How To Cope With Postoperative Depression

Posted by Dr. Hugh McLean on 12 June 2017

For many people, the buildup to their transgender surgery can lead to a letdown once the procedure is complete. Postoperative depression can occur after surgery, and it can make you feel alone, despondent and as if you have lost all confidence in yourself.

How To Cope With Postoperative Depression

How to cope with the ups and downs of recovery from transgender surgery

Not everyone suffers from postoperative depression. However, if you do find yourself down following your surgery, here’s how you can cope:

  1. Support system:
    When we get depressed, we tend to retreat into ourselves. Instead, make sure you are not alone as you recover from your procedure. There are people who care about you, and it’s important that you surround yourself with them instead of isolating yourself. Having a support system in place can help you with your recovery. When you feel the warmth and caring of those who love you, it can be very encouraging. If someone you love is being overly critical of you as you recover and cannot accept that you have undergone transgender surgery, do not keep them around. They will only make you feel worse.
  2. Therapy:
    If you currently have a therapist that you see on a regular basis, you should schedule an appointment as soon as you are ready to leave the house. For some people this is after a week following surgery; for others this is after two. If you do not currently see someone, your doctor can recommend a psychologist or other resources (support groups) to help you cope with the low spirits you find yourself in after your surgery.

The post-surgery emotional rollercoaster: A timeline

After your surgery you will experience a rollercoaster of emotions. This is completely normal, and the below timeline will give you an idea of what this will entail.

Day Feelings Coping mechanisms
Day of surgery Tired, dispirited Sleep, rest
2-7 days post-surgery Anxious, irritable, sad Remind yourself that the surgery is a positive thing
8-14 days post-surgery Scared, hypercritical Continue to remind yourself that you’ve done the right thing by having transgender surgery
15-21 days post-surgery More confident, positive At this point you will begin to notice results, so take time to examine your new body
1 month post-surgery Happy, confident, improved outlook on the surgery as a whole Your postoperative depression may fade at this point and you will finally feel confident in the way you look

If you are suffering from postoperative depression, you are not alone. These feelings of uneasiness and anxiety will pass in time, and you’ll finally be able to be the person you’ve always felt you were inside.

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