I wavered between pride and self-loathing. Those marks were mine; I had made them.

On Self-Harm: The Scars That Remain 

The first time I was inspired to injure myself was when I was thirteen. I had just read Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls, an advice book my mother had hidden on the shelf between some garish ceramic dancing girls, books on cocker spaniels, and her and my father’s decaying wedding cake topper. In the book, a well-meaning psychologist told stories about teenage girls acting out, and self-injury was just one of many ways. I wasn’t the type to climb out the window on a rope made of bed sheets, so self-harm made a lot of sense.

Recovery from trauma is a journey. Image: Rocksana Rocksana/Unsplash.

Trauma Broke Me Into Parts, But I Found Wholeness Through IFS Therapy

Individual “parts” of my system [...] have become dysfunctional as a result of trauma. Some of these parts are stuck as young children or teenagers, while others carry individual emotions like worry or anger. They’re all still parts of my whole — not full-fledged personalities as in dissociative identity disorder — but they are separate enough to take on a life of their own to protect me from harm.

Gender dysphoria can lead to overwhelming major depression and anxiety. Image: Thinkstock.

When Gender Dysphoria Triggers Self-Harm

Trans people struggle with disproportionate levels of anxiety, depression, and other mental health challenges. This is because we don’t identify with the genders we’ve been assigned based on what our bodies look like, and because we can’t reconcile our true selves with the gender roles that are imposed upon us. This often leads to self-harm.