Overthinking: Saboteur of Transition?

Guest Blog by Darlene Tando, LCSW

Note from Dara: I love connecting with other gender therapists from around the world. One of them is Darlene Tando, who I had the pleasure of meeting (thanks to the wonders of the internet) almost two years ago when I first started this website. 

Darlene writes a gender-related blog as well, so we thought it’d be a neat idea for me to share with my audience some of her writings. She has a really unique perspective that always gets me thinking about something in a new way. And I think you’ll find the same happens for you as well. 


There’s something happening, folks, in the teenage and adult minds across America. It’s an epidemic. It can cause anxiety, distress, and indecision. What is it?

It’s overthinking.

We are dying from overthinking. We are slowly killing ourselves by thinking about everything. Think. Think. Think. You can never trust the human mind anyway. It’s a death trap. ―Anthony Hopkins

Sometimes a client will ask me a question that causes me to pause and wonder how in the world they ever ended up at that question in the first place. My friends, some of these questions have to be the result of overthinking, because they seem to transform a somewhat simple concept into something very complicated and convoluted.

If you are my client, you may have heard me ask the following question a time or two during our sessions together: “Is it possible you’re overthinking things?”.

Some thoughts should never be conceived. Some questions should never be asked, because they have no answer, and the questions themselves serve only to haunt with grinding guilt and second guessing.” ―Bobby Adair, Slow Burn: Dead Fire

So, how does this concept relate to gender and gender transition? My argument is that overthinking can be a transgender person contemplating transition’s worst nightmare. All steps, stages, and possible outcomes are analyzed to death, creating fear and hesitation.

This is the beauty of a transgender child being allowed to transition: overthinking is not part of the process. They just are, and therefore they just do. Adults seem to have the impression that the more they think about something, the surer they become. In my experience, both personally and vicariously, the opposite is often times true.

The more you overthink the less you will understand.  ―Habeeb Akande

Children, and adults, know their gender identity. The difference is that knowing what to do about it is either subject to overthinking or not. Given a child’s pure mind, you can rest assured they will have more simple answers than we do, and sometimes simple is exactly what you need.

For adults contemplating transition, what would the child inside you say to do?

Other interesting articles related to overthinking:



Random side note: I did a fair amount of overthinking about whether or not the word overthink should be hyphenated. In the end I just went with the majority on the internet and how my iphone auto-corrected. If you think the word should be hyphenated, sorry. Don’t think about it too much. 😉

Author Bio

Darlene TandoDarlene Tando is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in San Diego, California and is passionate about working with gender non-conforming and transgender youth and adults. She has made appearances on “Good Morning America,” San Diego News 6 “The CW,” and “The Doctors” as an expert in the area of transgender counseling. Her blog is about gender and all its intricacies. She writes about the latest research, reflections from her work with gender non-conforming and transgender clients, as well as information about resources.

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  • Emma Jane

    March 21, 2015 at 10:27 PM Reply

    Simply wonderful. I’m at a loss for words. I have been so happy for today’s transgender children and how without interference from adults, they can find their own way to happiness and authenticity. I never really thought about my own role in blockading myself. As an adult, though, I think we are forced to think about others and the implications of our own choices on others.

  • Michael hickey

    March 24, 2015 at 4:30 AM Reply

    thats true for my whole life as a man not knowing that I have female organs I only to find out I am a woman that’s a male organ . My hormones are female and female organs come out no where to find its way I was born got me over thinking .

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