I’ve been meaning to get around to this post for over a month now, I just haven’t been sure how to word it.Â I’ve decided that I probably won’t ever be entirely sure so I’m going to wing it and see what happens.
As everyone should probably know, there is an incredibly high incidence of depression and suicide amongst trans people.Â I don’t know if gay and trans corresponds to an even higher risk because, well, no one has ever bothered to ask.Â Either way, it’s a common enough problem.Â Some of us have situational depression due to constantly being misgendered, others have chemical depression and would be just as depressed even with all the right parts.Â I don’t know what it’s like to have situational depression so this is going to focus on the chemically based type.
I was first diagnosed when I was six.Â You’re probably thinking that’s pretty early, but when a child that young is found trying to rig up a noose there’s not a whole lot else to try blaming it on.Â At that point anti-depressants were 100% not prescribed to children.Â They were barely prescribed to teenagers.Â So rather than use me as a human guinea pig my parents sought out alternative treatments.Â I was put in martial arts, given positive thinking techniques, and taught a variety of coping mechanisms for the more terrifying aspects of my illness.
Prior to transition I’d had several major depressive episodes per year and a suicide attempt at least every other year.Â It got particularly bad when I was a teenager and went down to a semi-manageable level shortly before I came out.Â I wasn’t functional by any means, we’re still talking about spending several months a year not being able to leave my bed, but after years of having hallucinations of corpses and having to lock myself in my closet every week in order to stop myself from trying anything I was happy to just be able to chop up salad ingredients without imagining what it’d feel like to slit my wrists.
When I came out things got even better.Â One of the things every friend told me was that I finally seemed happy, an emotion no one had seen me express before.Â That was when I started getting stupid.
See, every trans guy I knew talked about how amazing it was to come out and how it was evenÂ better when they started T.Â They talked about mood swings and having to get just the right dose on just the right schedule, but the overall message was that T would all but make depression disappear.
It didn’t.Â I want to make that very clear.Â T will not cure depression.Â It can do many things, including make dysphoria related depression more bearable, but chemically based depression does not go away simply because you have more testosterone in your system.Â It changed the biochemistry of my brain enough that my depression is the best it’s been my entire life, but I am still depressed.Â I still have days when I cannot for the life of me get the energy to move out of bed.Â I still have feelings of intense hopelessness that will not go away no matter how hard I try to think positively.Â I still get suicidal for no apparent reason.Â I still have hallucinations when I’m in the midst of a particularly bad episode.
Very few people outside of my therapists have managed to fully understand that.Â I am not depressed because I am trans.Â I am not trans because I am depressed.Â I am depressed.Â I am trans.Â The two are not related.