Question: Can major depression cause you to think unusual thoughts?

A reader asks…

I have had these weird feelings about wanting to being a guy. I have never felt this way before and have always loved my body. I thought I was transsexual, but the other day I dressed up girly and felt like myself again. It made me feel good. I tried to dress masculine again and couldn’t even get myself to look at the men’s clothes.

Uncontrollable crying, feeling empty, and not feeling like myself seem to lead me to believe that I have major depression. So is it possible that being depressed made me feel these unfamiliar feelings? How do I feel confident and beautiful again?

Posted by on May 16th, 2010 at 08:00 am

Category: questions 18 comments »

18 Responses to “Question: Can major depression cause you to think unusual thoughts?”

  1. Elle

    If you feel depressed, whatever the reason, seek out some help. If you can’t or won’t work with a mental health professional, try a depression hotline, or speak with a trusted friend or relative or clergy member. Depression is dangerous, and you don’t have to feel that way.


  2. Jack

    I know that when I feel depressed it takes a lot more work to feel comfortable with myself at all and it’s round these times I find myself wanting to be either extremely feminine or extremely masculine. In fact it was during a major period of depression that I decided to experiment more with my gender presentation.

    I’m not sure whether this is a general thing or if it’s just a coincidence that both of us have had unusual thoughts to do with gender during periods of depression.

    As for feeling confident and beautiful again, I’m not sure. What worked for me (and is working for me) was surrounding myself with people who think I’m a good person (apparently those people exist). I find it’s easier for me to feel confident and beautiful if there are people like my boyfriend and my close friends who are telling me I’m beautiful and who want to be around me.

    I would also second what Elle says and wonder if you’ve tried emailing the samaritans ( They’re a uk based charity (but I’m sure they won’t mind receiving emails from outside the country) who help people who are depressed, suicidal or just generally feeling down have someone to talk to. I’ve emailed them 4 or 5 times in the last year and they were great for making me feel like I was worth something when everything in my body told me I wasn’t and my confidence has only grown from there. They try to email back within 12 hours.


  3. Anonymous

    Depression can cause you to want to be perceived as a different person, to change your identity and to escape yourself. Perhaps, on whatever level, you felt that changing your gender/gender presentation would ease those feelings? I may be completely off the mark, but I can relate to some of this. Whatever the outcome, I absolutely advise you get help if you have depression. It’s near impossible to figure out important things like this with a muddy head. Take care.


  4. Amy

    You might be borderline. :/ This is how I feel most of the time/all of the time.


  5. Bentley

    I hope you manage to find help wherever it is and that you can get yourself on the road to feeling better about things. *hugs*

    I just wanted to note that you can be depressed, or you can be transgender, or you can be both depressed and transgender. Depression is not usually the cause of becoming trans* or thinking you are trans*, and the kind of depression that can result from being trans* is more of a situational depression rather than chemical depression.

    I am NOT saying that your feelings of wanting altering your gender presentation don’t have to do with your possible depression. I just know that, for me, some people have been incorrectly correlating my being depressed and my being trans, which has created difficulty in my identity being legitimized.

    Anyway, power to you on your journey. As for being confident and beautiful, you seem pretty confident to me for putting up this question! :)


  6. Anonymous

    Could it be possible that you have depression because of your gender identity? I think I started having the symptoms of anxiety disorders when I started questioning my gender.

    I don’t think you have to be just a man, or just a woman. I think there are so many shades of gray, as shown on this website. If I feel girly, I dress girly. If I don’t, I’ll wear baggy clothes and pass off as a boy. Most days, I just look androgynous… and I love it. :)

    You definitely need to reach out and get help if you feel like this, however. Depression is verrrrry dangerous.


  7. Jessica

    Did you feel intense feelings of negativity against yourself or others, or the world in general or did you experience a deep desire to stop (period). If no, then maybe you’re not depressed, but confused. Confusion can be painful, but it can also be very good for you.

    There’s no reason why you have to continue to feel the way you felt about things. Be a girl today and tomorrow and for as long as you want to be, if that feeling feels good. If your internal weather vane changes directions again and you fell you identity is male, be a boy. Don’t burn your bridges and stop trying to decide stuff for all time. We’re changeable beings. Bend with the flow and enjoy the changes.

    If you get to feeling like you’re taffy in a taffy pulling machine, then that’s a different matter and maybe you need some more constancy in your life. Different people need different things.

    Running off to therapy may work for some, but it never did for me. You can decide that for yourself. If you need someone to talk to, you can always talk to me.

    Confusion is a lot healthier than certainty. As my old friend Sybil used to say, “Human certainty is almost always evidence of human error in progress.”


  8. Jack

    @Jessica – I’m not sure I like the phrasing of “Running off to therapy”. It makes it sound like getting therapy is a cowardly thing to do. Actually getting up the courage to go to therapy for my depression to a long time and a lot of prodding from people who care about me and when I did go it turned out to be very useful.

    I’m sure you didn’t mean for your comment to sound like that but that’s how it comes across to me.


  9. Jessica

    No, not intended to be disparaging, when it works. A good therapist, like a good physician is worth their weight in gold, and can be about as expensive. I just wanted to say that if, for example, therapy is not available to you, don’t despair (pun intended).


  10. Liam

    @Amy You mentioned being borderline, and I have to admit that was my first thought too. I am as well, and I often feel the same way. It’s hard sometimes.


  11. Gene

    It sounds like you’re having some very strong, contradictory feelings at different times. My advice would be to respect how you feel at any given moment, while acknowledging that you might feel differently later. Dress however makes you happiest at the moment, educate yourself about your options, and don’t do anything permanent unless you’re sure you’ll be happy with it. Some people just have non-static gender identities, and it can be a source of pleasure and strength as well as of confusion.


  12. Anonymous

    i’ve been there too. you are not alone … hang in there.


  13. Corvus

    It’s difficult to be able to tell whether your depression is causing the gender confusion, the gender confusion is causing the depression, or if both are independent of each other.

    I find that with my constantly shifting gender and sex identities, it can be really scary and hard sometimes, especially when I feel very much that my sex or gender does not match my body parts. It gets even more frustrating when those things keep changing.

    Sometimes I love my body and sometimes I feel like I need different parts and sometimes I feel like I am fine with using substitutes and so on.

    They key is to try and figure out what the sources of these things are and to be comfortable with who you are. Therapy can help for some people, introspection and expression for others.

    For me, experimenting with the feelings and surrounding myself with queers that have experienced similar things has helped the most. Hang in there!


  14. anonymous

    I posted this comment months ago before getting therapy. I ‘m a 20 year old female who thought that for a moment I was a guy mentally. I wasn’t connecting with the person in the mirror but I realized that it wasn’t because I ‘m a woman it was because I was dissociating. I was dissociating not only from my reflection but also from my house and everything that’s supposed to be familiar to me. Depression has a way of doing that to someone. I have got in help and I’m now taking Zoloft. I realized that I’m not transsexual that I’m Obsessive compulsive and I let this fear of being transsexual consume me. I want to thank all of you for trying to help me I really appreciate it. Luckily Im not a transsexual but for those who are I respect you for who you are and for being strong enough to deal with the journey.


    Anonymous replied:

    Hi I feel like I’m goin through exactly the same thing…. I’m a 22 year old mum n iv always enjoyed bein a woman n bein very girly but recently one day I got this weird thought that I was really a man n now I’m so depressed n can’t stop thinkin about it n wondering what’s wrong with me :/ I actually want to die


    Jessica replied:

    Being yourself should not be something that makes you suicidal. Accept yourself and let the chips fall where they may.


    Anonymous replied:

    But that’s just it Iv been happy bein me all my life n these thoughts are really terrifying me I just want to feel like me again… But I’m scared that I will never get that back n that ill feel like this forever :/ x

  15. Jessica

    Glad you’ve found yourself on a path you can manage. Everybody is different. I wish you a great journey, much happiness and a good landing.


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