Through my childhood I developed an extremely strong impulse control as a way to mediate my then un-named anxiety. I could recognize that there were a lot of things that would make me feel “guilty,” which is the way I understood my anxiety as a young person. I set out to avoid these things at pretty much all costs and on the way gained impulse control that I now fear may possibly border on *too* strong.
I had a long list in my head of the things that made me feel “guilty,” and I avoided them well. A lot of the time these were normal pleasurable things (going to the movies, buying food just for myself, finding places of solitude, etc), but because I was overcome with guilt every time I let myself do these things I just learned to tell myself no. These sorts of things were so commonplace that I developed a very strong capability to talk myself out of the things that I desired by looking to the future and how my actions would affect that future. Mainly, I chose the option that would lead to me not feeling that horrible sinking “guilt” feeling in the pit of my stomach. I don’t think this was the best possible coping mechanism, but it’s one that I been able to use to my advantage throughout my life.
As an adult, I’ve probably let my impulse control overdevelop. I am now extremely good at saying no to myself, and denying myself all sorts of things that I may desire. This has served me well in a lot of arenas. I am good at avoiding an impulse buy, and choose instead to go home and research before purchasing new things. I practically never buy any clothes new, and if I do they have to be deeply discounted before I will let myself even consider spending the money. This also helps because clothing very rarely fits me the way I want it to, so if I can talk myself out of even going to look at clothes I am saving myself a lot of anxiety. I am good at avoiding eating when in public because there is an overwhelming chance that anywhere I go in public will not have food for me, so remove the anxiety of not knowing what is in my food and choose to eat at home the vast majority of the time instead. These practices of impulse control save my limited funds for more useful endeavors and save my anxiety-management resources for the moments (or days, or weeks, or months) when I will actually need them.
My powers of impulse control have also served me well in my detransition, and in dealing with the jealousy that I still sometimes feel towards those individuals who do physically transition. Impulse control, in my experience, is directly tied to being able to project into, understand and plan for the future. I may have the impulse to join the tide, and let myself get carried away in quick physical growth gained via intramuscular syringe. In complete transparency, this impulse has not yet left me although it is now easier to battle against. Transition, for me, was a much smoother way to exist in the world, if not easier to exist in my own brain for the long run. Taking testosterone would be the path of least resistance, and yet I use my impulse control to avoid traveling this path and instead choose to look towards building a future that includes living in a body that I have come to own through nothing but hard work and introspection. I am able to deny the quick-fix band-aid and look to what I feel is my true path of long-term sustainable healing and integration.