Binding & Costocondritis – What Do I Do?

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    Topic
  • #125558
    Sam I Am
    Participant

    Hey everyone.. I’m really new here but I really have been needing somewhere to vent, I guess..and I just really hope to talk with others and hear others experiences..

     

    For some context, my name’s Sam  I’m 25, ftm. My pronouns are he/him/his. I’ve been out and living my authentic self for about a year now, but I have been struggling with ongoing bouts of Costocondritis (the inflammation of the cartilage between the ribs, sternum, and breast bones).

     

    The pain can be debilitating and I was working 40 hrs a week, having to bind as I can handle the dysphoria of NOT.  I know this has likely made it worse, the pain and whatnot, the inflammation. But I found out more recently I did some nerve damage in my left shoulder, somehow. It sends pain down my entire left side.

     

    I am now stuck in this position where I can’t bind. It’s too painful. But if I also am constantly freaking out, because of dysphoria. I don’t know what to do.

     

    My transition has been really hard. Like, I know I’m actually probably lucky in regards to being in a place where I am able to come out and have most people accept me. Basically everyone except my parents, call me Sam, as I prefer. My deadname causes major anxiety whenever I hear it or see it. If I have to buy cigarettes or something.. showing my ID is just dysphoria.  Having to see Doctors or go get blood tests, go to hospital, talking to any government official.. it’s all so uncomfortable because of Dysphoria.

     

    At the beginning when I finally changed my appearance and name/pronouns, I remember getting up everyday and looking in the mirror to see if the dysphoria was gone but every single day I’d just end up having an anxiety attack. I stopped myself from doing it after a while and like even now I sometimes find myself doing these “checks” I guess for lack of better words.. but it remains the same. Dysphoria. Anxiety, panic attacks. I feel so damn uncomfortable.

     

    It’s just like.

    There’s these chunks of flesh on my chest that were never meant to be there. And I remember years ago (7-8yrs ago maybe) I was dating a cis-male, I felt like I was suffocating because of repressing my gender identity, I kept reading online and hearing others stories and I tried binding for the first time, where I found my reflection to actually calm me… Somehow? With the binding, it was just..relief?.. but when discussing with my partner (who I had been with for 6 yrs, up to that point) he found it strange. It made him uncomfortable. And I just..”swept it under the rug.” I felt like, I didn’t want to make him uncomfortable… I didn’t want to cause commotion, Ive never been that person who likes confrontation or tension… So I just, suppressed it, I guess..

     

    Years pass by, I was 18 at that point when I first tried binding. I’m 25, almost 26 now (26 in May 2022) and I guess, I Just.. wish things were easier. I feel like a baby for complaining when some have it so much harder than I.

     

    My mother is 7th Day Adventist so I know for a fact she will never accept my identity. She believes trans people are mentally ill. I have clashed with her my entire life. She never accepted me, when I was younger, always asking me to change. To give up the alternative lifestyle, to stop with the piercings and tattoos and stretching my ears. I am walking blasphemy to her. And then when I first dated someone, my Frist girlfriend, I distinctly remember my mother’s words. “I don’t want a gay daughter.” That moment, really solidified, to me, how unaccepting she was..

    I asked her to call me Sam to which she replied “No disrespect – but that’s not what’s on your birth certificate.” She then deadnamed me and misgendered me. I remember reading the text and just bursting into tears for a good 10 minutes, it really really hurt. She doesn’t know I’m trans. Just that I want to change my name. If she can’t accept just that, she won’t accept it for a greater reason.

     

    It’s necessary for my happiness to pursue transition but at the same time, I am anxious, it’s all so new.

     

    I have seen some peoples stories and some trans folk who are absolutely (seemingly) 100% sure of themselves and every decision they make and it makes me doubt myself because I DO have doubts. I don’t doubt that I feel more comfortable identifying as a man, idont doubt that I prefer he/him pronouns and male clothing, short hair, more masculine presentation. I don’t doubt that binding gives me immense relief (when I am not suffering in pain, which has been ongoing for at least 3 months now – I have not bound for 2 weeks, the first time in this past year, year and a half.) But I am so scared by hospitals, and doctors.. it causes intense dysphoria for every doctor’s visit and having to be deadnamed constantly, misgendered..having to reexplain constantly.. (the doctors in my town move often and I haven’t had a stable one for many years.)

     

    I’m looking at 5-10k in costs for top surgery which feels like it would take an eternity to reach. I can’t work right now because of the pain in my shoulder/chest, I can’t bind.. and dysphoria is eating me alive..

     

    My new doctor seems  nice, a little dismissive when I am talking, it seems, like she hears half of what I say, and then zones out .. it’s a little annoying.. but she’s helping me with looking toward Gender Clinics and has a psychologist who were trying to organise sessions with.. she says I need to be diagnosed with Gender Dysphoria to proceed, which I understand why but at the same time it just makes me feel so..invalidated?.. I don’t know if that’s the right word but the fact I need someone else to tell me “I acknowledge your feelings” so I can do what is necessary, for my own happiness and wellbeing.. my own life..  it just feels unfair..

    Anyway I am to see the doctor again tomorrow. She mentioned last appointment that she’d see about prescribing cbd oil for the pain Ive been experiencing.

     

    I haven’t bound in 2 weeks. And the physical pain has lessened, I will not deny that. But I also find myself unable to leave the house. It is summer in Australia and some days are 40 degrees C, and yet I can only leave the house in 2-3 layers to avoid people seeing my chest (I’m an A cup if that, probably lucky.. but again I can’t help the anxiety it causes..)

    I look down and for some reason it’s like I just expect to see a flat chest and there’s these two, hunks of flesh, just, there. It looks so unnatural to me and I just don’t know how I can feel so intensely about it.. Ive always had issues with my body image going back to when I was just a child, but as I grew I just assumed I was like the others around me, the girls in class always comparing.. in PE, in the change rooms, they’d physically compare their weight and breasts and thighs.. meanwhile I would always be in a stall to change. I was a size 16-18 while the rest of the class and school were sizes 8-10-12. I felt so insecure and others pointed out my weight often. It only made it worse.

     

    I did all sorts of dieting and excersizes, then found my thyroid wasnt doing too well, had to have half of it removed when a growth formed. I was informed it was cancerous and they surgically removed it when I was 16. I spiralled, after that, with everything weight-wise. Food-wise. I went from dieting to excersizing to giving up food entirely. I didn’t eat basically anything. I had toast in the morning and that was it for the entire 24hrs. I’ve gotten much better in my eating disorder now.  I still only eat once a day but.. it’s much better than it was. I have lost a considerable amount of weight, comparing to before. I now weigh 50kgs, where I was, 110kgs. This weight loss has been over the course of about 7-8 yrs.

    I feel like the intense repulsion towards my body and weight not only comes from being bullied relentlessly for it (which is what I believed was the only reason, in the past) – but also because weight gain means being breasts which increases dysphoria which for me results in self loathing and harm. I haven’t resorted to that for a long time, but, it’s always just in the back of my mind..

     

    I really don’t know what I hope to achieve from posting this other than venting and maybe.. I don’t know.. finding others to relate to?.. I am unsure if anyone else feels like this or I am truly insane like I have felt my entire life but I just wish I could get some kind of relief..

     

    I think that’s why I spent years abusing drugs and opiates and meth and losing weight and just numbing my emotions and not giving a fuck about myself.. I’ve never been the authentic Sam, I spent 24 yrs living as a girl and I hate every aspect of her. I hate her name and even the very fact if using “her.” Like. It just feels so uncomfortable I could cry.

     

    Am I just.. absolutely insane?

    I guess time will tell lmao.

    But I hope to talk more with the doctor tomorrow regarding the psychologist/ gender clinics..

    I hope things get easier..

     

    And to you, as well.

    I hope things get easier.

     

    For taking the time to read this damn near novel, I’ve written.

    I, thankyou.

     

    With love

    Just Sam

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    • #125587
      Brielle
      FREE

      Hi Sam, I’m mtf, just starting HRT. I felt compelled to respond if just to say welcome to the site. Everyone here is super supportive and caring for each other’s well-being. I can’t imagine what you are experiencing! I suffer dysphoia, but not to such a high degree as you. I am married (40 years last August) with one daughter a little older than you, and my wife just found out that not only did I have a secret life of crossdressing, but I also found that I need to transition to make my chronic depression and anxiety bearable.

      I am so sorry that your mother could react so cruelly. She may not agree with your decision, but she shouldn’t hurt you so much by intentionally misgendering you. How unChristian! You need to find a different GP that will affirm your need to transition. I don’t know how Australia health care works, but here in the US a lot of procedures are covered by insurance with a diagnosis of gender dysphoria. Your gender therapist and a good endocrinologist can certainly help you.

      Let us know how you are getting on!

      Big Hugs,

      Brielle

      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #125925

        http://Hi Sam i was moved by your post. Reminded me of my beginning. I am 60 years old and knew from the age of 16 that i would definitely transition as soon as i could. Needless to say took me til i was 40 to start. But I did. And I faced somewhat you’ve are facing with family. I was disowned for the most part. I have to tell you most of the ones who rejected me eventually came around. The ones who haven’t are no great loss inbthe great scheme of things. By the way excuse my typos I’m not great at catching them all.

        As for your binding issues  yhey sound significant to me and I empathize with your pain. I am a thin man about 63 kgs and I too was not very well endowed up top. I was an average b cup. Rather than binding with tape or  wide elastic I decided to order a male compression shirt. It was advertised as a posture and chest compression shirt. It was very comfortable and flattened my chest to a degree that I just looked like I had well developed pecs. I dint know if something like this would work for you but I do know it was much more comfortable than the wide elastic bandages I started out with.  I also spoke to a pharmacist that I knew and trusted and he was able to hook me up with what is called a gynocomastic compression garment. This is something meant to be worn after major chest and abdominal surgery.   Might be something else you can look into.

        I would also consider going online to look up available gender counseling services available in the nearest major city to you. If your Dr is not helping you navigate thru the system push to see someone else. Remember you are your best advocate. There is a world of help out there just for the asking . You are not alone.    Everything you are experiencing is part of the journey we all have gone thru or are going thru now.

        One of the first things I started was the process of changing my identification papers with my new name. I had to wait quite a few years to get the gender designation changed but have a driver’s license with my new name nit my dead name on it made me feel much better. I too cannot stand the hearing of my dead name, seeing it in print or anywhere near me. It wasn’t who I am at all and having to show ID was always difficult.  Once I had the ID with my new name I felt encouraged in my journey.

        I fortunately was able to make what some called a geographic cure. I moved to a new city far enough away haha no one knew me. New Dr new job new nightlife. New social life in which I could start out in my new real identity.   Just something to think about as I don’t know your situation.

        Just so you know things do get better with time. Ive been completely transistioned now for about 15 years and although I experienced some pain and loss I am happier now than I have ever been in my life.

        You can contact me if you wish I will answer any question that comes to your mind on any subject no matter how trivial or even embarrassing.

        Just a little afterthought I am 60 years old, married to a confirmed lesbian for 33 years, no children, 1 dog, 3 siamese cats, retired professional picture framer and gift shop owner and I live in Northern Ontario Canada

        2 users thanked author for this post.
        • #125933
          Sam I Am
          FREE

          Thank you so much for your reply, I really really appreciate it. I would like to talk further with you if you’re up to it. I relate heavily to your story.. bad appreciate the insight.. ❤️

          1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #125940

            We can talk anytime Sam   it’s always good to talk to someone who jnderstands where I came from. Didn’t have sites like TGH when I was coming out.

            1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #125939

            http://Hi Sam i was moved by your post. Reminded me of my beginning. I am 60 years old and knew from the age of 16 that i would definitely transition as soon as i could. Needless to say took me til i was 40 to start. But I did. And I faced somewhat you’ve are facing with family. I was disowned for the most part. I have to tell you most of the ones who rejected me eventually came around. The ones who haven’t are no great loss inbthe great scheme of things. By the way excuse my typos I’m not great at catching them all.

            As for your binding issues  yhey sound significant to me and I empathize with your pain. I am a thin man about 63 kgs and I too was not very well endowed up top. I was an average b cup. Rather than binding with tape or  wide elastic I decided to order a male compression shirt. It was advertised as a posture and chest compression shirt. It was very comfortable and flattened my chest to a degree that I just looked like I had well developed pecs. I dint know if something like this would work for you but I do know it was much more comfortable than the wide elastic bandages I started out with.  I also spoke to a pharmacist that I knew and trusted and he was able to hook me up with what is called a gynocomastic compression garment. This is something meant to be worn after major chest and abdominal surgery.   Might be something else you can look into.

            I would also consider going online to look up available gender counseling services available in the nearest major city to you. If your Dr is not helping you navigate thru the system push to see someone else. Remember you are your best advocate. There is a world of help out there just for the asking . You are not alone.    Everything you are experiencing is part of the journey we all have gone thru or are going thru now.

            One of the first things I started was the process of changing my identification papers with my new name. I had to wait quite a few years to get the gender designation changed but have a driver’s license with my new name nit my dead name on it made me feel much better. I too cannot stand the hearing of my dead name, seeing it in print or anywhere near me. It wasn’t who I am at all and having to show ID was always difficult.  Once I had the ID with my new name I felt encouraged in my journey.

            I fortunately was able to make what some called a geographic cure. I moved to a new city far enough away haha no one knew me. New Dr new job new nightlife. New social life in which I could start out in my new real identity.   Just something to think about as I don’t know your situation.

            Just so you know things do get better with time. Ive been completely transistioned now for about 15 years and although I experienced some pain and loss I am happier now than I have ever been in my life.

            You can contact me if you wish I will answer any question that comes to your mind on any subject no matter how trivial or even embarrassing.

            Just a little afterthought I am 60 years old, married to a confirmed lesbian for 33 years, no children, 1 dog, 3 siamese cats, retired professional picture framer and gift shop owner and I live in Northern Ontario Canada

            1 user thanked author for this post.
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