I was depressed for 15 years. Today I am thriving, and I enjoy life every single day. What happened? I transitioned.
Transition doesn’t solve all your problems, but damn, it sure does help. For me, it solved my only real problem, the disease creating all my symptoms. Turns out that my depression, deep-seated anger, social and general anxiety, problematic substance use, and self-harm were all just different faces of the same monster–gender dysphoria.
Addressing dysphoria not only led me out of the misery of mental illness. It also led me into feminism, social justice politics, and radical consciousness. It led me into community with badass human beings who live authentically and strive to help others. It led me into my chosen field, mental health. It led me to God.
Gender dysphoria is a good problem to have. Gender dysphoria is a problem that, at least potentially, ends. It’s a problem with a solution. It’s a problem with a path to recovery, crooked though that road may be.
As I watch friends and family members struggle with depression and addiction, as I get the news of more and more classmates dead before 30 by suicide or overdose–goddamn am I glad to have been given gender dysphoria and the ability to address it. These people I knew, may they rest in peace, by and large had access to treatment… just not treatment that worked fast enough.
My problem was simpler than that. Sometimes I see a friend dealing with depression, and I honestly hope the real issue is that they are a gender or sexual minority. At least then I’d know how to help.
Gender dysphoria is a problem that creates friendships and community, artwork and poetry, awareness and solidarity. It’s a problem that can lead you down an incredible road of growth and self-discovery, maybe even to your destiny.
Perhaps gender dysphoria isn’t really a problem at all.