Many people in my life have asked me what my dysphoria feels like. I’ve never been able to give any of them a halfway accurate answer. Here’s my most recent attempt. 

Dysphoria feels like drowning, like a power outage before object permanence. It feels like being gaslighted by the universe. Dysphoria is like an eating disorder, and in fact, mine manifested as such: a little voice in your ear telling you constantly, over and over, how wrong you are. How you’ll never be right. Dysphoria is like that marginally acceptable Lindsay Lohan movie Freaky Friday, except you’re not your mother; you’re someone else, a stranger. You’re stuck living in her world and being perceived and fulfilling the roles you assume she did before you landed here by some mystic Chinese curse. Dysphoria is like finding your dream home only after someone else has bought it—or burnt it down. Dysphoria is like being in a sailboat with no wind, stuck somewhere you don’t want to be. Dysphoria is like being buried alive, your body knows what’s happening is wrong, but there’s nothing you can do about it by yourself. Dysphoria is like being a vampire looking into a mirror, you’re nowhere to be found. Dysphoria is like being dropped into the middle of a country where no one speaks your language. Dysphoria is to be completely disconnected and alien from your body.

I’d love to hear how you describe your own dysphoria, if you’d like to share, leave a comment below.


6 thoughts on “Dysphoria

  1. I have felt so much of what you describe here, it sent chills down my spine. I have said my dysphoria feels like I’m trapped inside a skin two sizes too small while being wrapped in sandpaper. The very thought of this body makes me nauseous and looking in the mirror is almost impossible. All I see is this “thing” where I should be. It is disgusting and completely demoralizing.

    All I want to do is cry.

  2. I get the feeling of not being able to explain, but you did a good job. Dysphoria to me.. feels like being wrapped in a straitjacket of barbed wire and being locked in a dark room.

  3. You know, I’ve never tried describing how I feel… maybe a topic for a post someday? 🙂 (my online dictionary does not even recognize the word ‘dysphoria’ – I forced it down its throat). My dysphoria had me turn to comfort eating and still does. Maybe it would be easier to describe what effect dysphoria has… ‘disconnected and alien’ – yes, yes, yes. Take care.

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