Jump to content
  • Welcome to the TransPulse Forums!

    We offer a safe, inclusive community for transgender and gender non-conforming folks, as well as their loved ones, to find support and information.  Join today!

Crippling Anxiety, Fear, and Doubt

Recommended Posts

I waltzed into this week fairly stoked by the work my therapist and I did at our last session, in which she helped me through a doorway I was hesitant to cross (having her address me exclusively as "Jacqui").  She also gave me an exercise that immerses me in thinking of myself as "Jacqui" so that I can see how this makes me feel.


I was feeling confident and optimistic, but now that I'm a few days into the week, I'm feeling terrible anxiety and doubt.  In her blog on wordpress in a segment documenting her transition, Rachel Williams says, "I had to learn to accept myself totally as a woman in order to reject my history of male-identification."  When I read those words, my immediate thought was, "How in the world will I ever be able to do that?  Do I have the capability within me?"  Rachel adds that this definitely didn't happen overnight, but still . . . for me right now it feels daunting.  As I said in a response to my very first post, "If this takes me down a certain path, what a jarring displacement it will be to the person that the world and I are accustomed to seeing as 'me'."  When I wrote that, I wasn't so worried about what the world was accustomed to seeing; it was what I was accustomed to seeing that was paramount in my concerns.


I will of course discuss this with my gender therapist at my next session, but if any of you have words of wisdom or encouragement from your own experiences, I would be grateful to receive them.



Link to post

@Jacqui I still have a hard time with the statement "I am a woman". I have been working with my therapist on this for about a year now, and I don't know when it will be simple to say "I am a woman". I want to say it is a magical journey, but I think it is just shifting your identity in simple ways. One thing I have done is started adopting they/them pronouns as a starting point. I prefer those over he/him and she/her doesn't feel quite right yet. These have all been baby steps I have taken. I hope that is a starting point, and I am also curious what others will have to say.

Link to post

@Jacqui and @QuestioningAmber


It takes time.


Early on, I had a hard time saying to my therapist that I was a woman, because, at the time, I didn't feel it.  We look for some switch to flip from "I feel like a man" to "I feel like a woman" and get worried if we don't feel it flip. 


But that's not how it is.  Man and woman aren't feelings.  And we don't switch our identity anyway.  We are born and have always been this way, so there is nothing to switch.


So what changed in me that let me finally say "I am a woman"?  I started to realize how much easier it was to present as a woman.  I spent 60 years worrying whether I was male enough to pass.  I didn't call it "passing", but that's what it was.  Now, I don't have to worry about it.  I don't mean that I always pass as a woman.  My presentation is not bad, but I'm sure most people can figure out my identity.  What I mean is that I don't worry about it.  I am enjoying being me too much.


(TW: brief suicidal ideation...)


My recovery from surgery has been problematic, so of course, the thought arises that I might have been better off not transitioning.  The thought doesn't last long though!  When I think about what it would be like to go back, I shudder in horror.  I literally couldn't do it.  If the blue meanies told me that I had to de-transition, I think I would kill myself, that's how stong the horror is.  I can never go back.


Being a woman is so much easier, so much better, so much lighter than trying to pretend that I was a man that I can confidently say that I am and always have been a woman.


That realization didn't suddenly happen.  It arose organically with the accumulated experience of being myself.  I would turn around Rachel Williams' quote and say, "It was when I realized that I had rejected my history of male-identification that I accepted myself totally as a woman."

Link to post

@QuestioningAmber and @KathyLauren, thank you for your thoughtful, helpful responses.


Amber, your suggestion about "baby steps" is a good one; I sometimes amplify my anxiety by imposing a false sense of urgency in this process where none exists.


Kathy, I really appreciate the valuable perspectives you've shared here; they resonate with me, and they help.  I must admit -- there are times in my life when I felt I was trying to "pass" as a man (and sometimes failing).  Even when I didn't fail outright, I probably came across as inauthentic in some subtle way.



Link to post
Sally Stone



I thought I could add to Amber and Kathy's comments, but what they both said was spoken so eloquently, I couldn't possibly improve upon any of it.  So, instead I will just say that as time goes by, you will become more comfortable in your new skin.  It took me a long time to get where I am, but where I am now is a very happy place.  I have no doubt you'll be there sooner than you think. 

Link to post




4 hours ago, Jacqui said:

Rachel Williams says, "I had to learn to accept myself totally as a woman in order to reject my history of male-identification." 

In my book, growing into accepting myself as a woman doesn't require "rejecting my history of male-identification." That history is as much a part of me as the events unfolding now as I move further into transition. It's not a "zero sum gain" where I need to "reject" a huge part of my life story to substitute the part I'm starting and want to explore on into the future. We are the product of everything that has gone before, and the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. It's who we are. I don't want to "reject" that. I want to add something new, open the door on a new but previously hidden part of who I am.


I don't want to do this all at once. I want to move into it gradually, learning as I go, savoring every day as a new experience unto itself, not just a "delay in getting there." And I want to remain the same person with the same loves, caring, ethics and values, same experiences, same everything except my gender. I want to be who I am becoming.


~~With a hug from Lee~~

Link to post

A book that truly allowed me to accept myself is Whipping Girl by Julia Serano.


Heres an excert:


In the years just prior to my transition, I started to express my femaleness as much as possible within the context of having a male body; I became a very androgynous queer boy in the eyes of the world. While it felt relieving to simply be myself, not to care about what other people thought of me, I still found myself grappling with a constant, compelling subconscious knowledge that I should be female rather than male. After twenty years of exploration and experimentation, I eventually reached the conclusion that my female subconscious sex had nothing to do with gender roles, femininity, or sexual expression—it was about the personal relationship I had with my own body. For me, the hardest part about being trans has not been the discrimination or ridicule that I have faced for defying societal gender norms, but rather the internal pain I experienced when my subconscious and conscious sexes were at odds with one another. I think this is best captured by the psychological term “cognitive dissonance,” which describes the mental tension and stress that occur in a person’s mind when they find themselves holding two contradictory thoughts or views simultaneously—in this case, subconsciously seeing myself as female while consciously dealing with the fact that I was male. This gender dissonance can manifest itself in a number of ways. Sometimes it felt like stress or anxiousness, which led to marathon battles with insomnia. Other times, it surfaced as jealousy or anger at other people who seemed to enjoy taking their gender for granted. But most of all, it felt like sadness to me—a sort of gender sadness—a chronic and persistent grief over the fact that I felt so wrong in my body.



Unlike most forms of sadness that I’ve experienced, which inevitably ease with time, my gender dissonance only got worse with each passing day. And by the time I made the decision to transition, my gender dissonance had gotten so bad that it completely consumed me; it hurt more than any pain, physical or emotional, that I had ever experienced. I know that most people believe that transsexuals transition because we want to be the other sex, but that is an oversimplification. After all, I wanted to be female almost my whole life, but I was far too terrified of the label “transsexual,” or of having potential regrets, to seriously consider transitioning. What changed during that twenty-some-year period was not my desire to be female, but rather my ability to cope with being male, to cope with my own gender dissonance. When I made the decision to transition, I honestly had no idea what it would be like for me to live as female. The only thing I knew for sure was that pretending to be male was slowly killing me.

Link to post

@Lee H  and @Berni, thank you for reaching out and sharing helpful thoughts!


Lee, your comment about moving into it gradually, learning as you go, savoring every day as a new experience unto itself is very good advice.  As I mentioned before, I sometimes amplify my anxiety by imposing a false sense of urgency where none exists.


Berni, in the excerpt you provided, the line "it was about the personal relationship I had with my own body" gives me some hope, because my therapist is all about "listening to what my body is telling me" (this is very hard for me -- I habitually and instinctively 'live in my mind').


The final lines of the excerpt . . .


". . . I was far too terrified of the label “transsexual,” or of having potential regrets, to seriously consider transitioning. What changed during that twenty-some-year period was not my desire to be female, but rather my ability to cope with being male, to cope with my own gender dissonance. When I made the decision to transition, I honestly had no idea what it would be like for me to live as female. The only thing I knew for sure was that pretending to be male was slowly killing me."


. . . are also very helpful.  I must, with my therapist, figure out how my dissatisfaction and unhappiness align with my living as male, and whether any inauthenticity there is pervasive enough to be "slowly killing me".



Link to post

So I'm coming at this from a very different perspective. I found myself in virtual worlds. Any game online that allowed me to customize my avatar I was there making female versions of me and trying as hard as possible to live through them and to ignore the pain of being RL me. Now I don't suggest this route because the up and down dysphoria nearly killed me, but the one thing it did teach me was that I love she/her pronouns, and once I decided on a name being referred by it was pure elation. 

So yes I'm probably not sounding helpful yet, but the take away is best way to learn is to immerse yourself in safe ways like this forum. Places that you just are Jacqui and play in them responsibly (unlike how I did it). Savor the thrills when people proper name and gender you and love those moments. Eventually it just feels normal. My first therapist session I went in asking to be called Katherine. I cried happy tears when the first real life face to face person used the name. And I still thrill every time I hear it.

So I'm quite new around here and still learning a lot but I hope maybe something I said helps.

Link to post

Thank you for reaching out and sharing your thoughts, @Reverie_Star.  They do help.


As I mentioned in the first paragraph of my initial post on this topic, my therapist is working with me along the name/pronoun immersion path that you suggest, and of course I have been active as Jacqui in these forums.  Even so, the thrills you describe are more 'measured' for me, and I haven't experienced dysphoria as bad as the kind you describe. (Check out some of the other topics I started for a little more on this.  In fact, I'd be interested in what you make of my very first post -- "Sound familiar?  If so, what did YOU do?" in the "What Am I, I'm Not Sure" forum.)


Have you started being Katherine in the real world, and presenting as female?  The contemplation of doing that, and the radical identity displacement that it manifests, is (I think) where my current trepidation lies.

Link to post

Hi @Jacqui,


Sorry for the delay returning your comments (its been a big day and I'm still feeling pain from the surgery).


I looked at your profile picture and you seem, to my eyes, to be very young.


One of the things that struck me about Julia's book was the time it took for her to find her truth. It took over 20 years for julia. And so I believe you have plenty of time to work this all out.


This was important to me because, even though my earliest memories from my childhood are of gender dysphoria, it took me 30 years to figure this out.


I was trying to break out in my 20s in 1989. I tried again in the early 2000s, in my 40s but couldn't make the mental leap.


It was not until, a few years ago in my 50s, when I found myself, alone beside a freight rail line at 1am that I realized that, like julia Serano, the life I was leading was slowly killing me.


The next day, after that night, I sought the kind of help you are receiving and started the long journey here.


So, be aware that you have time to work on this and you have the support to help you avoid the crises (there were other events like that for me) that I faced.


This is a journey. Not a destination. And, for me, that is a really comforting thought.


Embrace your own journey @Jacqui.

Link to post
3 hours ago, Berni said:

I looked at your profile picture and you seem, to my eyes, to be very young.


Just FYI, @Berni, my profile pic is basically a picture of me taken 10 years ago pushed through the FaceApp gender swap filter.  I retired this year, and I didn't retire early, so . . .


Having said that, my family does seem to age slowly (I look 10-15 years younger than most people my age) and live long.  I joked in a post on another topic that the only downside is that we don't get out much during the day.  (Ooh . . . maybe that'll be the next big trend -- transgender vampire movies!)


3 hours ago, Berni said:

Embrace your own journey @Jacqui.


I'll give it my best shot, Berni!  I'm very touched by your interest and words of encouragement.









Link to post

Hey Jacqui --

I'm experiencing a peculiar evolution in my fear of coming out.

I'll be starting HRT as soon as the VA Rx. arrives in the mail -- only a day or two unless our maniacal Pres. has personally shot all the ponies. Since I've known I was stepping onto that path, I've become more interested in learning "Being a Girl for Dummies" and less worried about what people will think. I'm as old as dirt, and I probably wouldn't attract attention dressed as Bozo, much less as an old lady wearing sweats and sandals. I guess (hope) my breasts will start developing in a month or so, but even then, noone will notice. It won't be fast. I already pick up my groceries from Wally World wearing a bra, but an A cup on an old fart like me attracts no attention, not even from the cute young "Associates" who load the grub into my truck.

So my frightened head trips about coming out are moving toward, "Screw you and the horse you rode up on." All I think I know for certain is, by the time my breasts have grown too large to go unnoticed, if ever, my attitude about coming out also will be very different. My doc said one of the earliest effects is feeling more calm. That sounds very mellow, not worried. 

Keep on keeping on, my friend,

~~Big hug from Lee~~

Link to post

Everyone's journey has its own unique path. My first attempt to "transition" was 2003-2007. I made the decision to stop because I wasn't sure I was ready for SRS at that time. The Therapist and Dr. I was seeing had me believing that I only had a binary choice and I couldn't make that dramatic of a  dramatic change. I struggled, suffered with depression and I ultimately decided to stop HRT. I put my wig back on the shelf. Massive anxiety and fear of loss were a major factor in that decision.


In 2018, I met someone who encouraged me to try again. I dropped 20 lbs. to get back my girlish figure and in Spring of 2019 I started going back out in public on a fairly regular basis. In July of that year, I did some Lipo-sculpting with fat transfer to the bootie (BBL). Last Fall I got an awesome new cut and color for my hair and started figuring out some new make up tricks and the new me started to emerge. 


I decide to begin HRT again in March of 2020. I discovered that Planned Parenthood was willing to prescribe HRT with "Informed Consent" so no therapist or endocrinologist would be required. This has been a better process and I feel supported as I move forward on my own terms.


I do consider myself trans (MtF) but I am OK moving between the male and female aspects of myself. I don't have to be one thing or another. They are both a parts of me. Now I feel that I know who and what I am, I find my world is simpler and seems more in balance and that is all I want to "be" for now. Even though I may not know if the end result will be GCS, I no longer have fear and/or anxiety about where my journey is taking me. I can see my life has infinite possibilities ahead.


Find the right path for your unique journey. Take your time and listen to your heart.  Look at the infinite possibilities in your life and there is nothing to fear! 

Link to post
Heather Nicole

I've had periodic, and gradually increasing, wishes to get to be female for most of my life, but one of the biggest reasons I always dismissed them as an impossible fantasy was because I didn't feel the popular narrative of "I feel that I am a girl, despite my body". Plus, I also never felt any particular hatred of being male (aside from when I felt I was being hyperbolic complaining about some specific gender stereotype that hit me the wrong way). But then, I've also never felt any particular attachment to the idea of being male, other than social expectations and an instinctual "My gender? Well, duh, of course I'm male! That's what my anatomy's always said! Obviously!"


So, to find so many transwomen here who are already further along in their journey than me (I'm pre-everything, even pre-councelling), but who also still struggle with the "I feel I am a woman" part...as awful as I worry it might sound, I find that so very comforting, validating, and encouraging. It helps show me that my lack of a strong conscious female self-identity makes me no less of a woman than anyone else here.


I feel kind of guilty for that, but I sincerely hope I'm not the only one here who can find comfort and validation in the apparent fact that "I feel I am XYZ gender" doesn't seem to be the meaningful distinction it would appear to be.

Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Who's Online   17 Members, 0 Anonymous, 56 Guests (See full list)

    • Kiara
    • QuestioningAmber
    • Cyndee
    • Audrey
    • Jocelyn
    • Timber Wolf
    • 2beBreanna
    • Hully
    • KathyLauren
    • A. Dillon
    • Liam da potato
    • Maddee
    • squish
    • ValerieRun
    • Charlize
    • Gabriel
    • Kellianne
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Topics With Zero Replies

  • Forum Statistics

    • Total Topics
    • Total Posts
  • Member Statistics

    • Total Members
    • Most Online

    Newest Member
  • Today's Birthdays

    1. Andi
      (41 years old)
    2. Bobbie Scott
      Bobbie Scott
      (63 years old)
    3. ewwiot
      (19 years old)
    4. Grwl
    5. Julialikesfashion
      (24 years old)
  • Posts

    • Kiara
      At my work we normally only do some very basic decorating, but this year starting with Halloween we've gone all out. Fall/Halloween used to just be some sad foam pumpkins and other little odds and ends, but this year we did fake webs, a ton of paper cutouts all over the walls, a fake ghost, a scarecrow, etc. Thanksgiving was a ton of paper cutouts and printables. Now for Christmas/Hanukkah we have lots of snowflakes and fake trees all over the place in addition to our regular tree and menorahs. We also threw a Santa hat on our scarecrow. We're trying to make things as festive and fun as possible in this dark time and I think it helps people. Meanwhile at home we're considering not getting a tree this year. We normally pick up a live tree, but with everything going on outside and the fact we're not even sure where to put it now, we're thinking of just skipping it this year. It's really sad, but it's an unnecessary expense right now. I've had my co-workers ask about my Christmas shopping and I was a little thrown off. I know it's something people are still compelled to do, but I just hadn't even considered it this year. With the huge spike in case numbers and concern of possible furloughs if we shut down again, I've been avoiding spending any money for unnecessary things.  I see all the things starting for the holidays, but I just don't feel it this year. Even decorating at work is just sort of feels like I'm just going through the motions. We're supposed to decorate at home this weekend and I'm just not sure how into it I will be this year. Hopefully this is all just for this year and next year will be better for everyone.
    • Kellianne
      So, since this is my first wig, I know little about maintaining hair/wigs. I have been shaving my head for 20 years now and never had long hair. I am assuming the style it comes in will not maintain through a washing, which is critical to maintenance just like real hair. Anyone have any tips/advice?
    • KayC
      Hi @Motormouth95!  first time meeting I believe but I want to Congratulate you on your tremendous achievement🎉 You proved to yourself and others that with a clear vector and positive effort you can achieve great things.  Perfect experience for the next steps in you Life!    Thank you for sharing, and hope to hear more from you in the future❣️
    • squish
      And why I can't do it anymore....   So lets start of about 8 years ago. I was watching TV and I was like "wow that girl is pretty" (I'm pretty sure it was like Zendaya or some Disney channel star.) Over the next year I would watch TV or go to school and develop these mini 7-yr old crushes on girls.   So I told my mom. I said something like "mom I dont think i like boys anymore, i mean they are cute but girls are cuter" And she was so confused so I told her how I was watching TV and all that stuff happened and she was like just like "oh" My mom's a lesbian and I came out to her as bi before she came out to me.    Time-skip to 5th grade I told her I was only into girls and she was supportive and about it (why wouldn't she be right? But that didn't last long...  When I got into the 6th grade, I realized I was non-binary. My sister who was in 7th grade at the time came out as genderfluid and pan. My mom tried to be accepting but she kept calling them by her birthname after being told their preferred name many times.    The bad part starts this past winter when I came out as ace and she said to me "you know you're going to get cheated on right?"  And then started making fun of me for being ace When I've been in situations with my gf that could have turned sexual and I felt uncomfortable and she knows Who tells their daughter who's in middle school that your going to be cheated on because you don't want sex?????   Right now I'm in 9th grade and I planned on coming out to my mom as NB but that's not happening  Her and my stepmom say the worst things about people who identify as they Literally yesterday they were talking about Elliot Page and Sam Smith and the part of their convo I heard went a little like this "So now every confused person is trans?" "Her career was flopping that's why she said that, she just needs more money" "Calling people they is wrong! It's grammatically incorrect!" "No babe it's about the personality" "So they are crazy? Like BPD or MPD?" "..." "So I'll call someone they if I see an doctors diagnosis"   Over the summer my sibling called my mom transphobic and she got all defensive saying that she wasn't but they have conversations like this all the time.  If they can't be comfortable/understand people who want to transition or pronouns are they/them I don't feel comfortable coming out to them as someone who identifies as she/he/them    Any thoughts? -squish
    • KayC
      Hi Sarah!  nice to meet you, and Welcome!  as you can see, we share some geographical (and emotional) commonality.  I know how hard it is to find Community here in Japan, but this Forum has been a great help to me and I hope it is for you also.  I think you will find many of us here who are unique individuals but also carry very common feelings and experiences.  Happy you found a gender therapist too!  I know how difficult that is here.  I was fortunate to also find a great therapist and it has been immensely beneficial.   Welcome again❣️  Deep breaths ... one step at a time    
    • QuestioningAmber
      So I am off for the next two days because I had a trip planned that was cancelled and thought I should still keep the days off. I am not quite sure what I am going to do with that time, because too much free time has proven in the past to be a dangerous thing for me. Work has been slow over the past week still, and I have a feeling won't pick up again until the new year which is giving my mind a lot of time to wander, which again, typically not a great thing for my mental health. It's amazing how right now, things are kind of stacked against mental health:     1.) Quarantine/COVID Restrictions     2.) Slow Work     3.) Time Off (Our company is use it or lose it)   I honestly haven't even been in the mood to mess with makeup, hair, or really get out of PJ's, which probably isn't the best thing. I've gotten dressed a few days to pick up food or coffee, but that is about it. I know I shouldn't be doing these kind of behaviors, I just can't seem to get myself motivated.   Today is therapy day, so we'll see what my therapist thinks of all this, I just know I am going to hear it that I am not doing enough to fight the mood driven behavior. Le sigh ... depression sucks.
    • KayC
      Ahhh..  that's so sweet, Gabriel.  I don't think I've ever been quoted before.    I'm happy that mantra means something to you.  Even the smallest of efforts in the right direction will create tremendous changes over time, just like the wind and water can carve away mountains.  When we look back we will see how far we have traveled. Wishing you a wonderful day🙏❣️
    • Willow
      Good morning everyone    nice day again although a chilly start. Sitting here drinking our morning coffee.  Third day in a row for doctors appointments then off until Monday then another one.  Yesterday’s doctor wanted me to come to Charleston to take an esophagram. After it was set up for Next Wednesday I told her I’d had one in 2018.  I sent her the results and she canceled the new one. The old one showed her what she was wanted to see apparently.   our dog came in to bed a couple times last night. The first time she figured out I was awake so she insisted on being rubbed.  The second time she decided she would leave me alone.  Laid with us a little then left.   y’all talk about cats, well our daughter brought one home once.  I was a nice cat.  Decided that I was it’s friend. It would come sleep with us and particularly on my face.  Unfortunately, I’m allergic to cat dander.  Wife and daughter both no your not you just don’t like cats.  I had to go to an allergist to prove it to them before they believed me.  She kept the cat, but not in our house anymore.     years later it ran off during a thunderstorm and they never saw it again.   Willow
    • KathyLauren
      Vulvoplasty, a.k.a. zero-depth vaginoplasty.
    • Robin.C
      Congratulations, studying is hard enough without all that this year has thrown our way.   Hugs Robin
    • Jackie C.
      Congratulations! Today you are a werewolf man. Definitely a man. Probably.   Buckle up and enjoy the ride!   Hugs!
    • Gabriel
      Morning all!   On my second cup of tea. Today a bit overwhelmed with stress at work, a very interesting prospect at my second job, trying to figure out what the heck I want on my gender identity journey and some health issues.   Well, as @KayC says, deep breath and one step at a time. Wishing you all a lovely day
    • Gabriel
      Hi @Motormouth95. I'm quite new here so I didn't know you from before. Nice to meet you. Yours is an inspiring story. Keep us posted when you can  
    • Gabriel
      Hey, congrats Mason! That's great. Keep us posted how it goes!
    • Gabriel
      Hello @sarahmetal, welcome!   You are definitely not alone. Not in being confused, not in needing deep introspection to figure out what is what, and not in feeling alone and isolated for a long time. I totally relate to all of those.   Gender is never cut and dry and we are all scattered through that line of the gender spectrum, o even out of it. I found really helpful to draw that line  Male-------MidPoint-------Female and put my finger on the place I feel intuitively is my place.    As @Susan R said, a gender therapist was (and is) a huge help for me to sort things out and almost dissolve confusion and anxiety.   There are lovely people around here that identify as NB, bigender, and others. So, welcome  
  • Upcoming Events

Contact TransPulse

TransPulse can be contacted in the following ways:

Email: Click Here.

To report an error on this page.


Your use of this site is subject to the following rules and policies, whether you have read them or not.

Terms of Use
Privacy Policy
DMCA Policy
Community Rules


Upstream hosting for TransPulse provided by QnEZ.


Special consideration for TransPulse is kindly provided by The Breast Form Store.
  • Create New...