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My PTSD and my Transness don't really get along

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Hi, I'm new here and I'm posting on here as a whim, so here's to hoping it goes well haha

I am a a 19 y/o trans woman, and have been living with PTSD for two years.

I came out as transgender at a trans rights protest in Leeds earlier this year- I didn't really expect it, one minute I'm popping off about trans rights and violence and the next, half of Leeds knows I'm woman. What followed was an aggressive period of doubt, in which my house mate at the time asked me if I am trans as a way of self harm. Firstly, ew, who says that? Secondly, I know that's not true, but ever since I've felt as if my PTSD and my transness are unable to coexist.

Surprise to literally no-one, it got worse.

My PTSD came back this autumn, during which a weird and almost unexplainable phenomenon happened. I had a physical feeling of my PTSD swallowing my transness whole, and after, I didn't feel trans anymore: I felt like nothing. My PTSD is better now, and I'm rediscovering my transness, but here's my issue:

I am frightened a therapist will tell me I'm not actually trans, and that it's just my mental illness, when I don't believe that's the case. I also think that currently, because I don't pass, that I am an insult to women, and that when I present as a woman that I'm asking for bad things to happen. 

IS THIS STUFF NORMAL or am I just a crazy person? What if a therapist tells me "oh, ur not trans u just have a disconnect from your body because of your trauma"? Like, I'd hate that so so much. I have never felt more alive than with the label of trans, but since day ONE it's all gone a bit tits up really and I'm scared that my illness has made it up.

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You are no crazier than the rest of us here at any rate.  You have already demonstrated one real element of the diagnostic pattern of Gender Dysphoria, and that is that it came back after the PTSD trailed off back there, since GD is Consistent, Persistent, and Insistent in our lives.  As time goes on in research which I keep up on, GD ends up separating from other issues, but the other issues may overwhelm the GD for a while.  In my case I tried to drink GD away, but now I have 12 years sobriety and have been Transitioned for 10 of those years.  The addiction was controlled but the GD could only be controlled by the Transitioning, surprisingly the Transitioning made the addiction easier to deal with and had me in a better place of mind to overcome those effects.  It is possible that you may need focused work on the PTSD aside from the GD, and GD work separate from the PTSD for a while, but they are as I said separate issues to be dealt with.  If you get a therapist that recognizes this "duality" you will do just fine.

In the early stages of research on GD it was thought that it was a reaction and result of some other trauma in your life, and so people find it so strange that it is a recognized "normal" human variation these days that is not the result of a physical or mental Trauma.  I am not SICK as some insist, but I sure cannot understand how anyone else can live in their birth assigned gender and be happy about it.  

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2 hours ago, Laila said:

Like, I'd hate that so so much. I have never felt more alive than with the label of trans, but since day ONE it's all gone a bit tits up really and I'm scared that my illness has made it up.


Actually normal. This part I've quoted though, that's what a good gender therapist is for. They help you to come to terms with your trans-ness or lack thereof then help you deal with the other stuff. The entire transitioning process is about YOU feeling comfortable in YOUR skin. Maybe that requires umpteen surgeries and hormones. Maybe it means you dress up on the weekends. Maybe it means wearing a flannel lumberjack shirt. (Spoiler: I'm wearing an oversized flannel shirt right now. It's comfy.)They're all perfectly valid.

If you realize you're not actually trans, well that's OK too. That's what therapy is for: Helping you get over the hard stuff. That has been something that my therapist and I have talked about. She has AFAB patients that identify as being trans because of past trauma or just that being a woman in our society kind of sucks. So yeah, it's a possibility but you'll have your therapist there to help you through that too.


In short, yes doubts are normal. Maybe you're trans. Maybe it's the PTSD talking. All the more reason to talk to a good gender therapist and get everything sorted. In the meantime, we're here to chat, answer questions and generally offer support. Welcome to Transpulse!



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