Most people experience stress at some stage in their lives, but as a young trans person there may be more things happening in your life to increase your stress levels. Whether it is dealing with transphobia, school, relationships or working through issues such as accepting yourself, there is no stress that cannot be overcome with help. With support and advice there are lots of ways to get your stress under control so you can focus on enjoying your life.
Ways to manage stress as a young trans person
Recognising when you are stressed
As a young trans person you may experience transphobia or discrimination that other young people your age do not and it can be extremely difficult to deal with and lead to increased stress. If you are experiencing stress it is important to recognise how you are feeling and how your body may be reacting to your current situation.
If you are feeling tired or ill, that could be a result of stress or pressure that you are experiencing. Physical warnings such as tense muscles, over-tiredness, headaches or migraines can all be symptoms and signs of stress and it is important to recognise these. If you notice that you are increasingly stressed, identifying what is causing this stress can be the first step in helping you deal with it.
Questions to ask yourself to help deal with stress:
- What do I think is causing my stress?
- Are there practical things I can do to address this?
- Do you think things will get better in time?
If you can recognise the cause of your stress you can then identify the things which are within your control to improve it, and those that aren’t. Although it can be difficult, letting go of things that you can’t change or that will change themselves can help give you relief from current pressures.
Identifying stress in your life
Another way to help address stress in your life can be by reviewing your lifestyle to see where changes could be made to it.
Questions you can ask yourself about your lifestyle:
- Are you trying to hide your feelings to appear strong to everyone?
- Are there things you are doing which could be handed over to someone else?
- Can you take a step back from some things while trying to improve your lifestyle?
- Can you do things in a more leisurely way?
- Are you trying to change your entire life overnight?
- Are the people in your life helping you or adding to your stress?
As a trans young person there may be many things in your life that you feel are out of your control and this can be difficult. Trying to change things you can’t, or worrying about things you have no control over can take a huge toll on your mental and physical wellbeing and often accepting these are not within your control can help you to move forward and reduce your stress. Get more advice on ways to manage stress.
Taking control of what you can in your life
To help deal with stress you may need to prioritise attainable things you are trying to achieve and reorganise your life so that you are not trying to do everything at once. Remember that in most situations you can take a step back if you feel overwhelmed. In school or college, this might mean speaking to someone in charge about how you are feeling and the difficulties you may be experiencing. If you are feeling worn down or experiencing problems with your physical or mental health remember that you can always speak to your GP. If you are having difficulties with your relationships, this might mean taking a step back from them and prioritising people who support you.
Who can I talk to if I am feeling overwhelmed?
If you are trying to manage the stress in your life talking to someone can help. There are supports specifically for young trans people in Ireland, such as BeLonGTo, but there are also plenty of other supports that you can access that are provided for all young people in Ireland. You can find a list of suggested supports in the section below of this article.
Mental health supports for young trans people in Ireland
- Transformers is a peer support group for gender diverse young people of post primary school age. It can be beneficial to talk to other young people who are experiencing similar problems and can help you to feel less isolated. Contact [email protected] for more information.
Online LGBTI+ Youth Group for New Members
BeLonGTo’s online LGBTI+ youth group for new members is starting on Monday, January 11th 2021. This group is a safe space to meet people, chat, have fun, and learn a little about gender and sexuality. This online group is open to any LGBTI+ young person between 14-23 years.
Crisis Counselling with Pieta
Working with Pieta, BeLonGTo are providing a free crisis counselling service for LGBTI+ youth who are self-harming or thinking of suicide. Their therapist, Nash, is friendly and welcoming, and will listen to you in a safe, non-judgmental space and work through whatever is worrying you.
Talk to their Youth Workers over Text, Phone or Email
Reach out and talk to BeLonGTo’s friendly, expert Youth Workers Shane, Kate and Sean in confidence about whatever is on your mind. They are happy to listen, provide you with information and referrals if needed.
Youth Groups Nationwide
BeLonGTo’s youth groups are safe spaces for LGBTI+ young people to meet, share experiences, and chat. Their groups are now being delivered virtually.
- LGBT Helpline is available on 1890 929 539
- There is also a Family Support Line on 01 907 3707
- You can email [email protected] for support or information as face to face services are currently closed
- Get anonymous support 24/7 with our text message support service
- Connect with a trained volunteer who will listen to you, and help you to move forward feeling better
- Free-text SPUNOUT to 50808 to begin
- Find out more about our text message support service
If you are a customer of the 48 network or cannot get through using the ‘50808’ short code please text HELLO to 0861800280 (standard message rates may apply). Some smaller networks do not support short codes like ‘50808’.
- Pieta House are currently offering sessions to people over the phone
- You can contact your local centre for details: pieta.ie/contact
- They also have a Freephone 24 hour helpline and text service is available every day of the year. You can call 1800 247 247 or text HELP to 51444 (standard message rates apply)
- While all face to face and helpline services are currently suspended you can email [email protected] for information or support
- Bodywhys still have online support groups which are continuing as normal
- Visit bodywhys.ie for more information