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Kimdl93

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The past few days I have been wrestling yet again with how to reconcile myself to reality. The reality that on one hand I was born and have lived my life as biologically male and at the same time, throughout that life, have felt a need to express this other aspect of my self. Really, this has been a lifelong emotional rollercoaster ride, a constant struggle with feelings of guilt and longing, moments of seemingly self acceptance and stretches of denial.

It inevitably boils down to A) a fear that I’m delusional to some degree or addicted to whatever positive brain chemicals released when I express myself as a woman, B) a cold assessment of reality which insists that I was born and must remain a male, and C) a sense that as a rational person, I should be disciplined enough to able to put this behavior aside.

I know these are not unique personal issues and really, I’m not expecting anyone to come up with a solution.
 

Monica

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Kim, this describes my thoughts to a tee! It was a lifelong battle for me also. Having gone through what you have (at least similar) then been able to correct my gender, I have few thoughts to consider. I'm not urging any transition action here, okay? The feelings of femininity are real, genuine, and part of you. There is no foreign thing to be addicted to, it is part of who you are. I don't believe in the shame or guilt. Logically, it is society that is a bit sick that they freak out about any type of gender variation. You did not choose these feelings. I will also say that I've never seen anyone who had these feelings go away. If fact, many times, they get stronger with age. It is no personal flaw in you that you have not been able to banish your thoughts. I would urge you to not attempt to run from the reality that the feelings are real. I ran for over 50 years and it caused so much pain. I don't know what a good path for you would be. I would urge you to try to understand your feelings, to come up with a good solution that is right for you. I certainly would hate to see you self bash yourself over this.
 

OzGirl

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Kim, that need to express yourself is your brain’s incongruent gender identity, it is hard wired and nothing you can do will change it. The reality is it will always be there, sometimes getting very strong. These feelings of not being happy with yourself, urges to present as female, a general unhappiness, are all dysphoria. So your A,B, and C optionas cannot apply.

The path is to see an experiencd gender psychologist and have them check to see if you have any other conditions, then explore transition. This is the only path which will go towards reducing or eliminating dysphoria from your life. You may not choose to go that way as I did, but then you must deal with unrelenting dysphoria which can be life threatening.

Good Luck!

Allie
 
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Katie

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There are few things in the human experience stronger than one's sense of self. Your gender identity will find ways to express itself no matter how frequently and how strongly you suppress it. For some of us, it used so much force to break through the suppression that we nearly died. That happened to me in 2018.

Staying alive and healthy is not a delusion. Nor is it simply a matter of self discipline to deny your identity. People go insane doing that, and frequently attempt suicide due to the effects of that denial on their mental health.

Do what you have to do keep yourself safe and healthy. If it's crossdressing, then crossdress. If it's HRT, then use HRT. If its GCS, then get on the road to GCS. You need to stay alive and healthy.
 

Marie62

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Kim,

the others have already said so, so let me just confirm to you that this is innate, it is an urge, a drive that is inborn and unlike the sex drive, which one ~can~ suppress at will (but at a cost ...) the drive to express one‘s true gender cannot be suppressed for any longer period or for good.

The examples of life threat arising out of suppression that Allie and Katie gave are for real, but are the extremes and not the common mode. What you describe as your condition, this sense of delusion and addiction, this doubt if one must not simply conform and that one should be able to control it, this is exactly the common mode and all of A, B and C are wrong!

You can’t beat it, it’s you and I alway say if you can’t beat it, embrace it, it’s you!

This does not mean that you should transition, it does not mean that you need hormones or any form of body modifying intervention to be able to embrace. Some of these ~can~ help, but the first and most important step towards inner peace lies within you! You really have to conquer your inner transphobia and learn to not only accept, but to truly love your female side, she is you.

If you then have to make some reality based decisions, such as not coming out for family, social or professional reasons, then this is ok. It will limit you in your ability to express yourself as a female, but as long as you can secure some space for your female side to express itself, all will be well. And if you decide to e.g. not go on HRT because the likely occurring bodily changes will eventually force you to come out, then this is also ok.

All I would really wish for you is that you learn to truly love that female side of yours and that you learn to enjoy living it as much or as little as you can and when you do, to learn to enjoy the heck out of it without any guilt or shame, there should be none, you are merely being yourself! - Love it!

Hugs,
Marie
 

KathyLauren

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Kim, your gender identity is no less biological than your genitals. You were born with male genitals and a female brain, making you transgender. The reason that the urge to express as a woman is so strong is because your brain is female. You can't wish that away, any more than you can wish your genitals away.

That doesn't mean that you have to transition. Lots of trans people manage to get through life without transitioning, for various perfectly good reasons. But it does mean that you will probably be happier if you can give those urges some expression from time to time. It is draining to go through life pretending to be someone that you are not all the time.

I do not agree with your A-B-C assessment. A) It is perfectly natural to want to express your true nature. B) You were born transgender, and that will not change. C) This is more than mere "behaviour", and trying to suppress it hurts you in the long run.

Now, I am talking like you have already been diagnosed as transgender, and I don't have the expertise to do that. It just sounds like it to me, and you are here, after all. But I agree with Allie that seeing a gender therapist is the way to go, to help you understand yourself and to come to terms with your occasional need to express your gender.
 

Marie62

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... Now, I am talking like you have already been diagnosed as transgender, and I don't have the expertise to do that. It just sounds like it to me, and you are here, after all. But I agree with Allie that seeing a gender therapist is the way to go, to help you understand yourself and to come to terms with your occasional need to express your gender.
To add to what Kathy said, there also is NO NEED AT ALL for you to be diagnosed as transgender in the end. There simply is no justification needed for you to feel the way you do, there needs to be no assumption of "oh well, it's biological" to make it right, neither for yourself, nor for anyone else.

If, in the end you realize that you simply LOVE expressing ~a~ female side you have by dressing and behaving female at times, then this is perfectly alright and you do not need to have a reason or a cause at hand to then call yourself a (hopefully happy) crossdresser. It still is society that is off with its judgement of such things, not the people expressing their identity in this way.
 

NancyBalik

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Kim, Oh my goodness, what we do to ourselves! You probably know this, but of the 3 thoughts you mention, C, the idea that you “should be able to control this” as a rational person is the most ridiculous (and most self-shaming) How do I know? I’ve tried it, like countless others, and failed.

As someone who has decided not to transition, I also know that it has helped me to simply acknowledge that these constant thoughts and yearnings ARE because I am trans and are okay, acceptable, and do not mean that I am “less-than” others. I try to accept these yearnings as something to manage, rather than something to suppress.

Because of remaining uncertainty about what makes us trans (nature vs nurture), we don’t really know if we were “born as males.” But, to me, that doesn’t matter. What matters is how you feel now. You’ll be happier if you accept yourself — doesn’t mean you transition. There are many girls who don’t. Best, Nancy
 

Maddie

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Kim what you posted is a lot like me and my thinking that helped me to survive as male.

For me I needed to crossdress more and more publically. I need it to be normal, and I need to be seen. To put myself in uncomfortable situations in order to gain experience and grow.
Clearing body hair was a freeing step forward, as I hated mine.

Two other things lead me further into transland.

Desire to grow breasts.

Sexual dysphoria. Apparently sex and gender are not the same thing, BUT in my case I have this one too.
My sexperiences made me upset, angry, and even physically ill that I wasn't the female.

Your A, B, and C all make sense to me. Wish you some peace, to help with your conflict.
 

Katie

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Clearing body hair was a freeing step forward, as I hated mine.

I wasn’t really focused on this at any point in my pre-transition life, but when I decided to finally start shaving and then epilating my body hair, there was no turning back. I couldn’t believe how much better I felt without it. Looking at my body and not seeing that nasty stuff just feels so “right”.
 

Kimdl93

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I wonder if there is such a thing as dysphoria exhaustion. Sometimes i do feel a bit weary of the struggle and perhaps that fatigue is what at times pushes me into the lows I sometimes experience. I cannot entirely imagine how life feels without the push and pull, the alternating moments of feeling at ease and wrong.
 

OzGirl

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Dysphoria uses depression in it's battle to wear us down to submission, and that is when many try to end the struggle. It is important to be able to recognise the signs of dysphoria, and also depression, so when they come, you can deal with them.

Hugs,
Allie
 

Michelle_P

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I wonder if there is such a thing as dysphoria exhaustion. Sometimes i do feel a bit weary of the struggle and perhaps that fatigue is what at times pushes me into the lows I sometimes experience. I cannot entirely imagine how life feels without the push and pull, the alternating moments of feeling at ease and wrong.

Yes, very definitely. Dysphoria wears at us, and definitely can induce both depression and anxiety. In my case several years ago I became suicidal, and calling a help line at the last minute very likely saved my life. I came out to family as a result of that, and entered therapy. Once I was sure I really was transgender, I started hormone replacement therapy, responded very well, and aimed for a full transition socially and medically.
 

SuzieO

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The past few days I have been wrestling yet again with how to reconcile myself to reality. The reality that on one hand I was born and have lived my life as biologically male and at the same time, throughout that life, have felt a need to express this other aspect of my self. Really, this has been a lifelong emotional rollercoaster ride, a constant struggle with feelings of guilt and longing, moments of seemingly self acceptance and stretches of denial.

It inevitably boils down to A) a fear that I’m delusional to some degree or addicted to whatever positive brain chemicals released when I express myself as a woman, B) a cold assessment of reality which insists that I was born and must remain a male, and C) a sense that as a rational person, I should be disciplined enough to able to put this behavior aside.

I know these are not unique personal issues and really, I’m not expecting anyone to come up with a solution.
Girl, I’m on that roller coaster with you! You describe lots of the emotions I’ve been having and all I know is that when I see myself as a woman and strive to appear as female as possible it feels right and true even if difficult. I think the challenge will make us stronger women and better people. So keep your beautiful chin up and we will all go out and face this crazy world that d doesn’t understand us together . Hugs, Suzie
 

TonyaJanelle

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It inevitably boils down to A) a fear that I’m delusional to some degree or addicted to whatever positive brain chemicals released when I express myself as a woman, B) a cold assessment of reality which insists that I was born and must remain a male, and C) a sense that as a rational person, I should be disciplined enough to able to put this behavior aside.

In my case after alternating between your A B & C for 50 years it turned out to be D) I am transgender and this won't go away. Took me a couple months of therapist visits to figure that out. She never told me I was transgender, I came to that realization by talking about it for the first time.

If that's where you find yourself also, the next step is figuring out how to deal with it and there are many ways.

A gender therapist is a great way to figure out where you are and what will work for you as far as dealing with whatever you find.
 

NancyBalik

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I wonder if there is such a thing as dysphoria exhaustion. Sometimes i do feel a bit weary of the struggle and perhaps that fatigue is what at times pushes me into the lows I sometimes experience. I cannot entirely imagine how life feels without the push and pull, the alternating moments of feeling at ease and wrong.
Of course! By its very nature, feeling dysphoric, or “not right” with something is exhausting. And, since depression is the psychological imbalance of emotional replenishment vs emotional depletion, the experience is depleting. For me, for example, having a “dress up day” is amazingly replenishing (euphoric sometimes), but the return to reality the next day is tremendously depleting. Sometimes I have chosen to forego opportunities to dress because I dread the “hangover” that will follow.

I have read that starting on hormones lessens this “boomerang” for many.
Nancy
 

OzGirl

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Nancy, anything you do towards realising your gender ID is replenishing. Even just planning to do something can reduce dysphoria some, but physically doing something seems to have the most benefit. The frustrations of dysphoria seem cumulative, building through time, and when released can be euphoric. But going back to your normal state mostly doesn't take you right back to the point where you needed to get stress relief, but it does start that cumulative frustration again. This is how I managed 65 years of dysphoria. It was only when my dysphoria was out of control that I needed HRT. The day my psychologist diagnosed me and said I needed to start HRT, my dysphoria reduced significantly, and then almost completely when I actually started. But, like dressing, soon, it wasn't enough, and I needed to do something else. So, it is a progression over time, and with an uncertain end.

Hugs,

Allie
 

Randi

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I've been all over the place with dysphoria in my life. Sometimes it hasn't seemed like much, sometimes it just seems overwhelming. These days, it seems to manifest itself a lot like a minor, nagging toothache. Kind of always there, you're aware of it, it can be hard to get comfortable and stop thinking about it. I think for me my current levels are due to indecision and partial suppression. I'm on hormones, ain't going off, but I haven't put a flag in the ground and asked my family to use female pronouns and identify as female. I'm out to an increasing number of people on paper (literally), but not really in terms of presentation. In a bit of a twix and between state. Sometimes it seems fine. Sometimes it seems awful. I do think if I were less compromised, I'd have less dysphoria, but to be less compromised will carry a pretty heavy personal price, I think.

OK. Now that I've talked about me, me, me (you know, the important stuff :)) .... to the OP's original points.

A. I don't think this is delusional or addictive any more than water and oxygen are addictive. Self-expression and authenticity are deep-rooted, inescapable, psychological needs. Suppressing them is not healthy. Many here, including myself, can attest to that.

B. A cold assessment of reality acknowledges the reality of natal gender, but that does not mean your assigned gender is a life sentence. So much of gender is socially constructed and has nothing to do with the biological differences between the sexes. Traditional, the social roles of man and woman correlate perfectly to birth sex, but the reality of trans lives calls that into question. Our reproductive anatomy does not control our mind or psyche. There is a deep-rooted, innate sense of which social role you should take. Much of the current debate about trans rights is really a debate about language, the shared understanding of words, and how to categorize people. Trans people present the possibility that gender definitions should be much more broadly defined to accommodate the portion that is trans. Traditionalists push back against this, just as they do against redefining marriage to include same-sex couples. But language and definitions are not carved in stone. Eight-hundred or so years ago in English the word "girl" meant a young child of either sex. It gradually became the gendered term it is today when "boy" was introduced into the language. I think the debate over redefining the gender nouns and words like marriage and family is fueled by an increasing recognition of the complexity of the human condition.

C.While we are capable of reason, we are not rational beings all the time. We are capable of much, much more. Reason does not give us the ability to control our feelings. So much happens at the subconscious level, beyond its control. It is true that our conscious mind can control our actions, given sufficient motivation. If we lived in, say, New Gilead, and were being hanged as gender traitors, we could probably exert enough self-control to stay in the closet. And really, that's a little bit of what many older people did, growing up in the deeply transphobic culture of 40, 50 years ago. And lots of those folks, including myself, can testify that the costs of the closet are quite high. While imperfect, society has become much more accepting of trans people. Whatever added degree of safety the closet offers, It's no longer worth the price you pay.

Anywhoo, that's what I got. I do apologize. I can be quite the prolix windbag. ;)
 
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Katie

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Eight-hundred or so years ago in English the word "girl" meant a young child of either sex

Wow, I didn’t know this. Thanks for sharing this!
 
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