Can gender dysphoria cause sleep problems?
I should be asleep right now, but I'm up way earlier than I'm supposed to be and it isn't the first time.
I'm used to a certain amount of insomnia after working 3rd shift for over a decade. That changed two weeks ago, and after a brief period of instability I've been living on a normal sleep schedule for the past week or so. It's been great for me and for my family. Well, at least the waking part. At night, I feel like I spend a considerable amount of time in bed either dreaming vivid dreams or tossing and turning. I think the transgender confusion is causing it. Feels like it based on some of the dreams and odd thoughts that race through my head during the tossing & turning phase.
Like I said, life has been pretty good over the past week. My marriage is on much more solid ground than it has been in a while. But the TG cloud still poses a threat. I went over some of those issues in a previous blog (). My wife and I both worry one of us will eventually leave the other over this whole situation. She predicted we'll just end up at an impasse and split from there. Hopefully not. Hopefully we can make compromises to both sides' satisfaction. For now, I guess I'll enjoy the days and endure the fitful nights until a resolution can be found.
In these blogs I find I keep describing my situation as being lost in a limbo of gray fog. It's the best analogy I can adopt to explain the ongoing confusion in my head.
Inside this fog springs worries about whether I could even BE a woman. I'm rather new to the TG community. I've learned a lot in the past couple weeks, but there is still so much to know. One thing I'd like to know is just how difficult it is for TG men to become women. I know it is a very difficult road to take, but at this moment I'm still questioning whether I really am a woman inside. I watch women and girls on TV, at the store, everywhere, and I look at what separates them from me (beyond just the biological).
I'm not particularly social or very emotional now. I believe I had some emotional problems growing up, but I can't say for certain what the source of that was. I've never been particularily fashionable or really into fashion (especially shoes). And I've never been much of a home maker, I don't really get into gardening or outdoor projects and I couldn't pick out a design pattern to save my life. I recognize these are a few superficial and general descriptions of female activity, but I can't help the way I feel. I wonder if I could fit into those niches should I ever transition.
I assume, from how they are described, that therapy and hormone replacement help unravel years of living as a male to uncover the true female living repressed in my mind. But do they really? I just won't know until it happens, if it happens. Have other men had to shed the accumulated years and experience of their masculininty in order to find their feminine selves? Or were they innately able to make the change?
These feel to me like I'm asking basic questions that all TG individuals already know. Maybe they do, maybe they don't. Maybe we're all in the same boat. But like I said, I'm floundering in some thick haze. There are a couple of beacons of light leading me through it. One is my wife, the other, actually is this site. I'll keep following them both to see where they lead. Hopefully, the outcome is positive.
Thanks for reading
This phase I'm in, unsure exactly of whether or not I'm transgender and what I'm going to do, has been a dreary limbo over the past couple weeks.
What I've come to face is the choices that need to be made in order to move forward. I have to choose whether to heed this inclination towards being a woman, heal the conflict in my head and take the step to transition. My other option is to continue shouldering the burden for the sake of my wife and children.
At my most optimistic, I thought I could have it all. I thought maybe, if it came to it, I could transition and keep my marriage. That does not seem likely. Right now, I want to keep my marriage. My wife is my soul mate; we are meant to be together, I know this. Making the transition jeopardizes that life. A Pyrrhic victory is NOT an option. I refuse to pursue a new life at the cost of the current one. That would buy a hollow sort of happiness. But what if can't resist the urge any longer?
A much more crucial decision lies with my wife. I've lived with the dichotomy in my head for more than three decades now. I'm used to the turmoil, even at its worst. I've learned to deal, to hide, to find ways around it. For her, this is pretty new. After what she has learned, the choice my wife now faces pretty much involves how much she is willing to accept or concede about me. As it stands, I can do nothing. She isn't ready to see me cross-dress, call me by another name, or be married to another woman. The idea is repugnant to her. Her other option is to let me deal with being transgender silently. But to do so means knowing how much I would suffer and how that could affect our marriage. I know she is very afraid I will come to resent her the more I struggle with this situation.
We both have a considerable amount of soul-searching to undergo. I hope a satisfactory resolution can be found. As I said, I am not willing to sacrifice my family over this. Now my resolve is about to be put to the test.
Thanks for reading
I am sure there are numerous factors leading to my current TG conundrum. One I want to focus on right now involves my love for hosiery. It may be one cause, it may THE cause. Who knows?
I do know I absolutely love the way tights feel and look on me. No other garment turns me on in ways that tights do, and I don't mean sexually entirely. I admit they do provide a sexual thrill like a fetish. I've always been attracted to women who wear hosiery, and I LOVE when my wife wears them (even if she does so reluctantly). But there is a more powerful urge to wear them than just sexual satisfaction. I can wear tights all night. I own more pairs of tights than I do t-shirts and I've always been a T-shirt and jeans kind of person. Most of my tights are black, but I also have a great variety of colored tights: gray, brown, blue, green, purple, red, teal, even a footless, a black and white striped pair and a tie-dyed pair. I think I look great wearing shorts and tights. I love them. I can wear them all day and even longer sometimes. Just something about that sleek, silky/nylon look and feel.
But I don't know when the infatuation started exactly. That memory is long gone. I can remember instances of swiping a pair from my mother's room or from the local drug store way back around 8th or 9th grade, but how it all started is gone now. I can remember telling my mother about them around 1993 or so because I wanted her to buy me a pair. She was not happy about that at all. I remember wearing them secretly under my jeans from time to time, but never to high school. I remember getting the nerve to wear them at a couple part-time jobs in college. I don't think I had them on in class. Sometime after graduation, I would wear them occassionally to work. I was up front to a few girlfriends (including the woman who would become my wife) with no problems. Wearing them, though, sometimes feels like an addiction. Like the desire to would wax and wane. Sometimes I would go for a long time without wearing them, then binge on them in some frenzied ecstacy. There were also times when the secret felt too great. I wanted to tell people. I HAD to get the weight off.
All that built up to last Halloween. The urge to come out about my tights reached a boiling point then. I was too tired of feeling like I was afraid of what people would think. My decision was the people I care for don't care about what I'm wearing, and if the people I don't care for have a problem, then fuck 'em. Who's going to tell a guy 6'0" and about 250lbs. what to wear. The decison was made.
I went in to work on Halloween dressed in shorts & tights making some lame excuse because it was a costume day. Some people laughed, but not in a teasing way. It was how I tested the waters. Finally, I came out to close friends. Guess what? They didn't care what I wore to work. My reputation was already solid. As long as I could perform well, my wardrobe was not a concern to anyone else. The weight of dropping that 20 year secret was powerful. I was elated! (though maybe a little too much at first. I think I got slightly obnoxious, then toned it down) One friend later told me I was super-geeked.
Things went that way for a few months. Getting to wear tights openly without jeans was like fulfilling a life-long ambition. I was freed. Too bad it didn't end there. Shortly after coming out, I started shaving my legs to get the full effect. My wife was not thrilled. She supported my decision, but does not like the look at all, especially in public. Shaving my legs, she said once, made her feel sick inside. She said later she was getting over that. I don't know how much I believe her. Then about a month ago, I started wondering what skirts would be like. I bought a couple off ebay. They're cool. Not as fun as I thought, but not awful either. There is no sexual thrill with skirts quite like how tights feel. Hell, even wearing tights regularly now has blunted their sexual impact. I'm quite okay with that.
However, all of this really re-opened a heavy oak door long shut that contained my gender confusion. The past couple of months I've been reliving that age-old battle over whether I am transgendered or not. As described in my previous blog entry, that female template in my mind is back with a vengeance. I'm really feeling a pull now. I don't know whether loving tights are a symptom of that larger TG issue, or if I created a TG issue to disguise what's actually some form of transvestisim and a desire to be a woman so I can simply satisfy my desire to wear tights. I just can't say right now. I love tights. I wear them openly. I'm doing so right now with jean shorts. That should be enough. So why isn't it? Guess that's another piece I gotta fit into this X-Files-sized puzzle.
Thanks for reading
This exploration into possibly being transgendered or a crossdresser feels like a new development right now, but I've actually been struggling for a really long time. The difference now, I believe, is I refuse to sweep things under the carpet anymore.
I don't know yet what or who I am. I don't know if I really am TG or just dealing with Depression and deluding myself for some reason. There are three things I DO know as fact: 1.) I really love wearing tights. Skirts are nice too, but I don't like wearing them as much as tights. They're unneccessary. 2.) I have questioned my gender identity since I was a teenager, maybe longer. 3.) I love my wife and family more than anything. I learned last week I will do anything it takes to keep them, even if it means denying myself everything I want.
Facts 1 & 3 are the only bits of clarity I can cling to in this whole mess. Fact 2 I suppose is similar to experiences shared by many people. What I described to my wife shortly before we separated briefly nearly 2 weeks ago was that I can't get the equations in my mind to balance. The numbers don't quite add up. For a very long time, I've felt like I'm sharing space in my head with like the template of a female personality. It's not like a separate personality. I'm fully aware of everything happening around me. But if you think in terms of a computer: the main program is Me, composed of my male biology and masculine experiences for 35 years. Then there is an alternate program, the template or outline of a female. It's not quite fully realized, but is trying to run or exert itself over the Me program. The conflict, of course, is bugging the system.
I don't know if the conflict is causing depression. I know for sure I've been dealing with that for a long time as well. I can see how TG can cause depression, I just don't know how or why Depression would cause one to believe they're TG. Another thing I know is I feel like I've been living in a gray fog for years. The sun pokes through occasionally and life seems clear, but many times I'm trudging through a haze as the days pass. I've never known what I want to do or who I am supposed to be. That sounds A LOT like depression. I also question whether repressing this feminine self, locking her up, has been at the heart of my problems, kept me from realizing myself.
That takes me to the future. After all this time, could I even be a woman? Would I even know how to do it? I watch women and girls and think there's no way. They're so feminine. They've had a lifetime of experience being female and being raised as such. How could I start at 35? How do I stop repressing this feminine side, and would she even know how to act? What about my family? I don't know if my wife could handle it. She says she's afraid for the children, but they're resilient. I think they would adapt, but I'm more concerned about her. I can't lose them. I would hope she can come around, love me and stay married despite my physical appearance. That raises more questions: if TG is primarily the mental template of your gender, then does one HAVE to change their body to reflect it? Are there other ways to be female? Could I find positive outlets or compromises? I guess that's what this blog is for, to voice these questions and find maybe find answers.
Thanks for reading