General Question

Arethusa's avatar

I have a tendency to disappear, and I can't stop myself from doing so. Thoughts?

Asked by Arethusa (99points) October 11th, 2010

Hello everyone. I am 24. But since childhood I’ve dealt with gender identity problems, which I managed to repress for quite a while by creating fantasy worlds and false identities. However right about my 20th birthday it became increasingly hard to keep my act together. I began to systematically withdraw myself from my social circles still unaware of why I needed to do this. By 22 I had faced the truth of my childhood problems and begin to connect the dots. Ever since I’ve been carefully exploring my feelings but still feel a great deal of anxiety when my old (and some newer) friends try to reach out to me. I want to be forgotten, but that doesn’t seem to happen.

Everyone who’s known me usually say I’m a nice person, good friend and I understand it may seem odd that I just suddenly disappear, but I just can’t help but want to be isolated. And just now someone texted me asking if I’m still their friend, and I feel bad, but they have no idea what I’m dealing with, and I’m not ready to share.

How do you suggest I handle this?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

14 Answers

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

You are not alone. Even when you isolate yourself, there are people who understand what you are experiencing. Being transgender is not easy, but knowing it is the first step in getting to know the real you.

If you can, I highly recommend that you talk to a counsellor. They are trained and can help you understand the process.

skfinkel's avatar

Are there people who have been in a similar situation you can talk to? That might be a helpful place to begin to get a grip on some of the things you are going through.

lillycoyote's avatar

I do that sometimes. I jokingly refer to myself as “the human cicada” with my friends because I periodically go into hibernation. That’s just kind of my nature, to periodically withdraw. The only real problem is if you begin to lose control of it. Isolating yourself so much can get you into a kind of downward spiral where the more time you spend alone the easier it gets to spend even more time alone, which leads to more isolation and more time to spend, by yourself turning all those feelings and all that anxiety around and around in your head. I’m not saying that you need therapy but it might not be a bad idea. At least maybe one session, every two weeks, so that you have someone to talk to about things, so that there’s someone checking up on you, someone getting you out of yourself every so often,. As the Jackson Browne song goes: ”... don’t let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy.” Just some things to think about.

janbb's avatar

I would definitely suggest you talk to a counselor or therapist and explore this issue (the disconnection) and what you want to do about it.

airowDee's avatar

You can try telling them you need time for yourself to figure out who you are and that you are struggling with an identity related issues if you are not comfortable with telling them you are transgender yet.

If they are your true friends, they will stick around.

This is not the time for you to worry about if you are giving enough attention to your friends, you have to do what you need to do in order to be the person you are self actualizing to be.

It is not your job to educate others on transgender issues, but you always have the option of giving them them information from the web so they can try to understand what youa re going through.

And a good support resource for yourself (with a forum you can chat with others on anything related to transgender)

wundayatta's avatar

Do you get depressed when you disappear? Do you believe that no one likes you or cares about you? Do you find it difficult to get out of the house, if not the bed?

marinelife's avatar

Therapy would be a good place to get some help. it can help you gain perspective on and come to terms with your sexual identity and help you to integrate your social life.

Lacking that, you can try to work the book Self Parenting, which is very helpful in becoming aware of your inner dialogue.

Otto_King's avatar

I have a same friend just like you. But he told me all of these things what you said. That he hates to be among people, hates get to know new people, likes to be isolated sometimes, etc, etc.
But since he is one of my best friend, and the godfather of my son, I constantly “drag” him out from his little “hide and seek world”, and make programmes with him, what we both enjoy. Then he seems like changed, at least as long as we are together. But even after that, the next time he calls me and ask me, what should we do the next weekend.
So what I recommend to you, that you should let yourself go with the flow. :) Let your friends take you out sometimes, it will give you very much willpower for the next time, when maybe you’ll be the one who want to make the first move…

downtide's avatar

You are definitely not alone. I relate to just about everything you say here. In particular, the gender identity issues and the fantasy worlds/identities thing. I too have a tendency to “run away” from situations when I find things too much.

weeveeship's avatar

There is introversion. Sometimes, you might just want to get away from the crowd to “recharge your batteries.” This is absolutely normal.

However, there is also isolation, which can be a problem if it interferes with your daily life. Try to see why you are isolating yourself from others. Is it because you are afraid of their criticism? Is it because you are self-conscious? Is it because you feel inadequate when compared to others? Explore the reasons for your isolation and take steps to overcome those reasons.

In a final remark, remember “Just be yourself. Those who mind don’t matter. And those who matter don’t mind.” Don’t be afraid.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Why don’t you and I talk? Counselors and groups may be intimidating. You need to maybe clarify some of your feelings on matters of gender and sexuality and I can help you, if you’d like. Once you’re able to articulate to yourself what it is you’re thinking about, you can confide in a friend who is already in your life.

Arethusa's avatar


Thank you for all your support and kind words everyone!

@hawaii_jake you’re right, knowing is the first step, and I’ve known for a while now this is what I am, but still to take the necessary steps to remedy it.

@skfinkel Yes, there are. And in fact I do correspond with a couple of transgender girls who’ve helped me put my thoughts in perspective, but no one in real life I’m afraid. And ultimatelly that’s where the battle must be fought. That’s why I keep turning to the Internet to find an outlet.

@lillycoyote “Human cicada” that’s just great! :)
Funny, I also say I go into hibernation, but usually spoke of a bear to illustrate the point.
You are very right about it getting easier and easier to spend time alone, that’s how I feel, my world is perfect in my room and anything outside is potential hazzard.
I have been thinking of therapy for a while now, but haven’t been able to afford it, some of the few people I still see know I’m dealing with some sort of inner problem, but I still talk to no one in real life about this, and I think it’s getting to the point where I need to slowly bring this outside of my mind into the real world.

@wundayatta No. No. Yes, no.
I explain:
The first time I disappeared completely (I already had disappeard partially before that) I did go into a deep depressive state. Worthlessness, thoughts of suicide, everything! I sought help then, thankfully someone on the other side of the line had the reassuring voice and understanding to make me feel there was hope, that I was not a freak, and I was not alone.
I never thought that “no one” cares about me, or rather, who they think is me. I’m still to find out if they care for the real me.
I don’t find it difficult to get out of the house (anymore), but by myself, and I keep to myself. I’ve been this way for a year now.
I can get out of bed without major problems now (but after 12pm).

@marinelife I will checkout that book!

@Otto_King You know I have my very own @Otti_King friend in real life. He drags me out of the house constantly and I accept just so I don’t have to explain anything further about this to him. But I feel so drained after it that I feel as if I need a couple of days to recover before the next “socialization” time. I appreciate his effort, he wants to be a good friend, but unless I’m ready to explain why is it so hard for me to go out I doubt I’ll be making the first move anytime soon.

@airowDee Thank you, that is sound advise. It’s still not easy to do, but I guess it would give me the time I need to sort myself out.

@downtide It has taken me a while to understand this pattern of alternate identities/alter egos and fantasy. It seemed like a normal thing for me to do, but that’s until I started to look for the reason I feel so compelled to lie to myself (and others) about me. Thank you for reaching out to me!

@weeveeship I am introverted and I know that’s normal and ok. But I think the level to which I’ve taken this can be called isolation now. I’m isolated because I’m not ready to face the truth in the real world. Fear is definitelly the root, but I’m still working through the issues.

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Groups can be intimidating, I wouldn’t mind a counselor at this point… I’ve confided in one real life friend, but I think she went in denial—I don’t blame her. But a real life link seems like what I need to do now.

I didn’t reply that text message yet. I don’t think I will. I just hope one day when I’ve found harmony within me I can explain why I walked away from so many people’s life and hope they understand.

For now, to me, it is a lot more comforting to be alone, and confide with strangers who care. Just the thought of resuming life as I left it brings me close to panic and I don’t think I want to face that just yet…

Again, thank you for all your meaningful input!

janbb's avatar

@Arethusa Many therapists will accept patients on a sliding scale; a friend of mine pays only $5. per session.

lillycoyote's avatar

@Arethusa The cicada metaphor suits me, personally, better than the bear because the way it seems to play out for me is that you might not hear from me for weeks at a time then, all of a sudden I’m everywhere (!), chirp, chirp, chirping away, commenting on your facebook posts, calling you on the phone, maybe more than once or twice in a day, sending you emails, etc. My friends are kind of used to it by now and the one’s that couldn’t deal with it? Well, they didn’t stick around. In terms of friends, I weeded out the weak and unsuitable ones a long time ago :-) and the ones that remain are in it for the long haul. I don’t know why I’m this way, I just am. And as @janbb you may be able to find a therapist or a community clinic somewhere in your community that provides services on a sliding scale or at a lower cost, and it may not be optimal but even if you could see someone every two weeks, that would bring the cost down, I think it could have value for you, if only because at least every two weeks you will have to go out into the world and talk to someone, you will have to get out of your own head, out of your own self, out your own world. I just think that there’s a risk here that your own little world may become progressively smaller and smaller, the more isolated you get, to the point that it becomes so small that there’s not even enough room in it for you.

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther