How do you manage dysphoria?
(Note: This has a self-harm warning later in the blog entry)
I'm not going to sit here and tell you I don't get dysphoria. I find it really annoying when there are trans people who talk about having no dysphoria as if that's a moral win on their part (I recall one trans man talking about a severely dysphoric trans man who can't even shower with the lights as if he needs to just get over it, yuck). So I'll mention that, yes, I do get dysphoria.
It's very tempered, though. The things that mitigate my dysphoria (whether by my action or just incidentally) are:
- Fancy hypermasculine clothes.It bugs me that fedoras are now associated with douchebag MRAs because back before testosterone wearing stuff like that really helped mitigate my dysphoria. I still do this, just not with that particular type of clothing. I wear a lot of argyle, for instance.
- Phantom limbs/lack thereof.
My brain is convinced that I have an average sized penis and no breasts. I mean, I can clearly see that this is not the case, but that pseudo-tactile sense I have really helps a lot. Packing, for instance, feels like I'm covering a penis, not like I'm adding one, so I don't need to do it (unless the pants I'm wearing look weird without).
- Fantasy worlds.
I used to do a lot of stuff on Second Life when it was still popular, and that helped me get out of my body for a while.
- Shaving.Shaving using a brush, a shave bowl, and a nice razor really helps with dysphoria.
- Trans male pornography.
Seeing men who look similar to me in fulfilling-appearing sexual situations really helps me, especially if I'm feeling lonely and unloveable.
This is sort of the same as number five, except obviously more personal. Having sex or even just being naked around somebody who appears to be totally cool with my body as it is is really important to me and really helps mitigate my dysphoria a lot.
- Targeted body-hate (Content Warning: Self-harm and BDSM)
FYI, this is not a tip, it's a fact. I don't suggest it to people.
It's hard to describe without it looking really freaking awful. Psychologically I tend to eroticize my darkest emotions and fears. So for really extreme bouts of dysphoria, I'm likely to engage in stuff like breast bondage. Most of the time I don't really put this in the "self-harm" category; this is because I'm not intentionally trying to hurt myself, I'm just going for an aesthetic and some tactile sensation that helps me. It's not something I've done in a while. It has on a few occasions progressed, though I try to put the kibosh on that pretty fast when it happens as I don't want to interfere with things like future surgery.