I have issues with my body, but they're of the too-fat-yellow-teeth variety. And mentally... I don't know, I've always been more sensitive than other guys and I'm not into sports and listen to pop music and like female vocalists and never was big on the whole 'gender roles' thing... but this doesn't mean I want to transition into a woman, right? If anything, I'd like to be more masculine, not take estrogen shots; to lose some weight, grow a beard like that guy in Hunger Games, etc...

And I've been called a 'girl' in middle school for playing with the girls (bc at least those were interesting games, not football :/) and there have been moments when it got to me, mostly when I was sad and kind of agreed with them and I'm wondering if there's some unresolved issues from that?

And another crazy thought I had was that if I were to enjoy bottoming (still a virgin here, jesus would be proud) that would mean I want to be a woman. Which I know is crazy, but it still affects me so much. And the thought of sex scares me.

And from there... I keep having these thoughts how guys should do/think/feel a certain way and girls another and if that's not the case then it means they are trans. And I think it's good to cry and stuff, but now I'm giving in to the thoughts that men shouldn't cry and I just... I never believed in that kind of bs and it scares me.

There's definitely a pattern here. I felt the same way when I thought I was asexual (although on a smaller scale). Or when I thought I was going to hell unless I was a religious fanatic (although on a slightly bigger scale). Or when I thought I would never find happiness and my 'true vocation' unless I became a pastor. In all these cases it's the same process, the same doubts, the same fears...

Does anyone really think I'm just lying to myself? I think I could go on to give even more reasons why I don't think I should be a woman, but this post's already long enough and I've done way too much thinking about this already... I'm so tired and scared.
~~

Well, that's pretty much it, I guess... It seems the more afraid I am, the more inclined I am to believe that I am in fact just lying to myself and it's just... torture. [Frown]

Thanks for reading!

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Heather
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Welcome to the boards, DLCWRGT . [Smile]

You know, people who are trans* generally don't feel at home in the sex they were assigned, but DO feel at home in a different gender. Being trans* isn't really about not meeting certain gender stereotypes -- just like being gay isn't about say, liking musical theater, dressing well or appreciating brunch. It also isn't about what other people may say or think: our own internal sense of gender is just that, when we have one: it's about what gender feels like ours, to us.

I don't hear you saying anything here that sounds like most people's experiences being trans*. Not that there would be anything wrong if there were: it's okay to be trans, just like it's okay to be cisgender, even if not everyone is on board with that yet socially or culturally.

Men don't all think or feel any universal way nor do men share any universal interests: same goes for any gender. Gender is both personal and gender roles, ideas and ways of performing gender also tend to be cultural, so we can't always easily separate the two, but one thing we do know -- and all we need do to know that is look at history, or even just know a diverse group of people -- is that there are a million parts of people that make them have things in common with some other people, and things where they're different from some other people. gender not only is only one of those many things, it's also something where people can both have things in common with people of their own gender and be different from people of their own gender.

It sounds more to me like this fear you have around this is about you having general fear and panic about a whole host of things, and this is just the newest thing your mind has latched unto to be afraid of. This group of things, as you have described them so far, also sound like they might stem in part from, and be fueled by, some religious ideas, shame or fear: has that been part of your life and upbringing?

When you talked to the therapist about this, what did they have to say?

[ 07-29-2013, 09:57 AM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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DLCWRGT
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Thanks for replying, Heather!

Well yeah, this whole thing started because of religion and the fear of going to Hell. I've known I was gay since I was 12 or 13 but kept on denying it because of religious reasons up until this year, when I read on a friend's blog about the 'importance' of going to Church. That implanted such an incredible fear that I wasn't a good enough Christian because I didn't go to Church I spent a week or two with a CONSTANT fear I was going to hell. I would read about how not all christian teachings stated that there even was a hell and stuff, but nothing worked.

And after struggling with that for a few months, I decided to stop denying I was gay.. and that came with such an incredible, albeit short-lived sense of freedom. But after that, I started doubting, overthinking and panicking about everything - am i really gay? am i asexual? am i going to hell anyway? is christianity real? and for the past couple of days, am i transgender? I'm just drained... and it's more frustrating because I fear that with each time that I go over the same doubt, I alter the answer a little to fit the fear. [Frown]

About the therapist, I didn't talk to her about this.. I basically started going because I wanted to rid myself of the other doubts and because my lack of self-esteem is preventing me from even trying to have a relationship and start having sex and that bothers me. The transgender question popped into my mind afterwards and I think it stemmed from my initial post-therapist fear of simply not... being able to love another person.

I'm seeing her again tomorrow, I'm not sure I'll be able to mention either this or the asexuality fear - though this one took a back seat for now..

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Heather
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I'd say it's amazing how many times feeling like one is in hell starts with well... Hell, and all that tends to surround that set of ideas. save that it's not surprising at all. [Frown] People get fearful and freaked out from things made to make them fearful, alas.

By all means, I'd bring all of these things up with your therapist.

But maybe, for now, per what we can do -- if you'd like -- we can talk a little about how NONE of these things are things you truly need to be scared of? In other words, it's okay if we're queer, okay if we're trans*, okay if we're asexual. I understand there are people who say it's not okay, but it sounds like you're familiar enough with those kinds of social contexts to know that so many people aren't okay with that set of people -- a group of people who typically say tolerance is a huge tenet of their religion, and yet -- and so many of those people ARE who or what they say isn't okay, and don't follow their own beliefs that I'd personally say they just pretty much have zero credibility, you know?

And again, those kinds of beliefs and ideas are typically meant to make people feel scared and fearful and panicked, and the aim with that is social control, above and beyond all else. It always has been, we can study history and see that very, very clearly.

As a last note, the way I see it, everyone -- including my self, who has been told I am going to hell so many times I ran out of digits to count them on before I was out of diapers -- who is apparently going to hell? They all, uncannily, seem to be the people I like and respect the most. Plus, I hate being cold, So, even if those folks are right? hell sounds like it's going to be a pretty amazing time. [Razz]

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DLCWRGT
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Yeah, the fear of hell has pretty much dissipated - thank god for that.

I know all these things are okay, but it's just.. I don't think they describe me and I don't want them. And I'm scared that I'm going to just have to have a sex reassignment surgery, the same way I thought I will never find my true vocation unless I become a pastor. And obviously there's the fear of judgement from others that plays a part in this, but even more so it's the fear that the only way to stop these voices and doubts is if I give in to them. Does that have to mean that I'm just in denial? It doesn't seem that way too me, but my head's a mess anyway.

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Heather
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No one has to do any of these things.

Including, by the way, people who are trans* -- for real, trans, not just scared they are trans. SRS isn't something anything close to all trans people do. Some don't because they can't afford what it costs. (If nothing else, if you're not independently wealthy, you can let go of the fear that you'll "have to" get SRS, because chances are awfully good even if you WANTED it, it'd be far outside your reach anytime in the near future.) Others don't get surgeries because they just aren't interested in doing surgeries.

Too, if you have the idea people only know for sure if they're trans* once they have SRS? Boy howdy, think again. That's just SO not reflective of people's actual experiences, nor of the process to get to SRS.

But for sure, it's sounding like your issues here are far more broad than being trans (or not), or being gay, etc. It sounds like there's a much, much bigger umbrella over all of this that's likely only to be resolved for you with participating in therapy over time with a good therapist. Because really, what you're voicing sounds very complex to me -- a lot of fear, a seeming lack of trust in knowing who you are, saying you're hearing voices -- even if we're not talking about hallucinations), stating you have an inability to love other people at all? This stuff is all stuff where a mental health professional is the right person to be working with far more than a sex education site. Big time.

(Which isn't to say you aren't welcome to hang out here for the things we CAN do and can talk about, but rather to say what you're asking for help with around this isn't within our ability or capacity as a service.)

[ 07-29-2013, 05:52 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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DLCWRGT
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Yeah, I agree with what you're saying.. tbanks for replying! ^_^ I'll see how tomorrow goes, it will only be the second time I'm going.
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Heather
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I hope it goes well for you.

This is all big stuff (you hardly need me to tell you that), so chances are good it's all not something you're going to see big changes with, even with the best therapist of all time, for at least a few months.

Good on you for getting started!

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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DLCWRGT
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Thanks! ^_^

As an update, I did sort of mention this to the psychologist, though not the asexual part. She gave me tips on how to start overthinking less about stuff and said we'd go into the content of these issues later on, but for now it's important to reduce the number of hours I spend mulling over these things.. so I'm trying to do that.

Although it still scares me, and on top of that it scares me that I'm trying to limit the time I'm thinking about it, LOL. When I don't think about it, nothing about my body really bothers me, but when I'm paranoid about it, I feel... scared, basically.

Oh well. :/

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Heather
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I'm late to seeing this: so sorry!

It sounds like all of that is a pretty good start to me!

And maybe when you DO go there, you can just remind yourself that how we identify is a choice, as is what we do -- or don't do -- with our bodies and how we present them. In other words, a gender identity isn't really something that happens TO someone. It's something we feel, to some degree, and construct, to another. But when it all comes down to it, again, it's not like a natural disaster, where we've no control over this thing happening to us. It's about who we are and who we want to be and become.

Lastly, I'd add in that transphobia, just like homophobia, is very real. So, a lot of fears people have around either trans gender, or any kind of gender nonconformity, or being something other than straight are going to come from learned bigotry and bias, or the bigotry and bias of others we're exposed to. That stuff is scary, no doubt, but that isn't because being trans* or being queer are scary things: it's because bigotry and bias, and the fears around these kinds of identities they manufacture, intentionally, are scary, if you follow me.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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DLCWRGT
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Hi!

So this past week has been a tad bit better than the previous one, although there still is fear... I;m pretty sure I'm not trans*, but I still get lost in the details and say 'ooh, this must mean I'm trans* and just in denial' and then the fear will just build to the point where I'll go back and change the answers to the big questions.

Although I agree about the natural disaster thing, that's something my psychologist told me as well (although worded differently), and like how thoughts are like birds and you can't prevent them from coming but you can prevent them from building a nest.

I don't know that transphobia is an issue in my case, though.. I think most of my fears are more 'i'm gonna HAVE to change' and 'i'm lying to myself'.. and they're never directed towards others..

Oh, also, random question: could someone be trans yet have no desire to change their body or cross dress or present themselves as the other sex?

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Heather
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People who are trans* are diverse, just like, say, people who are cisgender are, or people who are white are, or people who are short are.

But in general, most people who identify as trans* feel that their gender is one other than their assigned sex. And ultimately, that really is as general as we can get about it while still being accurate.

So, yes, some people who are trans* do not feel a desire to change their body or present themselves as the "other" sex (whatever that might mean to them, and do remember, there are more than two sexes, and WAY more than two genders).

But no one trans* "has to change." There are no requirements as a trans gender person, or otherwise gender non-conforming person, to change anything about oneself one doesn't want to, or have the capacity, to change.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Heather
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You know, per trying to sort out of transphobia might be driving some, even all of this car, it might help to think about it like this.

Let's say you had the idea you might be a total genius. Like, the UBERGENIUS. Someone more gifted and smarter than almost anyone else. Do you think you'd be feeling afraid right now like you are?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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DLCWRGT
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If I was a total genius... hmm, I don'r knoW what to say, probably not... or at least not AS afraid. Why do you ask?

Also, could you expand a bit on the 'more than two genders' thing? Or link to some place that has a neat list of (some of) them?

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Heather
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Because I assume you would not be as afraid or less afraid because you, like most people, would see being super-smart as a good thing: as a bonus, not something scary, or lesser or bad.

And if that's true, then you have to know some of these fears are coming from transphobia.

That's not a character judgment of you mind. Rather, I say that because I think identifying it is important, period, but also because I think identifying where that's what this is about can also help you deal with it best.

A list of gender? Seriously, there are likely billions of gender identities, if not exactly as many gender identities, none quite the same, as there are people in the world, because our experiences of gender and the way we identify our own truly is as diverse as we are.

But this might be something to illustrate that for you well, even though it's got some problematic bits/frames: http://itspronouncedmetrosexual.com/2012/03/the-genderbread-person-v2-0/

[ 08-06-2013, 06:32 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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DLCWRGT
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Thanks for that! I'll take a look once I wake up! ^_^
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DLCWRGT
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Hey, I took a look at that and it certainly cleared a few things. But I was thinking earlier today...

I don't know, I guess I just don't believe in gender roles and things like that. Like, I don't think that anyone should think/feel in a certain way and only do certain things and have certain interests. And I don't think (for example) that it makes me a woman the fact that I'm more emotional or that I'm afraid of sex or that I don't want to hurt other people. Gender's really never been an issue for me and I'd like to go back to that.

It's so frustrating because I feel like if I let go of the fear of being transgender, then I'll actually be/turn into one... or something, as well as actually wanting to have a sex reassignment surgery and go on hormones and stuff. I hate my brain for not working properly. >.<

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Robin Lee
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So, if gender has never really been a big deal for you, what do you think is making it a big deal for you right now?

Do you think that you could live your life in a way that didn't consider gender roles, in which you'd feel free to express yourself however you'd like to express yourself and do whatever you'd like to do, regardless of what gender people might assign those feelings and actions to and what opinions they might have of you for going against their expectations?

When people talk about changing their gender, they usually talk about it in terms of a transition. So, it's really unlikely that you would "become" trans without a good deal of thinking and acting and figuring things out on your part.

I suspect you also know that not all trans people choose sex reassignment or other biological options, and most people don't enter into any sorts of physical changes without a lot of thought. The medical establishment, for good or ill, doesn't allow trans people to make these sorts of decisions without a lot of counseling, mandated waiting periods, etc.

So, again, since you're really not a fan of gender roles, what do you think it would mean for you to live without meeting the expectations of gender roles, whether you identified as trans or not?

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Robin

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DLCWRGT
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Hi, sorry for taking me this long to reply, I've had a bad couple of days..

Yes, there's nothing I want more than to go back to that place where I didn't worry about this endlessly.. I think what's making this a big issue for me at the moment is that... fear of having to transition, that fear of never being at peace with myself unless I do.. even though I still don't think I'm transgender and even though I know not all have to undergo any changes at all... but it still scares me.

As for putting a lot of thought into it... yes, that's also scary, because I'm an over thinker and because I spent a LOT of time thinking about it over the past 2 or 3 weeks.. I keep thinking I'll mull this over till I make myself believe I want this. And it's annoying to me because I only obsess over the things I've read about and know are ~signs~ (for lack of a better word) of being trans.

I don't know, but i'm tired of being afraid and confused and stressed all the time..

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Jacob at Scarleteen
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The thing I'm reading here is a fear of your own potential feelings.

But those aren't feelings your having now, and even if you were, you would be able to deal with them and do something about them. However, I'm hesitant to delve into them because as with all hypothetical situations, there are always more worries that we could clamp onto them. There's always another 'what if'.

So maybe we can just let them hang. Those potential feelings like 'never being at peace' or of feelings surrounding transition... those are bridges that can be crossed when you get to them.

At this point it sounds like your thinking is going through a number of cycles: one might be that you become stressed because you're worried about being stressed for ever, thereby causing more stress, and calling it proof. I don't think we can always solve those sorts of cycles with logic alone especially when we're somewhat biased towards a certain set of emotions already. No matter how much we think about things we can sometimes only allow ourselves to come to more worrying conclusions.

You're not under any obligation to do anything regarding gender or transition. In fact I would say that gender is more explicitly about the stuff you feel, regardless of obligation or expectation.

I really really feel where you're coming from when you say "I'm tired of being afraid and confused and stressed all the time..". That is so understandable, and recognisable as well.

Focussing on that need to relax and gain clarity and attempting to give yourself that is something I think you can do if you approach it holistically. I don't think there is any rush to sort-out your gender identity as quickly as possible, but I do think you can massage the stress you're feeling which can only make it easier to approach these questions.

Have you thought about stuff you could do that might help your frame of mind? Or which you already have experience of making things easier for you?

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DLCWRGT
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What do you mean by a 'holistic approach'? I don't think I've ever heard the term before.. And no, I can't think of anything that would help at the moment...

Actually, not thinking about any of this helps, because I feel good when I don't think about this.. but then somehow I'll remember I haven't thought about this and the fear would creep back in...

I don't know.. it's like you said, I'm afraid of 'potential feelings' and I don't really know what to do about it. I'm trying to let go, but I can't seem to be able to do it..

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Heather
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I do want to just make an ask and give a reminder about how anyone here talks about people who are trans*.

quote:
It's so frustrating because I feel like if I let go of the fear of being transgender, then I'll actually be/turn into one
It may or may not have been intended, but that sounds, to me, like framing someone who is trans* as a thing rather than a person. So, when talking about these issues, something more like, "I may actually discover I am a trans person," or "I may decide I am trans," is a lot better, and doesn't give the message or impression that trans gender people are anything other than human, just like people who are not trans gender or otherwise gender non-conforming.

Thanks.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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DLCWRGT
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Oh, I'm so sorry. [Frown] Didn't mean to make it sound like that..
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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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I figured as much. Was just giving a shout-out and a reminder for the conversation moving forward.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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DLCWRGT
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Okay, I really am ready to go back to the place where I don't freak out over ever thought, feeling or small gesture that I do thinking it means I'm a woman and I want to stop overthinking and overanalyzing every detail of my past 20 years and come up with explanations why that means I'm trans. I'm exhausted, I want to stop being on edge evertyime I look in the mirror or someone calls my name, because I've read that that's two things trans people experience.. you know, i feel like i've been given a list of things that I need to check off and that makes me a woman.. and when most of them don't apply I just tell myself the 'not all trans people experience the same things' line and the 'some people discover this later in life'.

I'm so tired. Why can't I let go of the fear? Why am I still afraid i'm lying to myself? There literally is so very little evidence (if not no evidence at all) to suggest I might be trans, yet I can't seem to stop obsessing about this. [Frown]

I don't mean to sound offensive or anything, I just.. don't want to be a woman.

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Heather
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You know, it really sounds to me like where you're at are things to be working on with your therapist, and not things we're likely to be able to help you with.

In a word, I'd say someone who simply finds they are having a hard time convincing themselves they are the gender that they truly feel they are, who feels convinced they can't trust their own sense of self like this, and also finds these thoughts consume the, is someone expressing needs only a qualified mental healthcare provider is likely to be of help with.

You're also asking questions that we can't know the answers to, but your therapist should be able to assess and help you with: how is your work going with them?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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DLCWRGT
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I don't know.. she gave me some tips for how to reduce the amount of time I overthink, but I can't seem to follow them. Also, she's out of the country on vacation at the moment and I won't see her until the 27th, I think.

But another thing, i keep reading about how people who are trans put a lot of thought into... I don't remember exactly, just the 'a lot of thought' part, but what I want to ask is if I can turn into a woman on the inside and start wanting to transition and stuff because of the excessive thinking and over analyzing I do about this?.. gosh, I don't know how to put it and I don't mean to be offensive, but I think basically that's what I'm asking.

You're probably all sighing collectively by now from reading my posts, lol.

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Robin Lee
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Hi There,

First of all, I want to encourage you to keep working with the tips your therapist gave you. Changing habits and thought processes is not easy. It takes work.

So, it may take very consciously deciding to give those tips a try for a certain period of time. Generally, the tips and coping strategies therapists have aren't instant fixes. [Smile]

I'm really not sure how to answer your second question. You're asking about how the human mind works, which really isn't my area of expertise.

it sounds like you're really focusing on this thinking thing, to the point where you don't even remember what you read that people were thinking about. [Smile]

I'm going to make a suggestion, and this is *not* us trying to get rid of you in any way.


I'm wondering how it would be to give yourself a break from all of this--a break from the reading, a break from the thinking about thinking, a break from talking to us here--especially since your therapist is not available to you right now?

Put another way,, it sounds like all this thinking and worrying is a lot of work for you, and i'm thinking you may have some more clarity if you can take a vacation from this work. it will also give you a chance to really practice the approaches your therapist gave you to try without putting more and new thoughts into your mind.

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Robin

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