Yesterday it seems I spent the day doing virtual meetups.
The first was with my therapist. We discussed, among other things, my recent dual bout with gender dysphoria coupled with bi-polar issues. As always, it was triggered by an off the wall instance. When I returned from the dentist to have impressions taken, it seemed I had left a bit of the residue on my face. Liz wanted to show me and held up her cell phone to provide video proof. When I saw myself, I immediately went into shock after I saw my image. All I saw was an old guy with very long hair and my gender dysphoria along with the accompanied despair set in. It took me several days to climb out of the mental funk I was in.
I am fortunate to have such a strong support system with my partner Liz. She helped me climb out of my ditch. She is so good, my therapist and I call her “Dr. Liz.” After a couple days, my depression started to lift and I used the time honored phrase “It is what is is” to accept my state of mind and move on. Whatever I have managed to use to feminize my male body will have to suffice.
While I am on the subject, I was able to obtain my blood lab results from the weekend yesterday. The important results came back good. My iron was low, so I don’t have to go back up to the Dayton, Ohio VA for a blood removal phlebotomy. They take a pint out to keep my iron levels in line. Also my hormone levels remained about the same. Slightly below level for a normal non pregnant cis woman. What that means is, it’s a possibility my endocrinologist will let me add another estradiol patch to our routine. We shall see.
Finally yesterday, I virtually attended the monthly Rainbow Elderly Alliance board meeting. Since I don’t have much coming up in the near future as far as webinars are concerned, I was relatively quiet. It was announced though we would be participating in the upcoming June Dayton, Ohio Pride celebration. It’s going to be a hybrid affair combining drive thru and actual events. Since I live an hour and fifteen minutes away, it’s tough for me to do much. Plus, depending on the planning, I may be going to the Cincinnati Pride this year. It’s the biggest in the area if it happens at all.
All of this amazes me. Before the pandemic I didn’t even know how to attend a virtual meeting at all. Now I have days which doing on line meetings is all I do.
Ironically, yesterday turned out to be a quiet day when it should not have been. It all started out with my therapist’s appointment. Instead of a video visit, the link wasn’t working so we just did it over the phone. So all my work with hair and makeup to get ready went nowhere. Fortunately, later on in the day I had another Zoom meeting to attend which I didn’t have to get ready for.
Between the meetings at the least I could watch the Cincinnati Reds baseball team who were playing a day game. Which they won.
You Cyrsti’s Condo regulars may know I am bi-polar and for some reason yesterday was one of those days I couldn’t summon much energy at all. By the time my Rainbow Alliance Board meeting came along at 6 PM, I felt as if I had no ambition for the meeting at all. Normally, it wouldn’t have been such a big deal but his time there were a couple of workshops coming up I wanted to volunteer to assist with.. One of which is in June and the other is in September, so I still have plenty of time to volunteer for one date or the other.
On the bright side, I received a very positive return comment from “Jenny” whose blog I just featured. Plus I am very fortunate to have a strong support system around me to help me when I am down. Including my meds from the VA.
Out of the clear blue sky, I was contacted the other day by a person in Dayton, Ohio who wanted me to be involved in some way with their LGBTQ elderly health initiative. On the negative side, the trip from Cincinnati is nearly an hour and a half (one way) but on the positive side, I could do it on the days I see my therapist in Dayton which I am done with at 11 in the morning. Which would give me plenty of time to have a meeting over coffee. It will be interesting what if anything comes of it.
Now, back to my therapist. As I was writing a chapter in my book about therapy, I began to think of all the therapists I have had in my life.
Interestingly, it was the first real gender therapist I went to who diagnosed me as being bi-polar. She correctly told me the bi-polar disorder could be controlled with medication but the gender issue I was suffering from couldn’t. Somehow I would have to come to grips with it and do the best I could.
Unlike the two therapists who came before her, she tried at least to do her job. And, explain what she was doing. The others simply tried to medicate me for anxiety. Then again, back in the day, not much was known about the treatment for bi-polar disorder. At least the recommended treatment wasn’t a lobotomy.
When I didn’t have any insurance for awhile and was feeling very bad, a friend of mine who also was a veteran suggested I go to the Veterans Administration for help. It was there, nearly ten years ago I was set up with my current therapist. With the turn over at the VA it’s hard to believe it’s been that long.
Lessons I have learned along the way also are, you only get out of therapy what you put into it. A therapist is not a miracle worker. Also, don’t give up if you go to a therapist you don’t particularly like. One size does not fit all as far as therapists are concerned. Plus, more and more these days you have a better chance of finding gender help from someone who at the least has some sort of understanding about your issues.
You just have to understand you are a complex human being dealing with very complex issues!