What are therians?
Therian is sort of an umbrella term for a small amount of people that don't feel fully human. Some therians believe that in a past life their spirit was that of an animal, like a bear, or most commonly as a theriotype, a wolf. Others believe that their soul is an animal's, but trapped in a humans body. Some experience phantom shifts, which are limbs that they can feel, but do not exist. For example, you could have a shift of a tail, or paws. Therians also experience mental shifts, which is where their mind shifts from a human state to an animal state. It feels as though you have sharpened senses in some cases, but these are not fun experiences sometimes. Shifts can be a hindrance to some, and even dangerous at times.
Is therianthropy a mental illness?
No. That is the simple answer. Neither is it a religion. It is a personal belief that someone can have about their soul or mind. It does not need solving by a doctor or other medical practitioner unless the person seeks to do so, but most therians accept that that is what they are, and they're proud of it.
Are therians and furries the same thing?
There is much overlap between therians and furries, however they are not the same thing. A furry is a person who likes to pretend to be an animal and enjoy anthropomorphic animals. A therian does not pretend or choose what animal to be as their personality and animal attributes come naturally. It is something they are born with and always have. At the end of the day, a furry can take off the mask but a therian cannot.
Why should I be apart of the therian community?
Being a part of a community of people who understand you can be a great thing. The therian community is very diverse and offers many benefits like sharing culture, learning history of therianthropy and animals, shared lessons, inspiration, opportunities, as well as camaraderie and the chance to make deep connections. The therian community can be a place to get answers to specific questions and it can be a community for you to feel pride in.
Does being a therian have any downsides?
Because of how vast and different people experience therianthropy, this will vary from person to person. Being a therian comes with more than just “feeling like an animal”. For many, it‘s accompanied by a yearning for body parts you don’t have, a habitat you cannot live in, or a lifestyle that wouldn’t be possible or easily sustained as a human. This is often called “Species Dysphoria”, meaning one may have a general uneasiness or dissatisfaction with their body/life in as a human. This feeling of species dysphoria can vary from nonexistent, to almost physically painful for the person experiencing it.
Some therians have also spoken of experienced more “darker” urges that come with their animal instincts. Some predator therians, like wolves, big cats, and so on, have voiced feelings of having a prey drive. While there is nothing wrong with wanting to hunt and catch your own food, this feeling isn’t always wanted. Those who are vegetarian or vegan may find themselves instinctively wanting to chase and take down large animals of prey, going against their lifestyle and beliefs.
These urges and instincts are not experienced by every therian, but it goes to show therianthropy can come with some unwanted feelings that make feeling happy in your own skin difficult.