In 2012 and late 2011 my life devolved into a pit of despair as I went through my final struggles before admitting I had a problem. It is somewhat more of a male thing to hide weakness, one possible reasons, but truthfully it was the guilt and shame that kept my mouth closed. Then too there was this fear of being mocked, ridiculed and laughed at. Last, the very real fear of losing my family. I knew it probably would happen, and I wasn’t surprised by it, but like the death of a loved one after a long illness, it was crushingly painful all the same.
I can truthfully say, it gets better. No matter how bad it is right now, there’s hope and good reason to believe it gets better. The path to better is an uphill one with many detours that you resent. It all takes much longer than you might think. Here I am after five years and I can say transition is mostly over. I can say it, is it really true though. Perhaps when I take stock at the end of 2017 I’ll have a sense.
I was deeply depressed in April 2012 when I finally sought help. I had survived many cycles of depression over the years, but this one threatened to end me. It was only this threat that finally overcame my fears. I’d either be in a psychiatric hospital or dead had I not opened up. Indeed the first couple of months on antidepressants were dangerous. You finally regain some energy but you can also be drawn to self harm.I’ve been given reason to believe my experience was far from unique.
Six months later I delusionally thought I was all better – that my depression was gone. Such are the depths. I started near rock bottom so the first glimmer of light seem as day. It was not until I went full time in 2014 that healing began in earnest.
My personality in 2012 was also a huge victim of this process, at least for awhile. I’m sure you all realize that it is different now, but at that time my daughter returned from college and told my wife that dad was a different person. Indeed I was, touchy, angry and, despite delusions to the contrary, lacking the empathy and caring I really needed to have.
Then also I was incredibly self centered and almost narcissistic. My friends tell me I couldn’t avoid it as I was ill. All too true, but I’m less forgiving of that person I was.
The last year, the year of healing from GCS, has required patience. Dealing with a new diagnosis of parkinson’s, the aftermath of leaving my home of 25 years and the prospect of a legal separation became the backdrop. Surgery was just the icing. No regrets, sometimes it is better to hurt more for a shorter time and have it over width.
What does all this mean to you dear reader?
I don’t regret my life choices. Some were made freely, the choice to transition was made because there was no other viable choice for me. If you’re connected to someone trans, understand that we often live in denial for many, many years. The despair after 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 years of denial can be impossible to face. Some don’t and just end it. Keep that in mind, they are not doing this to be cruel or vindictive.
If you’re a spouse, know that it was nothing you lacked. It wasn’t because you weren’t pretty enough, thin enough or your lack of willingness to do something out of the ordinary in bed. Last, it is not, despite the pain being caused, there is nothing your son, daughter, father, mother, brother, husband or wife can do other than to find treatment and hopefully relief. Do not believe the charlatans who say this can be cured in some other way. It cannot at this stage and may never be able to be cured in anything still resembling a human being in the future.
If you’re a sister, brother, son or daughter of the transitioner, work toward loving the new person and try not to be too angry that your dad or mom has disappeared.
I feel lucky to have survived this. In very many ways I am a stronger and more resilient person. I have been hardened to where I was brittle and ready to crack and then tempered in the fire to reach that point.
My life is now filled with promise. I can be the real person that has been waiting in the wings. I am free to love and cherish new friends and lovers, as well as being free to keep valuing old friends and family.
Take heart. No pain is everlasting.
It will get better