This is a repost of a post I wrote on Reddit 2 years ago.
I notice plenty of the users here are teenagers. I have identified as a wolf person since I was fourteen, found the therian community a bit later, and joined the community when I was 18. I am now 30, still a wolf person. I’ve had my struggles, but I’m now happily married, employed, and no longer depressed.
While I am certain there are other older members here on this subreddit who also can give good advice, I wanted to throw in my two cents.
- Find a balance between the human and animal side. Find safe ways to indulge in your instincts. It’s often a better idea to regularly do small things, in order to avoid a build-up of frustration. Examples:
- Walking around on all fours at home, when no one can see you.
- Play with your pets, if you have any.
- Put on loud music (daytime! Don’t bother your neighbours too much!) to mask vocalisations such as howls, chirps or roars.
- If you live close to nature, go outdoors!
- Keep attached to the real world, don’t do anything dangerous or stupid. Even if something looks good to the animal side of you, make sure it is safe for human consumption before eating. Being a carnivorous or territorial animal is never an excuse to attack people or pets, keep your behaviour in check!
- Really think things through before ”coming out” as a therian. What is your goal when you tell someone about your therianthropy? Do they need to know? Is there a risk that it will backfire, and if so, how badly? Same goes for social media profiles. Even if you don’t use your real name, you might be recognised from pictures or people might be able to figure out who you are based on information you share such as age, location, gender and writing style. And even if you might think it’s fine to be known as ”the weird animal person” now… what about in the future? Can it harm your career or family? Will you still be comfortable with being known as ”one of those crazy furries taking it too far” in 10 or 15 years?’
- Don’t be afraid of hiding your therianthropy behind hobbies/subcultures. It’s usually more accepted to be a furry fan, or into cosplay, or whatever, than to be openly therian/otherkin. So, if you want to wear a tail and someone asks you why, it’s often safer to say that you are into costuming than to say that you identify as a wolf on all levels except physical. ;) If someone asks you why you spend a lot of time reading about animals – just say you like animals, unless that someone is a very trusted friend!
- Therians are individuals. Just because another person is also a therian, even if they share your theriotype, doesn’t mean you’ll become good friends. Because you are still individuals, with different experiences, personalities and values. Don’t get obsessed about finding other therians to befriend, to the point of ignoring perfectly nice non-therian friends.
- Take responsibility of your life. You might be a therian. You might experience species dysphoria, or feel alone, or have weird urges. But you must take responsibility of your own life. Study. Get a job. Be a good friend and neighbour. If you are depressed or have other mental issues, get professional help. Don’t isolate yourself from society. Take care of your body, it’s the only one you have in this life. If you are a good person first, a good role model, and people later find out you are a therian … they’ll be more accepting of it.
- Don’t be afraid of discussing therianthropy with a therapist. They will be unfamiliar with it. But usually, they don’t see it as a problem or anything that needs treatment. If you however have issues of depression, anxiety or social isolation – those issues can be treated. Even if they are tied to your therianthropy. You can always decline a certain treatment. In most western countries, you can only be ”locked up” (compulsory psychiatric care) if you are at risk of harming yourself or others. So even if that psychologist might think it’s strange that you believe you have the soul of duck or something, you won’t get confined to a mental institution just for that.
- Not everything is therianthropy. If you are new/young, you might think that every little personality trait or quirk is due to your theriotype. It’s not. You don’t have to ”explain” your dietary preferences or hobbies by trying to tie it into a potentially new theriotype. E.g. you might just be afraid of spiders like any person might be, it’s not a sign that you are actually an insect therian. You might later come to the conclusion that you actually aren’t a therian at all. That’s okay too! Many have gone through a phase where they thought they were a therian, or adopted the label as a roleplaying thing or a coping mechanism. You wouldn’t be the first to realise some other word fits your experience better.