If you suffer from gender dysphoria then you know how it can be frustrating, debilitating, stressful and that’s on a good day! If you’ve seen a crazy version of me screaming at the top of my lungs whilst stuck in traffic on the way to Morrisons then you’ve had a glimpse of a bad day.
It’s hard to describe how this dysphoria feels, a few months ago I phrased it as best I could:
“It’s a strong sadness that hangs heavy over me and stops me wanting to do whatever it is I’m doing. I also sometimes disconnect completely from any identity and feel very lost.”
At the start of the year I was working a 9-5 office job and hadn’t come out to many people, so wanted to keep anything ‘Amber’ related a secret. It was often hard to alleviate feeling down and dysphoric. Over time I picked up a few little things which, throughout the day, would help and give me a little boost if I needed it.
So, here’s 7 ‘life hacks’ (cheesy phrase to coin I know, but it sounds cool!) that hopefully could help you in battling, beating and overcoming gender dysphoria.
Teach your iPhone your name
Now, I apologise if you don’t have an iPhone, I know it’s not quite the same with android devices. However, for those of you who do have an iPhone, I have found this to be a very handy little trick. Change your personal details on your phone to match your ‘true’ identity. It shows up at the top of your address book which is cool, and no one except you will ever really notice that. Once that is set my favourite little thing to do when feeling dysphoric is to as Siri what my name is. To have it respond with ‘You’re Amber’ is a wonderful affirmation of who I am.
Change account names (keep delivery/billing addresses)
Most website accounts allow you to have a different name on your account to the one on your billing/delivery address. This is great as it allows you to shop and browse the web in the right frame of mind. Again, no one will really ever notice this except you.
Put your name in your morning alarm
By changing what my alarm is titled my phone now wakes me up with ‘Wake up Amber! You lazy bitch!’. Ok, so you don’t have to make it insult you every day, that’s just for my own amusement… I have a complicated relationship with my phone.
Get new things and choose them for ‘female you’
Transitioning is a big change and if the objects around you haven’t changed it can feel like you’re not making any progress, or that ‘things will never change’. This can be painful and add to the dysphoria, it’s not helpful to be surrounded by physical representations of the things you think and feel inside your head. Buy some new things and make sure to think female when doing so; they’re for the new you, the real you.
Here’s list of a few things I bought, most of which no-one will ever notice or care that have changed, but made a big difference to me. Bed covers, breakfast bowl, coffee mug, phone cover, pyjamas, deodorant, shower gel, shampoo, socks & underwear, pictures in my bedroom. I also bought a new necklace and bracelet which are quite androgynous, but I wanted to wear as female, but no one else would know that.
Set up a new Facebook account
Once I started meeting people as Amber that’s all they knew me as, it just made sense to have a new account. You don’t have to add a picture of yourself if you feel like you’ll be recognised or outed, I selected a couple of key people to block so that I wouldn’t have that issue. Once I had this new Facebook my new persona felt more real and it was a good place to go to whenever I felt dysphoric. For me it’s largely about the affirmation that female me exists and is accepted, having a presence on social media has helped greatly with that.
Get a new email address in your new name
+ Sign up to a couple of mailing lists with your new name
This. Is. Awesome.
I had no idea how effective this would be and it wasn’t even intentional. I set up the new email for my new Facebook and when going on clothes sites like Boohoo.com I used my new email address and name to register (it just seemed natural). Every day I get emails from the places I’ve registered saying ‘Hi Amber’ (plus whatever sales pitch they have that day). It seems like nothing, but to be addressed by a company in the correct name and sent promotions for women’s clothing and products is surprisingly awesome.
Wear clear mascara
This tip came from a good friend of mine. In fact, she’s the first friend that I came out to. Wear clear mascara, no one will notice, but it make you feel a whole lot more feminine and the act of doing it will make you feel good too. She also suggested a tinted moisturiser, but I was a bit worried about that being too noticeable. I have the Colour Lash Clear Mascara from Superdrug.
Hopefully some of these might be helpful to you. Oh and of course most of these can be flipped from MTF to FTM use, except the mascara! If I think of any more then I will put together another list and make another post.