A: Thank you for writing in with your question. I wish I could ask you more questions to clarify your situation but hope that I can still offer some help. I’d like to know if you have sought out any support regarding the transgender realization and if you feel your depression and tendency toward becoming a “hermit” seem related to your gender identity or feel like separate issues altogether. My best guess is that both might be true. Depression and anxiety is common with gender identity issues and is quite understandable. Surviving all the typical struggles of adolescence can be difficult enough, but it can be exponentially more complicated when your physical body doesn’t match what you feel inside.
I would first suggest that you reach out to others in similar situations for some support. No one else can understand better than someone also going through it. There are online forums and support groups and there may even be one in your local community. There are lots of resources online to help educate you and get you connected with the appropriate resources. Here are just a few examples:
I recommend therapy for addressing the depression, anxiety and isolation. The safety and confidentiality of psychotherapy is also an excellent place to explore deeper levels of your identity, sexuality and plans for the future. In the United States you have to participate in therapy before you can begin hormone treatment or gender reassignment surgery, although you did not mention these in your letter.
Finally, it is important to find a family doctor who has experience with gender identity issues. You need to feel comfortable when you go to the doctor, whether it is because of an illness or because you decide to pursue medical interventions in the future.
You are not a freak, your situation is not hopeless, and I think that once you surround yourself with support, happiness will be just around the corner.
All the best,
Dr. Holly Counts