How do I stop my brain manufacturing identity crises?

Discussion in 'General Advice' started by TwoBrokenMirrors, Mar 8, 2015.

  1. TwoBrokenMirrors

    TwoBrokenMirrors Merely a whitebait in the mayo of life

    As certain folks may know, my brain has been harping on about gender for a while now. Today I came to a semi-firmish conclusion, told my boyfriend about it, and- as i knew full well would happen- my brain went 'Ah! Now you've done that, we can go back to being cis.'
    It did the same before with my name, where it insisted that both the full version and the shortened version I usually go by were wrong. Eventually i selected a replacement nickname, and then my brain went 'actually, you know, the full version of your name's okay. still not over-keen on the shortened version, but I'm not going to let you use the nickname you picked to replace that, because now that feels weird. have fun.'
    I also intermittently have extremely minor spiritual epiphanies (all along the same lines, usually- what i think might fall under pantheism), which after the fact my brain looks at and goes 'you know that's really stupid, also selfish, and nobody, not even pagans/spiritual folks, will take you seriously with it? Plus, you know, do you really believe it? Really?'
    It also keeps telling me that I'm not bi, I'm straight. I don't know whether to believe it or not. I'm dating a trans guy, so the lines are sort of blurred.

    I wrote in to Seebs about it once and he said it sounded like my brain was doing something fairly logical but in an annoying way- basically, I can't quite be happy in my identity unless I've explored all the options, but if the default is on the table then it always wins because it's the default. So my brain removes the default, forces me to go through all the other options, and then when i've decided what would be the best out of those, re-introduces the default.
    But the default (which is straight cis girl, btw, in case you hadn't guessed because it's bleedin' obvious) always ends up winning again when it's re-introduced, and I legitimately don't know if it's because it's the simple, easy answer or if it's because I really am just best suited to factory-original settings. I have a lot of issues around wanting to be special and individual and stand out and such, so when my brain wants to be cruel it tells me that the only reason I was ever really considering being anything other than the default was because I'm one of those awful people who want to be The Tragic Hero. Like... ID-ing as bi didn't really get me any grief, so I might as well just go back to being straight because being bi isn't getting me any extra attention.
    And that's a really frighteningly plausible explanation, so I keep thinking that I just need to shut up about it and be the default, but my attention-seeking behaviours are twisting that too because now they want me to be Really Aggressively The Default and get attention that way and I don't know what's right and I'm frightened of being the default but I don't know why and I'm really, really fucking tired of all this shit.
  2. rorleuaisen

    rorleuaisen Frozen Dreamer

    I head similar head spinnings about whether or not I was Autistic(took my brain about half-a-year to calm down about it), and I kinda agree with Seebs' analysis. The part that's probably frustrating you is how emotionally invested/charged you are about it. The hard part is realizing that the answer doesn't really change you or matter really. Not to trivialize or anything, but no matter what label you use, you will still be you. And trying on new things is completely okay. For example, I've been trying on transguy lately, and I have found some benefits from it(am I wearing dude panties? Yes, yes I am. I love them), but I don't feel it's a good descriptor for me, so I am reverting back to mehgendered. My identity isn't emotionally charged because I am me before I am any label.

    Also, alternative theory: I'm guessing you are very stressed in your life right now. And this may be your brain's way of saying "Things are not right! Change things! Make them right!". It is using your identity because it is something it can control(in a sense) in a world where you do not have control. So, when you have better control over your life, it should calm down. I imagine that you don't have a very strong sense of identity either, which makes it easy for your brain to flip-flop it.
    • Like x 1
  3. TwoBrokenMirrors

    TwoBrokenMirrors Merely a whitebait in the mayo of life

    I think you've probably hit the nail on the head there, really. I am... pretty invested in all of this, mostly because a) as you said below, I don't have that strong a sense of identity and other people do and get community and support and such from that... and b) because I have negative levels of self-esteem and what I can scrape up in the way of identity seems hardly worth it. I have, however, also been getting so annoyed with all of this that I've been kicking back against it by imagining just answering all the identity questions with 'fuck you I'm me', which is satisfying until my brain starts kicking holes in it because it's an asshole. It likes to label things, and 'me' isn't an acceptable label because the parameters are all fuzzy. xP But there really isn't a label that i can just slot into, which is part of the trouble.

    This is also part of it. See self-esteem problems mentioned above. I also live with my parents and want out (they're not bad people, I'm just, you know, wishing for independence these days because I am A Grown-Up) but am frightened of being out, don't have a job, live far away from both my close friends and boyfriend, and am terrified of the future. I'm not surprised my brain is trying to exert control over something it actually can control. It's just going about it in a shitty way. xP
  4. rorleuaisen

    rorleuaisen Frozen Dreamer

    Yeah, low self-esteem sucks, especially with identity issues. The only suggestion I have is to try and focus on a different part of your identity. Like, I'm iffy on my gender, but I know I'm asexual(and I'm an artist, and a bunch of other things) and it's something I can lean on with certainty for support. So by putting my focus on needing attention elsewhere that is more certain, it frees up my genderwhatevers thoughts to play without too much stress.

    Also, even if you are feeling wishy-washy about your identity, feel free to share your feelings on it. I happened to start a thread that started out about gender disphoria, and it turned into a whole different can of worms. And it helped solidify that this particular thing, was not related to gender identity, so I could cross it off my mental list. It also helped me with a more core issue I was having, so it was a win-win.
    I've had my brain do similar things in different areas. And I think you might know this, but just to make sure... When you get angry at yourself for something, it builds on top of itself and creates a new problem. So you can't fight it with anger. If possible, just accept that it is a thing, that it's normal, and it's not your fault. It will take the anger and frustration away. And once that's gone, you can actually work on the problem. So, as difficult as it sounds, don't get too mad/frustrated at yourself. Your brain is just trying to help(even though it doesn't seem like it!) and once you stop fighting with it, you can start working with it.
  5. TwoBrokenMirrors

    TwoBrokenMirrors Merely a whitebait in the mayo of life

    This is a good idea, though I have trouble finding anything I feel like I can lean on. xP Like... I'm a writer who doesn't write and an artist who can't fucking draw. But those are excuses, really.

    I spend a lot of time frustrated, sadly. Mostly because I know I could do a lot of things if I wasn't frightened, but I'm scared as hell. Not of specific circumstances- well, sometimes, but they're much easier to deal with because I know the source of the fear and have ways to deal- but of big, nebulous things like 'failure' and 'the future'. And my brain never helps with that, so being angry at it is also a default state. I most definitely should try and accept it, but at the moment the fear and the identity shit seem more like moral failings or manipulative attempts at getting attention than they do anything that I can't help and shouldn't beat myself up for.
    I shouldn't really be writing this at this point, I've got a dehydration headache because I forgot drinking was a thing again and I'm dissatisfied and lonely and afraid, so I'm just being vaguely self-pitying.
  6. Re Allyssa

    Re Allyssa Sylph of Heart

    Yeah, I have this problem too. I really like labels for myself, but when I can't find one, it's super frustrating.
    I've started IDing as queer, because my brain processes as "umbrella term - miscellaneous, not straight" which is all I have figured out atm. And that's enough to shut my brain up. Maybe you could find an umbrella term or something to at least temporarily shut your brain up?

    But yeah, man that just sounds like a sucky situation. I don't really have advice, sorry xP
    • Like x 1
  7. unknownanonymous

    unknownanonymous i am inimitable, i am an original|18+

    just popping in to say: my brain processes it the exact same way!
    • Like x 1
  8. seebs

    seebs Benevolent Dictator

    The more I think about it the more I think you really do show some BPD signs.
  9. TwoBrokenMirrors

    TwoBrokenMirrors Merely a whitebait in the mayo of life

    That could actually kind of work maybe? Thanks. I'll try and find a term my brain agrees with. xP

    I actually mentioned this thing- the way my brain insists I think about things like gender and that and then goes 'actually no' when I decide on something- at the very end (like, I was heading out of the door end) of my CBT session today and the therapist said it sounded like OCD thinking and we would have to think about that. I don't know. I'm in a good mood and not stuck on it for now, so it's hard for me to get a handle on how I was thinking when I made this topic without ending up sliding into the same space.
    (p.s. CBT person also a) still maintains that asperger's and autism are different though she didn't tell me how and b) that a formal diagnosis is unlikely because the NHS only likes to diagnose people who are crippled enough by things to need care or disability allowance. I think she is more convinced that I have it now because I sort of went on an upset rant about needing something to explain my behaviour to employers etc and when she suggested I just tell them that I have it without a formal diagnosis my response was 'but I can't LIE!'. She did not succeed in persuading me that it isn't somehow lying to claim I have it without a formal diagnosis. ACCURACY IS EVERYTHING BECAUSE BEING WRONG IS AWFUL AND PEOPLE MUST UNDERSTAND HOW I THINK DAMN IT)
  10. seebs

    seebs Benevolent Dictator

    Haha, that is so autistic, yes. If you want to be a smartass, ask her to show you the difference in the DSM-V. :P
    • Like x 2
  11. TwoBrokenMirrors

    TwoBrokenMirrors Merely a whitebait in the mayo of life

    Is tempting.
    I also just remembered that people always rule out bpd and bipolar because I'm not really reckless or impulsive- the CBT person said that I wouldn't be able to manage money if I had either...
  12. seebs

    seebs Benevolent Dictator

    Autism + BPD => much less reckless and impulsive, in my (limited) experience.
    • Like x 2
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