This week, I have been feeling lots of ‘negative’ emotions (stressed, overwhelmed, anxious, useless, and worthless) – because the little voice in my head has suddenly gotten louder to the point where I feel alone and don’t know where to turn to. Normally, I can brush this voice off and continue and appear my normal self – happy, positive, confident and fun. But since Monday this week, I haven’t been feeling my usual self – both in terms of my mental health and body image (relating to how I view both my gender identity and expression, as well as my overall sense of how I identify on the gender spectrum).
Let’s start with mental health. Lately, I have been feeling the negative emotions because I’m going to start my foundation year at University (the course I’m studying is Media Culture and Communication (with a Foundation Year) this September – and whilst I’ve got a good chunk of what I need for studying, I still need to buy all the stuff I need for my accommodation, as well as few bits and bobs.
This leads me to my second reason for feeling this way – I’m unemployed, and while I’m searching for work, all of my job applications have either been declined, or I haven’t even gotten a response from them. Thus, I have been feeling a sense of worthlessness and guilt for not working.
Secondly, I’ve allowed the voice in my head to override my normally positive demeanor. Like I mentioned at the beginning, this is something I can normally brush off, but now it feels like I can’t- I’m being constantly told that all my friends actually hate me and that I’m actually a horrible/terrible friend and overall person. I’m also finding it hard to believe all these positive affirmations from my friends (both online and in real life) because my brain keeps telling me that they don’t mean it and that I’m actually an attention-seeking person who is a burden to everyone.
Moving forward, I want to talk about my body image, though I’ve already disclosed what makes me dysphoric here. But it has not been until this week that I’ve really been feeling negative feelings of guilt, shame, and overall anxiousness surrounding my gender identity and expression. This is because the media likes to paint AFAB nonbinary in one color – tall, vaguely masculine, white, skinny, able-bodied, etc. This has a negative effect overall because it erases all the different ways that one can identify outside the gender binary (e.g. the intersections of being black and nonbinary, or a poor nonbinary person).
So in terms of how this has affected my mental health, I feel guilty about identifying as a stereotypical nonbinary person to some degree – I’m white, AFAB, abled-bodied and I consider myself to be somewhat masculine in my gender expression. But – I don’t see myself as being skinny. See, I’ve always been pretty neutral surrounding my body image, but I’ve only really been struggling since I came out as nonbinary in late August 2018. Though this feeling of not 100% fitting the nonbinary look has only really negatively taken shape recently (i.e. this week). It’s because I don’t see myself as ‘skinny enough’ to be considered nonbinary, and I wish that I could feel somewhat body-positive again. I also wish I could feel a sense of what gender euphoria feels like. Though it has helped a lot with my chest dysphoria, I still feel as though I am playing into this stereotype of what an AFAB nonbinary person should look like.
Besides, I feel as though I’m not doing enough for the LGBTQ+ community. All across social media, I sometimes see articles about all the amazing work LGBTQ+ activists do and feel worthless because I’m not doing the same level of work as they are – I just write stuff about LGBTQ+ topics sometimes surrounding my own experiences. I don’t feel like I’m doing enough for a community that I care so much about, and this little voice keeps reminding me of that.
Overall, I feel lost, hopeless and that I’ll never feel like my normal self again. Nothing, in particular, has caused this, it’s just how I’m feeling at the moment and I hate it. I want to talk to friends and not feel like the only reason they’re being nice to me is because I’m there, and therefore it is convenient. I want to feel a sense of pride in my enby identity, and I can’t do that if the voice in my head keeps telling me that I’m a stereotype that’s invalidating and taking up space for other nonbinary individuals.
But most of all, I just want to feel like my normal self again.