Social Anxiety: A Transgender Person’s Struggle

We are living in a world where mental illness is constantly on the rise. When so many people are suffering from various types of depression and anxiety disorders, it’s really no surprise that roughly 55% of the transgender population is suffering from social anxiety. These horrifying statistics are mostly caused by the lack of civil rights that transgender people have. When you live your life knowing that the possibility of being discriminated against is a likely possibility every day in almost any situation, it’s enough to make anyone afraid of social interactions.

Many transgender people believe that transitioning can relieve some of the tension caused by anxiety due to experiencing gender dysphoria. However, often after transitioning, the reality of discrimination gives some credance to the fears that powered the anxiety. This was the problem I faced since I was dealing with slight anxiety well before transitioning. I thought it would get better once I made that step but I quickly realized that wasn’t the case. Within months my mental state, from dealing with the anxiety, became so difficult that I could barely handle a 25-hour workweek. I became so fearful that even going out to do simple tasks became a challenge.

Screen Shot 2015-07-01 at 5.28.09 AMI didn’t realize that I was battling social anxiety until after I transitioned. I had always assumed that I just preferred to spend time by myself and that everyone had a hard time socializing in most situations. When I finally transitioned, I began to wonder why I started feeling even more anxious. This was very evident when I was being somewhere for long periods of time. It was especially true if it was somewhere I wasn’t familiar with or was forced to be, like work. Along with this, came constant fatigue from always being in an apprehensive state. Needless to say it really started wreaking havoc on my daily life.

Many people seem to think this is strictly caused because of the way society views transgender individuals, but this is far from the truth. Most of my stress comes from the way I feel about myself and the way I want to be viewed by society based on my standards, not theirs. This is a lot like the way people think that women wear makeup just to impress people when in truth most women wear makeup for themselves, not to please others. It’s not that I don’t worry about how people view me; I just worry more about how I view myself.

Screen Shot 2015-07-01 at 5.28.26 AMThere are ways to relieve a lot of these feelings though for a transgender person they often require surgical procedures. This is why we need to gain access to the resources needed to relieve the constant stress. Going on with our regular lives would be much easier if raising absurd amounts of money to have the procedures done just to feel comfortable in our skin wasn’t a part of the process. Some insurance companies are starting to cover some of the costs of the main sex confirmation surgery but without adequate work to have insurance with one of the companies, many are still left without an option.

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