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Transgender PTSD

Group Therapy: The Effects of Growing Up the Wrong Gender

This question comes from a Group Therapy post in our TrèsSugar Community. Add your advice in the comments!

This is a really hard thing to talk about. I'd appreciate you listening.

I am transgender. I know from reading posts on the Sugar network that a lot of you have no idea what it's like for us. From my very first memories in life every part of my brain screamed that I was supposed to be a woman. When I acted like myself, which was quite effeminate for a boy, I was teased in school and punished by my religious-right family. Developmentally, I became withdrawn and depressed. I had no friends for many years, because solitude was easier than being ostracized for acting like myself. The things many of you take for granted, girlfriends, being able to express yourself in a feminine way or even the pronoun people call you were the things I could only dream of.

Find out what happened after she transitioned here.

Have a dilemma of your own? Post it, anonymously, to Group Therapy for advice, and check out what else is happening in the TrèsSugar Community.

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LaraGeel LaraGeel 2 years
Struggeling with PTSD, even you pass very good or not, is and stay a hell. I know myself I struggle PTSD and the source is even caused By Healthcare too. PTSD grows slowly in you, or it dig in yourself and suddenly it pops-up. Getting rid of PTSD will be a long way ... Yes, I am also a transgender. And I want to leave some good links where you can gets some help : - http://www.lauras-playground.com (It has 7/7 24/24 Transgender people Crisis Hotlines !) - http://www.transgenderbeauty.com - I love this sweet place. I am not really believing in Therapy anymore, only you need Transgender-Buddies where you can talk too, best in real time. I am an activist myself, I saw some walls I've hit very hard. For me i am struggling Complex PTSD, PTSD of all sorts coming from different sources and from history. A PTSD attack in a way of angry, it's mind blowing that the attack it self is so POWERFUL that nobody can believe unless you suffer it yourself. The angry with it is even 0,1% of it. It's nothing more that your body is super aware, super alert, as you are in a war-zone. Some transgender people are really talking about society as a war-zone. Due your new life, you can expect what other won't expect in life, on the most rare moments and even you go left into another street. I want to share this, even the topic is some years old. And i know, you are a WOMAN standing between CIS-WOMAN but you have an awful distance from them, even you are standing close to them. That's cause by society and taboo.
HollyJRockNRoll HollyJRockNRoll 5 years
Therapy should do the trick. Therapy and time.
IdeaOfOrder IdeaOfOrder 5 years
I don't personally know anyone that is transgender, but I found your post interesting. I grew up in a very conservative Christian family and my older sister is/was lesbian (I'll clarify that in a sec).. I know she had it difficult because she only came out when she was 18 and in college. She shared with me that she'd felt this way since she was about 12. I remember we went for a late night walk and she told me she was a lesbian, and we cried about it together. We both felt like it was so wrong. That it went against everything we'd been taught and came to believe in. Anyhow, the story is long, but I've come to accept her as my sister and whoever she is or wants to be. She, on the otherhand, is living back home with my parents and has made attempts at becoming 'straight.' This is probably not talked about much in the 'real world' but in the Christian world, it happens a lot. I see the way she struggles. She doesn't know what to believe and I don't think she trusts herself. My opinion on this doesn't really matter. I just want her to be true to herself, whatever that might be. I commend you on being able to do the right thing for yourself. Coming from a similar family, I know that couldn't have been easy. If you ever want to talk, you can message me.
IdeaOfOrder IdeaOfOrder 5 years
I don't personally know anyone that is transgender, but I found your post interesting. I grew up in a very conservative Christian family and my older sister is/was lesbian (I'll clarify that in a sec).. I know she had it difficult because she only came out when she was 18 and in college. She shared with me that she'd felt this way since she was about 12. I remember we went for a late night walk and she told me she was a lesbian, and we cried about it together. We both felt like it was so wrong. That it went against everything we'd been taught and came to believe in. Anyhow, the story is long, but I've come to accept her as my sister and whoever she is or wants to be. She, on the otherhand, is living back home with my parents and has made attempts at becoming 'straight.' This is probably not talked about much in the 'real world' but in the Christian world, it happens a lot. I see the way she struggles. She doesn't know what to believe and I don't think she trusts herself. My opinion on this doesn't really matter. I just want her to be true to herself, whatever that might be. I commend you on being able to do the right thing for yourself. Coming from a similar family, I know that couldn't have been easy. If you ever want to talk, you can message me.
postmodernsleaze postmodernsleaze 5 years
Thank you for sharing your story, and congratulations on taking strides toward happiness! Support groups are an amazing way to discuss feelings with people who truly understand. I have often found support groups to be more beneficial to my emotional well-being than other forms of therapy. It's nice to just talk about things that others have a difficult time understanding. A place where you do not have to "explain" anything because the people around you already understand. Support groups are often free of charge. To deal with the specific emotional traumas you are experiencing, I would try to find a therapist who specializes in LGBT issues (as Bella said). Best of luck to you, and I agree with what Anon 20 said... you have come this far to lead a fulfilling life, don't stop yet :)
postmodernsleaze postmodernsleaze 5 years
Thank you for sharing your story, and congratulations on taking strides toward happiness! Support groups are an amazing way to discuss feelings with people who truly understand. I have often found support groups to be more beneficial to my emotional well-being than other forms of therapy. It's nice to just talk about things that others have a difficult time understanding. A place where you do not have to "explain" anything because the people around you already understand. Support groups are often free of charge. To deal with the specific emotional traumas you are experiencing, I would try to find a therapist who specializes in LGBT issues (as Bella said). Best of luck to you, and I agree with what Anon 20 said... you have come this far to lead a fulfilling life, don't stop yet :)
Beauty Beauty 5 years
Thanks for sharing your story. I think it takes a lot of courage to do so, and I'm glad to hear that you are becoming more of yourself, if that makes sense. Therapists are expensive, yes, but think of it as investing in yourself. There are therapists who specialize in LGBT issues, so while some therapists won't be familiar with them, others will. If therapy is not possible with your budget, what about reaching out to a local LGBT support group? That doesn't mean you have to join in all kinds of trans events/groups or make that the only part of your identity. But it sounds like it might be helpful to have a safe space where you can talk about growing up. Otherwise, what's the alternative? Keeping it all inside? That's a heavy burden to bear, and you deserve support. I think that worrying about someone "finding out" through a change in your voice has got to be so hard, and this is why you need support -- friends who give you a place to be yourself, to say "I had a terrible time growing up." It sounds like your partner is possibly one of those people? Finally, I'm a huge fan of books -- self-help and otherwise. I once worked with a cis woman named Noelle Howey, whose dad came out as a transgender woman. She wrote a book called Dress Codes, and that might be interesting reading for you. I think it might be helpful to read about someone else's family, to read about her dad's struggle and ultimate triumph. Thanks again for sharing your story. xx
Beauty Beauty 5 years
Thanks for sharing your story. I think it takes a lot of courage to do so, and I'm glad to hear that you are becoming more of yourself, if that makes sense.Therapists are expensive, yes, but think of it as investing in yourself. There are therapists who specialize in LGBT issues, so while some therapists won't be familiar with them, others will. If therapy is not possible with your budget, what about reaching out to a local LGBT support group? That doesn't mean you have to join in all kinds of trans events/groups or make that the only part of your identity. But it sounds like it might be helpful to have a safe space where you can talk about growing up. Otherwise, what's the alternative? Keeping it all inside? That's a heavy burden to bear, and you deserve support. I think that worrying about someone "finding out" through a change in your voice has got to be so hard, and this is why you need support -- friends who give you a place to be yourself, to say "I had a terrible time growing up." It sounds like your partner is possibly one of those people?Finally, I'm a huge fan of books -- self-help and otherwise. I once worked with a cis woman named Noelle Howey, whose dad came out as a transgender woman. She wrote a book called Dress Codes, and that might be interesting reading for you. I think it might be helpful to read about someone else's family, to read about her dad's struggle and ultimate triumph.Thanks again for sharing your story. xx
onlysourcherry onlysourcherry 5 years
If you can't afford a therapist, I would go to your local lgbt nonprofit to ask about any options that might be available. Maybe a social worker or counselor could be made available to you for a decreased cost, or even free.
Helen-Danger Helen-Danger 5 years
PTSD is a specific disorder. Shell shock, basically. You may indeed have it. If so, professionals are your only solution. You can't fix it on your own.I could be totally wrong. And I have zero qualifications in this area other than personal experience. But if your problems are less severe than PTSD, I'm guessing you could also get out from under your issues if you divided them into two parts.You've got pain and trauma from the past. That's one issue to take care of. You can handle it the same way most people with difficult upbringings do. There are lots of books about it. And applying their info could be almost as beneficial as seeing a therapist.You've also got anxiety about the future. And because you link it back to your trauma in the past, it feels like you're stuck in a trap. If you can't change your past and remembering it hurts you every day, you're right to expect a traumatic future! Ack!Unlink the two. The anxiety is a different issue from the trauma. It can be handled separately by recognizing that your situation now is very different than when you were a child and adolescent. The past does not equal the future.Learn to better calm and comfort yourself. Hypnosis, relaxation techniques, massage, you name it. There are also great meds that can help out temporarily. You could probably get a prescription from your regular doctor.Hope you don't have PTSD. And I'm really happy for you that you've managed to accomplish so much.
Helen-Danger Helen-Danger 5 years
PTSD is a specific disorder. Shell shock, basically. You may indeed have it. If so, professionals are your only solution. You can't fix it on your own. I could be totally wrong. And I have zero qualifications in this area other than personal experience. But if your problems are less severe than PTSD, I'm guessing you could also get out from under your issues if you divided them into two parts. You've got pain and trauma from the past. That's one issue to take care of. You can handle it the same way most people with difficult upbringings do. There are lots of books about it. And applying their info could be almost as beneficial as seeing a therapist. You've also got anxiety about the future. And because you link it back to your trauma in the past, it feels like you're stuck in a trap. If you can't change your past and remembering it hurts you every day, you're right to expect a traumatic future! Ack! Unlink the two. The anxiety is a different issue from the trauma. It can be handled separately by recognizing that your situation now is very different than when you were a child and adolescent. The past does not equal the future. Learn to better calm and comfort yourself. Hypnosis, relaxation techniques, massage, you name it. There are also great meds that can help out temporarily. You could probably get a prescription from your regular doctor. Hope you don't have PTSD. And I'm really happy for you that you've managed to accomplish so much.
totygoliguez totygoliguez 5 years
First of all, what you did was very brave. It is obvious that you are a brave person because changing genders, I imagine, is a very hard process.I agree with what Snookyx said. You should definitely try to see a therapist and find a support group--there should be a support group near your are. Try to read books that target transsexuals, maybe reading about other people's experiences will be able to help you with the pain you currently have. And remember, you already went through the hardest part of the process, you can survive this. Best of lucks.
Raynne413 Raynne413 5 years
Yes, anonymous, you are right.
Raynne413 Raynne413 5 years
No, no, no, that is NOT what I meant at all. Don't immediately assume I am closed minded. I meant that if her parents disapprove of her decision, or if there are certain family members that do, it can make integrating a significant other very difficult.
else411 else411 5 years
PontNeuf- I thougth Raynne was talking about meeting the OPs family not the BF's. Also wouldn't the dicussion of children lead to the why? I would think so, and then you're lying to the person you love on the reason. That sounds stressful.
PontNeuf PontNeuf 5 years
Raynne413 - What about when it comes time to meet the family? Are infertile women suddenly shunned from boyfriends' families now? None of this has any bearing on the errant attitude that transgendered people are trying to trick their partners.
Raynne413 Raynne413 5 years
I think part of the problem with telling/not telling a potential partner is double edged. The only time I think the partner needs to know if they are serious, because then the topic of children will come up. Although she can always say she isn't physically able to have children, which isn't a lie. But what about when it comes time to meet the family?
PontNeuf PontNeuf 5 years
KateAthens - you're missing the point. The OP never was a man. She had a masculine body. Telling male partners about medical history has nothing to do with being honest or about hiding some big secret. Would you spontaneously tell your partner about a huge embarrassing mole that you had removed years before you had met? My guess is no because it has no impact on the relationship and isn't exactly pleasant conversation.
Raynne413 Raynne413 5 years
I would definitely recommend therapy or support groups. It is amazing how beneficial these both can be, to any kind of situation. I needed therapy for an eating disorder, yet at the same time it helped me come to terms with my feeling of anger towards my father, and we've developed a wonderful relationship since then.
Gdeeaz Gdeeaz 5 years
I think you should see a therapist who has a history of working with transgendered individuals. They will be able to help you not only with dealing with your past but also the worries you have about other people. Joining a support group will also be good for you. Last year in my human sexuality class we met two transgendered women and they both agreed that joining a support group was the best thing they did once they decided to transition.
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