Overthinking: Saboteur of Transition?

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Picture source here.

There’s something happening, folks, in the teenage and adult minds across America. It’s an epidemic. It can cause anxiety, distress, and indecision. What is it? It’s overthinking.

“We are dying from overthinking. We are slowly killing ourselves by thinking about everything. Think. Think. Think. You can never trust the human mind anyway. It’s a death trap.” ―Anthony Hopkins

Sometimes a client will ask me a question that causes me to pause and wonder how in the world they ever ended up at that question in the first place. My friends, some of these questions have to be the result of overthinking, because they seem to transform a somewhat simple concept into something very complicated and convoluted. If you are my client, you may have heard me ask the following question a time or two during our sessions together: “Is it possible you’re overthinking things?”.

“Some thoughts should never be conceived. Some questions should never be asked, because they have no answer, and the questions themselves serve only to haunt with grinding guilt and second guessing.” ―Bobby Adair, Slow Burn: Dead Fire

So, how does this concept relate to gender and gender transition? My argument is that overthinking can be a transgender person contemplating transition’s worst nightmare. All steps, stages, and possible outcomes are analyzed to death, creating fear and hesitation. This is the beauty of a transgender child being allowed to transition: overthinking is not part of the process. They just are, and therefore they just do. Adults seem to have the impression that the more they think about something, the surer they become. In my experience, both personally and vicariously, the opposite is often times true.

“The more you overthink the less you will understand.”  ―Habeeb Akande

Children, and adults, know their gender identity. The difference is that knowing what to do about it is either subject to overthinking or not. Given a child’s pure mind, you can rest assured they will have more simple answers than we do, and sometimes simple is exactly what you need. For adults contemplating transition, what would the child inside you say to do?

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Other interesting articles related to overthinking:

http://lifehacker.com/how-to-stop-overthinking-everything-and-find-peace-of-m-1609850688

http://themindunleashed.org/2014/09/8-ways-stop-thinking-find-peace.html

Random side note: I did a fair amount of overthinking about whether or not the word overthink should be hyphenated. In the end I just went with the majority on the internet and how my iphone auto-corrected. If you think the word should be hyphenated, sorry. Don’t think about it too much. 😉

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14 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. “For adults contemplating transition, what would the child inside you say to do?”
    Such a powerful yet simple question! I’m definitely one of those over thinkers who has experienced many many bouts of analysis paralysis. Learning to listen to that little voice inside my heart has helped me a lot. And that little voice belongs to the child inside me, so I have a good idea what he is telling me to do.

    • Analysis Paralysis! I love it. I’m going to have to use that one. 🙂 I’m so happy you’ve learned to listen to your heart. ❤

  2. Darlene,

    An excellent and timely piece. Thank you!

    Paul Hetrick (Uncle to Mati)

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  3. Great post.

    My 20 year old daughter is autistic and transgender. She never had a second thought about being a girl from a very early age. Her autistic brain allowed her to accept things as they were. Unfortunately many therapists advise waiting for this population.Even now at 20 and living as a female for the past two years she is told to wait before she changes the sex on her state issued ID card. I’m not sure what extra time will do for someone who has never felt she was the opposite gender. It’s the one thing that has never changed about her.

    • Great feedback, Michele. Thank you for sharing about your daughter. I don’t understand the advice about waiting to change sex on IDs, etc. Often times waiting on these things can increase distress, not avoid it.

  4. Ms Tando, Loved the insight in your blog, would you mind giving permission to reprint the text portion of the blog and use it as a handout with your name & information included,at our Transgender bi monthly meeting at the compass LGBT center in our Lake Worth Fl. meeting? Thank you in advance

    • Of course! Thank you. 🙂

      • Thank you, it went great kinda took over the meeting of seventeen individuals who actually walked out with the handout . It went from whomever wanted to say anything to people more directed to their feelings and insights….just wonderful. I am sure your work is so rewarding. Cheers! April

      • That’s wonderful!! Yes, I just love what I do. Thank you for sharing my blog!

  5. I love your blog. I am a mother of a just turned 9 year old transgender daughter and I tend to way over think things. Sometimes I can literally think myself down a very dark deep hole and have to snap myself out of it and remind myself it’s one day at a time…it’s all going to be okay!

    • Yes! Give yourself permission to stop thinking sometimes… just breathe and trust your daughter. 🙂

  6. “We are dying from overthinking”, i really do believe that i do that a lot especially in regards to my gender dysphoria. “Knowing what to do about it has always been a conundrumn and terrifies me!

  7. “We are dying from overthinking”, i really do believe that i do that a lot especially in regards to my gender dysphoria. “Knowing what to do about it has always been a conundrumn and terrifies me!


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