Out of the mental disorders that affect how one sees and perceives oneself, the most well-known is Dissociative Identity Disorder (formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder).
But there are also:
- Gender Dysphoria/Gender Identity Disorder (when a person identifies as the opposite gender)
- Cotard Delusion (when a person thinks he’s dead)
- Clinical Lycanthropy (when a person thinks he is or can transform into an animal)
- Body Dysmorphic Disorder (when a person either imagines he has a bodily flaw or he has a small flaw, but his mind wildly exaggerates its prominence)
- Delusions of grandeur (thinking you’re Napoleon)
And psychology recognizes that mentally ill people can still be quite high-functioning.
Those functioning under sociopathy or personality disorders can still become quite wealthy and successful in their material lives. The man I read about with DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder, formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder) also performed outstandingly in his career, officiating beside the President of the USA and other bigwigs while switching personalities inside his head!
But because science—including sciences like psychology—is by nature atheist (because that’s what’s considered most objective), it can’t really acknowledge the possibility of spiritual or metaphysical causes for a mental illness.
What If Mental Illness is a Symptom of Something Bigger or Spookier?
I can’t remember exactly and no other article I’ve read about her since quotes her discussing anything more than her gender, but originally, she described other things that immediately reminded me of how children speak when they recall past lives.
Furthermore, when I read one account of a man who has DID, parts of it also reminded me of past-life memories. It made me wonder whether at least some of the alternate personalities in this disorder are people whom the DID actually were in past lives, and if that’s why some of the personalities can be so well defined.
Interestingly, people with DID sometimes have alternate personalities that are mythical creatures—like elves or dragons—or alternates that are animals. In many cases, some alternate personalities are the opposite gender of the “host” person.
From a spiritual point of view, Judaism has long recognized that a person can be possessed by a dybbuk (a lost soul looking for refuge from punishing angels) or can make contact with demons or other kochot hatumah (impure spiritual forces).
The thing is, very little is understood about the human mind. Not only are we still at the edge of brain science and genetics, but as always, there is terrible competition for renown and funding, plus normal human subjectivity - all of which interfere with honest research.
Cult Tactics in Science & the Media: Don't "Confuse" People with the Facts
Even the genius Thomas Edison got together with JP Morgan to fight Nikola Tesla, going so far as to print bogus news in the local newspapers to scare investors away from Tesla, which effectively halted Tesla’s experiments and progress.
Real science has been and still is sometimes shoved aside, actively blocked, or mocked in favor of pet beliefs based on pseudo-science, making it very difficult to get to the truth of the matter.
Yet we’re having Gender Dysphoria pushed on us as a natural and acceptable way to be despite the fact that:
- flooding a body with hormones could eventually cause cancer
- the fact that gender surgeries render the patient sterile and there is demand to perform it on teenagers and other people who’ve never had children
- the majority of children who identify as the opposite gender do grow out of it
- we don’t know the harm to the brain and the cells that these treatments and surgeries ultimately have on a person
- even after surgery and therapy, the rate of suicide attempts stands at 41%
- many adults and teenagers identifying as the opposite gender have previously undergone some sort of trauma
- men claiming to identify as women still behave and think very much like men (and like psychologically unhealthy men, at that) as described HERE.
- we don’t know WHY a person identifies as the opposite gender…is it a mental illness of its own? Past-life recollection? Is the person possessed or somehow influenced by unseen entities, i.e. kochot hatumah? Is it a brain malfunction? Is it a dissociated identity disorder similar to those people who have multiple alternate personalities of different genders and even different species? A combination of the above? None of them?
…yet despite all that, there is enormous pressure to indulge this dysphoria.
Insistence on referring to men-identifying-as-women as “she” or vice-versa, while meant as a sign of respect, is actually playing right into this malignant game.
I don’t think we should be nasty to or rage at people who identify as the opposite gender, but indulging and even encouraging this dysphoria is harmful, both to the sufferer and to society at large.
Furthermore, there are frum people who've also been influenced against halacha (by finagling "halachic" loopholes to make allowances for modern Western morality and "science").
It's difficult because no matter how gently and compassionately you try to present the truth and the morality, many people will still feel hurt, enraged, and invalidated.
When Help isn't on the Way and the Calvary isn't Coming
In short, the values and knowledge just aren't there on either side.
Depending where you live, it's getting harder and harder to hang on to the Truth.
But hang on we must.
And may Hashem help us all.
What is the orthodox understanding/explanation of someone who is born one gender and years later feels they are the opposite? Is there remedy?