Category Archives: Mental Health

To the Moon

The other day I sat down and did something I said I was going to do for a while: Play a game. Might sound odd, me saying that given I’m often playing games, but this one was different. It was a little title I stumbled across a year ago, immediately bought on Steam and then left it. A little indie game called To The Moon. A nice, little RPG game with an element of puzzle solving to it, but mostly an interactive story more than a game per se. It was created by a group of people called Freebird Games. (You can learn a bit more about them and their game here )

Without giving too much away, you play as a scientific duo from a company who provide a service for people at the end of their lives. A service where they had a desire or a wish that went unfulfilled for whatever reason during their life which would then be fulfilled before they died. This was achieved via a miracle of technology which created an alternate life within the mind of the individual in which their wish was fulfilled and they lived it out, like a second life. In this case, it concerned a gentleman who wanted to go to the moon, but didn’t.

In order for this machine to work, the scientists had to go through the individual’s mind via memory hops to a time early in life, where they would then implant the wish and then events would unfold and the wish came to pass. This meant exploring and reliving memories, searching for clues, spotting patterns and things of significance in order to create the next memory link to create a bridge to the next significant life memory and progress onwards.

I’m not going to reveal too much more as I don’t want to spoil the story for anyone intrigued enough to go look this game up but various things and themes came up and were explored during the game that resonated with me and I’ll talk about in a while, but after spending an afternoon on this, going through many twists and turns we get to the game’s conclusion. The old man at the centre of this gets his wish and lives out his alternate life and then dies.

Between the plot, being so swept up with the story and the beautiful soundtrack which accompanied it (which I’m listening to while writing this) I was in fits of tears. Rebecca too, as she’d become mesmerised towards the end and had dropped what she was doing at the time to watch. It’s not the first time a game has done this to me and it won’t be the last.

It’s also why I had kinda put off playing it until the other day. I knew it was going to have this kind of effect and would likely unsettle me afterwards. Sure enough, I’ve not felt myself the past couple of days. I’ve felt like I’m on the outside the room looking in in regards to stuff going on around me during the day and my mind has been racing like an overclocked processor, head humming as a result, as I get when I’m in one of my analytical ‘trying to process stuff’ modes. I’ve spent my break times at work reading up more about the game, the story and so on, trying to piece things together and learn all I can about it while jotting down memo notes on my phone.

It’s something I do with anything that really grips me. It’s also why despite the fact I love games, I play relatively few of them. The ones I play grip me so entirely I’m doing all these things on the side that tie in with them, be it reading up on them, watching playthroughs on YouTube or just figuring stuff out. Soundtracks usually end up being hunted down and played a lot if the music is good and sooner or later end up becoming part of an ever expanding repartee I’m often humming or whistling to myself while doing stuff. (That’s often a good indicator of my emotional mood. If I’m relaxed I do this a lot).

In short I become somewhat obsessed, which until recently would draw some snide comments about ‘Why are you wasting time with that?’ and ‘All you ever do is that’ when I do go through one of these phases. I can’t be thankful enough to Rebecca for being the complete opposite to this when I’m working through an obsessional phase. She lets me get on with it, work through it and make sure I’m ok.

In the case of this game, I was trying to link together a few things to do with one of the characters in the game, a woman called River, and things she was doing throughout. It’s heavily implied she was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome as an adult ( Asperger wasn’t directly mentioned but the game references Tony Atwood, a man who wrote several books on the subject when her diagnosis came up). I had a shrewd idea she was on the autistic spectrum pretty early on in the game, because of a few things she did, and later on in the game I was finding myself relating a lot to experiences she had while growing up, which is one of several things I’ve been thinking about a lot today.

She pretty well spent her life in her own world, not really caring what people thought and quietly doing her thing, pursuing her choices, hobbies and making a few life choices that had the people around her scratching their heads over. Sounds familiar, huh?

I’ve had a feeling for a few years now I might be somewhere on the spectrum myself. In time I’ll go about taking steps to get that looked at, once the transition stuff is over anyway, but I digress.

Going back to the question of why I put off playing To The Moon for as long as I had and why I’ve felt unsettled. If I’m honest, I get scared by my emotions at times, what they say about me and what others think of me when I express them. As a kid I had a lot of trouble with ADHD influencing my behaviour as well as bullying at school. People would often provoke me into lashing out because seeing me lose it was entertaining. If something upset me to the point of tears, well that was a field day for them. If I was having meltdowns I’d get hassle for that. one that comes to mind is the time someone provoked me at a time when I was using a school laptop for work after
damaging one of my wrists coming off my bike. In among other things I tired to do I was trying to wrap the laptop round their head. Needless to say I got an earful for that, which I really didn’t understand as it wasn’t me who started the altercation.

Another was a memory of dad snapping and shouting at me in an exasperated fashion came to the fore. Usually if I was getting shouted at by a parent it would be mum. If dad was doing the shouting you knew you’d done something really spectacular. Later on in life I’d often get remarks from my ex that were pretty demeaning because of my temper, though looking back now with all that was going on it’s hardly any wonder why I was in a default state of being wound up to snapping point and doing things like shredding a phone book when I boiled over. Any wonder why my emotions terrify me at times when I ended up having the strength do do things like that.

Over the years and after enough digs and prods from people you get to a point where you just bury stuff, repress things and try and fit in, conform and appear normal, which just fucks things up in the long run and leaves me where I am now, struggling to express myself and finding some middle ground in a world of extremes. Most of the time I feel pretty robotic in situations, for the lack of being to feel what the situation calls for. Nine times out of ten I react appropriately, or at least guess right and do what is expected, or at least not get odd comments for it, but it feels like I’m experiencing life through a filter and not feeling connected. I’m not even sure I’ve described that right, it’s the best I can do without telepathy. That feeling of really not being able to express things adequately is one of the reasons why I talk so little, preferring to write things down. I have processing time then, to organise things before feeling able to express what’s on my mind.

If I do let things go, the really go, like they did the other night at the end of the game. Rebecca remarked at the time I don’t cry enough or let things out, but that’s a lifetime of social conditioning for you. Afterwards I’m having to ask her if what I did and how I reacted was normal. That’s how unsure I am and how scrambled my head feels for the most part.

Having spent a large chunk of my life creating various fantasy worlds in my head and using them as an escape from various traumatic events it’s really no surprise why To The Moon and it’s plot and premise has resonated so strongly with me.

Thankfully these days there’s less pressure upon me to keep up a pretence of conformity. I can spend the day at work just getting on with the job, not being expected to or having my arm twisted into interacting with my co-workers beyond anything that’s not work dependant, because believe me, being in my own world whistling away to whatever random music is playing in my mind at the time is a lot less stressful.

As for the gaming? Well I’m aware the makers of To The Moon have recently released a sequel. I just hope I don’t put off playing that for as long as I put off playing this.


(For those interested in giving the game a go To the Moon can be played from Steam, or downloaded into your phone)



Well it’s 2018 today, so happy new year and all that. Truth be told it’s just another day for me. We didn’t stay up late to see the new year in, didn’t even get woken up by fireworks. Rebecca’s at work today so staying up late wasn’t an option even if either of us wanted to. As for me? Well I’m just ambling along, being a bit introspective I guess, as you do at this time of the year.

Resolutions didn’t happen last year so there’s none of that going on. The important things stayed the same. I’m still with Rebecca and we’re very much in love and have talked about the future together and what we want to do. I’m still here, a line of thought a holdover from the bad old days where there were times I seriously doubted I’d make it to 30, such was the state of my mental health back then.

I also got a bit fitter the past year. I had been conscious of the fact that I’d put on weight because of HRT and very conscious of the fact that for the surgery I’m hoping to have this year they need your BMI to be below 28 to help with results. Well my present line of work, allied to cycling to work for the first time in years has helped there.

Last year I guess I could say I got to the stage where I could make peace with various things in my life. My transition, for one. It’s still going along, the HRT doing it’s magic and hopefully this year the one thing that is still bothering me on that front will be sorted out. I’m conscious of the fact that I’ve been on HRT for two years so and all the major changes have more or less taken place, so whatever I’ve got, that’s probably all I’m getting. You know what? What I’ve got I’m pretty happy with. I’ve got a nice enough figure, my boobs are at a point where they look like boobs even without a bra on and look the part. Yes, they could do with rounding out a little more. Maybe that will still happen in time, who knows. The body hair’s more or less taken care of itself, with a bit of help from the epilator and a touch of electrolysis for the odd bit here and there I really don’t want.

I was hoping to have been done with the stuff on my face but I’ve had to take that slow as I’m on as high a setting as my skin will take and I’m often a hairs breadth away from a meltdown because of the anxiety I get going to these appointments. Put short, it bloody hurts. I decided a few months ago once the dark stuff is done, that’s it, I’m not bothering with the blonde and ginger stuff that I get. A quick shave twice a week sorts that out and 20 seconds with a razor is much less aggro than electrolysis. Cis women shave, epilate, wax facial hair so that’s one instance of making peace with things that I was on about. Comparing body features and getting jealous of what other people have is not something I really get. I get it now and then but it’s no longer a dysphoria thing, it’s just a ‘She’s got a nice whatever’ kind of feeling instead of the pre-transition dysphoric hell of not looking like you feel you should and wishing you could look like a woman.

At some point I got more comfortable with going out without bothering to put a face on. There was a time where this would be unthinkable but these days it’s along the lines of ‘Right, need milk for the shops, get my shoes and keys and go get it.’ I might not have even shaved that day either when doing this, something else that was once unthinkable.

Something else I’ve made some headway on this year is dealing with the fact I’m not a neurotypical person and instead of trying to fight various things on that front in an attempt to appear normal I’m just rolling with it. Yes, this means sticking my hands over my ears because of loud noises in public, having meltdowns because of high anxiety and overanalysing and overthinking stuff, not hanging around areas that are overwhelming my senses, speaking up when I’m having trouble with concentration and so on. I realised that doing what I do is ok and if anyone has a problem it’s their problem and not mine. Realising that challenging behaviour in others is a big trigger point for my anxiety is another and is what’s resulted in me leaving care work for now because I really don’t want to have to deal with that any more. Having a partner who’s been very encouraging and reassuring me it’s ok to change jobs because of such things has been a big help.

I am aware that embracing this side of me is a bit of a double edged sword, especially when it comes to social situations, particularly group stuff. I tend to shy away from group stuff. I end up being the one in the corner sitting silently and seemingly not joining in because I struggle with interacting and judging when to talk without interrupting others and picking up on social cues. I’m the sort of person who says little but listen, take things in and remember stuff that is then important later on, even in a 1 to 1 setting. In groups I can shut down completely and then later get wound up about it, like I did in Brighton.

It’s a double edged sword because I can easily become withdrawn and stuck into a routine where I don’t try new things and don’t really go anywhere as a person. Case in point; Makeup. My sister got me some lovely new bits the previous year but because I am so set in my ways and stick with what works because it’s predictable and I don’t end up worrying it took me nine months before finally looking at the stuff. When it comes to makeup I figured out a simple routine that works early on in my transition and it’s barely changed since. I might pick a different colour lipstick or eye shadow once in a while but things are fairly static. When I’m at work this is ok. I have a routine that’s quick to do and lasts the day without me really needing to think about whether it’s holding up or not, because I know it does. Away from work I really need to try and do new things occasionally. This goes for a lot of things really and I’d like to be a bit more expansive this year because I worry about becoming withdrawn again. That was a default state of being before transition and I don’t want that again. It caused all sorts of issues that I’m still dealing with now.

I guess what I’m trying to say is the past few months I’ve been rather wary of my frame of mind and really not wanting to start slipping backwards again. Maybe that should be a resolution for the year. Who knows? Maybe I’m just overthinking things again. Happy new year everyone.



Erm, Hurry Up and Wait?

Is that what I do now? Well it fits well with the rest of the transition narrative I suppose, what between the time from referral to first appointment, assessments for HRT and then for surgical opinions. I’m up past the two and a half year mark on that front and still going now I’m onto the next phase of proceedings.

Not going to lie, the past couple of months since my appointment was kicked back has been hard. It’s pretty much been a long, drawn out anxiety attack really. When I’ve had three appointments and two of them have been affected by someone cancelling and rescheduling months down the road I get very anxious that it’ll happen again. Navigating the run up to Christmas is hard enough for me without this extra thing going on in my head.

The week before my appointment was where things got really fun. First off, I get knocked on my back for a full three days with the flu. Secondly the car decides it’s had enough and starts giving up, by way of a massive coolant failure which resulted in the car doing it’s best impression of a kettle. The car, luckily enough we managed to replace, the flu however was reluctant to shift. Well, flu or no flu I was going to London. A meteor strike couldn’t stop me going so a damn stupid virus had no chance.

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(Meet the new car: Includes mod cons such as working heating and stereo)

Anyway, Rebecca and I did our usual, got up, got ready, drove to the station and got the train to London. Thankfully it was an afternoon appointment so no rush hour to deal with and tickets are half what they cost at peak time. Things were going ok until we got to the tube. As you all know I despise the thing. At the best of times I struggle with the noise and closeness. Air quality is another issue. Between my asthma and fairly low lung capacity it doesn’t take much for me to get out of breath at the best of times. Off the back of the flu? It was grim, especially on the Victoria line where I swear the trains are coal powered. The air is so smokey down there it’s alarming. I got so out of breath Rebecca was having to hold me upright while trying to keep herself upright on a horribly jerky train. At some point the jolting does something to my left leg. By the time we get to Baron’s Court I’m wrecked. I had to sit down at the station for 10 minutes trying to get my breath back. A trip up the stairs reveals something in my leg isn’t right. It’s agony trying to bend it. I suspect sciatica, especially how it carried on coming home later.

Things are determined to try and get in my way this day. Even so, we set a new record for turning up to one of our appointments early. We were there three hours early. This sounds insane, but Rebecca and I both hate turning up late to places so allow a silly amount of time for incidents etc. It was something that was hammered home when we got to CHX and registering. Some poor guy who came in just after us had trekked halfway across the country and was 2 hours later for his appointment thanks to a broken down train. Luckily he was able to be seen and got what he needed but even so. The day they finally get a centre opened in Wales so people don’t need to trek all the way from there to London for care can’t come soon enough.

After getting some lunch we return ( I’d gone in and registered earlier on so I could stop panicking that the appointment wasn’t on) and while sitting and waiting we end up having a chat to other people there for appointments. A young trans man and trans woman spot they’re both massive Harry Potter fans and get chatting away in between questions about various experiences we’ve had while transitioning. An older trans woman tells of how her brother’s disowned her over what’s going on. I sit there thinking I’ll miss these moments, chatting, giving people not so far along advice and reassurance about things. I don’t get to think for long as I get called in 10 minutes early for my appointment.

Much like my previous appointment the first 10 minutes is spent catching up on stuff, how things are going, how’s family been, etc. Got asked a couple of questions on how I felt things are going and how long I’d been transitioning for, if I’d had any regrets, etc. The question of grief counselling comes up again after talking about dad again.

Medical history was touched upon. I fill the clinician in on my asthma and medication, get asked the usual questions on drug and alcohol usage (No, and barely drink these days, thank you).

After this we start talking about surgical options. This is pretty brief as I already know what I wanted and had my notebook to hand already. Seeing as I’m going down the penile inversion route talk turns towards that and what’s needed. I was asked if I was circumcised (I’m not). This is good as it’s more material for the surgeon to play with and because of this there’s a good chance hair removal down below is not needed. Once the referral is done and a pre-surgery appointment is completed, hair removal is usually the biggest hold up as there’s not much of a waiting time for the surgery itself at this point.

and various risks and drawbacks that might arise, how depth and sensation can vary (or be non existent), surgical complications such as prolapse or the rare but very nasty one where the bowel gets nicked during the operation and what’s needed to be done about that. Basically there’s a chance this could happen, a fistula forms and bowel fluid gets into your nice new vagina. This results in an operation to isolate the bowel and the need for the use of a colostomy bag while things are repaired and healed. After this, things are reattached and hopefully things will continue as normal. This isn’t a shock to me as I was paying attention back when I attended the orientation lecture a couple of years ago and I’m well aware of possible issues.

Aftercare is also discussed, dilation and generally looking after yourself until you’re ready to go back to work. I learned that I might not have to stop HRT before surgery. Most surgeons get you to stop for six weeks before surgery and wait three week after before going back on it as it helps lessen the chances of blood clotting occurring. Apparently one of the surgeons doesn’t insist on this though, not that I was told which one it was. Interesting to know because I’d rather avoid a menopausal hot flush mess if I can as I’m not that great at regulating body temperature as it is.

I’m asked what surgery would mean to me. For one it means I’d feel comfortable having some level of intimacy with Rebecca because things down there would be right. Peace of mind knowing I won’t ever have to worry about tucking and hoping things aren’t giving the game away ever again. Truthfully, it’s mainly peace of mind, being able to look in the mirror while dressing or undressing and not having a ‘Damn, it’s still there’ moment. I’m pretty happy with what HRT has given me after two years and nothing else gives me any real dysphoria these days.

Swimming was discussed, that classical thing a lot of trans people avoid because of dysphoria, and getting changed. I promptly joke about my terrible swimming ability. I swim like a brick and I get so out of breath after a couple of minutes I usually don’t go again for years.

And after that little ice breaker I get the news I’d been hoping for: My second opinion. It’s like an early Christmas present, and a massive weight is lifted. Talk turns towards where I’d like to go for surgery. I’d decided long ago I was heading for Parkside. If I’m honest I’m not too fussed who gets to work on me: So long as things down below look alright and do what they need to do I’m not even that bothered about the look of the thing. I know this sounds weird and probably blasé too, but that’s me. Parkside got chosen for geographical convenience. Why tramp halfway across the country for something when it can be done 25 miles or so from home?

Thanks to the vagaries of the admin system, Charing Cross GIC can’t make direct referrals to Parkside, only to Nuffied in Brighton, or Imperial College across the road. For Parkside, they go through Imperial and they do the referral. Another vagary is the fact that in spite of the fact the report will be written up the same day, it’ll take six weeks for the GIC to sent the referral out to across the road. basically if I don’t hear anything by March I can start badgering people. Meanwhile, I do have a contact for a nurse at Parkside to discuss things, which I shall do in the new year. I mean, what’s a week or two on that front after all the time I’ve waited thus far.

Anyway, on that note, I hope everyone has a good time over the holidays and hope the new year brings good things to you all xxxxxxxxxxxxx



(Once again my wonderful Rebecca’s by my side and being awesome)

A Change Of Pace

*Looks around suspiciously and leans in* I’m going to whisper this, but I might have found a job I feel comfortable doing this past week. Basically I’ve taken on a job at a warehouse for an international company, picking items for customer orders. I won’t say who for because I’m wary of doing such things online but after my first week I’m feeling pretty good, especially after the disaster that my last job turned out to be.

Seems a bit daft on the surface anyway. I’d spent the past four years in care roles and spent two of them gaining two NVQ’s and was lined up to start working towards a Care Certificate. Sounds a bit like a career really. The thing is I enjoy helping people, but I’m really not coping with a few things that came with the work.

Since transitioning I’ve gotten better at finding out what my strengths and weaknesses are. I’m also more aware of how things can stress me out, cause anxiety and so on. Basically I’ve figured out I need things to be predictable and fairly structured work wise to cut put a lot of stress and anxiety. This is something that has been in short supply at my various care roles, spanning from things like shifts being varied, the expectation that we can drop everything and have practically no life because of work demands and the work itself can be unpredictable because of client needs. The biggest thing of all is I’ve realised I really can’t deal too well with challenging behaviour, especially when things become violent. Even before transitioning I struggled with this aspect but nowadays, I can’t handle it. I get so stressed and anxious about this it was damaging my mental health.

My last job was all of the worst things in microcosm. My last job I was lied to at interview, in regards to hours per week and shifts, which has really pissed me off because I had three different jobs to choose from and I made a choice based on what was said at interview.I wouldn’t have picked a job that had 42 hours and 12 hours shifts if they said that at the time.

On my third shift I was physically attacked by one of the residents. I nearly walked that day and it was only because of my team leader trying to convince me to stick around for training that I didn’t. The following week I did training, including two days of learning how to deal with physical incidents and restraint techniques and really didn’t feel good about it. The following shift I saw some of the damage the resident who had attacked me had done while I was off and that finished things. If they could do what I had seen them do then I knew there was zero chance I was going to get close enough to them to try and do what I had been taught. I don’t have the physical capability to do so and frankly I don’t want to be put in such a position. I phoned in sick for my next two shifts because I was non functional because of my anxiety and the following day I quit. My then manager trying to guilt trip me on the phone with “But we said at interview you’d be dealing with people with challenging  behaviour” was ironic really. As Rebecca will tell you, I got so anxious about that job and having to make that phone call I almost snapped my glasses as I had them in my hands at the time.

My new job I have fixed shifts, predictable hours and a predictable job. I also get home early enough to have a couple of hours of evening to play with instead of coming home and needing to go right to bed, and can get up at a reasonable hour too. It’s also close enough for me to not need to worry about public transport. It’s 40 minutes on foot or 15 now I have a fold up bike, which I got because it’s a near flat road there and back. I’m pleasantly surprised how well my legs have held up considering it’s a more physical job and I’m on my feet most of the day.

I seem to have picked things up pretty quick too. I can find my way around with ease and work out where I need to get to next efficiently. I’m also pretty quick at finding what I need to get as well. Basically it’s all recognising patterns and memorising inane things, linked to navigation, things I’ve always had a knack for. My instructor was impressed enough with how quickly I’d picked up the store layout to call me a genius, which made me blush. It’s also nice I’m mainly left alone to quietly get on with things. As I’ve said elsewhere, I’m doing something that is a millionth of the stress I had doing care work and I’m getting similar money for it. oh, and I’m going to improve upon my fairly lacklustre level of fitness, which will be good for other things.

It’s a nice work atmosphere as well, quite a strong team culture, we’re encouraged to contribute to the safety meetings we have each day, any ideas we have and the people there seem to be fairly happy and relaxed from what I’ve seen. It’s a nice change of pace.

Looking forward it looks like there’s plenty of opportunities to make this thing permanent as I’m presently working through an agency, so long as I’m hitting targets, my attendance and attitude are good and there’s several other roles to learn too, in time. Here’s hoping it’s not another false dawn.


Yep, I’m back on two wheels again 🙂

Trans Pride 2017

Well Trans Pride is over and done for another year and I’m at home and in bed writing this even though it’s only 8pm. I’m that tired, so tired I can’t concentrate and then spent most of the next day feeling rather ill.

The past few days have taken a lot out of me, more than I thought for a number of reasons. On the physical side of things my phone recorded 30k of walking spread over four days. Factor in the fact I went to Brighton a week after smashing my toe at home and then picking up a massive blister on the first night I’m quite surprised I managed to hobble and curse my way along such a distance.

Mentally I’m feeling very frazzled. Social events have that effect on me anyway but this year it’s been pretty brutal at times. I overdid things on Friday, had a meltdown on Saturday and spent a fair bit of Sunday in an unfocused haze. I’m starting to realise how neurodivergent I am and becoming more aware of how it impacts on a lot of things. As a kid I was diagnosed with ADHD and I know I have a number of sensory issues, such as being very sensitive to loud noises and bright light. I really need to sort out my glasses instead of having to choose being able to see clearly or being blinded by strong sunlight.

For instance Friday night we went to the Trans Pride Film Event. A series of short films by a number of different independent groups revolving around different aspects of gender identity and how they play out. The films themselves were interesting, but for accessibility all of the films had closed captions. This was brilliant as I was able to read what was being said instead of listening, or tying to listen to the films while trying to tune out about a million different and distracting noises. It also meant if there was a particular noise that was bothering me, I could block it out. Case in point, a droning sound in the first film resulted in me covering my ears until it had gone away. With the closed captions I could still follow the narrative while this was going on. I’m also realising if I am having to block sounds out by covering my ears when out and about no-one pays any heed, which is nice.

Thursday night was pretty good, Rebecca and I had made plans to meet up with our friend the lovely Kate and go for dinner out somewhere, which we did after we checked into the hotel and chilled out for a couple of hours. We were later joined by Lisa and had a good catch up over a couple of drinks. I think Rebecca actually got a bit drunk that night. The only downside was my feet acting up. My shoes weren’t comfortable and I later found I had a huge blister on my right foot on top of the bad toe that had been playing up. I walked back in my socks, which was another poor idea as walking for half an hour with no support on my arches meant I was almost in tears by the time we got back. It also resulted in me buying an emergency set of trainers while out and about on Friday.


A lovely evening out with Kate (Far left) and Lisa (Far right)

Friday was a long old day, a bit too long looking back on it. We had a wander round the shops, lunch out and a trip to the Brighton and Hove art gallery afterwards. The gallery was interesting on a couple of fronts. For one they had a big Constable exhibition on display, secondly they had the museum of Transology, which had an effect on me. Basically it was a museum of curios donated by various trans people that symbolised their journeys and I can see myself writing a blog about something based on this in the near future. I do hope the exhibition finds a permanent home because it deserves one. Transgender history is rather fragmented thanks to a lot of stuff being destroyed and also serves to shoe people that we are not a recent trend but an integral part of society for as long as there has been a society to speak of. For anyone interested, go look at

The aforementioned cinema event followed in the evening and by then to be honest I was struggling, having been out all day and not really had a break or somewhere especially quiet to unwind. The films were fantastic, two in particular stuck with me though. One called Skeleton in a Beret was about a couple of people who used gaming to explore their gender identity, an avenue I’m familiar with in my own way. The other (Mum) was about a family, the mother was suffering from a long term illness, one of her adult children was trans and had transitioned and family relations were somewhat strained. It brought back memories, lets just say that. Again, link below for anyone wanting more information on things

Saturday was the protest march through Brighton, though not before Rebecca and I raided a couple of comic shops we saw the previous evening and got some goodies. The march itself was as expected, a lot of noise and visibility along with a lot of walking before getting to Brunswick park and having a wee chat with various people we know on Twitter. Then the rain came, then my mood crashed. It was cold, wet, my foot was in a lot of pain by then and we retreated to a pub where some friends were staying for a while before we got a bus back to the hotel. Next year I need to actually plan stuff rather than try and drift along and see what happens. I just feel very unfocused and isolated that way. Tears were shed and pizza was consumed.


Getting ready for the Protest March, before the weather closed in

Sunday was another day out and about with Kate, coffee, lunch and shopping as well as a good chat about a couple of serious things going on. I hope she’s ok now. Again, after a couple of hours out and about I was flagging and needing peace and quiet and looking a bit ill too (which fits given how bad I’ve felt today, Tuesday). Eventually we picked up a small wardrobe of spare clothes Kate was giving away and returned to then hotel. That just left Monday and a quiet trip back home after having spent Sunday evening mostly talking to Rebecca through Twitter as I was trying to get my head and some thoughts in order while having a non verbal spell.


More fun and adventures with my Rebecca and the lovely Kate

The main theme behind this long Twitter chain I was typing out was a theme of feeling a bit adrift and lost, which seems ironic being in Brighton of all places. It was here two years ago a lot of things transition wise swam into focus and I got into gear. I went full time soon after and haven’t looked back. I made some great friends who I was happy to see even if it was all too briefly at times for various reasons this time. Two years down the line I’m at a stage of transition where I’m ready to move forward and sort surgery out, but still waiting for the system. I’m also still waiting to get up and going with my new job, which as it turns out I shall be starting next week, but that’s not all.

Putting things into an understandable concept is hard for me at times. With what’s going on in my head I likened to seeing a load of threads on the ground. Are they mine? Do I pick them up? Throw them away? Leave them alone? Some things I’m sure of, like my gender identity, being madly in love with Rebecca and my gothy/witchy leanings. A lot of other things I’m less sure of and there’s a couple of things I am frankly terrified of picking up and looking at because of past experiences. I suppose I’ll figure it all out in time but right now it’s only adding to this sense of feeling adrift right now.

In the end we came home Monday and to be honest, I was looking forward to going home. I’ve not felt like that when away somewhere for a long while. A few times Rebecca and I have asked if we would go back to Brighton next year. To that I will say yes, but next year I’ll have to do a few things different. First off, next year I need to stay somewhere in town, nearer to events. Being half hour walk away from the hotel messed me up. I needed the room to be close by so I could easily duck in for an hour or so and reset up head when being out and about got a bit much. I stupidly chose our hotel based on the fact parking wouldn’t be a financially crippling issue that it was last year. The logical thing would have been to book in town and taken the train down, like a lot of people do. It would have made it easier to plan things with friends, being nearby. Next year I need to plan going out better. The days where we had planned to meet someone and do stuff worked a lot better than just winging it and hoping.

I also need to do other, smaller things as well. For one, remembering to pack a couple of extension leads in case the power points are miles away from the bed. Packing more shoes better suited for walking around and finally, if I get new clothes, try them before packing them and taking them with me. I had a bit of a wardrobe malfunction in Brighton. Namely I put on a new top and realised it was pretty well see through.


Emergency trainers

On the plus side, I spent a whole day out in leggings and another day out in shorts and at no point worried about or thought about my tucking arrangements. This is nice and is one of several reasons why surgery can’t come soon enough for me. I also paid very little heed to my make-up during the day because the hair removal’s gotten to a point where I can go out for the day and not worry about covering stuff up. On that front at least things are slowly moving to a point of comfort. If nothing else I could go back next year just to add to my t-shirt collection.

I have a collection happening now

Oh well, I’m going to finish up with some other pics from the weekend below. Enjoy 🙂

Yup, travelled to Brighton in last year’s t-shirt 🙂

Perks of our hotel on the outskirts of town. Views, namely of the park. Also, a rainbow while in Brighton, how apt 🙂

Yes, we lost ourselves in the comic shops. Castle in the Sky is mine, a film that left a long lasting impression on me when I was growing up.


Rebecca’s pet bee. It just randomly landed on her hand while we were forming up for the march.

Where Does The Time Go?

Serious question, where has it gone? I’m asking because in a couple of days (Thursday 27th April) marks two years since I came out as trans and set things in motion. Anyone expecting then and now pics you’ll be disappointed, because I’m not doing that. I can’t look at my old pics, it’s just a reminder of so many painful events that happened in the past. I haven’t got many anyway.

I was pretty lackadaisical about printing pics in the past and thanks to a brace of hard drive wipes over the years I lost most of them. The ones I had printed out I last saw in my old house somewhere, left behind along with most of my stuff when I moved out. The few I do still possess tell the same story: A husk of a person, drifting through life, half not there and half dead. Someone and something a world away from where I am now, trying to figure out what was wrong.

Suffice to say I got there in the end, then spent weeks agonising on how to come out and how everyone would react. I remember coming home from a late shift, going to the bedroom and sitting rigid, choking back tears and trying to find the words to tell my now ex partner. I took the plunge and blurted out that I was trans and felt ready to start doing something about it, whatever the cost. A this point I felt all but dead anyway and probably not long for the world, I was that depressed, anything from that frame of mind was an improvement.

Over the coming weeks and months I told everyone else, saw my GP, had two attempts at getting referred to Charing Cross Gender Identity Clinic (My first referral got lost) and went about into the world, feeling I had finally awakened. I started finding what I liked, my own style and so on and began to grow.

I won’t lie and say it’s all been plain sailing. Transition costs a lot in terms of outlay. A new wardrobe of nice clothes for a start. I’ve spent a good couple of thousand pounds on laser hair removal and a fair few quid on a couple of private appointments to get myself up and running and onto HRT as I’d probably still be waiting to get onto that now if I sat back and waited for the GIC.

Transition also finished off my relationship with my ex, partly because he’s not into women, but transitioning and seeing what there was out there in the world opened my eyes to a lot of things that were not right and I wanted out before any more damage was done.

I saw a counsellor a little over a year ago, initially to help deal with the grief of losing my dad to cancer. A lot of stuff came out and she basically said I hadn’t been able to celebrate and embrace my transition up until then. With a relationship that was falling apart and dad suddenly becoming ill and leaving us it’s not hard to see why my early months that should have been happy ones were overshadowed.

Thankfully things have changed for the better. I’ve been with Rebecca for just over a year now. She has been amazing and supportive throughout, my rock and my world, my everything. Mum’s commented numerous times I’m the happiest she’s ever seen me now we’re together and yes, transition has become more of a celebration, for both of us. We’re both free to be ourselves, pursue our interests, have a lot of good times and get up to all sorts. We both had our first proper holiday in a long while last year and we’re quietly getting on with our lives and building a future together. In a lot of ways we’re both on a similar journey and helping each other heal from a pretty crappy past in a lot of ways.

Going forward, by the end of the year I’ll hopefully have a second surgical opinion out of the way and I’ve finally settled on what option I’d like to pursue on that matter. I’ll also hopefully have this hair removal business taken care of to a point where I’m reasonably happy. It’s funny how the goal posts change over time.

For instance there was a time where I wanted to get to a point where I’d never have to shave again. Now I’ll quite happy deal with shaving if it’s just to get rid of the blonde hairs I now mostly have now most of the dark hair has gone. I’ll be quite happy the day I don’t need to go back and get my face blasted by the laser.

I guess what I’m trying to say with all this is yes, transition is a daunting idea to go through with. How anyone thinks we’d do such a thing on a whim, or for some sort of kick I don’t know. You’re gambling at the highest stakes possible with all this. Some people get lucky and keep their partners, family and so on. Others aren’t so lucky, they lose can lose some of this, or all of it. Some people don’t make it at all. The rewards are worth the risks though. You get to be you, you get to live and that’s why we do this.

One of the best things about this journey is seeing my friends progress through their own transitions, overcoming obstacles and growing into the people they’ve always wanted to be. Here’s to the journey.


Hey, Teacher! Leave Those Kids Alone!

Well if anyone mentions anything about school that song comes to mind, rapidly followed by any number of unpleasant memories and various pointless run ins with other kids and teachers alike. truth be told, this morning got off to a rough start anyway as I had some disturbing dreams from the past during the night anyway so my head was somewhere in the past when I caught sight of a tweet threat by OhMiaGod berating her own experiences with school.

It’s also coming up on 15 years since I last walked out of the dump of a school I had been toiling at, never to return. Truth be told, they were probably just as glad to see the last of me really. junior school was one thing, senior school, and a school where it was an all boys’ grammar school was seven years of hell, arguments, blood, tears, pain and frankly bugger all to show for it. Looking back now and knowing who I am now, it’s no surprise really.

Before going further, I need to warn you. I’m not holding back here, so warnings for mental health, and suicide. Yes, school fucked me up that badly.

I was at a grammar school but I didn’t really have the smarts for it, having scraped in simply to get away from the hooligans at my junior school who bullied me and means mum was making frequent trips across the road to give the headmistress a piece of her mind on the matter. Off to a winning start already really there. Being a socially awkward loner type who didn’t fit in and really doesn’t function at all well in a group put another bullseye on my back on top of not being bright in a conventional sense. Oh I was smart, but I have a short attention span and only really able to put my full mind to tasks that I find interesting, none of which were on the curriculum.

Being pretty naff at physical games? Yup, that’ll get you bullied too, especially while going through a puberty which you later look back on and see most of what you were feeling towards yourself was gender dysphoria, which thanks to the total lack of education regarding gender and sexuality that isn’t of the cis/hetero variety, this would go undiagnosed until years later.

Having a teacher who insisted you all showered after P.E, naked and he’d hover nearby to make sure you all went through meant  I got so wound up about things I went into a state of permanently forgetting  to bring my kit to school on those days and earning myself detentions every couple of weeks for non compliance. Hell, an hour after school failing at homework was childs play compared to confronting *those* confusing feelings each week. Of course, making my hatred of P.E so public meant other kids began questioning my sexuality, because of course, not liking football, hockey etc means you’re gay.

Having a personality clash with your English teacher, who only made things worse by singling you out and aggravating things further, because this is an all male environment and we love nothing more than pointless one-upmanship to assert our dominance? Guess I’m failing English that year then because the chances of me staying remotely engaged are now zero. That said I did really piss him off at the end of the year because there was one project I actually liked (devising your own directions for directing a scene in a play) which I actually put my full energy into and got one of the highest marks in my year group for it.

As I grew up I became steadily more angry, depressed, morose and introverted. punching things became all too routine, not good having already fractured both wrists in silly accidents, but testosterone poisoning does jerk things like this. GCSE choices came about, which was a laugh, because when it came down to it and  after you take away all the mandatory subjects I only had two free slots, though picking French and doing a full course in I.T weren’t choices I’d have picked if anything better was available. Seriously, they were the best of a bunch of stuff I couldn’t stand. history? Nope, three years with a teacher who could put the dead to sleep with his droning killed that. P.E? Lol nope after two years of racking up non compliance detentions. Religious education? Well as by then I was perma-banned from that class , that wasn’t on. Seems turning up to that class repeatedly five minutes late, opening the door as moodily as possible and hurling your bag across the room to where you usually sat was enough to get me kicked out. Doing this five times in a row and after three detentions and my teacher had enough.

Yeah, I wanted nothing to do with Religion, even back then I could see what  mess it was. I’d also recently lost my granddad and churches hold bitter memories as a result. School had this dopey prize giving service every year and marched us all off to church as a result. Mum had half heartedly said I should go into lessons that morning, feign illness and come home got get out of it. I took her at her word, did so and then forged a sick note. My year head saw through it called me to his office so he could call my parents and let them know what I’d done. Dad answered and cut him down, basically saying if I didn’t want to go to church, them I wasn’t going, and if the matter wasn’t dropped he’d come in and have words on the matter. Dad didn’t even care I’d forged a sick note, he told me he wanted us to grow up, make our own choice on religion and he’d back whatever we chose. I had chosen that day, he backed me up. Parental win.

Actually, I wanted to do art,. That got killed by my art teacher, based on the fact he made us spend the best part of two years drawing still life crap and not interesting things like comics and fantasy stuff. Funnily enough I put very little effort into the former and so my grades were deemed too crap to go into that class.

GCSE’s came and I somehow got a C grade or above in everything I sat, yes including maths, which I’m awful at and design technology, when my project didn’t even work. I even got an A for Spanish, not that I’ve ever had to use that in real life. Evidently I had the grades to go on and do A levels. What I should have done is saw ‘Fuck that’ and gone and got a job. I’m surprised school didn’t tell me to get lost by then really. I was still a socially awkward misfit who didn’t fit in anywhere and wasn’t really applying myself to my subjects. I picked A levels. FML.

Now, returning to do A levels, we got this big speech on how it was our own choice to be at school, as A levels weren’t mandatory and some guff bout being treated more like young adults. Riiiight. My first day back, my Spanish teacher spend the first lesson teaching us how to swear in Spanish out of the way, reasoning we’d figure it out sooner of later. Incidentally, knowing how to blaspheme in Spanish isn’t terribly useful for everyday life, but oh well. I also had an argument with my biology teacher, who by now had been my teacher for four years and I had spent all too many a lesson doodling and not paying attention only to leave him dumbfounded every time he tried to catch me out with a snap question to make me look silly in front of class and I answered correctly. He reasoned we should be putting in the best part of 30 hours a week outside school time across our subjects. I snidely made a comment about some of us liking a social life outside school. Ironic coming from me of all people and even more ironic as I was one of the chief offenders when it came to not doing homework in his previous classes. You can see this is going to end well.

Six weeks in or so and struggling with the workload, as well as the fact my English literature course was hamstrung by it being spread across three teachers who didn’t coordinate the workloads they were assigning upon us, one teacher who was even more monotonous than my former history teacher, allied to some of the worst books I’ve ever had to read did me in. Seriously, try reading Hard Times and *not* throw the book across the room after reading a couple of pages for being so tedious.

I had four other subjects (Spanish, Business Studies, Biology and General Studies) going. This was they year the AS level and League Tables for schools were introduced, so there was a lot of pressure put upon us to do well. I went to my hear heads (yes, both of them) and said I wanted to drop English and take a short course in another subject, thinking that as a young adult and my education being my choice now I could do this. I got told no and sod off in no uncertain terms, but I persisted. Eventually they said they needed my parents to come in and discus the issue. I went home and mum and dad agreed to come in one afternoon and discuss this with my year head. As soon as they came in, my year head dropped the matter and I was free to do something else, rather than waste any more time on a subject I was clearly not getting on with. That right, my SELF EMPLOYED parents both took an afternoon off from work for a meeting that was done in five minutes and was totally uncalled for. To say the three of us were annoyed was an understatement.

I spent the remainder of that year struggling along, falling further behind and with increasing mental health issues. I somehow scraped through the end of year exams, including Biology, somehow. My final year at school beckoned and knowing I was going to fail Biology if I continued as it was branching into areas I was weak at anyway I decided to swap it out for another AS level. once again, I got the ‘No, sod off’ treatment from my year heads and I snapped. This time I wasn’t going to drag my parents in and waste their time, I took things into my own hands. I decided I would fail in the most spectacular way I could think of, as this would hurt the school’s score on this precious league table they kept bleating on about.

Most of my biology lessons were spent either in a local cafe or weather permitting out in the countryside somewhere. I cycled to school so it didn’t take me long to take myself a couple of miles away somewhere, with books, doodle pad and walkman to while away my time.Most of the teachers weren’t local to my town, so I knew endless places to go where they wouldn’t come looking for me, as they frequently trawled the high street, the local supermarket and so on for other pupils who’d gone A.W.O.L during the day. it worked, I was never caught in the act, though I got the frequent “I know you weren’t in lessons but I can’t do anything as I don’t know where you were instead” from my year heads.

Of course, this eventually spiralled out into my other classes too. School reports that were filled with ever more exasperated lamentations never got to my parents as by then I had gotten good at forging mum’s signature (sorry mum), my attendance got ever more sketchy and my mental health was being steadily worn down by having keep going to a place I now detested, as well as the growing revulsion as to what my body was becoming as puberty wore on.

Throw in a pretty disastrous relationship with a guy I’d been introduced to by a friend and a pretty gnarly Christmas where at one point I got so irritated I barricaded myself in my room I had enough. I tried to take my own life after being diagnosed with depression, put on medication which seemed to only aggravate this and having also been warned that if I lost any more weight I’d be looking at being hospitalised. By then I had fallen to 8 and a half stone, which is not good when you’re near six feet tall, but I had zero appetite and couldn’t bring myself for force myself to eat. I won’t go into how I tried to end things, only that it didn’t work.

The school year wore on and on one of the increasingly rare days I turned up I got called into my year heads office. Cue a lecture on how I was throwing my education away, how I’d end up like some homeless person in the local park  and so on. He also brought up my attention span issues. It was well known I had ADHD as a kid and to this day I still have issues with my attention span. Mum and dad mitigated things as much as they could by changing my diet as a kid as E numbers in food were a big trigger. My year head, knowing all this made some crass and needless remark about how I was of the ‘Ritalin generation’. How I didn’t thump him one for saying that I still don’t know. Needless to say this meeting was pretty well finished by then, by me shrugging and walking away, much to my year head’s annoyance.

A couple of weeks later and in a rare moment where I was actually trying to do some work I get a message from a runner to go see the same year head. I shrugged and said he can come find me as I was busy. I had zero desire to speak to him again. Ten minutes later he arrived, asked me to confirm what I had said and informed me my study leave for exams was cancelled. Comical really. How was he going to enforce that when he’d spectacularly failed to enforce my attendance the rest of that year?

Breaking up time came and I went on study leave, along with everyone else. Well I say study leave. I either sat at home, listening to music, playing guitar, computer games or working for mum and earning a lot more than a paper round would have got me. The exams came round and I ensured failure in Biology by not turning up for the exam. It sounds petty but after the past year at school, failure felt good. Mum and dad finally found out the extent of how badly I was doing at school at that point and I explained how I decided to handle things on my terms rather than drag them in again, because being annoyingly stubbornly independent is what I do well.

Results came a couple of months later. C For Spanish, D for Business Studies and the same for General Studies. To this day I have not used any of them for any practical purpose, likewise with most of my GCSE’s. I got into care work at the age of 29 and over the next two years I completed an NVQ 2 and 3 in health and Social Care, among other short courses. Not bad for an errant misfit who spent seven years being psychologically and physically traumatised by her school who was destined to become a park bum.

Funnily enough, a year after left school for good, they contacted dad as they were snooping around, wanting to know what their former pupils were up to for their records. Dad bluntly told them to go jump and that if I wanted then to know what I was doing, I would contact them. To this day this hasn’t happened and probably never will. Ought to be a riot if I did show up one day, right? I can only hope school has changed for the better since I left really.

Happy New Year

Well 2016 has been and gone now, and taken a load of celebs with it and I’m presuming everyone’s just about recovered from their ‘seeing in the new year’ hangovers. No hangover for me to deal with, partly because I had work the next day, and partly because I no longer have any need to get drunk to blot things out.

No, new year’s eve for us was spent staying indoors and having a mammoth Diablo III gaming session, complete with mine and Rebecca’s oft inappropriate sense of humour and commentary.
“Oh look, that fucking monster’s here and didn’t drop that fucking gem”
“My logic hurts just thinking about that”
“Ahhhh! Shit!!! Nooo!! I’ve just aggro’d every mob in the Desolate Sands trying to run away from this monster”
“I’m going to die!!”

And so on. Of course, me playing Hardcore, meaning if I died my character’s gone forever only added to the madness, but it was funny, so funny I had a minor asthma attack because of laughing so much. That’s not the first time that’s happened lately and won’t be the last.

It’s far more fun than going to some overcrowded, overpriced pub/club and then promptly leaving because of having a sensory meltdown. It’s also something I wouldn’t have expected to have been doing at the start of the year. 2016 has been a huge year for me, a year where a lot of big things have changed and I am in a far better place for it.

I got my hormones sorted out out and been on them for coming up to a year now and on that front at least things have been pretty stable. Getting them was a challenge but there’s been no incidents, no changes and my body has responded well as a result. It’s been great taking pics throughout the year and occasionally looking back to remind me of the progress and reassure myself at times. That aside, transition has been pretty quiet for me, aside from putting a lot of thought into what surgical option I want to pursue when the time comes, but I’ve already gone into some depth about that elsewhere.

Mentally I’ve noticed a change in myself. I feel like I’m a lot more self aware or mindful in myself. I’m far more aware of things that can unsettle me, make me anxious and so on so I can do something about what’s causing the issue before I slip into a hole and struggle to get out again. There’s probably a better way of describing that, but I can’t think of how. I’m also aware I don’t need to tough things out all the time, or ‘just deal with it’ all the time now. I can pick my battles now instead of fighting all the time, so to speak. If I’m not feeling right and it’s not important that I don’t do something, I don’t have to do it. It can wait.

It’s because of all this I’ve just left a job I’ve only been in for seven months. I was aware that it was hurting me mentally and I was aware I could do something about this before it got too bad, so I have, and all being well I shall start my new job quite soon.

Of course, all of this has come about from the biggest change of the year and of my life. I ended my relationship with my ex husband in the early part of the year as it had become clear that things were going nowhere and it had been hurting me in a lot of ways for several years. Thanks to a few friends as well as a counsellor I had initially gone to see for grief counselling I had my eyes opened for the first time in a long time and saw what had really been going on. I also met Rebecca face to face at around this time after spending many months chatting away on Twitter and then over the phone.

Well you know the story by now. I ended things with my ex and spent some time at hers to figure out what my next move would be … and fell madly in love with one another. With my ex now seeing other people and bringing them home I got out of there ASAP as this was really messing with my mind. I ended up moving three counties and a hundred miles away to live with Rebecca and haven’t looked back since.

I am in such a better place mentally, she is ever so loving and supportive and understanding,  and has done so much to encourage me to open up and talk when I’m struggling instead of hiding away as well as encouraging me to pursue my own interests and try new things. I like to think I’ve done a fair bit in helping her through her own issues and we’ve done so much to help one another transition wise as well as supporting one another with various trauma’s suffered from past relationships.

It’s been great getting out, doing girly things together and going out to all sorts of places instead of being dragged along to re-enactment events and wrecking myself. We’ve been to Brighton for Trans pride together, met a lot of great people we both chat to and in October we went on holiday together. Rebecca showed me the sights of Hunstanton and the surrounding area and we had a lovely quiet time together. It was also my first proper holiday in a decade. Well I could go on for the next week about all Rebecca has done for me and I for her, but I think all the pics we’ve put up throughout the year tells the story.

The smiles says it all really and my family have noticed too. Mum’s said to Rebecca that I’m the happiest she’s ever seen me and all of my family have really taken to her, which is always a plus. Well when mum tells you Rebecca is your soul mate what can you say? Anyway, as they say, mother knows best. 🙂

Going forward into this year, I’ve not really got any resolutions as such. I hope my new job works out well and I feel a lot more stable than I did with my old job and I also hope we both continue to progress smoothly with our transitions. As it is Rebecca and I are looking ahead to the future and we’ve both agreed that once we’ve both sorted ourselves out transition wise, had our surgery and so forth, we’re going to tie the knot. She proposed a little while ago and I instantly said yes. Well how could I not? She’s amazing and she’s my angel and I have never been so sure about anything in my life as I have with being with her and spending the rest of our days together.

And on that note, happy new year everyone.

A Grand Old Mess.

Well today is going quite grand as I now have a crying and upset Rebecca to try and settle.

Why is this?

Her GP. The thing is they’ve been wanting to see her about some issue or other, which we think is in relation to a letter both she and they have received from Charing X GIC regarding her self medicating on hormones.

The GP phoned yesterday and wanted to do a telephone consultation with her next week. Knowing this wouldn’t work I made arrangements to see the GP today so I could be there with Rebecca and give her some moral support while we sort out this mystery issue (as we’ve received no actual confirmation from the GP what this is all about). Doctors stress Rebecca out at the best of times given she’s had a slew of rough experiences in the past with them over a number of issues, so she’s been pretty on edge since yesterday.

(Rebecca: I’ve had so many care failures and obstacles before that I am disheartened and now even afraid to go to the GP. It took so much and the help of my Chrissy to just simply go and say “Hello I have a problem”. I am so distraught with it all.)

Just as we were about to head off out the door we get a call from the surgery. They’ve cancelled the appointment as the GP isn’t sure if he can sort out this issue in a 10 minute slot. I explain to them how stressed out Rebecca is over all this and why I need to be there with her. They insist they can’t sort things out today and insist on an evening appointment a little over a week away as this will be the first chance me and Rebecca will both be off work together. With all this going on I now have Rebecca in one arm sobbing her heart out and the phone in the other.

This illustrates a larger problem though, namely the detrimental effect on the mental health of so many transgender people who have to wait a ridiculous amount of time to get any support with transitioning due to the increasingly ass backwards setup we have in this country.

Most trans people have spent years dealing with their inner demons and finally deciding to speak up and ask for medical help with transitioning. To be told it’ll be at least a year for any initial consultation, several months to a year for a second opinion before they’ll think of dispensing hormones puts an incalculable amount of stress upon individuals. Add in the fact the total crap-shoot that is the process of obtaining a bridging prescription, dependant on weather your GP feels competent enough to monitor your levels or not and it’s no wonder so many trans people take matters into their own hands, as my partner has.

(Rebecca: It is not fun for your partner, who can’t stand needles anyway, to watch you on a Sunday night sticking a needle in your backside as you perform your own intramuscular injections or taking medication that’s actually for people who have heart disease in quantities that should kill you. And this isn’t just about getting a girly look. This is to improve my mental health and stability so I can function as a normal person. Or as normal as it gets when you’re transgender in a society that shuns and ridicules you for trying to live.)

If that’s not enough, when you finally see a GP, they pass on the info surrounding your self medication record to the GIC. They then send out a shitty and condescending letter on how dangerous it is taking matters into your own hands, as Rebecca has had recently instead of offering any meaningful advice or solutions. This is not on.

We KNOW the risks. We also know what hormone levels are ideal for the results we want to achieve with this and know it’s a simple case of frequent blood monitoring and either upping or lowering dosages until they sit right, and then routine monitoring to ensure they stay that way. It’s not hard. Most of us trans people feel capable of doing this, so why not your average GP, who has to do the EXACT SAME procedure with most other long term medication? Do you really think we WANT to go it alone on this? Do you think we do this for a laugh? No!

(Rebecca: All I need is my blood tests so I can manage my medication. Ideally I would be on “official” HRT as well and doing the same thing anyway. How will I know that I have to much potassium or to much oestrogen, if I can’t have bi weekly or monthly blood tests so I can regulate what amounts to quite deadly substances entering my body? I have already had an incident where my oestrogen was 4600 and I had to stop for 7 weeks to let it all drain out and start again. And even now I am cautious and deliberately missed this weeks dose because I don’t know what’s in my system and the doctor wouldn’t give me a batch of blood tests to find out. We need to be able to have small gender clinics in every town so we can just go and at least start and have the facilities to just have tests ordered or done. A blood test will not kill anyone.)
If we had a modern system where we can gain access to care in a reasonable time we wouldn’t be having such issues on  routine basis and my girl wouldn’t be in the sobbing mess she is right now. Needless to say I am very angry with the whole thing right now. All we want is to be able to feel comfortable in our own bodies. That’s all it is. It’s not a mystery. We’re fully informed and aware of the consequences of pursuing this course of treatment and we go into this with our eyes wide open and until the powers that be get their heads out of their asses and stop all this gate-keeping nonsense, what played out today and even worse scenarios are going to keep on happening.

Anxiety and dysphoria – Just an average day.

So I’m going to write down what a typical day is for me and probably a lot of other trans women. I don’t dare assume it’s the same for all of us as we all feel things differently, but anyway, for anyone who wants a deeper glimpse into my head, here goes. This may go some way to show people why I act as I do when I’m having a rough day, how I cope with things and how present circumstances have a bearing on everyday life. As usual I’m not leaving details out so expect talk about my body and various functions.

I usually start off waking up and disappointed that a certain thing hasn’t dropped off in the night and a foof has magically appeared. This is doubly disappointing as I usually get woken in the night because the thing is still somewhat active as I’m presently going through the process of getting onto testosterone blockers which will more or less kill any remaining functionality it has. Basically I don’t use it for intimacy and because it doesn’t get used it’s shrunk a great deal and any time it does move and grow it’s horribly sensitive and instantly wakes me up. Even though I’m wearing knickers and a panty liner for comfort and to keep it tucked and out of the way I still feel it and it bothers the hell out of me. Basically I wake up set to a default state of moderate dysphoria. Getting up and getting ready for work only notches the background dysphoria up further as shaving is still a thing. I’ve lost some 60% of my facial hair now, there’s a hell of a lot less to shave and I’m typically done in 30 seconds instead of taking 10 minutes and looking like I’d fit in as a victim from a slasher fic or having tried DIY follicle removal but it still feels wrong in my mind.

Getting dressed is next, great because I can see how the hormones are taking effect and how my body in general is being reshaped into something I’m finally comfortable with. This time is also bad because that means changing knickers and liner and seeing and touching the thing and resisting the urge to take something sharp to it. Reminding myself I need to reluctantly look after it until I can have surgery I pack the thing away so it doesn’t move and cause distress during the day and try and forget about it at least until I need the loo, which is usually ten seconds after sorting myself out because I’m amazingly organised like that. Hair gets done and make-up goes on, which I keep simple but pay a lot of attention on covering up the give-away shadow caused by my facial hair (snow white skin and jet black body hair, awesome combination for laser removal, terrible for concealing) and I’m more or less set for work.

I inevitably spend some time on Twitter and Facebook while doing breakfast and wishing I had a magic wand to sort out the troubles various friends and family are having with their own lives, being the empathic person I am and wishing there was more I could do from the end of an internet cable half a country away than offer reassurance and advice where I can. Plodding along on the new exercise bike before work most days is also a thing, because keeping the BMI somewhere sensible is required for the future as well as the fact I need to do something about my general fitness which has gone to hell since I quit cycling four years ago.

In short, most mornings I’m dysphoric, anxious about my friends and family, anxious about myself and how I appear before going out and anxious about work as there’s stress from transition related issues and because we’re due an inspection any time now and people are panicking about stuff.

Some days I cope better than others and some days my anxiety is heightened for a combination of reasons, be it knowing work will be particularly trying, my dysphoria’s being particularly bad, if I’ve had dreams which have upset me in one way or another or I’m having a particular bad day emotionally, either because of mood swings or because of grief surrounding losing dad and Richard’s granddad. Richard’s health is another concern of mine, especially when his chest is playing up like it seems to be doing so often these days. If I’ve got an appointment coming up is yet another thing that can set my anxiety off.

When my anxiety is high my tolerance for various social situations drops even lower than usual. On these kind of days getting out of bed and doing anything is a struggle, never mind going out, doing stuff and being a halfway functioning adult.

Case in point this morning, I got so worked up over a number of things I got stuck mentally and my sister ended up organising my mess of a mind for me so I could figure out what really needed doing and what could get lumped onto another day. A few days before I got so anxious about something I had a panic attack and Richard had to physically drag me out of the house to go do something else I had planned to try and snap me out of the stuck phase. I sometimes wonder if I have a touch of autism about me but I only get this way when there’s a lot going on so I don’t know.

Getting back to the point, because of my anxiety I ended up ditching several things I’d ordinary like doing, including going to a trans support group I enjoy going to, but I was trying to juggle that in with chasing up an appointment, supporting mum with an issue to do with dad, do a couple of important things for myself and trying to support a couple of friends with some big things going on. I also wanted to spend some time with Richard and as he said he wasn’t going to meet me at the group tonight that would have meant me working all day, going to the group and not seeing him at all. It was too much and I became an anxious tearful mess again, hence needing some help to trim things down into something manageable.

Now I do have some coping mechanisms for when my anxiety gets a bit much. My favourite is music and I often have the earplugs in when I’m going out as I find I can cope better when I’m away in my little isolated bubble. This is in part down to a decade of bullying at schools when I grew up and shrinking away into my bubble was the only way I barely able to cope with everything that was thrown my way, and then various experiences as an adult which required similar reactions. I’d retreat into myself and not come out as that was preferable to getting hassle for various things. Another thing I do is find something to keep my hands occupied. If you see me steadily shredding a tissue in my hands absently then that’s a good sign I’m struggling, flexing and bending my fingers is another giveaway and both are preferable to the self destructive and stupid ways I used to cope.

Anyway I get to work after the usual fun and exciting bike ride in where I may or may not have to rely on Jedi level reflexes to avoid being run off the road by idiotic drivers (I swear some days the bike has a cloaking device). I sort my hair out and touch the make-up up and get on with things. Transition at work has been pretty good all things considered, but there is one resident who’s struggled and as a result rotas have been changed so other staff are doing the shifts I can’t do now and I feel bad about this because it puts a strain on them and I have heard comments about this. Not about me and not aimed at me but remarks about how they’ve had stressful days with the resident and not getting too much of a break from him because of this. Needless to say I’m feeling amazing around about now.

Work goes on, I get stressed to various degrees, depending on what we’re doing and who I’m working with and I spend most of the day wearing a mask and trying to hide the chaos that’s going on upstairs. It’s something I’ve had a lot of practice doing over the years. Some days I may take to twitter and chat away with friends, either for support or just to have a laugh and joke about the maddest of things and then we’re all wondering how X led to Y and so on. It breaks the day up and makes a hell of a difference to me especially on a bad day or if someone’s said something that may seem innocuous but because of how I’m feeling it rips through me like a hot knife through butter and triggers a dysphoria attack which usually results in me finding somewhere quiet and shedding a few tears before trying to regain my composure. Because of the hormones I’m generally going through a second puberty and as such my moods and emotions fluctuate wildly and has made me very sensitive to anything that can set me off like this.

Somehow or another I get through another day at work (often reminding myself this is paying for useful stuff like hair removal and appointments and generally helping do something about the things I listed earlier that make me feel dysphoric) and I get back home to Richard. I’ve usually been messaging him during the day, especially if things have been tough and we have a good hug when I get in before I disappear behind the laptop and unwind, usually to a combination of music, video, writing and twittering away for a bit.

Showering and getting ready for bed gives the general dysphoria a good kick. Showering means seeing and touching the thing as keeping clean avoids nasties like UTI’s and taking the make-up off reveals the facial hair I’d almost forgotten about until that point. Bedtime causes anxiety of it’s own if Richard feels frisky. Intimacy is a tricky subject right now, as this just magnifies the general battle that goes through my head all day everyday. I enjoy it, but then the thing pops up, my mind goes ballistic and then the mood is killed and tears ensue. I hate keeping him at arms length but right now it’s the only way I can deal with this right now. I hate going to bed fully clothed so I can avoid being reminded about the thing as we love being skin to skin and just cuddling up, again it’s the only way I can cope right now and the knickers at least mean when the thing tries getting up at night it has nowhere to go and can’t get up.

In short a large chunk of an average day is spent dealing with the open warfare that goes on between mind and body because of my ongoing dysphoria and why I need to get things sorted out as soon as the GIC will let me.