Everything always seemed like it was somehow less real than it ought to be. I didn’t feel like I was my own person – I had no sense of myself as someone who could make my own choices and decisions as I wished. I often lacked that internal initiative that wants things and seeks things for no reason other than the fact that you simply want them and that’s that. I didn’t even think of that kind of wanting as a feeling I was capable of – there was just no drive for it. In the absence of a well-defined identity and a strong sense of self-direction, other people’s obligations filled the void. Since I didn’t want to do anything, I just did whatever was expected of me and said whatever was expected of me. That was all I ever did. I felt like an actor, being handed my lines by someone else, and I didn’t know how to be anything other than that.
I strongly identify with much of what Zinnia writes about here .... I have always said that No, I haven't really experienced gender dysphoria to any great extent. Until recently.
And now, it crushes me. Not every day, but some times, some days, some weeks, it's pure hell. With the help of my therapist I've come to realise I was quite successfully keeping a tight lid on it all these years. Until I started to transition, then the lid started to lift. Different things I do in my transition -- when I'm actually making progress, I'm also unleashing more of this 'stuff'. Now, I can no longer keep the dysphoria squashed down any more than I could stop transitioning. For me, the two go hand in hand.
Before, even after I came out I never understood -- not really -- what exactly my friends meant when said they were gender dysphoric. (And it manifests in very unique and personal ways for each trans person.) But now, now? FUCK. It kills me.
So. This is for the people who want to understand this abstract concept. It's almost impossible to explain. But it's so destructive. It's the worst. It stops us dead: it's the dysphoria that comes along and fucks everything, undoes the hard work, undermines our confidence, undermines our identities. It pulls the rug out from under our personal realities. It's actual hell. Please read the whole post.