Growing up and going through the many changes that come with increased maturity is easily one of the most difficult times of anyone’s life. This trying transitional phase is made even more turbulent when the individual in question is experiencing gender issues such as gender dysphoria. Feeling as though you are unsure of who you are complicates almost every aspect of life and can lead individuals to feel lost, stressed, confused, and uncertain. Fortunately, the counsellors at Horizon Counselling are available to help you work through any feelings regarding gender issues that you may have.
What is gender dysphoria?
Gender dysphoria refers to the complicated feelings that can emerge when a person feels that their gender identity does not match the sex that they were assigned at birth. Although this can mean individuals who identify as the gender opposite of what they were assigned at birth, it also includes people identifying as gender fluid (denoting or relating to a person who does not identify themselves as having a fixed gender) or non-binary (denoting or relating to a gender or sexual identity that is not defined in terms of traditional binary oppositions such as male and female or homosexual and heterosexual).
Coping with the immense amount of change associated with these issues can be overwhelming. Some of the challenges that individuals dealing with gender dysphoria often face include:
- Stress: Feeling as though your identity does not match the body that you have been given can be incredibly distressing and may lead to stress-related disorders such as anxiety, tension headaches, weight loss, and insomnia.
- Mental health problems: Although gender dysphoria is not a mental health disorder, attempting to navigate these complicated feelings alone can put individuals at risk for secondary mental health including depression, eating disorders, and other mood disorders.
- Social stigma: Untangling complicated emotions surrounding gender identity is made even more difficult when faced with the isolation and social stigma that many people feel very acutely in their day-to-day lives.
Gender dysphoria can manifest itself at any age, but it is common in young children—especially those who are undergoing puberty’s physical changes that are at odds with their gender identity. It is important to seek help when these changes bring about intense emotions, stress, isolation, or other mental health challenges. The counsellors at Horizon Counselling are well-versed in guiding individuals through the changes associated with gender issues of any kind.
Are LGBT+ people more likely to have a mental illness?
Rest assured that being LGBT+ doesn’t automatically mean you will have mental health issues, but you may be more likely to develop them. This is following a review of studies on mental health issues in the LGBT+ community, where the following was found:
- LGBT+ people are at more risk of suicidal behaviour and self-harm than non-LGBT+ people.
Gay and bisexual men are 4 times more likely to attempt suicide across their lifetime than the rest of the population.
- LGBT+ people are 1½ times more likely to develop depression and anxiety compared to the rest of the population.
- 67% of trans people had experienced depression in the previous year. And 46% had thought of ending their life.
- Stonewall’s ‘Prescription for Change’ report found lesbian and bisexual women had higher rates of suicidal thoughts and self-harm compared to women in general. Of all the common sexual identity groups, bisexual people most frequently have mental health problems, including depression, anxiety, self-harm and suicidality.
The reasons behind the higher rates of mental health issues among LGBT+ people are complex. There are many experiences that LGBT+ people will often have to deal with as a minority community, such as stigma, prejudice and discrimination.
Credit for the above information is here
How can counselling help?
No matter your age, dealing with gender issues can be an incredibly scary, confusing, or emotionally mixed time in your life, and relying on a counsellor to help you navigate these feelings—be they good or bad—can help you begin to make some sense of your feelings. Trying to navigate gender issues and gender dysphoria alone can feel impossible but working with one of Horizon Counselling’s counsellors can provide support and emotional exploration to guide you in your journey. If you are feeling unsure of who you are, talking through your feelings with someone who understands your struggles can help to unravel your thoughts and guide your next steps.
Counselling for gender issues aims to provide support to the individual and help to mitigate any of the negative effects of the stress discussed above. Therapy can take the form of family sessions, individual sessions, parental counselling, or any other combination deemed most beneficial to the individual. The important thing is that counselling for gender issues is tailored to the specific and unique struggles of the individual in question, meaning that no two treatment or counselling sessions will look the same.
If you or a loved one is dealing with the struggles of navigating the world while also navigating complicated gender issues, counselling can help deliver clarity and peace of mind. Don’t wait to seek help and counselling for gender issues—reach out to Horizon Counselling today and speak to one of our licensed counsellors today. Our therapists are experienced in helping individuals deal with the complicated emotions surrounding dealing with gender dysphoria and would love to speak with you. Contact us today to start taking time for yourself and working towards your own mental peace.