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Trans OCD or Denial?????

R

rockstart5678909

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Apr 21, 2021
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Hi everyone, I 20F have been dealing with TOCD since October 2020. However, this has been going on so long that I am really scared that it's not and I was wondering if it sounds like OCD or denial. I first started showing obvious signs of OCD in July 2020, It was so bad that I had to go to therapy because I could not function. I finally got an appointment for October. Funnily enough, the week before that appointment, my OCD felt like it was starting to fade. Then, a couple of days before, something triggered it.

I was watching Brokeback Mountain (a gay male film), I really liked the movie so I searched on reddit to see if there was any discussion about it. Then I came across a thread for gay trans men and the person who posted it said that Brokeback Mountain was how they figured out they were trans. From the moment I read that, it was like my heart and stomach dropped. I felt this horrific anxiety and I didn't know what to do. I kept repeatedly asking myself... What if I'm trans?

I have never thought or struggled with my gender identity before this. I have had knowledge of trans people since I was child and I even have friends who are trans/non binary. I always sympathized with them but I never felt like their struggles really applied to ME personally.

Anyway, I immeadiately started doing compulsions such as checking, reassurance seeking and rumination. This fear felt paralyzing and I did not know what to do. At my first appointment, I was officially diagnosed with OCD. I told her about my intrusive thoughts about being trans and my psychologist knew that it was OCD. She also works with patients who are questioning their gender/sexuality. She told me I don't resemble any of her trans patients but I am a textbook OCD case. Working with her really helped me. I did ERP and talked through some issues/trauma that have made my OCD more severe.

Unfortunately, she stopped working as therapist so she could do research for neuroscience so I just never looked for another therapist because I was doing better. Even though I felt better, these thoughts were still bothering me and I slowly started getting back into compulsions and then everything got worse.

I've been obsessively going through trans subreddits, looking to see if I relate. I read some pretty triggering things, such as a lot of people in their 20s/30s/40s+ not questioning their identity until adulthood. Some people did not even show obvious "signs" in childhood. That was like my saving grace mantra. I have never shown a "sign" of being trans. I have always been a girly girl. I was so excited to get my first bra. I couldn't wait to get my first period so I could be a woman. I really only socialized well with other girls. I am just really feminine and that is how I feel most empowered.

But now I keep getting so many memories, so many "proofs". I don't know if these memories or real or false. I feel this persisting uneasiness. It's like my brain is forcing to accept that I'm in denial and that I'm trans. I get stuck in this thought loop full of questions and if I try to tell my brain either answer I just feel shitty. Sometimes I get so anxious that I feel nauseous.

It feels like the OCD has shifted. Like it's really true. It really feels like I want to be a guy but before all of this, I knew who I was. I was a girl, a young woman. I can remember myself clearly before this but I've changed and I don't want to change but I don't think I'll ever get back to the me before all of these thoughts and I don't know how to feel about that.

Now it really feels like I would want to be a guy or have he/him pronouns but I don't want that. It feels forced. It feels like it's not me.

Is this what happens when OCD themes become more severe? It feels more real? It feels almost inescapable? It feels like I'm uncomfortable with all of the things I've loved before?

Is this OCD anymore?
 
F

Felicity

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Feb 24, 2021
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13
Location
France
Hi, honestly the only thing I can tell you is that I relate to all of what you’re saying especially this :

I've been obsessively going through trans subreddits, looking to see if I relate. I read some pretty triggering things, such as a lot of people in their 20s/30s/40s+ not questioning their identity until adulthood. Some people did not even show obvious "signs" in childhood. That was like my saving grace mantra. I have never shown a "sign" of being trans.

I shared my experience in the « Thinking non stop about being trans » topic if you’re interested to read it (a little down below on the forum)

For me it started with Elliott Page’s trans coming out in December, cumulated with a talk show my mom saw on TV and told me about, during which a trans man explained he thought for a long time he was a lesbian woman, before realizing he was in fact trans. The fact that you can discover this late in life terrified me. That’s when the « What if » began for me, and since then it never really leaves me. I have ups and downs and like you I feel like my old self disappeared in December and now I’m this new weird person who’s constantly trying to find proofs I might be trans/not trans.

One thing I find very positive in your experience is that you got a clear diagnosis affirming you suffer from textbook OCD. Maybe try to remember that and repeat yourself that when you start spiraling? In my case, my psychologist told me twice she’s pretty sure (well like 99%) I’m not trans from what I’ve told her, and she talked about « compulsions » but never gave me a clear diagnosis which only feeds my doubts even more. Sometimes I wonder if she doesn’t want to call it OCD because she’s scared I’ll have OCD about having OCD?!?

Anyway I also go through phases when I feel like I’m convinced I’m trans like you described at the end of your message. I’m like « Okay, I give up. This is it. I’m trans. I probably would feel better if I transitioned » But then I feel terrified, I have panick attacks, I feel like I’m losing myself. On the contrary I feel like I’m at my best the rare times I find my « old self » again. For example last weekend I spend time with my male best friend and I felt like old times : he’s a man and I’m a woman. So I try to hold on to these moments.

No sure my answer will help but just wanted to tell you you’re not alone.
 
K

KangolRaver

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Apr 21, 2021
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Uk
Hi there

OCD can often be fuelled by the opinions or feared opinions of others. Have you considered you may be trying to fit in to a group which is on the tv a lot at the moment?

Not discounting anything, but you are more than just OCD; meaning not everything is OCD, and sometimes we can forget that.

I get the forced thing too, in my case it’s me trying to relieve uncertainty, kinda rush of blood to the head, and after I’ve calmed down I’m like wtf!

As for brokeback mountain, bloody good film, and Im straight. Even as a straight man, the film is emotionally connecting.
 
R

rockstart5678909

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Apr 21, 2021
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Hi there

OCD can often be fuelled by the opinions or feared opinions of others. Have you considered you may be trying to fit in to a group which is on the tv a lot at the moment?

Not discounting anything, but you are more than just OCD; meaning not everything is OCD, and sometimes we can forget that.

I get the forced thing too, in my case it’s me trying to relieve uncertainty, kinda rush of blood to the head, and after I’ve calmed down I’m like wtf!

As for brokeback mountain, bloody good film, and Im straight. Even as a straight man, the film is emotionally connecting.
What do you mean? That it could possibly be not be OCD?

To add onto this, I am a lesbian but I have always been quite feminine but with recent discourse on gender identity a lot of lesbians my age are coming out as trans/non-binary and that is making me nervous. Before this, I was very confident in my identity but I don't know.
 
K

KangolRaver

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What do you mean? That it could possibly be not be OCD?

To add onto this, I am a lesbian but I have always been quite feminine but with recent discourse on gender identity a lot of lesbians my age are coming out as trans/non-binary and that is making me nervous. Before this, I was very confident in my identity but I don't know.
Quite the opposite

Is there a chance you had a passing thought at a time when it is a subject at the forefront of discussion and got caught up in the vicious flower?

Truth is, as with all OCD’s, if it is the “what if” thats making you upset, then it’s not real.

“Perhaps” and “what if” can stir up very different emotions.

You already know if you are or you are not, make no bones about it, there is a stern voice saying “I am” or “ I’m not” I guarantee it, but it’s the “what if” that kicks in that messes with us.

The messed up thing with OCD: it never truly convinces us. It has no definite, ironically having no definite is also the way out of it.

My point about being more than OCD means that maybe you had a thought about being trans, which is quite normal to consider for many people, and after that normal thought it became OCD because of the “what if”. Considering whether you are trans is completely normal. Obsessing whether you are is where it becomes OCD.

Truthfully, if you’re saying to yourself “but I’m not” then time to do some ERP. Also consider, there are a lot of ppl making money from certain agendas. It’s highly possible you’ve been influenced too. Truth is, deep down you know, that’s what you should listen to.
 
K

KangolRaver

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Sorry I had to add this more emphasis: Deep down you know, that is your natural state, beyond all the confusion, you are in there. Don’t entertain the bs in your head or around you, listen to what you instinctively know.
 
F

Felicity

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Feb 24, 2021
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France
The messed up thing with OCD: it never truly convinces us. It has no definite, ironically having no definite is also the way out of it.

I relate to this so much. This is what is really scary, the feeling that it will never end. When you say « it’s also the way out of it » do you mean the only way to live with it is to try to brush off intrusive thoughts, without making a big deal out of it? I feel like I’m able to do that with other thoughts (for ex: « damn I’ve been exhausted for weeks maybe I have cancer ») but for some reason like Rockstart, TOCD is really ruining my life. I think it might be because it really shakes the idea of who we are at our core, like we might have been living a lie for years without knowing it, and that thought is very unsettling.
 
O

OCDRecovery

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Its obviously OCD. The fact that you are worried about this proves its not who you are deep down.
Also, you are doing common OCD compulsions which is more proof.

The way to beat this is to just accept the thoughts. Don't react to them.
Acknowledge them and go about your day.
You 100% will beat this.
 
F

Felicity

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France
I don’t want to « steal the attention » from Rockstart but since I’m dealing with the same issue I would like to react to this :

The fact that you are worried about this proves its not who you are deep down.

I try to tell myself that sometimes but then I think that people who actually are trans must also feel anxious and worried at first. I mean, yes finding your true self is liberating but it’s quite a tremendous revelation which most of the time is -sadly- going to shake and complicate your life. That’s when the whole « What if I’m just in denial? » thing comes back :-( I know I have trouble dealing with change so sometimes I wonder « what if I’m resisting this because it might be the biggest change of my life and I don’t like change? ». It’s really scary.

Another thing that is frustrating with this whole TOCD thing is that I feel like I’m going backwards in terms of open-mindedness. I mean I used to be the most anti-clichés girl in the world and now I’m thinking stuff like « How to differentiate a tomboy girl/a butch lesbian from a trans man? » « How do I know I’m not just a girl with a ‘masculine’ badass side but in fact a trans man » ? I hate myself for thinking this, I feel like I’m talking like someone from the 40’s ! I know it’s ridiculous and offensive but I can’t help the thoughts.
 
T

travvitz

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Hello Felicity and rockstart, I am a gay trans man and just thought I would offer my perspective.

Figuring out gender is HARD when you have OCD and need to be sure, especially when you are in an environment that really supports the idea of destroying gender roles. I had been solid in my identity for years, but then one day I started thinking "wait, am I defining myself as a man because I like having facial hair? how can I feel that way when I also know that women can have facial hair!". Another thing that I've seen become more common is women who use he/him pronouns and vice versa. So then I'm like "how do I know I'm a gay trans man and not just a cishet woman who likes being hairy and he/him?"

The main thing that has helped me is just focusing on what is actually happening and how it makes me feel; chasing my joy/comfort. Yes, my pronouns are not what make me a man, but as long as people are using my pronouns? That's fine. It's okay if nobody-- even myself-- truly understands the complex inner workings of my gender. What matters is that they respect my name, pronouns, how I relate to them, how I dress, my hobbies, etc.

Feel free to message me with any questions :)
 
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