DAE have this issue? Am i paranoid? is it a coincidence?

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7 comments

  • Robin the Goblin

    For about the first week, you should definitely not be wearing it that long. About an hour-an hour and a half is what’s recommended. You have to work up to wearing a binder for long periods of time.

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  • shadowdragonenby

    Thank you robin, i did eventually get a response and it turns out an L is too small for me (forgot to measure my stupid broad shoulders). was a shame because it binded so well, and XL is more comfortable but doesnt bind and i get told my binder makes me look more feminine :( , it just makes me go from a B to an A haha, if gc2b ever make an inbetween of an L or XL, or a "broad-shouldered L" that would be amazing xD

    underworks seem to fit my figure better, it's a shame since i like the fabric/design of gc2b

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  • max powers

    Many years before I even heard of binding, I occasionally got sharp, stabbing rib pain that made it difficult to breathe. This had nothing to do with any kind of compression, I even experienced it before my chest developed, and binding hasn't made it happen more. There are a lot of different things that can cause rib/chest pain, and I'm not a doctor, so don't take this as medical advice. What's going on with you could be something I have no idea about. But one guess is that having some fluid in your lungs that irritates the lining of the lung can cause very sharp, stabby pain that's referred into the ribs and feels like rib pain. Some people experience this with binding because they're not breathing as deeply. This is why a lot of binding safety guides remind users to take deep breaths, or even cough. (Which takes on a very different flavor in 2020, of course....) For me, blowing my nose can help clear whatever's in there and bothering me. So I'd say give your nose a few firm blows, cough, try some deep breaths, see if that helps. It at least can't hurt.

    As for comfort, I also have some possibly-spectrum-y issues with clothing and comfort. Mine kind of ebb and flow, where some days certain clothes are no problem for me, others I just do not want them touching me at all. Getting used to it on the better days (and therefore building up good experiences, as opposed to forcing it on the bad days and building up bad experiences) feels helpful to me.

    I also experience a size that feels like it fits me best but is a little difficult to get on and off and isn't as comfortable to wear all day, and a size that is easy to get on and off but doesn't fit quite as well. I like having both of them, the larger size is great to exercise in and for days when I'm prioritizing comfort, or when I might need to get changed quickly for some reason. Shoulder size is more about if you will be able to even get it on I think, since it doesn't compress your shoulders while you're wearing it, and different people will have different proportions relating to shoulder width and rib cage size and so on.

    Another possibility is that you pulled something when taking the binder off, like just pulled a muscle from the difficulty shimmying out of it. Pulled muscles can take a long time to heal, and ironically, I've found binding to actually help me with pulled muscles because my heavy chest moving around and tugging on it can slow healing. So if you feel like pain stops when binding but starts when you take it off, a pulled muscle could have that pattern. In that case, I'd say to avoid the smaller binder till you're healed (so you don't re-injure the same muscle).

    And okay, the truth is, whoever told you your binder made you look more feminine was just being a jerk, and very possibly just trying to upset you. Unfortunate real talk, but chest size has less to do with overall look of femininity/masculinity than one would hope. What feels like a major change to you you'd be surprised how much other people just don't even notice. Usually if you're not getting read as male, it isn't the binder's fault. Which isn't what most people want to hear, because a chest is an easier problem to fix (potentially even permanently, with surgery) than whatever else they're dysphoric about or is working against them. But it does help as a reminder when you wear the larger size, that the finer points of the aesthetics are mostly for you, the average person is not that observant anyway. Usually the only people to scrutinize a chest that invasively are either creepy guys (who will do it no matter how tight you bind, who will continue to do it no matter what you wear, who also treat women this way and that's not okay either, who can honestly just go fuck off and get a hobby that doesn't involve bothering people) and parents/family who don't approve of you being trans, if you're unlucky enough to have that type. These are the kinds of people whose opinions you will not change by binding tighter.

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  • shadowdragonenby

    Thank you for the help max but you have made a lot of assumptions, I have never had sharp rib pain ever in my life until I wore that binder. And there have been no creepy men since I turned 18 (yeah I know, weird) , just unsupportive family . I followed everything correctly except for wearing it a bit too long. I might go back to my L and wear it for an hour tomorrow to see how things go.

    Your comment was very helpful though, and I know I’ll probably never pass for years due to the long waiting time here. The supporter in the email said it was too small on my shoulders and that I should go a size up but hey I’m so dysphoric I’ll take the risk *shrug*

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  • max powers

    Oh, I was just covering all the bases I could think of, not assuming any particular one was true for you. And yeah--while I have had rib pain going back earlier in life, which I think has something to do with occasionally getting a bit of fluid in my lung, some people who don't have that problem otherwise get it when binding because of how binding changes how they breathe. But it could also be the pulled muscle, or something else entirely. If it is the pulled muscle, that might not be healed yet, so be mindful of that if you do try to get the L on. I'd say wait until you're pain-free before trying that, anyway? Pushing a possible injury usually just worsens the injury and puts you out of commission for longer, showing a bit of restraint and letting yourself heal early on can mean less down time overall. If it is a pulled muscle rather than something else, then the length of time you wear it won't be the issue, it will be the risk of getting into the same position that injured it while putting it on/taking it off, before it's fully healed.

    And oh yeah, unsupportive family will make comments like that too, mostly because they're hoping to discourage you or change your behavior. The point is that if you know your family doesn't approve of you being trans, don't take their comments about how you look at face value, they will say whatever they think will make you stop doing whatever behaviors they disapprove of. They'll also have a very firm idea of how they WANT to see you, which doesn't necessarily reflect how you actually are, or how others see you.

    Sometimes parents/guardians in particular get some idea in their heads that they're "helping" you, by "steering you onto the right path," and don't realize how they're making a huge problem out of something no one else cares about. Like when many years ago I decided to stop shaving my body hair (before I even really had a clear idea what my options were, gender-wise) my mom made a huge stink over it and told me she'd shave me in my sleep if I didn't do it. I said, "Do it and I'll shave your head in your sleep," and she dropped it. (Hopefully, neither of us was actually serious, I just made my point that I wasn't going to be pushed around on this.) But somewhere in there, my mom seemed to have convinced herself that I'd get bullied or discriminated against for having body hair, when in many years, she was the one who caused the most problems for me about it, not anyone she thought she was protecting me from by trying to get me to conform. I've found that disapproving parents will make endless stinks over binders if they know what they are, but if someone never tells them in the first place and just happens to wear them, often the parent never even notices it at all. Though these days with more trans visibility, some transphobic parents may be savvier, alas.

    What I meant to get at with the fact that one binder size is rarely what makes or breaks a person's presentation is that if it is hurting you, that isn't productive. Sometimes people do stuff that isn't safe out of an urgent need to make some progress, like people who get black market T instead of going through a doctor. And that definitely carries risks, but there are also potentially big rewards, so it's a gamble. But other times people get in a mindset like, "I don't pass, therefore I'm worthless, therefore I might as well hurt myself because I don't matter." And that doesn't even really have potential rewards that match the risks, so it's not even a gamble, it's just kind of self-harm. On the other hand, being vain is an equal opportunity experience. People all throughout history, of all genders, have worn uncomfortable and possibly not entirely healthy garments for the sake of aesthetic. I know when I wear the smaller sized binder that looks just a smidge more flattering on me over the one that's more comfortable, I'm being vain. But I wouldn't do it if I was in physical pain over it. You said that before the rib pain started it was fitting comfortably and you were feeling okay in it. If it feels like that, I wouldn't fault you for not stressing over your measurements vs. the size chart. But if it hurts but you're like "I'm dysphoric so I'll continue," that's maybe self-destructive.

    Some stuff I know has nothing to do with passing and is really just for me, but I like it, so if there's no harm in it, why not? Like wearing a packer, I really doubt anyone is analyzing my crotch, it's purely for my own benefit. I doubt the smaller binder changes the odds that I'll pass any, but I like it. But suffering more also won't make you pass faster. Best to try to stay as healthy as possible, so that when you do reach your transition goals you'll have everything else lined up to be living your best life. It's possible that the L actually does fit you okay but that you have some problems adjusting to it (such as needing to learn to take deep breaths while binding, or pulling a muscle while taking it off, which doesn't mean it doesn't fit while it's on, the physics of binding mean any pull-on binder is challenging to get over the shoulders) and you're more likely to make it work for you in the long run if you don't force through some kind of injury or pain, but take the time to work out what's wrong and let it heal. Binders can have a bit of a learning curve. I don't think it's a choice between just giving up on the L entirely when you say it was comfortable and pain-free at first, or potentially hurting yourself and not listening to your body's messages when something's wrong. It definitely shouldn't hurt, and there may still be a way to do it where it won't hurt, so if it still hurts just wait a bit more.

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  • shadowdragonenby

    Yes I am a very self destructive person and idc. Wearing the size L now for one hour. Currently in a load of pain but if it gets worse I’ll take it off I promise. I’m never gonna be Male no matter how hard I try, and the wait in Scotland is 2 years minimum, the average being 4 years so I may as well alleviate my Dysphoria because exercise is so dysphoric I meltdown real bad. The fact I can’t even do one push up because of my pear shape just makes me cry and self harm 

     

    other than that, thank you for your help, I don’t want to go too far into my Dysphoria and self harm but I’m wearing my L right now. I really wish there’s a problem because I have a few XLs and one XXLs. God I’m such a stupid spender. At least I can swim in my XLs

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  • max powers

    Hah, well I'm a stupid spender too. Sad high five? If I had a thousand dollars to spend on fancy packers, I would have the Ferrari of dicks. As it is, I spend way too much.

    Transition and health are both long games. When you're 80, having transitioned will be old news, and you're still going to need your health. I mean, truth to be told, I can't wave a magic wand and make people not be self destructive. I've certainly done some stupid, counterproductive shit to myself. But what experience tells me is that most people who are going to do that eventually realize it doesn't work. That's the thing. After a while you get tired of it because it doesn't go anywhere, it doesn't change the thing you're upset about, and in the end, it's effort and energy that maybe could have done more if it had been pointed somewhere else. If you're going to suffer, suffer for something that pays off.

    Push ups are legit hard. Especially, pre-T, the upper body strength is just not there. I'm not on T yet myself, I was on track to do it before lockdown and then everything just got thrown in the air mid-March. I did get some black market SARMs though, and boy, together with exercise, those will put hairs on your chin and muscles on top of your muscles. I found that cross-training (swimming, cycling, running, skating, anything else I could think of in there) worked best for me for gaining strength and also getting some slight relief in the Large Ass, though it is still proportionately Very Large. Swimming is a great use of the XXL, because the cotton will shrink when wet, so it will be tighter once you're in the water than it was when you put it on. (If you've ever painted with water-based paints on a cotton canvas, you know all about this effect. It's also why jeans feel tightest straight out of the wash.) I actually don't bind in the pool, I just have swim tops that are a similar shape and men's compression shorts (I'm not gonna be passing anyway, so I'd rather be able to work on advanced breathing patterns in the pool) put my waterproof headphones in and disassociate. :) Disassociation is also great for pushing that performance! If you're gonna hurt, hurt where it pays off.

    A couple of years ago I pushed myself too far in the gym with weight/resistance machines, and pulled my pec. (It had nothing to do with binding, just eyes bigger than my muscles with the weights.) This caused persistent pain near the sternum, on the lower part of the chest. I stopped doing exercises that aggravated it (eventually...lol), and actually started binding more because it helped protect the muscle from my chest pulling on it and gave me pain relief. I actually slept in my (looser) binder a few times because it was relieving pain and speeding healing. Seriously, I felt like I healed more in one night with the binder than a week without. It still took months to heal, I was surprised how long a tear can take to make itself right. And then, this summer, I tore the same damn muscle in the same damn spot over-rotating when doing backstroke. It's not as severe this time--probably because the first time I was stupid and tried to not give up lifting weights right away until I'd made it worse, and then realized I actually did have to take a break. So that's been frustrating.

    I think one of the reasons exercise can be so triggering is it does very much force you to develop a friendly relationship with your body. My girlfriend is cis but has a lot of body image issues, and struggles with exercise more than I do. It's not just dysphoria or body image issues, I know histories of trauma and assault can also make it difficult to be in one's body. But one of the best things it's taught me about how to be in my body is how to tell the difference between good pain, the kind that's making you stronger and helping you grow, and bad pain, the kind that's leading to injury and will only get worse until you're forced to stop for longer. Exercise sometimes does hurt when you're doing it right, but it's the "good pain," not the "bad pain." Knowing the difference between the two requires a lot of self-honesty, because you don't want to be weak and cowardly, but you also don't want to be self-destructive and self-defeating, and that can be a narrow tightrope to walk.

    On that note, even binding can actually be a form of exercise, for the muscles that support your ribs, posture, and breathing. If you can wear the XL without pain now, doing that may also help train those muscles. If even the XL hurts right now when it didn't before, you've definitely got some type of temporary injury, the sooner you rest the sooner it will heal and the sooner you can start again.

    Oh yeah, and wrt healthcare, I don't know if this is helpful or if you're doing it already, and I'm in the US so different healthcare system, but I find that even when doctors take their sweet time with stuff like T, it is possible to get more standard birth control stuff. Personally I avoid E like the plague, so I go with progestin-only solutions, currently trying to get the levonorgestrel arm implant. (I know some trans people like the IUD because it being close to the relevant anatomy is supposed to make it stop cycling without affecting the rest of the body too much, and it's even used along with T for people being extra safe against pregnancy, but levonorgestrel is very mildly masculinizing in AFAB people anyway (like 1/100th as much as T, but still going in that direction. You might grow one chin hair and get some acne lmao) and IUD insertion is a no thank you for me personally.) But combination pills are a bit better at stopping cycles. Depo provera is progestin-only and can do that too for some people but it was not a success story in me at all, 2/10, would not recommend. None of this is used as actual birth control, there is zero sperm in my life and I'm not at all worried about pregnancy, it just calmed my hormones down and helped with my dysphoria. I've read some theories about "brain dysphoria" which is basically just the brain freaking out when it feels it has the wrong hormone balance, and it's not proven but I think it could be true.

    And yes, it's frustrating as hell that they will dispense unlimited birth control to someone who hasn't touched a non-prosthetic penis since Bush was president, but T is ahhh hmmm let's think about it. But anything that lowers E seems to help. And while this is highly YMMV and progestin-only HBC is clinically associated with weight gain, in me, I actually lost weight after starting them (10-15 pounds, or about one clothing size's worth) and my hips are the narrowest they've been since I was an adolescent, though that is still unfortunately wider than average, genetics gonna gene on you, what can I say. It felt like my body was just relieved to get rid of excess estrogen. But depo provera was still my personal hell on earth so hormones can be suuuper hit or miss. My guess is that depo lowers T as well as E and my brain needs the T, but who knows, it seems to help other people, maybe it's just a roll of the dice. The POPs I've used were norethindrone as well as dividing up levonorgestrel from emergency contraception.

    I hope that wasn't too TMI, this is just what's been personally helping me cope while waiting for T. That and SARMs and ATD (an aromatase inhibitor) and a small boatload of estrogen-reducing bodybuilding supplements, yum. And protein.

    Don't worry about having different sizes of binder, that's a good thing. I like that I have tighter ones that I can wear when I want to dress to the nines, and looser ones when I just want to be comfy but also reasonably flat. I also have sports bras that get me fairly flat, so I'm not always binding but my shirts will still drape nicely on me, and I found out that bras made for dancers are actually amazing, they are only somewhat minimizing compared to a binder, but more so than a lot of bras, and they're practically more comfortable than nothing at all. I love them for just hanging out around the house because you barely feel them on but also feel your chest less and that helps with dysphoria for me. A baggy hoodie will hide most of your chest anyway. I like having variety, if it was the smallest binder size I can wear all day every day, I'd burn out.

    Also, it's possible when your upper body starts beefing up (either from exercise, T, or both) you'll need to size up because your chest will just be broader overall with having more muscle on it, and muscle squishes less than fat, so even if there's less fat, more muscle may mean bigger binder.

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