A mental health break

I know it’s been awhile since I last posted. And I was going to try to come up with some deep gender insight this week based on all the thoughts swirling in my head. But instead I decided to be honest about why I haven’t written.

It’s been a tough couple of weeks for my mental health. I have the interesting challenge of living with a combination of anxiety, depression, ADD, and OCD. I’m what you might call “high functioning” which can be useful but also means I often forget to engage in the type of self care that would keep me that way. But I have been trying to do more of that. To give myself a break from the chaos of unpacking my new home, to get off social media for a bit, and to do things like playing video games and watching TV with a new cat in my lap.

But it is hard to overcome the various external and internal messages that can trigger debilitating anxiety and depression. Last week I had a few days where I was really struggling with the “not enough” messages. I felt like I wasn’t good at my job and it was only a matter of time before they figured it out and fired me. I felt like I wasn’t a good partner and soon my partners would realize I’m actually really boring. And one day didn’t feel like I was trans enough to wear a dress so I wore a more masculine outfit which then caused me to later feel like I wasn’t trans enough because I wasn’t wearing a dress. It was an overwhelming day!

During that time I KNEW logically that those messages weren’t true. I get validation at work all the time that I’m on the right track and I’m good at what I do. And I know my partners love me and are choosing daily to be with me. And I’m writing a whole frickin’ blog about how “not trans enough” is total bullshit! But yet…

Luckily my therapist reminded me that those feelings are OK to have, even if they aren’t true. And that those kinds of doubts are even part of the official physiological diagnosis of “gender dysphoria” that I am submitting to insurance. Periods of transition and intense gender exploration can bring those more to the forefront and make them louder. But that doesn’t make them any less false.

I’m also in this place where the horribleness of the world (and particularly the U.S.) is really getting to me. I know some of it is that I’m just more aware now of the reality that most people have been facing their whole lives. But I still have a hard time figuring out if I feel depressed and despairing because the world is so terrible or if the terribleness of the world is just emphasized and oversimplified because I’m depressed.

So I’m here sharing this with you to remind you to take those vital mental health breaks. To engage in self care in a radical way that allows you to go back out into that terrible world with enough energy to face it. It’s not selfish to take care of yourself because without that you wouldn’t have anything to give back. It’s like putting on your own air mask before helping the person next to you.

One way I’ve been doing self care is by beginning to read Jeffrey Marsh‘s new book, How to Be You. It’s very affirming to read and I’m getting lots of ideas for new posts which I’m sure you’ll see soon. I’m also very encouraged by how much positive feedback I’ve gotten on this blog. After only a month and 8 posts, I’ve had 950 views from 370 readers. Thank you all for being there for me and listening to my ramblings. Until next time!

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