Today was the first day on an antidepressant. Some observations on what I’ve gained, what I didn’t know I had been living without these past few years, living in denial about the fact that I was clinically depressed.
- I noticed at the end of my work day that I was actually able to drive hard putting on finishing touches on a graphic design project under very high pressure—without really fizzing out. I only took one break
- I didn’t know I’ve been living with impaired cognitive abilities, that of making creative connections and problem solving
As soon as I got off work, I Continue reading →
Mark A. Yarhouse’s book, Understanding Gender Dysphoria is a seminal book for me. Because as someone who grew up in the American evangelical church, I needed to hear an initial voice coming from a fellow evangelical who was a psychologist specializing in LGBT issues. In his book, Yarhouse outlines three frameworks through which people tend to view the phenomenon of being transgender:
Integrity Framework saw the binary of male and female as tied to biological features (at its most rudimentary, gentitalia and chromosomes) and therefore immutable.
Disability Framework saw that people who experience gender dysphoria should be treated with compassion since they do not choose to feel this way. Yet this view stays within the traditional Christian view that being transgender is still somehow wrong.
The third framework is Diversity. This view is more prevalent in the broader secular culture. Our gender diversity (which may or may not be binary) and our sexual diversity (LGB+) should be celebrated as contributing to the diversity of our common humanity.
Yarhouse wants to suggest a fourth framework that draws upon the best of the three frameworks: what he calls the integrated framework. He wants to affirm the traditional Christian view of the integrity framework, while operating with the compassion of the disability framework, yet wants to move beyond its condescending and pathologizing view. Then why not simply move to the diversity framework? Because the integrity framework doesn’t seem to allow one to embrace the diversities of human genders and sexualities and celebrate it as something good in and of itself.
Yarhouse’s integrated framework wants to live within the tension of holding onto traditional Christian beliefs while embracing the latest clinical, psychological research into the subject matter.
It is now three years since I’ve been in therapy. Today I found myself having to leave work in the middle of the day because I was roiling under a wave of depression triggered by…gender dysphoria.
And when I’m under this wave, not knowing which way is up or down, and the only light penetrating the depths is the acute knowledge that I’m trans—I have to remind myself that I (indeed no trans person) chose to be trans. We just are trans.
Lately I find myself no longer needing Continue reading →
Friday night. After church. Sitting alone in my car. I could not stop the tears. Depression came over me like a wall of water—a tsunami wave. Exhausted I pulled the lever to adjust my seat and laid there, staring up at the ceiling of my car. There in the darkness, the only words God seems to whisper to me these past three years of my struggling with gender dysphoria came to me again: I AM with you. Such puzzling, empty, infuriating words of comfort.
Then, out of nowhere a new understanding opened up in me:
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The other night I dreamt that I was a boy who had a girlfriend. The next night I dreamt that I was a girl who had a boyfriend. The night after that, at bed time my body seized up, frozen, wracked with grief. The grief was nothing new. But the sensation of feeling trapped in a body not my own — a body neither male nor female, longing for the freedom it would bring, that of inhabiting a female body — this was new. The next night it happened again.
Went to an LGBT center for the first time in my life. The place is so cool. The smell of hope is there. Like, there’s an army of people here to help me and support me. Yet, I felt like some kind of traitor or spy among them (see, how I’m using the word, “them”?). Because all my life I’ve been taught that LGBT people were steeped in sin and somehow evil (if not in character, then in their mission — their gay agenda).
At the same time, I was so scared by the matter-of-fact way in which my intake person assumed I was there to start medically transitioning. I’m not ready for that yet. Sigh. Doesn’t help that two days ago, I spun into denial. Yet, at the same time that I was scared by my intake person’s matter-of-fact-ness, I longed for that. I wish that I, too, could Continue reading →
Picked up a Harry Potter pendant necklace on my lunch break today. It’s always so nerve racking. Have experienced gender policing before, at this Store Which Shall Not Be Named:
“That’s a women’s shirt.”
“Oh,” I feigned ignorance and quickly replaced the item and walked out the store.
But this time the cashier was cool. A badass tattooed woman.
I forgot about the purchase I made until I arrived home a few minutes ago (around 9:30 pm) and I tried on the necklace
I felt a sudden and giddy rush of feminine energy followed by a calming sense of relief, of becoming grounded, centered. Remember that scene in the first Harry Potter movie when the wand chooses him? Yeah. It was like that. Almost. I was so, so, so pleasantly surprised.
I put away the necklace into my jewelry box and I couldn’t wipe the stupid grin off my face and I couldn’t help doing a silly dance with spirit fingers, I felt so happy and free and feminine.
“Necklace managed. Nox!”
This morning was a struggle to get ready to leave home. As soon as I walked into the bathroom, I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror. Dysphoria in full swing. I stood there in front of the giant mirror, arms across my (flat) chest, my eyes shut, head turned downward — reeling in existential pain.
Help me! is always my silent cry to Jesus.
Then something strange happened: Continue reading →
I’ve been trying to come out to my best friend for a couple weeks now, even before I started this blog. I could never get time alone with him and his wife together. She’s a dear friend whom I love and respect as well.
Tonight though, I thought was going to be the day. I wrote a letter that I would show to my friends on my phone. But it didn’t happen. I couldn’t get the two of them alone. Not really. Strange. I was moments away from showing my friend this letter and then the moment was intruded.
I suppose I’m looking for some kind of perfect moment. But there is no such thing. No such thing as Continue reading →