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Gender Identity and Expression A forum for support and advice about figuring out and expressing your gender identity. If you have concerns about coming out, please use the Coming Out Advice forum.

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Old 25th Jun 2016, 08:00 PM   #1
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Dysphoria vs. Depression--which one am I feeling?

I know I'm depressed, and I'm fairly certain I experience dysphoria, but I feel like maybe the two mix up together to create one terrible, super-shitty feeling and I can't figure out sometimes what it is that makes me feel so bad. And I also deal with anxiety and plain old body image issues, so I hope it's understandable that I have trouble picking out the source of bad feelings. :P

Sometimes I know it's literally me hating my chest or something like that, but other times I just feel uncomfortable in general or just depressed. Other times I literally have no idea, but I just know it's bad.

How can I tell if it's dysphoria or depression or what? I wish it were easy to differentiate between different bad emotions.
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Old 25th Jun 2016, 08:23 PM   #2
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Re: Dysphoria vs. Depression--which one am I feeling?

I don't have advice because I'm in the same position, but I wanted to let you know that you're not alone in the struggle
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Old 25th Jun 2016, 08:25 PM   #3
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Re: Dysphoria vs. Depression--which one am I feeling?

If you're feeling dysphoric, you'll probably be pretty depressed too, right? But you can be depressed without feeling dysphoric at the times, of course, although it might also trigger dysphoria.

May I ask, why do you want to know which one is which?
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Old 25th Jun 2016, 08:36 PM   #4
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Re: Dysphoria vs. Depression--which one am I feeling?

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Originally Posted by Invidia View Post
If you're feeling dysphoric, you'll probably be pretty depressed too, right? But you can be depressed without feeling dysphoric at the times, of course, although it might also trigger dysphoria.

May I ask, why do you want to know which one is which?
It's just frustrating not being able to identify my feelings. There's just so many in there and I don't like just having this negative soup in my head without knowing what the ingredients are. That's a weird metaphor but I hope you get what I'm trying to say. It's frustration, basically. Like, I know they're both in there but it's hard to distinguish between them.
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Old 25th Jun 2016, 10:04 PM   #5
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Re: Dysphoria vs. Depression--which one am I feeling?

You're right: it's hard to differentiate the two sometimes. I've learned that the only way I can do that is to sit down and just think about my feelings, my circumstances, what makes me upset when it comes to my body and/or gender, as well as the people around me.

If you were to look up symptoms of dysphoria, they're actually rather vague and not helpful, because they all basically just say it's distress caused by your gender not matching your sex.

I haven't read it in a while, but this article helped me a few months ago when I was asking the same question you are right now: "That was dysphoria?" 8 signs and symptoms of indirect gender dysphoria. It was actually very enlightening and definitely worth the read. (If you're not a big reader you can just scroll down to the listed 8 and explained signs).

Also keep in mind that we experience dysphoria sometimes and we really don't know it's dysphoria; we can often mistake it for something else, such as depression, which in many causes is actually a symptom of dysphoria.

Depression on the other hand has a HUGE list of symptoms. All you have to do is Google search Depression Symptoms and you get like 30 right off the back on the right side of the screen.

It might sound ambigious (and frankly both can be if one isn't trained to see these things on command), but I'll see if I can explain how I experience it personally with a dysphoria and maybe you can relate. For me it's like getting a deep cut that needs stitches; you have to get the bothersome stitches even though you don't want to because if you leave it alone, it gets worse. But even after the stitches you have to wait for it to heal, and occasionally it might hurt if you think about it too much, if you move too much, if you hit by accident, etc. With dysphoria, however, you experience like an emotional itch or anxiousness when you have to face the source of your dysphoria, whether it's your chest, your voice, your clothes, your gentials, etc, rather than having to deal with a stitched up wound.

Also, dysphoria can for some people be triggered by something you hear or feel or see, while depression doesn't necessarily need a trigger. You're just sad, numb, moody, agitated, tired, restless, maybe even angry for no reason.

I hoped this helped and good luck.
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Old 26th Jun 2016, 02:31 AM   #6
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Re: Dysphoria vs. Depression--which one am I feeling?

As far as I can understand, gender dysphoria is not depression or anxiety. Depression and anxiety are often byproducts of gender dysphoria. This is important because it helps frame dysphoria in the proper context. Gender dysphoria isn't a mental illness, it causes mental illnesses, it manifests as shocks that cause psychological pain and trauma, sometimes the shocks are barely noticeable and we feel a bit uneasy, other times it feels so awful that you want to hide somewhere deep and dark and never come out. I will expand a bit on h2o's cut analogy, the real problem with gender dysphoria is the way the cuts add up, a person that experiences a cut, needs time to let that cut heal. The problem with gender dysphoria is that it is a cumulative effect, you are constantly suffering tiny cuts and occasionally deeper cuts. By the time one cut is healed, you've often suffered two more cuts and it adds up over time. The ever increasing pain slowly breaks us down until we start to fear being around others because of the huge amount of discomfort the shocks cause and we become avoidant and anxious. Additionally, we begin to lose hope that we will ever feel better and that leads to depression. Eventually, it becomes so bad that some of us disconnect to protect ourselves from further pain.

People who suffer from severe trauma, experience a similar disconnect, they stop feeling and the world becomes numb and empty because the alternative is to bring the trumatic event to the surface and the pain associated with that event. In a similar way, reconnecting to our body means bringing back the gender dysphoria and begining again the cycle of endless shocks that eventually force us to go back into hiding because it becomes too unbearable. Transitioning works because expressing our innate gender prevents the shocks to a certain extent and helps us heal, however, we are still vulnerable as long as the world doesn't see us as the person that we are inside and people continue to misgender us.

I hope this helps explain things a bit better. This does feel right to me but it is mostly based on my own subjective experiences and I might have experienced things a bit differently because of my childhood trauma and the relatively late age of transitioning.

Much hugs,



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Old 26th Jun 2016, 09:11 AM   #7
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Re: Dysphoria vs. Depression--which one am I feeling?

Quote:
There's just so many in there and I don't like just having this negative soup in my head without knowing what the ingredients are. That's a weird metaphor but I hope you get what I'm trying to say.
..
That's not a weird metaphor, it's a good metaphor.
There may be certain ingredients either you're allergic to, are not healthy for you, are not the part of the soup you were going for when you picked it out, or you just plain don't eat (for me it's leafy vegetables)-- semblematic of the harm & the wrong of being stuck with the wrong things-- and for me that'd be like having to deal with that soup... it wasn't a choice for me to be dealing with that soup... but regardless that's what I'm dealing with.
Ever had to take a spoon to soup and just poke out the vegetables you didn't agree to beng in there 'cause you didn't see them on the label?
It's kind of like that-- some of the choices you made in life may have lead to the depression (bad veggies), but still weren't your fault because you couldn't have known better (bad labelling on the soup can), and there's the stuff that was never gonna have been up to you, like the gender dypshoria (which compares to mild allergens in the soup), or any depression that comes from a neurological imbalance rather than circumstancial factors (which compares more to bad-quality ingredients).


I also like the 'compounding cuts' metaphor as well, but I won't bother expanding much on that one.
For one, I couldn't even do the soup one without making it 40 times longer, don't even wanna know how far it'd go with the other one at that rate, and for another... it's too painful... to be dealing with at this point.


I mean they basically said that the cuts compound one another, being started faster than they can heal, leading to a vicious cycle of withdrawing from people & activites and/or 'going numb' and then going back when the numbness wears off.
It almost feels like I'm in Denial that that's a good metaphor for it, because it's too damn cruel, like it can't be that how it is to have a gender/body mismatch and Depression can actually be that bad...

Last edited by Hint; 26th Jun 2016 at 09:13 AM.. Reason: two typos fixed here
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