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Thread: Crossdressing and Mental Health

  1. #1
    Senior Member Debbie Denier's Avatar
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    Crossdressing and Mental Health

    Think there are positive and negatives relating to CD and mental health. The positives are stress relief, escapism, relaxation, joy etc . Maybe many more.Negatives mainly seem to be the affect on relationships with wives, family etc. Suppression can result in negative outcomes. I know this from personal experience.Interested to know other?s opinions and how they deal with it.

  2. #2
    Miss Conception Karren Hutton's Avatar
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    I have issues with my mental health and have really large swings, more on the negative than positive. More of late I find myself going to really dark places . Think it goes hand in hand with my physical health issues and some of my medications. But I can never ever find that balance that I would like to have. The struggle continues.
    Come over to the dark side - We have cookies!

    .......My Photos

  3. #3
    Senior Member GretchenM's Avatar
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    Debbie, that is a difficult subject for sure. Certainly a lack of acceptance on any basis can lead to difficulties in the mental health department. And it is probably pretty well known that the lack of acceptance has been focused on by the psychology community. Years ago when the DSM 5 was being prepared suggestions for a new name for what our behavior was called back then was sought. The name then was definitely connected to a mental illness definition and knowledge had advanced to realize that gender variance was often not a mental illness but a normal variation in identity. One suggestion was Gender Expression Deprivation Disorder rather than Gender Identity Disorder. It had become recognized that for many gender variant people the inability to express their identity resulted in a mental disorder and once the person became comfortable with expressing their identity openly the disorder characteristics went away and therefore the mental illness, the Disorder, went away. But Gender Dysphoria eventually won out and became the replacement for the Gender Identity Disorder" label.

    Dysphoria is generally not considered a mental illness but simply a discomfort with something in your life - similar to, for example, a fear of spiders. Spiders produce a discomfort, but it is not a mental illness to be afraid of spiders. However, even though gender dysphoria is not a mental illness a deprivation of an ability to express the identity can still lead to mental illness, but, in general, the dysphoria is not considered to be the cause. Instead it is the discrimination against gender variant people that creates the mental illness just as discrimination (outright rejection) creates a mental illness in those who are different in some way. It is well established that discrimination creates mental illness, but it is easy to transpose the cause from active discrimination to the simple fact that the person is different from others in some way. That takes the blame off of the person doing the discrimination on to the person who is different. ("You are mentally ill because you are different. It is your fault; not mine," says the Discriminator. Most of the time that is actually backward thinking because people are not the same, but highly variable.)

    Thus, it is a shift in the causal emphasis that removes crossdressing from producing or being a result of mental illness. The person actually identifies in some way with the identity they express in their own way. Thus we find that crossdressers and transgender (generally gender variant people) actually have, to various degrees, that reversed identity sense. And that is possible in spite of the person's sexual identity because sexual identity and gender identity tend to be fairly (but not completely) separate processes. Sex is an "either/or" binary in almost everyone even though intersex people do exist. (And just because it is hard to tell if they are male or female is not grounds for discrimination.) But gender identity is not a binary; it forms a continuously varying spectrum that results in a sense that everyone is unique - because we are unique.

    It has now been found that the uniqueness of individuals is a neurological reality and is probably a result of micro-mutations that occur in everyone's genome. Thus sex is biological while gender is the result of unbelievably complex processes that occur as a result of the plasticity of the brain (ability to adapt) as influenced (but not determined) by genetics and the influence of environment on the expression of that genetic gender configuration. GENDER IDENTITY VARIABILITY IS NOT A MENTAL ILLNESS BUT A NORMAL BEHAVIORAL VARIATION IN HUMANS.

    However a mental illness can develop if there is a complete inability to openly express that identity in a way that is consistent with the details of the identity itself. Thus "gender identity expression deprivation" causes problems but the deprivation is the problem and not the expression of the identity. And the deprivation results from discrimination and a dysphoria in the people who discriminate against people who are different from social expectation. Social expectations are contrived and not absolute; that is why there are so many cultures in the human family. Our brains create wide variability because of its ability to adapt to different perceptions and internal variations. Thus if you crossdress you are not the norm if the culture considers that wrong but it is the consideration that crossdressing (gender variance) is wrong and the discrimination that results from that which creates the perception that crossdressers are mental ill. They may be, but it is not because they crossdress. It is because the culture does not accept that as a legitimate need when in fact gender variance is normal in Homo sapiens.
    Last edited by GretchenM; 11-12-2022 at 08:26 AM.

  4. #4
    Member AllieBellema's Avatar
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    I do see an escapism from reality when it comes to dressing up. It does put a smile on my face when I get to look in the mirror and see myself all dressed up and feminine.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Christie ann's Avatar
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    Thank you Gretchen. There are some local politicians I should send that to.

  6. #6
    Super Moderator Raychel's Avatar
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    I have had issues with mental health at times.
    I can say that the crossdressing has helped sometimes.
    An escape from the world for me at times.
    I was in a really dark place for a long time.
    Cant say for sure. But it was close to 5 years,
    I am happy to say that I am coming out the other side of all that.
    I am now in a much better place in my head.
    The crossdressing has not caused any of it, it was all life changes that needed to happen.
    they just happened all at once and it was too much for my mind to handle.

    But I am here, and Raychel is alive and well.
    And she has definitely helped me thru it all.
    My friends here and this forum has helped as well
    my sister's reply when I told her how I prefer to dress

    "Everyone has there thing, all that matters is that you are happy, love what you do and who you do it with"

  7. #7
    Member Shiny's Avatar
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    I majored in Psych for a while to try to figure out my "condition" and read every dusty book out there. Those clinicians have about as much credibility talking about TV'ism as I do talking about what it was like walking on the moon! I know who I am, and unfortunately WHAT I am. I'm ok with that as it is what it is. Any mental problems I have I base on my male life only, the "hobby" deal is in another folder. In life there is only one answer: "you do the best you can."

  8. #8
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    Shiny, I so very much agree with your comments

  9. #9
    Silver Member Geena75's Avatar
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    I'm just dealing with having so many fantastic things that went on in October. It opened with going to KY for a weekend on my 'other hobby,' followed a week later with going to Mackinac Island for a weekend with the spouse and reaching a huge finish with spending 3 days as Geena with Linda. All those wonderful occasions make going to work very dreary and I have been feeling extremely depressed there, especially since with staff shortages I have been working all alone most of the time. Getting back to normal balance may take a little while.
    www.flickr.com/people/196660660@N08/

  10. #10
    Senior Member Kris Burton's Avatar
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    I try not to think of this aspect too much; still it fascinates me. I do know that I have been in and out of therapy since my teenage years, having issues with anger management, OCD, depression, even some substance abuse. In all of that time, the issue of crossdressing never came up, I believe now because I had it so deeply buried, I couldn't get guidance for something that I even hid from myself. I can tell you though that since starting to actively CD, and especially with the acceptance of my wife, I have not felt better psychologically in years, maybe ever. Self acceptance goes a long way , and it's all upside for me now.
    www.flickr.com/people/194195593@N05/

  11. #11
    Female Illusionist! docrobbysherry's Avatar
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    I have often described it as "falling down the rabbit hole". Because that's what it felt like for me for 15+ years!

    But, I'm sure it's different for each of us!
    U can't keep doing the same things over and over and expect to enjoy life to the max. When u try new things, even if they r out of your comfort zone, u may experience new excitement and growth that u never expected.

    Challenge yourself and pursue your passions! When your life clock runs out, you'll have few or NO REGRETS!

  12. #12
    Aspiring Member Fiona_44's Avatar
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    All I know is that since I started dressing fully and going out in the world as Fiona, I am happier than I have been in a long time.
    "I may be going to hell in a bucket baby but at least I'm enjoyin' the ride!" - Grateful Dead

  13. #13
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    In my case I'm in a really good place when it comes to mental health. I have the usual stress everyone else does - every day stuff like work, finances, etc. but where it relates to my dressing I have a SO (boyfriend) who is incredibly accepting, supportive and encouraging and we have a very healthy relationship. Never had to hide anything from him and I can dress whenever I want (I'm closeted however). The combo of a supportive boyfriend and looking forward to wearing all of the wonderful lingerie I have definitely keeps me in a good place mentally. I also get plenty of exercise which definitely helps as well, in so many ways. I definitely feel lucky to have the life I have.

  14. #14
    Oh to be an English Rose Jane G's Avatar
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    Before I retired I suffered with work related stress a few times over the years. Horrid thing. Dressing always had a possitive effect. Heck it's fun. The work stress quite literally disoved away the day I agreed my retirement package and date. The fact I can dress more now is even better.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Heather76's Avatar
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    While I certainly enjoy CDing, I've never thought of it as relieving stress as I live an extremely stress-free life. The key to living a stress-free life for me has always been to maintain an "I don't much give a s**t attitude" about most things. The only stress I feel is when I think my CDing is causing my wife some grief. So far as my mental health is concerned, I believe myself to be reasonably well adjusted and don't consider CDing to be a mental health problem. It's simply something I truly enjoy doing and only wish society was such that I could CD at will without risking friendships and embarrassment for my wife.
    It's never too late to enjoy a happy childhood.
    Live each day as though it's your last 'cause one day you'll be right.
    I'm finding the more feminine side of me...and I ❤️ this adventure.

  16. #16
    Junior Member NonbiNancy's Avatar
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    First off, thanks Gretchen. That was helpful for me to read. Debbie Denier, for me CD is expressing my true nature. I am simply being myself. That I don't feel particularly male is not a mental illness, it's who I am. That I choose to embrace my true nature is for me a sign of mental health. I cannot control how others perceive me. It's not my problem or responsibility if others find who I am weird, odd or whatever. My responsibility (how I "deal with this") is being honest with myself and those I love.

  17. #17
    Senior Member SaraLin's Avatar
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    I have a pretty good life.
    I struggle with depression anyway.
    Dressing or not dressing doesn't seem to have much to do with it. When it hits, what I'm wearing doesn't matter.
    Other than that, I think I'm doing OK.

  18. #18
    Platinum Member alwayshave's Avatar
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    Debbie, while I don't have a stressful life, dressing does have a calming effect on me.
    Please call me Jamie, I always_have crossdressed, I always will, "alwayshave".

  19. #19
    Aspiring Member jacques's Avatar
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    hello Debbie,
    for me there is a clear link between my mental health and crossdressing.
    If I don't dress for a while I get grumpy and then if that continues dressing becomes a bit of a hurdle that I have to overcome.
    It is all in my mind - there is no reason why I cannot dress as I wish; it is just a legacy from the past suppression.
    And the best way to get out of a dark mood for me is to get dressed.
    luv J

  20. #20
    Platinum Member kimdl93's Avatar
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    The two best responses are a) I do not know and b) it depends. Stress is part of life from bacteria on up. (I am not sure whether viruses experience stress.). How we cope with stress is another matter. There are healthy coping mechanisms and some not so healthy coping mechanisms.

    CDing may be a positive coping mechanism for some and incredibly destructive for others. Most of us here have probably experienced both at one time or another. As others have often observed, cross dressing is no longer considered a disorder. However, a person could be suffering mental health problems if they experience on-going and in some way(s) debilitating emotional distress out of guilt, shame or self-doubts associated with their cross dressing. They may also engage in a variety of potentially dangerous, impulsive behaviors that jeopardize relationships, put their health at risk or lead to economic hardships.

    The subject of cross dressing and addiction comes up from time to time, including another thread posted recently. Thats a special case. Alcohol and other drugs can be addictive, but many people consume alcohol (and even some illicit drugs, I suppose) without suffering the physical/mental health problems, or the interpersonal or economic loss that defines addiction. Lots of people enjoy casinos without a problem and we all eat. Some significant subset of us, however, can do serious damage to their lives by their compulsion to gamble or over-eat.

    Usually, (maybe always?) some underlying emotion issue drives a person to self medicate, whether its with alcohol, weed, food, gambling or cross dressing. If cross dressing becomes a coping mechanism for that underlying issue, it can be as addictive as any other compulsive behavior. And as many of us, myself included, can attest, the consequence can be damaging or destructive.
    Last edited by kimdl93; 11-13-2022 at 01:46 PM.

  21. #21
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    I find something really comforting about throwing on a pair of comfortable tights, and skirts and dresses help even more.

  22. #22
    Resident Polymath MarinaTwelve200's Avatar
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    I don't think I have any problems with depression or mental health myself, or ever did, But I DID discover long ago that CDing DOES go a long way in relieving stresses and helping me "take a vacation" from my self and getting away from my own worries and concerns, if for only a few hours at a time. Just the relief I might need.

    I only see that it can HELP most mental conditions.------- Save for those that are UPSET that they ARE CDers, and most likely mistakenly associate it with more profound "conditions" like Homosexuality or Transsexuality.-- Even in this case, a bit of "education" can help one realize that CDing and those other issues are NOT the same thing. I recommend some good Psychology text books written in the 70s and 80s, When enough was known, but before such things became Politicized, to get the best information. Most of the population is ignorant in such matters to start with, and recent politics only confuses the issue.

  23. #23
    AKA Lexi sometimes_miss's Avatar
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    For me, crossdressing is a coping mechanism for relieving stress due to gender identity dysphoria. Dressing/behaving as a girl, satisfies the cognitive dissonance in my mind from physically being male, but feeling like I'm supposed to be female. Doesn't seem to matter that the rest of my personality indicates that I'm male, apparently growing up believing god made a mistake, that I was supposed to be female, and that one day god would 'fix me', wound up becoming stuck in my mind that was what I am. No therapy has been able to change that, so I just deal with it the only way that I know works: Crossdressing.
    Some causes of crossdressing you've probably never even considered: My TG biography at:http://www.crossdressers.com/forums/...=1#post1490560
    There's an addendum at post # 82 on that thread, too. It's about a ten minute read.
    Why don't we understand our desire to dress, behave and feel like a girl? Because from childhood, boys are told that the worst possible thing we can be, is a sissy. This feeling is so ingrained into our psyche, that we will suppress any thoughts that connect us to being or wanting to be feminine, even to the point of creating separate personalities to assign those female feelings into.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Debbie Denier's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone for your replies . Some different opinions and experiences. Sometimes Miss , I can completely relate to your coping mechanism. Its exactly the same with me. I think I have experienced gender identity dysphoria. I can relate to a lot of your previous posts , your perception and analysis from a psychological perspective.After my mother passed, I lost my weekly dressing outlet and my most loving supporter.Suppression made me grumpy as my wife is non accepting. I conversed with the Samaritans by email for a week. I realised that not being able to express my feminine side as Debbie was causing my distress. I grab my few opportunities when I can . But still feel associated guilt and shame.

    [

  25. #25
    New Member ErikaH's Avatar
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    I have suffered from mental health issues my entire life, only finally admitting it to myself maybe 10 years ago. I have been crossdressing for nearly 20 years in private. For me, part of it was an escape, I got to leave the male person with the problems behind, and get to experience someone totally new. In high school, I was active in theatre, I believe, for the same reasons. Acting, I was able to escape myself and the issues in my head. Unfortunately, the still come back. As for my mental health, I have been diagnosed with depression, anxiety, ADD and borderline PTSD. I have been getting treatment and take medication, but I do feel that when I become Erika, I am happier and I like what she does for me!

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