Dysphoria makes me hate my body, makes me angry with it, makes me resent it like its a prison. I feel like we’re at war, my body and me, and I am helpless against it. I cannot stop change it and I cannot escape it. Dysphoria makes furious, but also exhuasted. Sometimes, instead of an acute horror its the dull, constant ache of a crushing fatigue that I just can’t shake. Its smothering me, soffocating me, drowning me and I’m fighting so hard to get to the surface, to break free and suck air into my lungs, but somehow I’m always losing because one lungful of air is never enough before it pulls you back under again.
At its worst, Dysphoria it makes me want to hide my breasts, to cover them up even when I’m already clothed or cut them off and put them away somewhere. It makes me want to hide my stomach, to ball up, to cover it, to block it from view because there are organs in there that just shouldn’t be and when you look at me its like you can see straight through my skin to where they are. It makes me want to crawl out of my own skin and flee this body.
Dysphoria is immoblizing. It means I can’t do something as simple as going to the store to buy tampons or pregnancy test for myself, because I cannot acknowledge that pregnancy or menstruation could even happen to me and I definitely can’t handle anyone else knowing that. It means I can’t even talk about that stuff with people who might need to know or be able to help because I can’t say those words out loud. Because as soon as you know I can’t stand to have you looking at me. I want to hide, I want to wear layers and layers and layers of clothes even in my suffocatingly humid apartment. It means that I would rather buy a bunch of Misoprostol (an anti-ulser medication) over the counter and give myself an abortion at home than go to a clinic. It means that I will avoid accessing necessary health care or talking about certain aspects of my physical health. It means I will lie to your face if you ask me about “my period” because if I don’t tell you, if nobody knows, then I can pretend it doesn’t happen.