When gender clashed with my life it was an exciting double life full of vibrant thrills and new people that were completely separate from the daily trudge of work, commuting, bills and commitments; it was like a holiday. One day I came to a screaming realisation that the thought I had in my teens that this was a reality, it suddenly became very much at odds with everyday existence. Much like the path of a drug addiction the stick of Maybelline Hollywood Red was no longer a treat but a daily dependency just to feel normal. As shallow as it might sound even dull nails that are lacking at least one thin clear coat can be a little depressing.
Over the last few years I have followed a few friends who have gone down very different paths. One has settled with their accepting wife, occasionally going out on special nights with her whilst still keeping the secret locked away from the children. Another dived right into full time and sharing a double operation with her partner in a co-dependent rush; the thought of the hurry makes me shudder. And another took a very sensible smooth transition after separation from her wife and is finding a new life with it’s ups and downs. Both brave and scary.
I should explain. Transgenderism. That’s a rather functional word isn’t it. In fact even though sometimes I use it to explain my situation it doesn’t really fit. “Female” does, as does “woman”. However, that aside there are things that need to be sorted out. A few years ago, without any warning, the whole thing came along and clonked me on the head and I became rather depressed and that is when the fun really stopped. It’s a real shame I didn’t see it coming as much as I didn’t. I am a rather cautious person and I need to fully understand things before I act on them, usually. This means when it came to seeking help it started with a counselor in the form of occupational therapist, which in turned went to the GP which sympathetically saw a referral to a Psychiatrist. I was quite surprised that the Psychiatrist didn’t quite fulfill my desire to explore and question well… me. It was a couple of sessions by which he said that I was definitely gender dysphoric, which just means I’m at odds with my gender. Tell me something I don’t know. It’s not to say he was bad, in fact it was a sunny day and I was off to the beach after that particular session and so I bounced out of there with what I thought of as some kind of diagnosis. I think the problem is that I had this rose-tinted view of psychiatry. I thought I’d be sat in an equally classical chair intelligently talking through the depths of the mind with Frasier Crane sat opposite and theorising the causes, what was genuine and what may not have been.
After some time I found I was still getting cycles of depression and that they were very real. There were days when I could feel a lilting fall of my mood dropping quantifiable levels at a time for no apparent reason. It was the days when that fell to some horrifying empty low that I realised things still weren’t right and so I went back. This time the Psychiatrist could tell things weren’t right. He gave me access to points of contact in case I ever needed some help during a desperate time. We sat opposite each other and I explained how the nearest option for me at present was the Gender Identity Clinic in London. I’ll never know how to thank him for his expertise in this area because he was extremely aware that I needed more help than a visit to London every several months. “It’s going to cost too much to travel to London to explore this.” he said in some form or another, my memory doesn’t serve me that well. He stopped for a moment and thought, “Hmm. Hold on. I’ll be back in a minute.” He left the room for several minute and returned with an option. “I’ve spoken to our Psychologist, I think you should spend some time in psycho-analysis with him.” He explained the waiting list I’d be on but given the time I’d already waited things would probably progress sooner for me. What he had spotted was that I needed that exploration that I had seen through those rosey specs and that it would require weekly sessions. This wasn’t about just ticking those technicality boxes to get to see a surgeon. This was exactly what I wanted and needed, to find out who I was, what I really wanted and what were the causes of the brick walls built around me.
Until next time. x