Self-acceptance and coming to terms with your feelings are the first order of business in transition. If you are not emotionally grounded from the onset, you are going to have a difficult transition. Transition is a minor issue in comparison to self-acceptance.
As things stand Gender Identity Disorder is not considered a Mental Health Disorder but a medical condition. But due to the huge emotional and physical attributes that a Transgender person must face and go through both pre-transition and post transition and beyond it is not uncommon for people to face Mental Health problems at some point in their life’s.
Many transsexual women face harassment and ridicule, sometimes even since childhood, because of what society considers inappropriate gender behaviour. To distance ourselves from this, we sometimes take self-loathing to extremes like substance abuse, self-harm or even suicidal tendencies. In lesser cases, we may just place ourselves in a "gender hell" of our own making-- by doing things expected of men like marriage, children, or hyper-masculine activities and occupations.
People with Gender Identity Disorder may manifest coexisting Separation Anxiety Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and symptoms of depression. Associated Personality Disorders are more common among males than among females being evaluated at adult gender clinics.
As we come to terms with how we feel and what needs to be done about it, our self-esteem can take a huge beating. Why did I wait so long? How will I deal with getting out of my male existence? Is this really going to make me happier?
These aren't easy questions to answer. The disturbance can be so pervasive that the mental lives of some individuals revolve only around those activities that lessen gender distress. They are often preoccupied with appearance, especially early in the transition to living in the opposite sex role. Relationships with one or both parents also may be seriously impaired, as with current partners and friends and varying forms of discrimination are still very present from society.
All of this can wreak havoc on your self-esteem. It's hard to stand tall when you're being beaten down by others. But the worst thing is that many of us end up being our own worst critics.
It's vital to have self-acceptance to get through transition and beyond. There are many ways to improve this-- think about all the worthwhile things about you. Sometimes you may need the validation of a therapist, friend, support group, job, etc. Perhaps you can do it on your own. However you can get there, get your self-esteem firmly implanted in your head. Ultimately, only you can feel good about you.
The Links on this page are to assist in helping people who feel at crisis point and information and contact numbers are provided as well as for those people who may think they might be suffering mentally or just feel ‘unhappy’ and want to find out more information and what to do next.