Help......please

So yeah, okay I don't know where to start. Okay, I cut about 7 cuts a day miminum. I am pretty addicted to it. I am transgender, born female, and bi, and nobody accepts me at all. I hate life right now and I don't really know what to do...

My older brother was born female. He's doing quite well now and is quite happy, but it was a journey for him.

First suggestion is to seek out and join a local LGBT organization.

(I thought they had a website but I'm not finding it right off. I found?http://www.itgetsbetter.org/ . Do a web search for LGBT and see if you can find a group near you. I'll ask my brother if there's a national or international organization.)

At a local LGBT organization you'll meet other people just like yourself and that's where you can make friends and feel accepted and feel that you belong. And you'll be helping others similarly.

As for cutting, that's a sign of either severe depression or anxiety, which could be explained by transgender status and feeling that nobody accepts you.

(Do you live in the mid-west "Bible Belt" where many people are conservative? You'd fit right in if you lived in San Francisco. I assume simply moving isn't an option right now. But keep in mind there are places where if you lived there right now you'd fit right in and be accepted.)

Severe depression and/or anxiety can be treated by a doctor. There are numerous antidepressant medications you can try. Unfortunately there's no way of knowing which one will work for you. You just have to try them all one by one and see if they help, until you find one that does. You may have to try several different ones before finding the one that works for you. (I had to try over a dozen.)

And there are several anti-anxiety medications which can help with that. (Some can be addicting if you abuse them a lot. Just give your doctor honest feedback and keep him in the loop. It's much better than getting hooked on drugs, which many people end up doing as they try to self medicate. Then that just compounds the problem. It's best if you can avoid that. But don't despair, there are treatments for drug addiction.)

Mindfulness Meditation is another practice that can slowly heal a depressed or anxious brain. (I now do it regularly as maintenance therapy, in addiction to my antidepressant medications which work, and I go to Meditation groups during the week, at least once a week, and I go to support groups, at least once a week. It all combines to help me stay well.) It's something to try. There's an app called "Headspace" which others have told me they like. There are other similar meditation assistance apps. Or if there's a Buddhist place in town they usually teach meditation there. Or possibly there's an adult-ed class that teaches meditation. Or "Therapeutic Yoga" is also often combines meditation. Qi-gong or Tai-chi is a Mindfulness Motion Exercise type thing.

The trick is to learn to return your focus to the present moment. And when your mind wanders, return your focus to the present moment. That's it. Try doing it for a minute, whenever you have a minute to spare. You'll eventually get better at it.

There's a free book on Meditation here:
http://www.spencershermanphd.com/id4.html
(Though reading about meditation is sort of like reading about exercise. It only helps if you actually do it.)
Brief description here:
http://drspencersherman.com/Mindfulness.html
as well as numerous other places all over the internet.

ICE MEDITATION
This can be a substitute for cutting. I think the reason cutting works is it gives one a strong feeling sensation to focus their mind on, plus something visual to focus their mind on, and it's this "Focusing the Mind" which is what makes it work. "Focusing the Mind" is also exactly what Mindfulness Meditation is all about, which is why it works, and why you can eventually substitute Mindfulness Meditation for cutting.

Ice Meditation is my idea of putting a cube of ice on your body somewhere, and then focusing all of your attention on that ice cube. Notice how it feels. Watch it melt. Focus your attention on the present moment.

Cutting can become a habit, and habits take effort to break. One trick is to substitute something else for it, so whenever you get the urge to cut, you train yourself to do the substitute thing instead (like ice meditation). Eventually the brain rewires itself and learns to go for the substitute thing instead.

In the long run my brother got a sex change operation and became a man. He always felt he was a man, and never had any desire to be a woman. He makes a great guy, and he actually has had a few girlfriends, and more recently he got married to a lady who's a fantastic match for him and they are very happy together (I think she's bi. I've never had the guts to ask how they do sex.)

OK well those are the general things which can ultimately help. I wish you well and hope you find some supportive people. They're out there. There's a place where you fit in this world. When I was super depressed what I needed to keep me hanging on was hope that I wouldn't have to suffer depressed for the rest of my life. Finding the right antidepressant medication was a major turning point for me.

I can't relate to you on the subject of cutting or being transgender but I'm still willing to talk if you'd like. I have had depression my entire life so we have common ground.

Hi, Love_Hate_Life, you are clearly going through a very rough time. Please know that it is okay to feel the way you do. However, just because it is OK to feel the way you do does not mean you are not suffering!

I am not transgender myself, but I know a guy (transgender female to male) and he clearly goes through a lot because of it. It is unfortunate.

I see you live in the US. You can text "Go" (without the quotes) to 741741 and it is a crisis hotline. You can text with them, so no one will hear you talking on the phone. If texting is not for you, there is the national suicide hotline 1 (800) 273-8255. Then there is one for transgender people, and all of the volunteers and employees are transgender. Here are their phone numbers: http://www.glbthotline.org/
One thing many people are afraid of is that the hotline will call the police. They'll only call the police if you've already hurt yourself or if they believe you will hurt yourself. However, if they believe you'll stay safe but you need some help with them first, no police will be called.

However, hotlines are not a long-term solution. Have you looked into maybe seeing a therapist? Considering you self-harm, I think DBT (dialectal behavioral therapy) may help. If you cannot see a therapist for whatever reasons, there are plenty of websites to help you with DBT. Some of them will say it is for people with bordelrine personality disorder (BPD). Please keep in mind not everyone who self-harms has BPD, and plenty of people with no BPD benefit from DBT. Even if it is a case of BPD or traits, then it is possible to treat. I've gotten rid of my BPD through DBT. (I've been "undiagnosed" by both my psychiatrist and therapist). Diary cards and chains help tremendously.

At the same time, a behavioral therapy only does so much, so it is important to get to the underlying issues. I would recommend also seeing a "regular" therapist if possible. Doing some EMDR while talking about what has gotten you to this point can help you process trauma and helps tremendously.

Some ideas of replacements for self-harm:
? Make art where you want to cut
? Self-harm increases endorphins. Smell vanilla or lavender. Exercise (but don't over do it. Just 5 minutes of intensive exercise can really help). Seek out some humor that will make you genuinely laugh. Cuddle a pet. Savor some chocolate. Listen to your favorite music.
? Sometimes people self-harm to punish themselves. Instead of cutting, just do crunches. When it burns and you really want to stop, do 10 more. However, wanting to punish yourself is NOT a good thing, and that's when seeing a therapist comes into play.

blueultraviolet:Diary cards and chains help tremendously.

Interesting. Can you tell me more about Diary Cards and chains? Sounds interesting.

Smell vanilla or lavender.

I like this idea too. I'd be interested in learning any theory behind why this works. Does smelling anything help? Or is it specifically vanilla and lavender? (Can I buy lavender at the store?)

Thank you everyone for the wonderful ideas and support!

My brother replies that social groups for LGBT tend to be more local, and more focused on a particular population (e.g., gay OR lesbian OR transmen OR transwomen OR genderqueer OR Intersex...). It is rare for all those groups to come together socially or for support (except in small towns, where that are too few folks to have multiple groups).

GLBT NationalHelp Center:
http://www.glbthotline.org/

International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Lesbian,_Gay,_Bisexual,_Trans_and_Intersex_Association

And he says there are national groups like PFLAG, which support parents and families of all kinds of GLBT folks, and the Gay-Straight alliance which supports GLBT students and their straight peers.

 

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