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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » Problems: indicative of a serious issue?

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Author Topic: Problems: indicative of a serious issue?
UnsureFello
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Dear Scarleteen,

I am beginning to worry that my significant other is facing some sort of condition that may need to be handled professionally. Four key issues pose continual trouble - to her, to myself, and to our relationship. I suspect that these four issues may be connected, and as they seem to be escalating in seriousness, I am worried that my special someone may need some help. I was wondering if you kind folks could hear my concerns, give me your assessment, and perhaps suggest some paths towards addressing this situation.

I am happy to provide other information (background, etc.), but do to the large amount I felt I could write, I tried to pare it down to the essential elements. Please ask if there is any explanation or detail that would be useful.

First, some background:
  • Both early-20's college students.
  • I am male; she has female body parts but does not always identify as female.
  • We have been together for quite some time, currently on the tail end of a long-distance sequence that began midway through our relationship.

On to the issues, presented as what I see as four connected but distinguishable parts:
  • Libido - I have a fairly active libido, but she does not.
  • Stress - She is under a large amount of stress, and she seems to be having a very difficult time dealing with it.
  • Gender/Identity - She has struggled with identity - gender identity specifically, but also identity in general - for quite some time.
  • Self-Worth - I'm not sure if that is the correct term for this, but she frequently gets really down on herself, on life, on things in general.

She has been working on these issues for years, making definite progress at some points, but these problems are starting to appear to me as a major concern. In the last few months (during which we are long-distance), she has been in a funk at least once (often more) out of every 3 times I talk to her - we talk nearly every day, often twice a day. When I went to see her after several months of being apart, we made out a total of two times in several days, going little further than that - while I can accept that she may just have a low libido, this seems odd for anyone, especially for someone this young in a fairly close relationship. There are an intense amount of stressors in her life - financial, familial, academic, etc. - but she seems unable to de-stress in a healthy way. We both felt oddly distant throughout my last visit; largely, I think, due to being stressed out.

Finally, she so often feels down on herself (the "funk" above). At points in the past, this has been over issues of gender identity. Sometimes, it is in regards to performance - she is something of a perfectionist. Other times, it just seems to come for no reason - when she's tired, hungry, or just randomly in the evenings, she'll just begin to intensely doubt herself.

It is very possible that there is no issue, but put together and connected with her history, I am worrying that she is facing a serious psychological or even clinical issue. While these problems used to pop up now and again, as we have gotten more into the relationship, she seems to be ever-more consumed with stress and feeling down that it seems like it takes her alot of effort to enjoy things in life. In short, she just seems down much more than I feel someone should be down.

I have talked with her about this, and she agrees that she is not happy with the way she currently feels. In terms of finding resolution, however, we are hitting a wall - counselors/therapy is difficult to obtain, and past attempts by her have kind of fizzled out. Medical care is also expensive and inconvenient, and I don't want to play armchair-doctor and tell her to go get X Y and Z tested.

That said, I am growing concerned. Stress, libido, gender identity, and self-worth all seem very much connected. I am starting to wonder if she is facing legitimate depression. From what I have read, these issues can also be caused in a myriad of medical ways - someone with a libido issue found out that there was a tumor on their pituitary gland, several of these issues seem like they could be caused due to a hormone imbalance, etc.

I am considering suggesting that I think it could be very helpful for her to go see a professional to get a serious diagnosis. I talked with a family member that also went through depression, and they - knowing both myself and the SO - agreed that something seems quite wrong.

What I would like to ask is:
1) What do you make of this situation?
2) What steps would you take if you were in my shoes?

Again, if more information on our relationship history, details, explanations, etc. would be helpful, please let me know.

Many thanks in advance in you are able to share any thoughts or information.
Best wishes to you all!

[ 03-28-2012, 01:13 AM: Message edited by: UnsureFello ]

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Heather
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You know, she could come and talk to us here about these things for free. Do you think she'd be open to doing that?

It's often just hard to get a real sense sometimes, with situations like this, of what may or may not be a problem, or something more serious, when we're getting the information no only secondhand, but from someone who has their own issues and upsets with what's going on with that person.

--------------------
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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UnsureFello
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Dear Heather,

In case it is relevant, I got her permission before talking to the family member and again before posting here - on many counts, we're in this together. My thought was that perhaps my information, while certainly less than objective, might be helpful as it comes from an exterior perspective - it is my understanding that admitting depression can be a hurdle to those who are depressed, so on the chance that she is suffering from depression, I thought that I might bring this here. As well, if it is indeed a medical issue, I thought I could list some issues to see if it rang any bells with you guys who are more knowledgeable on these things.

That said, you make an excellent point. I don't want to contaminate anything with less-than-accurate information, and it is difficult to describe exactly what is going on (especially being directly affected).

She is currently unable to access the Internet, but I will suggest this when she gets access back (should be in a few days).

Thank you very much for being open to people who may need help. You guys do the world a great service.

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Heather
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No one needs a partner's permission for something like this, but I think it's awesome of you that you sought it out first, and awesome you're clearly invested in this beyond your own dissatisfaction. [Smile]

But I do think, particularly around the libido issue, I'm missing some big pieces here, like knowing what's normal for her (since neither age nor relationship status make any level of libido normal or not: we all vary so much), how satisfied she's feeling, and her history around all that.

I'd also be curious as to how she's feeling, and if she's felt symptoms of depression before without all of these stresses and strains.

Knowing how she feels about her gender and how much she thinks those feelings might be playing a part (or not) would be pretty important, too.

--------------------
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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UnsureFello
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Dear Heather,

First of all, thank you for your prompt replies!

I will admit that the libido issue is one that I find frustrating, and I will not deny that it is a solid motivator towards wanting to work this out, but honestly, it feels like an integral part -- a symptom more than a cause -- of some other issue that I am worried about simply because I care about her and wish she didn't have such a hard time with things.

I am having a hard time getting all of this right - when she gets back, she can make clarifications and edits to my information as she likes - but I'll do my best.

In terms of history on counts of sexuality and gender:

I am her first relationship partner, and we are each other's first sexual partners. When I met her, she was in a state of radically re-figuring herself: in terms of gender, in religion (including how she felt about sexuality), etc.

My understanding is that she was at one point contemplating suicide - it is not my understanding that she was considering going through with it, but the impression I get is that she felt rather passive about it as an option. This was several years ago, however, and I believe that she has made great strides since then.

One issue we have is that we are both so new to the world of intimacy that it is hard to know where we stand - I can't what is "normal" because I have no basis. I can say that I have had the higher libido for the most of the relationship, and have made some mistakes in handling this that caused some rocky moments. I tried my best to make up for it, and I believe we have moved past them, but in case it is relevant, there it is. Lately, however, her libido seems to have dropped to even lower than what it used to be - she even commented that it seemed lower and that actions of mine which usually turned her on seem to have no effect. For a while before I met her she was in a period of having a fairly regular sex drive, but I believe that such was a fairly new development. In bed, I do have a hard time satisfying her (she doesn't care much for oral, I am not particularly good at manual, and we do not engage in intercourse), and we often end up satisfying ourselves in each other's company.

On gender-related issues, she is not certain how she feels. She doesn't want to make a drastic change in her life at this time, and keeps how she feels a secret; that said, it bothers her sometimes if I use feminine descriptors or compliment her body. I believe that another source of concern is that she is often trying hard to discern just how much of her stress is gender-related.

Again, I could be speaking inaccurately, but I'm trying my best; let me know if anything is unclear.

She's always been somewhat of a perfectionist and a go-getter (she's amazing in this regard), and I think that she's trying to learn to be okay with things going off-plan. She often worries about the future, however, and is unsure of her track in life (something I would guess many students can relate to). However, honestly, I believe that she has, in the past, had periods of being rather depressed (in a general sense).

That's about all for now - I don't want to write too much. Let me know if more will be helpful, and again, thank you for for all of your time and energy.

[ 03-28-2012, 03:25 PM: Message edited by: UnsureFello ]

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Heather
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Can I just quickly check in about if SHE feels depression is something she wants to be screened for? If so, does the college you both attend not have a student health center?

--------------------
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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UnsureFello
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I haven't mentioned depression to her point-blank (at least, not in a "hey, I believe you may be suffering from depression" sense), but part of my trouble is that I don't believe she has much faith in therapy or the medical system. She tried the student health center, but feels like it wasn't a fit; I could suggest that she do the same for the abroad institution she is at, but her view of therapy is one of: go in, tell them your problems, get their insight, leave. I'm not sure it works like that. Also, I'm not sure depression is it - I understand there to be a multitude of potential issues, all of which exist as a spectrum, so I was wondering if you had any ideas as to what/which issues could exist, if any.

As well, she comes from a family in which many family members have faced harsh hardships, and none of them have gone through therapy or received other outside aid. I kind of worry that she is trying to "suck it up" and deal with it on her own when she needs to be enlisting assistance - she doesn't want to look or feel weak.

From talking to her, I do believe that she is open to suggestion for different ways to approach life, but I feel like being screened for depression is not something she is so much interested in. I understand that it must be her choice, and I need to talk with her further, but I am not quite sure as to what to say, do, suggest, etc.

[ 03-28-2012, 04:22 PM: Message edited by: UnsureFello ]

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Heather
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Let me try this instead: do you think that SHE is unhappy with all of this stuff and that she's committed to feeling better, which is going to involve trying to get SOME kind of help and making SOME changes of some kind?

Or do you think that, based on some of what you've said here, she's more comfortable with things staying as they are for her, even if she is unhappy, if that means she doesn't have to ask for help or work on/look at some changes?

--------------------
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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Heather
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(Just FYI, we really couldn't say if what she has going on here is clinical or situational depression. Not only is that just not something we can do online, to even get a sense of if that seems like a maybe, I'd really have to know from her how she's feeling about all of this.)

That said, you know, we can also talk about how YOU are feeling, since you certainly seem to be in your own bad spot here, and since relying on something changing with her to change that isn't likely sound.

--------------------
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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UnsureFello
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I believe it is more like this: she is definitely interested in changing the way she is living her life in order to address these issues (she has told me this directly). I know that she is unhappy with the way things are now. However, I am concerned that making life changes (on a personal level) might not be the solution, since she has been trying them for some time and is still having a hard time with things. She has made some progress, so I believe that she thinks this to be the best course of action. I worry that it might be something else, though, which is why I came here.

As for my sake, while I do get frustrated, it's not only frustration with libido/relationship issues but also that kind of frustration that comes from knowing someone you care about is hurting. While I would like to solve some of these issues in our relationship, I've come to the decision that even if we end up no longer being in a relationship (which I totally hope is not the case), I would still want to help her address these issues as a friend. The libido thing used to really get me down, but I've been working on being okay with the idea that such is just who she is. However, it is one component of a problem that worries me just for her sake - I really care about her, and I hate to see her down so much.

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Heather
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I understand. I think one of the things that would be ideal in talking to her is getting a better sense of what things she wants to change, and what things she doesn't, but might need to change other things in her life to suit her better. For example, she might not want to be in a sexual relationship right now at all, or only be in one where the other person and herself are more similar per desire for any given kind of sex; if she's not feeling okay about feminine gender sometimes, and your relationship is presumed to be heterosexual, for instance, she might need that to be different.

Can I check in and ask how you're taking care of yourself and getting support around all of this for you?

--------------------
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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UnsureFello
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For one, we communicate openly and try to be supportive of each other. I have a family member that I confide in who has been around the block a few times and has reassured me that I'm not totally off-base.

To be honest, I posted this is "relationships," but I'm much more interested in and concerned with how to help her. I understand I may be part of the problem, but I have point-blank asked her if she thinks I'm good for her, and the answer is "yes." I try to make sure she knows that I am okay with any pace she wants to take sexuality, though I do go on rants about it sometimes (which she graciously puts up with). I am trying to be aware of my feelings and not worry about it so much, and I've gotten much better about it, but it can be difficult. I am also working on trying not to refer to her in gendered terms (outside of pronouns), though sometimes I slip when I'm not thinking about it.

I don't want to hit the sexuality part too hard, though - while libido triggered a large part of my concern, and I'm wary of letting that make me "see ghosts" in other issues, I am honestly concerned on the other fronts.

Also, I believe that relationship issues we have are the result of these problems and not the cause. This could be wrong, and I'm not going to block out the idea that it is, but honestly I want to be there for her and try to help fix (or rather, help her get fixed) anything that is giving her trouble.

You make some good points, and I will talk to her in more detail - I may have been premature in coming here, so I appreciate you making me aware of that.

One thing, though - we have talked about changes in life, and while we disagree respectfully on some issues of life philosophy (which we love talking about together), we are coming up short on life changes that could help. It could be that we just need to be more creative, but we're two fairly creative people, and I'm really wondering if she just needs a hand.

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Heather
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Okay. So, sounds like before we move forward with this more around her, you need to talk to her some more -- perhaps being more direct about what you think might be going on and what your concerns are? -- and then, if we can really be of help, we need to talk with her.

That sound about right to you?

(As well, might be worth asking what, in all of this, she really not just wants help with, but wants YOUR help with. Even when we have an awesome partner and they want to help, they might not always be able to, we often will need additional help, and our partner sometimes isn't the right person to help us with particular issues.)

[ 03-28-2012, 06:18 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

--------------------
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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TheSignificantOtter
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Hi there! I’m UnsureFello’s S.O., (yeah, yeah…bad otter jokes…I know).

Just thought I’d clarify some things. I apologize for being kinda rambly, but I wanted to cover everything. I am feeling sort of directionless with much of this…other than I’d like things to work out with my life goals and with my relationship with UnsureFello.
-------------------------------------------
First off, what UnsureFello has said is for the most part very accurate. I sometimes worry that I don’t explain things well to him, so I was pleasantly surprised after reading this thread to know that this doesn’t seem to be the case.

Here’s a few things I’d amend and/or elaborate on:

-As far as libido goes, I have never had a really active libido. That said, it is not the case that I don’t have one. I’d say I probably fall a little on the low side of middle on average.

I have specifically noticed a decrease in libido around the times when I have been more stressed/feeling down. A lot of times my libido seems to come and go…some of which I think is just due to normal changes/cyclings of female hormones and things…But I do find that often I will be with my partner for a number of days, and while at times I will feel the urge to be sexual, if we actually get around to engaging in some kind of sexual activity, I often lose interest. The same goes for masturbation; I often will feel like doing so, but when I find time to, I either am not interested, or I have to sort of “fake” my way along until I actually become aroused, at which point I will become more interested. Sometimes in both of these cases, I am interested the whole time, and all goes as expected, but this is rarer.

Also, please note that I am not attracted in the same capacity to anyone else at the moment, and I think I would find it even more difficult to be sexual with another guy…so I don’t think it is the case that I am just not attracted to my current partner specifically.

I guess if I feel less sexual drive, mostly I feel pretty satisfied, (although I am never happy that my partner isn’t satisfied)…and other times, I often feel kind of dissatisfied or like I’m missing out on something. I was kind of a late bloomer, and didn’t really stumble into having crushes until high school. When I did, I didn’t date in high school and even wouldn’t discuss the several unrequited loves I had with anyone. I sort of considered love and sexuality to be off-limits for me, though I didn’t know why and later opened up a bit about this. I think largely this was because I am a bit of an odd-ball socially (not in a bad way though [Wink] ), because I wasn’t really emotionally ready for a relationship, because of a small negative sexual experience I had as a child, (which I have now sorted through and feel better about), and possibly because of how I see my gender.

-I feel very mixed-up about my gender right now. Mostly I see myself as sort of just a person. If that makes sense? I consider myself gender-neutral or without gender…in this capacity, I often see myself as possibly being perceived as many gender identities at different times. I guess really I’m sort of at a spot where I’m constantly oscillating between feeling like I know what’s going on and feeling a lot of doubt—I often go through periods of imitating girls I admire in hopes that I’m just making things up and I can just go back to being comfortably female and unaware of how I now understand myself. I am fairly feminine, if unconventionally so, thus I would have to really make a point of expressing my gender as other-than-female. I currently chose to stay silent, as I am still financially dependent on my parents and godmom. While I’d love to just not make this a big deal and continue having a pretty good relationship with them, (though I probably won’t tell my dad; I’m more distant from him), I fear that things might explode in my face. I’d rather hide myself and express my gender-non-normative-ness in a limited way away from everyone else than risk my livelihood and a roof over my head, (although I know some friends who might take me in). So I also haven’t told any of my close friends. I have talked to some folks in the LGBTQ community at my university, but I remain pretty distant from them. I have talked about my gender in depth with UnsureFello, as it seems critical to the relationship for him to know; he’s been really awesome and supportive. I am much blessed in this regard.

Things get even more complicated when I start to look at functioning in the world as an adult. I realized recently that I see myself as a kid/teen/young adult and I fantasize about what life will be like when I’m old, but I don’t really see what life will be like when I am middle aged/an adult. What do I put on my driver’s license? Should I ever get married? I wouldn’t really be a bride…What if I raise a child. I am no mother, nor a father. I’ll never really be a maid of honor in my friends’ weddings, even were they to invite me to do so. This intersects with sexuality too. I also realized that I never want to become pregnant. It’s not that I think pregnancy is gross or totally scary…I used to have a pet goat, and I even got to witness her give birth to kids…It was pretty cool…although birth is obviously not a walk in the park or without its share of blood and pain and goo…But I just would feel really wrong were that to happen to my body. My reproductive capabilities/parts kind of weird me out. Which often is a turn-off in the midst of sexual activity. It is also not the case that I never want children. I mean…that is not something I feel ready for/want right now…but I think it’d be a cool life experience, and I’d like to do it someday.

What bothers me most right now is that I don’t really have much of a niche in my society. In the world at large, there isn’t really a lot of language to even acknowledge the existence of people like me, and if there is, it is often just slurs and dehumanizing insults. It also depends much on how one conceives of gender in the first place. In some worldviews, I am just some completely delusional girl and should be stripped of all my rights…perhaps meet a worse fate. I just wish I knew an easier way to be in the world.

Couple this with my already quirky/eccentric self, and I end up having a bit of trouble socializing sometimes…

-As for how I’m doing…From what I have experienced in the past, (I was situationally depressed for about 3.5 years), I don’t feel as bad as I used to, and I don’t think I am clinically depressed. Nevertheless, I do have difficulty handling stress, with self-image, and everyday things like making decisions or socializing often feel harder than they should. To address your question, I’ve had lots of stressors basically since I started high school. I do sometimes have breaks…Like summer vacations and such…when I try to relax and do little…but I still find myself stressing out.

I was raised in and personally subscribe to the mindset that sometimes life is challenging, and one should try to be as honest, humble, and disciplined as one can…Although one should also take care of themselves, and that play is as important as work. With these thoughts in mind, I often find it hard to accurately judge whether I just need to keep trying harder at what I am doing, or whether I really am struggling with something I shouldn’t be and really do need help.

-I am cool with trying to work on things…but I feel like from what I know of counseling, essentially the point has been to express feelings…(which I already have outlets for)…and to look at ways of pinpointing difficulties and methods of coping with them. I feel like I’m a pretty smart cookie, and I can do a lot of this trouble-shooting myself, (and so I have been for the past 2 years or so)…It just seems that no matter how many servings of vegetables or regular hours of sleep I get per day, and no matter how much socializing, exercise, or changing of my thought patterns I do, I seem to still be stressed out, down, or really emotional a good deal of the time. I have tried to accept some of this as situational and some as just a facet of me being a sensitive person, but I still am not entirely happy with things.

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"...And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we've no money for butter.
And make up for the sobriety of my youth..."

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TheSignificantOtter
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Edits:

-After my high school love-shyness, we segue straight into my current relationship. UnsureFello was more experienced than I was, but we both have been just exploring and being naive together...It's been a pretty fun trip so far.

-read "have children" as "adopt/raise/parent/support children" not as "give birth to children."

--------------------
"...And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we've no money for butter.
And make up for the sobriety of my youth..."

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UnsureFello
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Otter agreed to come and post (above). I'm writing here just to make sure that this thread didn't fall through the cracks. No hurry on reply, though, and thank you for all!

[ 04-10-2012, 05:27 PM: Message edited by: UnsureFello ]

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Heather
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Great! We'll be sure to keep an eye out. [Smile]

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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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Redskies
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(Heather, I think I'm seeing a misunderstanding here. Otter's post is already written above.)

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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UnsureFello
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Sorry for any miscommunication; yes, the posts above (TheSignificantOtter) are from my SO. Thanks!

[ 04-10-2012, 05:44 PM: Message edited by: UnsureFello ]

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Heather
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Oh, didn't see them, thanks! I'll read through them now. [Smile]

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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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UnsureFello
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Thank you! Otter and I were just talking, and wanted to thank you for being such a kind person.

[ 04-10-2012, 05:47 PM: Message edited by: UnsureFello ]

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Heather
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Good to "meet" you Otter (and that's one of the best handles of EVER).

You know reading through this, my gut feeling is that it sounds like what you might need most, and might benefit from, all around, most is having some kind of real community in which you feel a kinship and comfort with your gender identity right now as it feels. Not as you or anyone else thinks it "should" be, but just as it feels.

If you can imagine that, having some kind of peer/support group and community where you get to be you, the you you feel you are (including feelings of not knowing who that is, feeling confused or in transition), do you think that'd do some big positive stuff for you, and help with some of the issues you've been having?

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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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UnsureFello
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Hey! Me again. I don't know if this would of use to Otter (the handle - I know, right?), and I'm not sure if she'll be able to be on for a bit; that's all up to her. I'm just curious for my own knowledge - what kind of groups like this exist, and how would you suggest finding them? I know that there is an LGBT organization on campus, but other than that, I can't think of much (save for online communities).
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Heather
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Well, I think like any of our communities, a lot of it is going to be about self-forming.

I mean, for sure, one can sometimes start building that with already-organized or more formal groups, but as Otter and a lot of us know, the more outside the box you are, the harder that can be.

But if we're talking about something like feeling or being agender, there's a goodly amount of that community online, opening up who one talks to about that might identify more people in the same or a similar spot (or who aren't, but get it pretty well and are supportive), and starting with LGBT groups and seeking out connections around agender, specifically, inside and threading from those groups can be an additional route.

Obviously, too, I'm going to be the last person to diminish the lifeline and big help online communities can be for a lot of people: we see how much that offers people just here every day, and while it's not the same as in-person relationships, it can be just as valuable. [Smile]

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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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Heather
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Btw, if it helps or is wanted, some of what you're expressing, Otter, are feelings I've had myself throughout life, and things I've grappled with and (pretty much, I think) worked through, too. So if hearing someone talk about some of this from a personal place, especially someone who is (how did this happen?!?), middle-aged now, so can perhaps speak to some of what you're wondering about down the road, I'd be happy to do that.

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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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UnsureFello
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So I think Otter is off and will be away for a few days; if you are both interested, perhaps dialogue can be resumed upon her return. Thank you for all of your help, time and patience. I don't want to speak on Otter's behalf too much, but from discussions, I think that hearing about your feelings on this issue - including what could be expected in the future - would be something she would be interested in and appreciate (as best as I can tell).

[ 04-10-2012, 07:15 PM: Message edited by: UnsureFello ]

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Heather
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No worries: y'all know where to find me when she is back around. [Smile]

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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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TheSignificantOtter
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Heather,

I am back from Easter break travels, so I should be able to access a computer reliably for a while now. Thanks so much for getting back to us!

I think maybe you're right. As I mentioned, I did for a bit hang out with a group of LGBT folks, all of whom were awesome and supportive...but I have to say, it was pretty lonely. There was a transguy who showed up periodically, and he and I could relate a bit about dysphoria and such, but still...Maybe I should try seeking out some other folks more similar in the gender department. I had been avoiding reaching out to the online community, but for the time which I'm abroad, this might not be a bad idea. I do think just having someone to discuss the general day-to-day of gender would be a great thing.

Also, the things you mentioned you have grappled with and had life experience with, what are you referring to? (Sorry...the answer to this may be obvious, but I got a bit confused.)

Thank you again so much for your time.

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"...And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we've no money for butter.
And make up for the sobriety of my youth..."

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Heather
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Hope your travels were good stuff! [Smile]

Do you have any good starting places with online community around agender, even maybe knowing some blogs to read by agender writers? If not, I'd be happy to help build you a little list.

In terms of what I was referring to, I meant that while I don't ID as agender (though I often wonder if I might have if that had even been on the horizon when I was younger: at this later stage of my life, while I don't have a lot in common sometimes with a lot of cisgender or trans gender women, I think I feel like I've gotten used to being the kind of woman I am and that word, so new terms now would feel like more of an uncomfortable adjustment for me, if you get me), I certainly can relate to some of what you've said here about how you feel about your gender, and some other things, and as an adult entering middle-age, I could certainly speak to what that can look like when it comes to being atypical when it comes to some kinds of gender conformity.

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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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TheSignificantOtter
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Heather,

My travels were good. Got to see an old friend I hadn't seen in a couple of years.

I have a pretty good agender website list to work from, so don't go to too much trouble...if you had any off the top of your head you wanted to recommend, that's always appreciated.

Also, thanks for clarifying! I think I'll see if I can't build up a bit of a better social network for gender stuff first and keep you in mind for in the future if that doesn't help.

Thanks again for your help from both me and 'Fello!

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"...And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we've no money for butter.
And make up for the sobriety of my youth..."

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