Jay on Dysphoria, Eating Disorders, and Gender Identity


My name’s Jay Owen Eisenberg and I am in actor
and illustrator. I have been dealing with like my own sort of mental health issues since
I was about, maybe fourteen-years-old. The very first kind of like encounter I had with
like my own mental health issues manifested in the form of eating disorders. Which stemmed
from a lot of like dysphoria related to my body. It started right around the time I was
like beginning to go through puberty as like a young and female-bodied person. And I just
remember being like very uncomfortable with it. And I felt like it just wasn’t right it
was nothing that I wanted and my coping mechanism for that was like restricting eating and eventually
it got to the point where I was in high school and I’d lost a ton of weight. And I was like
over-exercising a lot and it just felt like the only way I could really exercise control.
And that continued for the next few years, um as I began to come to terms with kind of
like the origin of it, which was related mostly to my gender identity. And once I kind of
came out as transgender and realize like oh like a lot of these eating issues are related
to the fact that like the body that I’m in just doesn’t feel right to me. Not necessarily
because of the size of it but because of like these parts that are developing in a way that
just doesn’t feel like myself. I feel like it can potentially sound kinda trite sometimes
to say that like things will get better. I don’t think like it’s possible to really
reach a point when suddenly everything’s okay, but like there will be points like when things
are okay. And like you’ve already made it through so many days that seemed absolutely
impossible and like lived to tell the tale. So like there will be more those days but
just knowing that you’ve already done it once or twice or dozens times. I think is really
empowering and I wish that like as a 14-year-old someone could have told me like remember those
days when you couldn’t get out of bed like you did, eventually. And, like, that’s enough.
Even if like all you can do that day just like go for a walk around the block like that’s
enough, like you are so mighty even when you think you are at your worst. You are okay.

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