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Gender Crisis - Advice pls


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Hi,

Okay, I'm gonna try an keep this as short as possible,  there's a lot to pack in here. I'm AFAB and I've been identifying as genderfluid for a little while now, but I'm still having a big gender crisis. Things still aren't right. As @Blondie knows from my previous post not too long ago, I've recently been having trouble with my period. It destroys my mental health and gives  me dysphoria, and I've convinced myself time and time again that 'this is going to be the last one, it won't happen again' and then I get shellshocked when it does. It's made me very confused in terms of gender, and I've finally been put on medication to attempt to stop my period (desogestrel only pill). I know a few people who've taken it and they said it was fine, so I'm really hoping it frees me from my period so I can stop worrying about it so much and focus on other aspects of my gender. 

I keep saying things that are confusing me though, keep catching myself saying things that make me go hmmm. I told the doctor I don't want to be a male/man. I mean, the thing is, IF I were to transition, I wouldn't want to be what everyone typically sees as a man. I don't want a penis, for example, I'm not sure how I feel about being really hairy either. I don't know, it's so confusing. I have considered testosterone? But I'm not sure. I've heard about microdosing and that sounds appealing. As for my boobs, I've never had a great relationship with them. I had periods when I was younger and cried in the shower, wondering why I had them. I think back and wonder if the reason I hated wearing bras is because I have boobs. I used to want bigger boobs, I have quite a small chest size, to be more feminine because I'm AFAB, now I wonder if that was just me in denial or something. At the doctors for my period, I had blood tests (because I have a super irregular period) and they tested my hormones and testosterone levels. I said to my friend the other day 'ha, I hope my testosterone levels come back higher than average' and then wondered if I actually meant that. I think I actually meant it. I keep saying things like that and catching myself and thinking, what if I'm just massively in denial?! I had a dream where I had a beard and woke up feeling a little disappointed when I realised I didn't have one. I've started to feel uncomfortable looking at photos of my with short hair too. And, although to an extent I'm okay with she/her pronouns, they do make me feel weird. 

I know full well that I don't have to work it all out now. But obviously I want to. It's driving me mad and I'm so confused. I'm thinking of filling in the Advice section on the form from the Gender Identity Clinic I'm just so confused and have no idea what I want and/or need. It sounds daft, but I'm assuming that's what the Advice section is for? for venting out my frustrations and thoughts and confusions - like I have here. 

Any advice would be great!

Edited by Marv
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Hey @Marv

It's lovely to hear from you again 🙂

I'm sorry to see that you're having a tricky time with your gender at the moment. I can completely get why it's making you confused and mad; we all strive to know exactly who we are, and for those who have a gender journey ahead of them, it can take a while to finally figure out where you want to be. I can imagine that this must be quite frustrating for you, but it's good that you're being open about it. I'm wondering, how does it feel after opening up to us here? 

I think that naturally, there will be times when you're feeling better, and also times when you're feeling worse. This kind of journey is very up and down, and it's good to make sure you're talking about things and getting as much support as you can. I'm wondering, when thinking about your transition, what are some of the changes that you would like to see take place? 

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Hey @Monsoonn't think I'd miss them if they were to be removed, but I still wonder if I 

It feels good opening up to you guys on here. You've all, this site, always been super helpful and informative, I really appreciate that. 

Yeah, like I said, I know I don't have to work it out right now, but it's difficult when friends around me are on hormones and stuff to help them. And I'm nearing 21 too, I want to work out who I am and what I need as soon as possible I guess. I try not to pressure myself too much, but as I said, I keep saying and thinking things that keep making me question myself. 

Changes I'd like to see take place... that's a tough one. Because I still have so many conflicting thoughts, I genuinely don't know what I want/need. I think more and more that I want top surgery. I've never had a particularly overwhelmingly positive relationship with my boobs, I do think that if I got them removed I wouldn't miss them, but I still wonder if I would miss them. It's so conflicting. Someone on my tiktok suggested microdosing testosterone - which would/could stop my period and maybe give me some more masculine features? I don't know. I need to research it. Can you tell me anything about microdosing testosterone? I think my chest is possibly the biggest one? Pronouns and name too - this is really tricky. I do like my name,  I really do, I'd be sad if I changed it, I know I don't have to, but... ah I don't know. I've been experimenting with pronouns and names a bit. It's all just so many thoughts..

 

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It wont let me edit so i'll add another post. 

It makes me sad too that once I decide, I'll probably have to wait soooo long for anything to get done because waiting times are years unless you have loads of money. And that's just more time for me to get more confused and doubt myself. Also, now that I've been thinking about my about a slightly deeper voice but not sure... 

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Hey @Marv

I'm glad that you find our support helpful 🙂

How are you feeling about everything today?

From what you've said, I get the general sense that you're feeling quite confused at the moment which is totally understandable. I think it's really good that you're taking your time to think about things in depth before making any decisions. It's good that you try not to put too much pressure on yourself to work out who you are; can I ask, how do you do this? 

With the testosterone microdosing, I think that for anything like this, it's important to get the advice of a doctor. Do you think you could speak to them about this? 

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Hi @Monsoon

I'm doing alright. I had a really good morning but my evening has just been oof-ed by sensory issues. But gender-wise today has been fine. 

I'm not 100% sure what you mean with your question, how do I not pressure myself? If that's what you mean, I don't know really. I guess I just try not to think about it constantly, which is really hard, and talk to friends about my thoughts, confusions, ideas, and feelings, not only to keep them in the loop but also a few of my mates are trans, and also it helps to get it out ya know.

As for the doctors, I've been to the doctors a lot recently about my period (I'm on the pogesteron only pill, I can't spell it, the one that stops periods because periods have been ruining my mental health and confusing me even more) and I did mention that periods are partly a gender issue. It's difficult with the NHS because it's very male or female. She understood that my gender is very fluid, but since I'm not sure what I want we didn't really talk about it much or do anything, mainly because the periods were the issue. I'm going back to university on sunday and my friend has recommended a doctor there who's really good with gender stuff, so I think I'll request to talk to him and voice my thoughts. I guess, though, it's down to my really isn't it. Until I make a decision, a doctor can't really do much? 

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Hey @Marv

I'm glad to hear that your day was fine gender-wise. Yeah, you got my question absolutely right; I found it interesting that you said you try not to put too much pressure on yourself. You have a really good understanding on what is helping you through your gender journey. It's really helpful to be able to talk about what's going on for you, and especially if you're stressed about something, saying it out loud can take the power of it away which helps you to feel more in control. 

Also, yeah, as you said, until you make a decision, a doctor can't really do much. From what you've said, it sounds like you're doing all of the right things to make this process as easy for yourself as possible - what do you think? Also, I'm wondering, when you say that the periods are partly a gender issue, can you tell me more about this, please?

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Hi @Monsoon

I think in general, yeah, I'm processing it as best I can. My friend the other day said I think about it all too much and I should just be me, but I don't think he understands that to fully be me I might need extra help (i.e testosterone,  top surgery, etc) and takes up a lot of thought, ya know. I agree partially with him, I definitely do sometimes think way too much about it but I can't not think about it.

Anyway, periods. It's hard to explain. The easiest way to say it is, I believe it shouldn't be happening to me. It just isn't right. Before the other week, I hadn't had a period for over a year (which is being investigated don't worry!) and then when I suddenly got one it was a massive shock. I don't know, it just doesn't help with the gender exploration, it's a very afab thing which I guess I don't like. It made me uncomfortable. It's not just that, it's also a massive sensory issue too and I hate blood so periods are just all kinds of bad really. I never  used to want people to know I was on my period either, it was like my secret. I didn't want to go into the girls toilets and change my pad. It felt so wrong. I'm not on birth control to stop my period which will help with a lot of issues. I'm not sure how best to describe it really 

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Hey @Marv

How are you feeling about things today? Yeah, I totally get what you’re saying about how you can’t not think about it; our identity is such an important aspect of our life, and when we are struggling to find out more about our core identity, it can be pretty distracting, stressful, and confusing. However, there are others out there too who are experiencing similar things to you, some of them here, and I hope that you can connect with those people more as I’m sure it will be helpful for you to hear their stories too. 

Also, you described your issue with your periods really well.  How do you think it will feel for you if you get to a point where you’re no longer having periods? 

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Hiya @Monsoon

I've been pretty distracted the last few days with moving back to university so I haven't really had the brain space to think about it all. I had a good chat with my trans friend a couple of days ago though about my thoughts and feelings. She's (amab) just starting hormones which is awesome! But we had a chat about the whole working identity out and stuff, and she's still not fully sure what she's working towards. But anyway, yes you're right! It's hard not to think especially as it impacts what people say to you. My friends here are super good with my indecisiveness, we've been experimenting with my pronouns and name which is helping. Uni is such a good place to work your identity out because everyone, I've found, is super accepting. But yeah, it is impossible not to think about it. 

If I had no periods and I knew I'd never get another, I'd feel so incredibly free. It would help with my gender, but I think it bothers me even more from a blood and sensory point of view. I've avoided doing things in life just because I'm either on my period or in fear of having it. For example, I've not been swimming in years, I used to be scared of going on school trips and long journeys, I'd stay in sometimes instead of going out somewhere, I just never feel myself when it comes - and I know no one feels good when they're on their period but I just don't feel right at all. 

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Hey @Marv

How is it back at university? To be honest, it sounds like a distraction might be a good thing right now. I know that it's helpful to face those difficult feelings, but sometimes, we just need a bit of a break if you know what I mean. I'm glad to hear that you have supportive friends who are good with your indecisiveness. I think you're doing all that you can right now; it seems like you have a good support system and you're talking about your feelings too which is great. 

Also, I completely understand your perspective about periods. With the way that you feel about your gender, the periods must be a tough reminder of the confusion that you experience about your identity. I'm wondering, how do you usually cope with those negative feelings you get about your period, particularly when you're on it?

 

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This post has been flagged with warnings, as follows: Self-Harm

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Hi @Monsoon

It's great being back at university! I think my overall mood has changed massively, I feel a lot lighter and happier in general. I really miss the freedom when I'm at home in my hometown. And yes, I agree. I have a lot of stuff to be getting on with this year so I will be busy. I'll be starting volunteer training soon - myself and my friend have been elected as disabled student officers! I'm super excited to get started on that. I'm also starting work experience at a mental health art group which I'm also really looking forward to because I have a lot of experience with both. I also have my dissertation to research for and write (which is on COVID architecture and how it has impacted the experiences  of disabled people). So I have plenty to be getting on with. 

As for your question, if I'm honest I don't think I really deal with it very well, it's always been incredibly tough to cope with for me. Mine's always been irregular so it's always been a massive shock when it's started, but you'd think one would get used to it, but I never have. Every time, it's a massive shock and I always end up crying, not because I'm hormonal and emotional, because I really deeply do not want it to happen to me. The most recent time, a few weeks back, I spent a lot of time on my phone, a lot of time playing games and staying in my bedroom. I really wasn't happy. I've put a trigger warning on here because, if I'm honest, the negative thoughts got so bad that I started feeling the urge to self harm. I didn't do anything bad, I just itched my arm a lot, but the urge scared me a lot. I did tell my doctor which is good. But honestly, I've never really dealt with it well. I just can't take it. I do the wrong things to cope with it like stop drinking (so I don't have to go to the toilet as much) or don't go to the toilet so I don't have to see it which is not the right way to try and cope with it. 

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Hey,

Oh, it sounds like you have plenty to look forward too with university and your dissertation sounds really interesting! How are you planning to look into the impact on the experiences of disabled people? Great work 🙂

Also, thank you for being so open and candid about how you've been dealing with the periods. I think it can be hard to say when we haven't dealt with something in a helpful way, and it's really good to recognise this and be open about it. When you itched your arm a lot, how did it make you feel? Also, now that you have some space from your period, I'm wondering, do you think you could cope in a different way next time, and if so, what else could you do? 

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Hi,

I'm planning on doing a few interviews with people who advocate for the disabled community and I'm going to be getting in contact with some people like the accessibility team at my university to see how, for example,  how the university's one way systems for covid were planned out to be as accessible as possible. There's also other studies and literature I'll be using and applying that to my ideas etc. 

I didn't scratch it much, but it sort of gave me a sense of relief, but at the same time I wasn't happy that I was doing it and having the  urge to do it. It sort of helped a bit with all the overwhelming feeling and thoughts I was getting. I think if I were to get it again, I may do one day but, I'd definitely need better ways of coping for sure. Now that people around me have a better idea of how much if effects me mentally,  I think that'll help. It's hard because all I want to do when I'm on it is hide but I can't do that forever. I guess I'd have to keep myself occupied and really really look after myself. It's hard to think of things to be honest when you feel so negatively towards something. But definitely self care, super self care, because I really do neglect myself when I'm on it. 

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Hey,

Your research does sound interesting, and I hope you can share your findings with us when you've completed it 🙂

Also, thank you for telling me more about the self-harming. It's pretty common for people to notice how it helps them to cope with all of those overwhelming thoughts and feelings, and I guess it's good to remember all of those other things that we can do to help ease our emotions. I'm wondering, have you seen our support guide on safer alternatives to self-harm? Also, yeah, it's definitely good to keep yourself occupied and try to help yourself as much as possible when struggling. I completely get that need to hide when something is troubling you, and by pushing yourself through it and still getting out there, you help yourself to not close off when struggling. What do you think? 

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Hi Monsoon,

I'm glad I told you. I did tell a friend and the doctor too a while ago so that's good. 

I should also add that the medication I'm on to stop my period, the contraceptive, the doctor said I might get spotting as it starts to work and unfortunately I woke up this morning to that nasty surprise. It isn't as heavy as a normal period for me would be so I'm grateful for that, it's still tough though because all I want is it to go away. But like my friend said, all it means is that the meds are in my system now and are (hopefully) starting to do their thing. I'm going to try and focus on that.

Oh! also, last night, I think I took a big step in my gender journey. I'm still not 100% but last night I've decided to call the GP Monday and ask about microdosing testosterone and things. I think I might be trans. That's a big thing for me to admit because I've always been scared of being trans. I told my sister last night too which she took really well. But yeah, I'm gonna think on it more but it was kinda a little revelation last night haha. 

No, I haven't seen your support guide on self harm, could you link it to me? that'd be really helpful 🙂 I need to pick myself up and start filling my day with things I want to do to help me distract myself. I have so many books to read and art stuff I can do and a podcast to work on, I just don't do it and it's so annoying. I agree with you though, I need to keep myself busy, schedule/break up my day into cool activities, keep my friends updated, and really take care of myself.  

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Hey Marv,

How are you doing today?

I'm sorry to hear that you have had some spotting, however, I'm glad to hear that it's not as heavy as a typical period. So, is the spotting just something that happens at beginning and then fades away the longer you're on the medication? 

Also, that's a really big step - how does it feel admitting to yourself that you might be trans?? Even with you not being 100%, it will be good to just get some more information from the GP 🙂 

By the way, here is the article: https://www.ditchthelabel.org/15-safer-alternatives-to-self-harm/ - maybe you can have a look and see if anything could be useful instead of the itching? Speak soon. 

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Hey, 

I had a bit of a wobbe yesterday and had another meltdown over the spotting. I did have the urge to scratch my arm again but I didn't, and I got my best friend to come in and help calm me down. After about an hour I felt better. Yeah, so it's a contraception medication so it thickens the mucus or/and the lining I think, or something like that and an egg isn't released to stop you getting pregnant, which I'm obviously not using it for, so it then stops periods from happening. The spotting is just irregular bleeding that happens in the first couple of weeks while the meds start working. I think it's also getting rid of what's already there so the meds can do the build up or something. 

It feels good admitting it to myself, bit scary though. It's still scary and I don't think I could use it for myself for a while yet, but it helped me make a step forward in the right direction I think! I'm ringing the GP tomorrow morning to get an appointment to talk about gender stuff, so yay!

Thank you for the article, I'll give it a read 🙂❤️ 

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Hey @Marv

I'm sorry to hear you had a little of a wobble, but it's great that you were able to move past it and find another way to cope. How does it feel knowing that you were able to that? It really is an achievement and not easy to do at all. Did you get a chance to look at the article by the way?

Also, yeah, I totally get that it feels both good and scary to admit it to yourself. The journey that you're on will have it's ups and downs, and there will be these big moments, like admitting it to yourself, that can be quite confusing on an emotional level, but will also help you take the next step :). Did you speak with the GP? I hope it went well! 

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Hi Monsoon,

It's been  a busy few days. I'm proud of myself for getting through it and chatting to my friend about it openly, it was scary though. He also told me that he's had urges to SH before too so he told me about that which really helped, it was a very open and honest conversation. He's my best friend so he gets it all. I have had a look at the article, yes, and I really like the suggestions. I'm going to write them all down for future reference. 

I have indeed spoken to the GP and he was very helpful, he's referred me to a gender clinic which is cool, I've no idea how long it'll take to have someone talk to me about things but yeah, that's a step. Also, I was at the pub last night with friends, and someone from the Pride society at my university passed me in the pub and recognised me so we chat for a while. 4 months ago he had top surgery and I realised in that moment that I was actually quite jealous... so maybe that's something. 

Also, my period is still going. Tomorrow it'll be a whole week. I know I was told that I might get irregular bleeding during the first couple of weeks taking the medication but if it keeps going for another few days I'm going to go to the doctors because I don't know how much longer I can take it, not only is it a mental struggle, but it's really impacting my sensory issues. 

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Hey Marv,

I’m glad that you spoke to your friend and they opened up about their SH too. I think that talking to other people who are going through something similar always helps and makes you feel like there are others out there too 🙂

That’s so great that you spoke with the GP, and yeah, as you said, it might take a while to actually talk to a professional properly, but the fact that you’ve taken that step must be a good feeling. It’s interesting that you felt jealous of the person who had their top surgery. What do you think that means for you? 

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Hiya Monsoon,

I think it helped me realise that maybe top surgery would indeed be a good thing for me. I imagined myself in his position and it felt and looked good. I don't know, I saw their scars and he told us about it all and I felt kinda... free? I don't know, but I was jealous I think so. It just looks so freeing. I've been messaging him a bit and we're going to meet up again soon and I might chat to him more about it. 

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Hey,

Ah, that's interesting. I think it will be really good for you to make friends with him and find out more about his transition. I'm sure he will have lots of advice for you too if you want it. How are you doing at the moment? How are things going with your research project? 

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Hiya,

I'm actually doing pretty good I think. The bleeding stopped the other day so I'm absolutely over the moon about that!! I can finally wear my favourite boxers again! My student loan has come through too, so I can buy a black binder; I've been pushing myself socially a bit and going to a lot of the Freshers events at uni which is so fun!! I didn't do any in first year because I was too anxious, and the uni couldn't run the Freshers events in second year because of covid, so I figured since this is my last year I'd go for it! I've been very very tired, and I've caught a cold, but I'm having a lot of fun.  Oh! I also had a support appointment with the Welsh autism people (I don't know what they're called haha) which made me feel a whole lot better too. So, all in all, it's been pretty good lately. My dissertation project has been neglected though... it's been really hard to try and get started and keep the ball rolling 😕 Lectures start on Monday which is a little daunting  but it'll be good. I don't want to blame ADHD and stuff for neglecting my dissertation, but that is partly the issue... it makes starting stuff and focussing and procrastinating a big problem... but we'll get there.  

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I just want to update this because it's somewhere I can just vent and it's okay. The bleeding has randomly started again. I had a couple of days with no bleeding and it was bliss. I wore my comfy boxers and had a shower without worry, I slept without worry, I went out and did things without worry, i went shopping without worry. And now it's back. Again. I've stained a pair of my comfy boxers now too. I've written all my thoughts down in my journal to try and relieve the stress. It's totally ruined my mood, my day, I'm supposed to be going to a party tonight but now i dont want to. I will go though because i know i do actually want to go. Ive told my mom too and I've decided to call the GP on Monday about it because i've been on the medication for three weeks now and it just isnt going away. Maybe im just being impatient and it'll stop soon but i need to gone. Im so sick of moaning about it to people, but I'm just so so so incredibly jealous, deeply envious, of people who don't have periods. It hurts so bad (not physically, mentally). 

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