Paint My Nails for Another Day

Something is wrong. Given that the first real proper low I had a few weeks ago was out of the blue and I hadn’t had anything quite like it in a couple of years I thought it was a blip. Something that I would see through, pass and carry on. A dark cloud of incoherent thoughts and feelings in the form of a storm with no clear thinking amongst a fog that threatens a happy life. It happened again. Lower than low. I blamed my job, a trigger at least I think. Sure it filled in the gaps I left on that mental note of a form of what that job should be, average pay, average expectations, by the sea, access to cafes at lunch and water breezes and paying the rent, but once the honeymoon period had ended it was the same old crap in the same old career, just worse pay and just as much responsibility and expectation beyond the pedantic and the poison toxic thread that runs rife through the industry. It wasn’t the job that was wrong, it was the career that I’ve hung onto by a dangling thread.

I thought I had done my running away chasing a dream years ago. But unlike Shirley Valentine, after my week in the Côte d’Azur, I didn’t stay on. I went back. I tried again by taking time out of my career and spent several months writing a speculative script with the vague hope of following a dream and spending relaxing days overlooking the med while thinking of my next, and while I was proud of the small recognition I had, nothing came of it and I soon ran out of money. I ran back to my career like a twenty-something crashing back at their parents.

It wasn’t just the job, it was obviously more than that, something chemical inside me. An imbalance that clouded my judgment and happiness, stopped me eating properly for two days and left me questioning everything – the job situation had amplified it. It had reminded me how I was still doing the same old thing that I should be proud of and get fulfilment from, especially given how many hours I put in each week – but I wasn’t. Why am I wasting my life doing this when the only reward is money. Life is more than money, it helps but it’s not the be-all.

I thought about that cafe by the ocean I had looked out from early in the morning on holiday last year. I thought for just a moment that serving treacle thick bitter coffee for a few months to people who wanted to watch life go by on a subtropical island might just be an answer. Time to think. Time to simplify. Time to give myself to actually think about the gender thing. Time to Shirley Valentine myself and decide what actually is important and act on those pure ideals that would bring contentment without tension. To watch a dozen sunsets with a glass of wine over a calm evening ocean and never get bored of it. Escapism without running away. A break from life that isn’t just a holiday but a re-evaluation.

When Saturday morning came there was, at least, a clearing of those black dog clouds in my head. I came back from the weekly run event and found another letter dangling precariously from the back of the brush trap letter box. It was from my GP. The second letter in the space of a week. The first asking for a follow up blood test linked what they had done previously for the Gender Identity Clinic in London. It was, oddly, only one specific test of the many they normally do. I looked at my previous results and researched the possibilities of why. I came to the simple speculative conclusion that it was health related in some form given I was slightly over the range. It felt good that things were being tracked and looked at, at least by my GP and more so than the gender clinic. Friday I allowed my arm to be drained a little once again and less painfully than the horse fly that had bitten a chunk out of my leg a few days earlier in the garden.

Another letter had arrived in the days before my blood test. There was no covering letter or clue from who had sent it but it was a copy of a letter from the gender identity clinic to my GP outlining my last session a few months ago and her recommendations. While it wasn’t one hundred percent accurate it was close enough and despite how I felt challenged by the clinician at the time it would appear I was listened to. It also noted how nothing had been written and sent by the endocrinologist that supposedly studied all blood test results. It was only me who had previously raised the question of my low vitamin D and only the GP that was looking into one of the other results. It was a getting-blood-from-a-stone situation only that it was from an arm with plenty on offer.

But back to Saturday. I returned from my weekly run event. Damp running tights and an uplift from the few dark days I’d had I came home with a faster time and bit of an endorphin rush that had probably saved me from falling further. I pulled that letter from the door and set it on the table while I pulled damp knee supports from my bag and wrote down my latest run time. I picked the letter up again, sealed and double sealed with a strip of tape. It opened in three parts as most letters seem to, either that or ripping right down the middle and leaving the actual letter in a creased unkempt state. It was another from my GP, “We have recently received a letter from the Gender Identity Clinic dated April 2017.” April! That’s how slow some of the administration of health care runs. The letter had suggested to my GP that I should speak to my GP about things we’d spoken about. My local general practice was more proactively caring for me than the gender clinic could be and proactive about gender identity.

And so I paint my nails the colour of French wine for another day. Any little thing that gets me through the next few weeks so I can decide what to do with the rest of my life. Not just gender identity but everything that occupies my time. It doesn’t have to be spectacular it just has to be contentment and if contentment is spectacular then that’s fine.

Until next time.

Hannah x

11 thoughts on “Paint My Nails for Another Day

  1. I don’t think I get as low as you did, but occasionally I do get low if I’m not making any progress. Last week I went to my GP about my fear of my hairline receding, it was something I’d told the doctor at the GIC in January and she’d said there was something I could take for that.

    My GP read the letter they’d sent and saw that, and then wrote me out a prescription straight away. That felt like progress.

    Is it your actual job that you feel is the problem? Or is it the people you are working for? If you were working for people that you felt would be supportive in your transition, people who valued you, would that make a difference?

    Take care of yourself.


    • Hey, glad you made some progress. Hair loss is always a frightening prospect and that stress alone probably a contributor,lol. Hope it works out.

      Well, there seems to be a running theme over the last few years and jobs so I suspect it’s the career.

      Take care,
      Hannah x

  2. It does sound like you need a real change from your current employment Hannah. I know this can be difficult as I moved around quite a bit for 4 or 5 years until I found my present job. I often see people doing jobs that I think would be lovely an interesting, however of course you never really know, as it often the people that make or break these things. I think the black dog of depression visits a lot of people, each for their own reasons. If there was an easy answer then I guess it wouldnt be visiting at all. Friends and keeping busy works for me but I still find myself wondering what its all about from time to time. There are many things I want to do and places I want to visit if I can be brave enough to make them happen. I should do it as time marches on. We are already well into 2017 and I havent been anywhere yet this year. Hope you find your answers Hannah.

    x Debs x

    • Thanks, Debs. Wise words as always. We shall see how things progress in the coming weeks. At least I’m not in that place right now.

      Hope you are keeping well.


  3. I get the “low” feeling. Been there, done that, and I so feel for you Hannah.

    I have often written that my job is one of the reasons I haven’t transitioned. It is a somewhat high profile job, in the media, but the primary reason is that I just love my job. It’s fun and it’s probably that way because I hardly know what each day will be like. It certainly is not mundane. Long hours at work, along with many public service activities I participate in, help keep my mind off of other things….like transitioning. If I didn’t have a fun job, I’d be a mess.

    I also get the endorphins thing. Exercise is another thing that keeps me sane!

    I’m thinking of you, girl. Hope the you get the answers you need from your health care providers.

    Calie xxx

    • You sound like you’re in the right place in every part of life other than gender stuff. I suppose you don’t want to rock the boat. Such a difficult decision.

      Thanks, for your support. Just what I need.

      Hannah x

  4. What to say to someone who’s with the Black Dog? Well, I think getting out (running) and enjoying the little things (yay for painted toes) are all victories.

    Amongst other things, depression can also rob us of dreams and desire. Certainly I think a mediocre job can feel hellish if you listen to the howls.

    I hope things pick up for you. It’s a long road, but it’ll take you back to sunnier times if you keep at it.

    Cool post.

    • Thanks, Lynn. I totally agree about exercise. I was quite surprised I went out running Saturday considering how low things had become Thursday Friday. I just hope it doesn’t reoccur too often. It’s hard to see anything at those depths.

      Thanks for the great words.
      Hannah x

  5. Hannah, I totally get those depths too, and have for all of my life. Part of it for me (at least) is my gender dysphoria, the other is, I suppose, derived from just being human. But it does suck. I was miserable yesterday but today’s a new day and I feel okay.

    I have also had lots of ups and downs in my career, which was mostly in semiconductor marketing. Saw the world, met many wonderful people, and enjoyed the technology. But also quite the testosterone filled role and environment. I also stepped off the roller coaster a couple of times. I once lived in Mexico with my family for several months. Ten years later I stopped for a couple of years to learn fiction writing and write a novel. I figured if Dan Brown could win with The Da Vinci Code well, I could too. Not!

    So I returned to, as you say, the same old thing. It was fun to win deals and help navigating problems. But it was like “lather, rinse, repeat.” In the end, for me, my gender issues are more important than anything else. When I’m making even tiny progress there I’m happy and exhilarated.

    Let your feelings be your guide!

    • Brilliant words well said. I can related to what you said about testosterone filled environments. I’ve worked in a few places very much like that. Sometimes fun, sometimes jaw droppingly shocking.

      Do you still write? Would love to read anything you’ve done.

      I think sometimes it’s so easy to forget that while gender identity can be or feel like a huge main problem, other parts of our lives still carry on with the same daily problems that anyone can have.

      Hannah x

      • I don’t write fiction; it was fun as kind of a hobby but I found that I didn’t have enough passion to write. But that might change! Right now I have too much going on. I’m afraid I’d be drawn to writing teary stories about how lost I feel at times.

        And yes, being trans isn’t easy and it creates problems. On the whole, though, I prefer to be who I am. Even the idea of being a cis male is a bit nauseating! Although to be a cis female, well, there’s a fantasy world that I have enjoyed writing about. 🙂

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