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Feeling isolated and judged...

Jenny Flannagan photo Jenny Flannagan · 20 Oct, 2020

I feel like I'm isolated from everyone after coming out as trans and it seems like everyone judges me on my self-harm instead of what I'm like and I just don’t know what to do.

Hi Jayden. It sounds like you’re in a very lonely place right now, and I’m really sorry. Whatever struggles we go through in life, it’s always harder to manage them when we have to do it alone.

The current situation - the COVID pandemic - can make loneliness feel even more intense because there are so many restrictions on who we can spend time with and where we can go. We seem to all be on our own a lot more, and that can be so hard.

You’ve made a really big decision in coming out, and you say that has left you feeling especially isolated. And that makes me curious about the different reactions that you’ve had. I guess they haven’t all been the same - maybe some people have said something, and some people have just gone quiet? I wonder if your friends or family feel confused or nervous about what your new trans identity means, and how it changes how they will relate to you. I’m not defending them for leaving you feeling so alone, but I’m trying to imagine why they might be struggling to work out how to be a part of your journey. Sometimes we’re not sure what to say and so we don’t say anything - and whole relationships can break down that way, which is such a shame. We all just get too scared.

Perhaps if someone you have trusted in the past knew you were feeling so lonely, it might help them to overcome their own insecurities and work out how to be a friend to you right now.

I noticed that you said it seems like you’re isolated from ‘everyone’, and that ‘everyone’ judges you on your self-harm. That sounds really overwhelming. But it also brings me back to wondering if there might be someone who doesn’t fit that description? Is there even one person who you feel isn’t judging you, or you don’t feel totally isolated from? Someone you could talk to some more? As humans we are so dependant on each other, and there is more and more research that shows how connecting with each other does amazing things to our brains – helping them to change and heal and move us forward, even after the most painful experiences. So if there’s anyone you feel you could talk to, could you maybe take a risk in sharing some of your journey with them?

When it comes to self-harm, I’m sad that it feels like the people around you can’t see beyond it. Often we get scared when we see evidence of self-harm and we don’t know how to react. You shouldn’t feel under any pressure to explain yourself to the people you feel are judging you, but it could help to talk to one or two people you trust – to tell them some of your story and why you’ve felt you needed to self-harm, and the ways in which you are trying to move towards a better future. You can help them to understand what makes you feel supported, rather than judged.

I guess I’m just saying the same thing a few different ways. Which is that loneliness and isolation are horrific experiences, and that we really need human connection. I really want that for you Jayden, and I’m sorry that people you counted as friends and family aren’t reaching out to you right now. But if there is even one person you feel like you could reach out to, it could make all the difference in the world.

Jenny

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