The Crossdresser Blues
Depression is the single most prevalent mental health issue in the world. An astonishing 10% of the U.S. population deals with at least mild depression, but among the transgender population this figure is much higher. The sad thing is that most people don’t actually seek help with their depression because of the stigma attached to mental health. Once you consider the additional burden of guilt, shame, and fear that often accompany transgender feelings, you have an even more obvious reason why the transgender population is hesitant to seek out help.
I’m of course no exception to this rule. For the majority of my life I’ve lived with varying degrees of depression about feeling the wrong gender inside. Whether it was some of my first memories of asking for a doll for Christmas, or being poked fun of for playing house with the girls at recess, or later on my knees repenting to God for trying on one of my sisters dresses – I’ve experienced a variety of these feelings. It was only when I graduated from college and realized that my depression was getting worse that I decided to seek out therapy – and I’m so glad I did.
I can honestly say that over the last few years my depression has improved quite a bit as I’ve worked with a therapist, and even seen an endocrinologist who has helped me lower my testosterone. Coming out to my family and finding acceptance and love there also has been a huge source of support, as well as the continuing love and support of my wife. Although I haven’t joined any transgender or crossdresser groups, many also find support in these communities.
But even with these sources of support I still find myself feeling scared and depressed from time to time. I think about whether I’ll eventually end up transitioning, and what that might mean for my life, my job, my marriage, and my relationships. It scares me, but sometimes I feel that this is the only way for me to feel at peace with who I am inside. But then I wonder, if I take estrogen and transition if I’ll have exchanged one set of problems for another set of fears. I simply just don’t know.
What I can say, is that for now I feel so much more mentally healthy than I used to, and that working with a qualified therapist, and taking steps forward slowly with things like hair removal, lowering my testosterone, and doing other things to feel more feminine, has really helped me to get by day to day without sinking into transgender or crossdresser blues very often. My mental health has improved a lot since I’ve channeled that depression into something constructive.
If you are a crossdresser or a transgendered person who is dealing with depression in the form of the blues, please consider my story. I know how scary it can be to seek out help, and often the stigma of avoiding professional help is the strongest in our own minds – but it is so worth it to start thinking and talking about these issues openly and figuring out a plan for making your life better. Just because you seek out therapy doesn’t mean you’ll end up going through with SRS, or that you are a transsexual – but it will mean that for the first time in your life you’ll be in control of your destiny instead of letting depression control you.
In the end, know that 1 out of ever 10 people around you are dealing with depression (and 1 in ever 5 with other mental health issues) – you can know you are not alone. More than this, that there are millions of people who seek help each year, and feel better as a result. You owe it to yourself (and to those around you) to see what your options are, and get control of your health; mental health included!
Please Share: Do you have “blues” around your gender? Have you been working on improving your mental health? How do you deal with transgender depression?
Image Credit: Pensiero