Dysphoria* is something that can get to a lot of us. Sometimes, talking to a friend or family member or a therapist can be really helpful, and provide us with specific ways to help us move through these periods successfully. But, if you don’t have access to a knowledgeable therapist or the tips friends have given you just aren’t working, it can be pretty tough to work out what to do. Here are some ideas that I or friends of mine have used that have helped
1. Listen to Music - create a playlist that you know will help you feel better. Whether it’s music that distracts you, empowers you, or that you can sympathize with it, just stop and listen for a while.
2. Watch Something - funny, distracting, a mystery; whatever will hold your focus and take you away for long enough for you to try and gain your footing again
3. Eat Something - make yourself a treat. Or buy something delicious. No matter how odd or sugary or anything, so long as it doesn’t pose you immediate danger, savor it.
4. Take it Out - take a pillow, leash, belt or something similar in both hands and attack something sturdy. It could be your bed or a table or a tree, but yell whatever you’re feeling and beat the daylights out of that inanimate object until you’re too tired to continue.
5. Activate! - do research, write a post, make a video; do something to contribute to getting to where you want to be and/or helping the community.
6. Art - create something unique and powerful. It could relate to your dysphoria or not – just design something and focus on creating it until it’s done. The good thing about art is that you can never run out of ideas, and it never has to get old.
7. Read - whether queer graphic novels, classic literature, or trans* fanfiction is your pleasure, find something and start reading, and don’t worry about how long you stay absorbed in it
8. Write a Letter - or a journal entry about how you feel. Perhaps write it to your future self, or to that person or part of society that manages to trigger you every time. Keep it, burn it, or stick it on your wall.
9. Write on Your Body - whether you want to draw a moustache on your face in eyeliner or put on full makeup, or write quotes, lyrics, symbols, images, or phrases on your body, do so. You can take the makeup off whenever you want, and you can write on a part of your body no one else will be seeing. Or you can leave it on/write on your face or arms or hands for the world to see. If possible, it might help to write on a particular body part that is making you feel dysphoric. Then, when you look at it, you can remember that you’re in control of your body, and see whatever reminder you left for yourself.
10. Change it Up - get a piercing, cut and/or die your hair, choose to shave as little or as much as you’d like, get a tattoo, wear something new and different, put on dramatic makeup. Do something to your body that you can control, that does show who you are (or who you want to be or someone else entirely) on the outside.
Disclaimer: I am not a licensed health professional. If possible, seeking assistance from one, especially if you have a persistent problem, is the best course of action.
Not all of these will work for everyone! Some will work wonders, some will work a little, some will do nothing, and some may actually make it worse. As always when coping with this sort of thing, know your triggers, and make choices based around those. Other than that, do whatever it takes to keep you relatively safe and make you feel better.
note: If you have other ideas/suggestions, feel free to send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org! (I'm trying to keep a running personal list, and one on a permalink on Tumblr that people can easily access.)
* Dysphoria isn’t really adequate to describe all the different emotions and mental states related to trans* experiences that can keep you from being your best, most energetic self. Since it’s the most commonly recognized term I’ve seen, I use it here as a catchall to describe a variety of things trans*people can experience.