Monday, 21 November 2011

How do you cope?

I don’t know about you, but I find this life quite tough.  Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t want to change it.  I live for the times when I’m able to present the person I actually am on the inside to the rest of the world.  But it happens only infrequently and it is that infrequency that is the cause of my angst.  And it causes me to have to try to find a way to cope.

It seems hard for people who don’t live with it to understand.  Maybe I’m alone in feeling like this, but it is there with me all the time.  I never go for more than a few minutes without thinking about it.   Every time I look around you, everything I watch on television, every day at work, whenever I go out, there are reminders of what I can’t be and what I can’t have. But worse than that is the ongoing pangs of regret at how things turned out.  Don’t get me wrong, my family, in particular, is important, but I also know that the more I increasingly follow my heart, the more hurt and pain I am likely to cause to them.  Its hard to live with that and it tears at my thoughts all the time and makes me feel sad.  

I clearly don’t begrudge women their gender.  My position is nobodies fault, there is no-one to blame.  If anything I blame myself.  Why did I not realise that this was inevitably going to be the final conclusion in the final analysis.  Why did I not stop the world and get off when I was 30 or 20 or even 10.  Its not like I didn’t know what I was, even then.   When I was growing up, before the internet age, all I had to go on was that transvestism (as it was presented then) was for perverts and weirdos and that society found more deplorable than gay people.  I was both of those things (well, bi-sexual at least) and was horrified at feeling like I did.

But the point is that when you have this secret and know what you know, how do you live a normal existence day-by-day?  I’m afraid to say I don’t.  I work as hard as I possibly can for most of my day - I try to dutifully put the thoughts from my mind and get on.  Some days I succeed better than others.  But then the evening arrives and the structure disappears.  I hold onto work as late as possible - 7, 8 or 9 o’clock.  But with that gone, I found the only thing that numbs it all: I eat a hearty meal and drink more than my share of alcohol.  Alcohol is useful in this fight.  Drinking causes some people to be aggressive, some to gain bravado, some to get loud.  I sleep.  The soporific calming makes me forget about my feelings.  I’ve questioned at times whether I’m an alcoholic if I’m perfectly honest with you.  But I know that I can stop for periods of time if I have to or want to, but there is an addiction of sorts in there.  The release from my thoughts in exchange for a bottle or two of wine or beer.  It seems like a small price to pay.

Except that I'm paying the price: the classic, “moment on the lips, lifetime on the hips” situation.  My weight yo-yos anyway, but I’m at the larger end of it at the moment and that makes it worse.   The small price is becoming a bigger one that is sitting on my body making me look even less like the beautiful girl I want to be.  But also that its not doing my internal organs any favours and I don't want problems into later life.

It strikes me that the only real way of coping is to be what I truly am. 100% out 100% of the time.  But its not possible right now.  So I found myself wondering what others do to cope with this turmoil.  For some I’m sure its sex or drugs, or depression pills or even a shrink.

So can I ask for advice please?  I know I’ve asked for it a lot of late, but you are all a lot more experienced than me and it would be nice to have some new strategies to try to master (or mistress) my thoughts and to take control.

10 comments:

  1. depression pills or even a shrink.

    Is it multiple choice? ;-)

    There are times when it truly sucks - life that is. But, seriously and honestly, it's not going to be bad forever.... but you may have to step out of your comfort zone to get out of the mire. Have you thought about seeing the quack, maybe seek some help? I don't mean that in a catty way, I think that the drinking isn't going to help. Hell, I tried that in my teens and all it did was make me hungover and throw up a lot.

    Now I try not to think about things too much. I go for long walks, talk to friends (not about trans stuff), read and generally try to keep busy. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, but it seems to pay off more than set and brood.

    It may be that you don't need to go 100%. Maybe the occasional stretch into the upper percentiles once every now and again may be enough. Ultimately, though, only you know how far is far enough. If you're putting your health - mental and physical - at risk, please, do talk to someone... preferably a professional, a friend or even a nebby blogger.

    Lynn
    x

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  2. Thank you so much for your advice Lynn, I really appreciate it. I've had counselling before, but it was aimed at trying to stop not at living with it. I was thinking about it earlier this evening - not sleeping again - and I think its time to see the Doctor. They know I have a bit of a food and wine problem, but I've never explained why. I think they've always assumed that I'm greedy and lack control. Also possibly true :o)

    I am seeing a 'nebby' (what is that word??!) blogger later in the week for a chat, so hopefully that'll help.

    Thank you for your continued input, it really does mean a lot to me.

    Rhi x

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  3. Well, Rhi, I think you have read most of my blog, so you know that I really don't have any answers. However, your situation parallels my own so closely, I have to weigh in.

    Sessions with a therapist who specializes in gender issues has been enormously helpful. She has dealt with many folks like us, and knows that it can't be turned around, only managed.

    I have been on a low dose of Zoloft for about four years now. I still get depressed, but I don't bottom out like I did before. It takes the edge off the depression and helps me slog through it.

    The third element of my safety net is my support group. They vary in what they offer, and you likely have a number to choose from in your area. Start researching it, and find some real-world sisters that can give much more than the internet ever will.

    It takes a lot of little things in combination to keep me sane, and fighting my impulses. Each piece adds to the overall betterment of my condition. Your answer won't be simple, I'm sure, but it's worth the effort. You know that I'll help you any way I can from over here.

    Leslie

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  4. Thank you so much Leslie. I've been thinking a lot about joining a support group for a while now. I should just get on with. My weight makes me self conscious, but I just need to do it anyway.

    I've seen a counsellor before, maybe it's time to again...

    It's great reading your blog too - I know you know what it's like and how tough it is. It's so worth it though when you get to present how you want and to look like how you feel inside. I really enjoy reading your inputs. Plus you take the same shaving de-fuzzing attitude as me!! :o)

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  5. Dare I say there's usually a reason while folk over do certain activities... be they food, drink, drugs or other activities. I hope all goes well with talking to the quack. Oh, and with your blogger friend too.

    PS: Nebby: to be unduly concerned with the lives of others. To be nosey, stick ones beak in, etc.

    More authentic Midlander gibberish. ;-)

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  6. Thank you - and I'm glad it was an actual word and not a typo! Yorkshire where I have spent many a year had ginnels and bread cakes that get you pogged. Amongst other things!

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  7. Hi Rhi,

    First time reader, first time commenter....

    I have a question, and I guess it'll probably seem insensitive and some may even think I'm of less than admirable intent, but:

    Why?.....

    you say it's not possible right now.

    Why?....

    And don't answer to quickly, think carefully about the question, yes, I did read your first few posts and yes I do understand your situation.

    I wish you the best.

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  8. @Van Buren. Thank you for taking the time to read and to comment. I appreciate your question which I have certainly pondered on for a while now.

    At first I was slightly cross with your question, I have to be honest. If you know my story, you'll know why I can't do it right now. But the reality is much simpler than that. For me, it comes down to two things: either I'm not completely convinced that I am truly in the wrong gender, or that I'm not brave enough to take action.

    So I ask myself the question: am I genuinely convinced I'm in the wrong gender? If I'm honest, I'm not at 100% convinced stage yet. For some people that means I should never even think about transitioning yet. But I guess I am not convinced, not because I don't think I am, but because there is a part of me that still holds out hope that I might be able to be normal and change things back so that I am a normal man who is comfortable in that role and who likes it. Literally minute-by-minute that hope ebbs away.

    But also am I brave enough? I don't know you and what sacrifices you have made in life. But to give up my home, family, potentially job, lifestyle etc for this is a big decision to take. I'm really bad at making big decisions that I know are going to have a major effect on me. I get into a mental and emotional paralysis about it. Therein for some lays the answer: I can't want it enough. Maybe that's the right analysis. If I should have done it by now I would have done it. That argument haunts me, it honestly does.

    But that's honestly why not now. Its like when someone is going to jump off a diving board. They run up to it and then chicken out at the last minute. They want to do it, they know they can, they know it'll be the best feeling ever and that it will make their life as it should be. But making that jump is easier on paper than in reality.

    I've not got to the end of the question, but its where I am now.

    Thank you - and I wish you the best too. I hope that you continue to read on about my journey as I move forward.

    And keep asking your annoying questions!! :)

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  9. Nope.

    None of those are reasons why it isn't possible, why you "can't".

    They might all be reasons why you won't or shouldn't, but they aren't reasons why you can't or things that make it not possible.

    There's only one question relevant to you:

    Do you NEED to?....

    It's got nothing to do with WANTing it, and it FEELing good.

    Unless you want a life of hurt, pain and regret, you don't do it unless you absolutely MUST.

    That however, is just my $.02, do with it what you'd like.

    Best wishes.

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  10. Thank you Van Buren. I completely agree with you. Not a step anyone should take for fun or on a whim. Even considering it has huge ramifications. You need to be 100% convinced that there is no other way.

    Thank you for your insight. x

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