…and I smiled happily for the first time in weeks. I also cried tears of joy.
I had my two clinical assessment appointments with a psychologist last Monday to hopefully (frighteningly) get transition rolling.
I wouldn’t allow myself to get really hopeful but I secretly hoped for good things. After all, I had made an uncomfortable truce with the fact that:
A) I’m not crazy.
B) This isn’t going away.
I had reached out to the only assessing psychologist in town in advance. I introduced myself and said I’ll be referred to her office in Nov. I wanted to weasel my way into the cue if I could and avoid months of waiting.
I wasn’t doing very well mental health-wise and this felt like an emergency.
Between my referral appointment and the assessment. I became very depressed and felt very hopeless. I really didn’t seem to care if I lived or died. So I cancelled all my counseling…just too exhausted and I didn’t care anymore.
When I finally got into the psychologist things seemed okay but she mentioned that her fax machine was maybe broken and she hadn’t received my referral. She said we could talk if I was interested in carrying on with her. The assessment could happen whenever.
She had mentioned to me in advance that she didn’t have capacity for new counseling clients. I took her comment to mean that she’d make some time for me anyway. I was game. I really wasn’t sure that ditching counseling was the best for me and I found out the head of the local genderqueer advocacy group had called in personally to the psychologist to advocate for me.
So two sessions went by. I talked about my fear of my life falling apart, my suicidal thoughts, my inability to even remotely function in life…loss of friends and family. She didn’t ask much and certainly didn’t probe.
At the end of the session, quite coldly, she said, “Well I won’t be able to complete your assessment (it hadn’t even begun) as I know I can’t recommend you for surgery right now. You need to get your life in order. You can always reach out in a few months.”
At this point I’m a little shocked. I had just finished describing my fears and how gender dysphoria was destroying my life. My workplace is closing down and technically I have received my termination letter…this is normally a big deal (especially for a single parent) but not even worth a mention next to the havoc wreaked by gender dysphoria. “You need to get your life in order.” Without gender dysphoria I know I can get by.
My life has been hard. Definitely not as hard as others but I was never equipped to cope in the first place. I’m not close to family, have few friends and now just, “You need to get your life in order”. No offer of any help to do so.
She saw how dejected I was. “Well we can always start the assessment but we won’t be able to finish it.” She said she could fit me in next Tuesday. I said yes…I’m really not sure why. Maybe desperation. Maybe she would change her mind if she actually talked to me more. She also said I could dress however I wanted, which wasn’t going to be practical but sounded nice.
I broke down as soon as I left her office and cried for almost two days straight. I can pull this off because I had to terminate my entire staff. I work nearly alone in a dark building now.
I’m 48…I can’t wait to be put on a waiting list. This is life or death to me. My life is crumbling and I can’t stop it…I was devastated. The bar of “You need to get your life in order” was unreasonably high (and somewhat nebulous in its lack of criteria) and she never told me what that meant. It didn’t even matter…I had no idea how to do it.
I had my follow up with my nurse practitioner two days later (yesterday). I was still in tears but managed to compose myself for a few minutes.
“So how’d it go?”
Me: “Not good. I wish I hadn’t gone.” I proceeded to explain why.
She is such an understanding person and made me feel better by saying that this wasn’t even a hiccup and she had the go ahead from the psychologist to start HRT.
I wasn’t sure HRT made sense. I can’t go full on for physical change just yet but my face and upper body are what need correcting. HRT with no surgery sounded like an unacceptable half measure. I look like a guy for f*cks sake. HRT alone will not get this done.
She has such a wonderful way about her and she is obviously an ally.
“We are in this together. I’ll do my part but you HAVE to do yours.”
She lovingly detailed a plan to get me an out-of-town assessor and how I can start Spironolactone right away to get my testosterone lower. Micro-dose of estrogen to keep things in my control for January. Then we move ahead…
…my part is that I need to take better care of myself, attend counseling, keep writing my thoughts down and exercise. I need to be physically and mentally healthy for surgery when it comes up. Too be clear, I am not ready for surgery today. I know this. I am also working on trying to get a government job so I can maybe have a bit of protection….trying to stage a “future” for myself.
Me: “Okay. I’ll do it. Thank you.”
I marched down to the pharmacy with a 90 day prescription in my hand…and walked out (still teary-eyed) with the bottle that contained the red pill(s). I also had a couple of requisitions for baseline bloodwork I had to get done right away.
I expected to be somewhat happy but I was just a little less upset…a little less hopeless.
I stayed up way too late talking to friends on Twitter. I found a lot of support there the last few days. Some of the most beautiful, kind people a person could ever meet…all sharing your personal hell and each small victory to drag yourself out of the abyss.
I went to sleep around 12:48 AM and then wide awake at 4:38. I just laid there as I ran out the clock and by 6:45 I was on my way to the hospital for blood work.
It was a cold -17 degrees Celsius and I was thankful for the remote start in my SUV. As I got about halfway to the hospital something happened…
I legit smiled. I hadn’t in weeks. Tears of joy in my eyes as I slowed down to miss hitting a fuzzy arctic fox crossing the road.
I couldn’t stop the tears. I walked right into the hospital and barely tried to conceal the waterworks. I felt good.
Five vials of blood lighter and I walked out into the cold to go to work. Stopping for a moment to post an update on Twitter. Where I was, how I felt…the outpouring of support was amazing to me.
Apparently life-altering pills need to be taken with food. So I inhaled half a bag of beef jerky (Jack Links Sweet and Hot…hardly gourmet but it’ll do) and took the red pill(s).
Here I go…
Excited and absolutely terrified…and maybe…
just a little bit…