Thanks, guys. I really appreciate the replies.
Yeah, reassurance doesn't seem to help people much, if at all. There's always a way to discount what people are saying. I got teased a lot for being pale when I was a kid, and then starting in hs for having long hair (which almost everyone hated, lol). But that's not really the issue. I know I'm ugly (for a male) by conventional standards (women were never interested in me) and I'm mostly able to live with that. The problem is a bit more complicated because I'm trans. By feminine standards of beauty I'm spectacularly ugly. And those are the only standards my brain really cares about. I mention some other stuff below.
Thanks for the suggestion. I might try a voice journal. I've recorded my voice a couple of times for my friend for special occasions, but I can't bear to turn the camera around so I'm in the picture, lol. It's a bit more than just being ugly; my gender dysphoria is involved, too.
I'm not really worried about people being mean. I know what people are like, and I know what people think about people like me, and I've been called just about everything at some point already. I know what kind of comments to expect and the high dislike to like ratios from watching other people's videos. My self-esteem is pretty good, all things considered. Being called "ugly", etc., won't surprise me nor would it really upset me. I just don't like to be seen
. My mind seems to think that not being visible protects me in some way, and losing that protection is somehow connected to my fear of being in photos/videos. I'm not really trying to be vulnerable (maybe people will see it that way, anyway); the kind of stuff I'm thinking about making is more factual or theoretical.
I've been doing therapy for the better part of a year now. I don't think it's helped yet, but it's nice to have someone to vent to. Maybe the EMDR will help. If I can force myself to do it.
@Persephone The Dread
Yeah, the "forming opinions" is a big part of it for me, too. I feel like, if you're any flavor of trans, how you look has a big impact on how people interpret your words and actions. And I'm much more concerned about that than being ugly per se (though I hate that, too). "Because you have this kind of body, you don't really
think/feel that, it's not really genuine, your personality is all just an act, etc." Not sharing photos/video probably doesn't actually help me at all, because people know what I am, but by sticking to text I can fool myself into believing the real me is coming through on occasion.
Idk anything at all about making videos (and why would I? lol). But I'm not concerned about the production quality or having fancy effects. I just feel like I should be putting something out there. Idk how many other people there are like myself who feel like they have no representation (maybe there aren't any, haha). And because many people's arguments stink. But I don't expect to have many followers and I'm not trying to make any money. I'm doing it for personal reasons. I'm sure I'll be redoing the same videos dozens of times, though, because I totally suck at speaking.
My therapist suggested hiding my image during video conferencing, but, like I said, it's about a lot more than the way I look. Just knowing that another person is seeing me is a lot of the problem.
Yeah, mirrors are a problem for me, too. They're a slightly different problem, but connected.
When I share a picture/video, my mind is normally panicking about the fact that someone is seeing my picture
. And it completely messes me up and I can't think straight. But when I look in the mirror I get a different chain of events. For starters, there's a weird sense of alienation, like the person in the mirror isn't me but a stranger and they're watching me, which creeps me out. (And maybe that's because I never look at myself.) And then there's this kind of intense rage, because I'm angry at my body for destroying my life (my poor body, lol; I know it's just a bag of chemicals, and never meant to cause me any harm, but that's how I feel). And this awareness of how my body has destroyed my life sends me down the suicidal ideation slip 'n slide until all I want to do is kill myself. So I avoid looking in mirrors to avoid this chain of events as often as possible. I get the same chain of events by looking at pictures or video of myself on my own, but during an actual conversation (like with my therapist) I think the freaking out about being seen would dominate, not the self-destructiveness.
I'd like to get to that point someday. I just don't know how to do it.
I was right with you until step 2:
1. Look in a mirror with a piece of paper stuck on it covering your face. Look at it for an hour
2. Cut the top part of the paper off so you can see your hair...
I don't have any hair.
You might be right that going into the psychology of it all won't help. You can probably figure out the psychology from the stuff I wrote above, and it's obviously not rational, and I already know it's not rational. So maybe exposure is the way I'll have to go. I just don't know how to break the--1. see self, 2. hate self, 3. kill self--chain. Forgetting about the existence of my body as much as humanly possible is how I maintain whatever little sanity I have left.
I think being on any kind of Zoom conference is outside the realm of possibility at this point, but it's a nice thought.