Friday, 31 October 2008

How do you react to a possible online crisis?

How do you react if you think an online friend is possibly having a crisis? What is the right thing to do?

I made the wrong judgement & lost a very inspirational friend today.

Sometimes I am perhaps guilty of caring too much. I cannot switch off. I have many faults but I care about people. I like to think I am compassionate & empathise with people. My empathy is not always right but I mean well. My natural anxiety can get the better of me. I am vulnerable & still healing. Some days I feel like a human sponge. Sometimes like a monster full of self pity & need. I have enough problems dealing with every day life & perhaps this is a harsh lesson to not care so much about my online friends but I cannot change how I care about people online or not.

I have great admiration for people who survive great crisis & come out the other side stronger. They face their fears, their challenges & when Knocked back they get up, to keep fighting. On this journey you meet a lot of inspirational people & also sadly some tragic situations. It really can be that old cliche of a "rollercoaster of emotion" very easily. I guess Life can be like that for everyone, from all kinds of backgrounds living all kinds of lives.

I have been strongly advised by my counsellor to not attempt to find a career in the caring professions until I am able to cope with my own challenges. If I take on too much too soon it will not do anyone any good. I find myself out of genuine concern becoming anxious about other peoples lives, feelings, situations. This applies to every day life & my on line friends. Things I cannot possibly be responsible for, yet I beat myself up trying.

I learned a very sad lesson today. I caused a great deal of professional embarrassment to an inspirational friend based on concerns for them which were without foundation. My naturally high anxiety during what has been my first very wobbly week health wise in an emotional time for me, resulted in me making a very serious error of judgement.

Sometimes I am guilty of projecting my own insecurities on others. I was afraid my cyber friend was struggling & having noticed they had stopped posting for an extended period & not replied to emails & a couple of phone calls over a period of time I panicked & totally misjudged the situation. It is sometimes difficult to judge from our online lives what the bigger picture is in our real lives. Suicides have touched my life & are sadly often a feature of people with my condition. They had writen nothing to suggest they were in turmoil but sometimes silence can be a sign somethings wrong.

Through anxiety blurred vision because my anxiety got the better of me I managed to track down a possible place of contact just to make sure they were ok & not had a crisis. I tried to emphasise I may have been worrying needlessly when I made contact with the organisation they worked for. I did what I thought was the right thing but got it totally wrong & caused my friend great distress. Out of genuine concern I was afraid for my friend. Rather than do nothing I took a risk stupidly thinking the worst I could do was to do nothing.

When I finally received an email from them this morning I was so relieved that they were just very very busy getting on with there new & successful life. How I wish I could turn back time. How I wish my ex friend could have just sent a quick message to say they were ok which would only have taken a second to do. I was very upset & deeply regret that I had caused them great professional embarrassment & that they no longer wanted me to contact them or be their friend. They have now removed their blog which provided great help to others. I am so pleased they are alive. So sad I have lost them as an inspirational friend.

They probably will not read this but if they do I sincerely apologise for any hurt or distress I caused you. I wish you good health & happiness always. Good luck with your new life.

Perhaps I should never ever work in the caring professions for my own health & for those I would like to have cared for?

My concerns were genuine but without foundation but what if they were right & my friend had been in crisis or dead & I had done nothing?

I have learned a very hard lesson, harmed a friends reputation/career & ruined a friendship.

Peace be with you

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

True Love

On September 30th 2008 my dear Mum & Dad will have been married 60 years. They met during the war at Hursley house where my Dad was an electrical apprentice & my Mum worked in one of the offices. I gave them this painting to celebrate their Golden Wedding Anniversary 10 years ago. It is based on an old sepia photograph my Dad still carries in his wallet of his true love. They were both in their early twenties when the photograph was taken. I added the background of Hursley house from a postcard. The building still exists today & from time to time I take them there to remenis & revive sweet memories.
None of us knew what the next ten years would hold for us. We are so lucky to still have each other. For my dear Parents who come from a different generation to have to go through & try to understand my condition is just too much to ask them to fully comprehend. Together we have survived a Tsunami of emotions made all the more stressful by their advanced years. How I tried to live to their wishes that I never transitioned while they were alive. Even last year they were pleading just one more year, let us reach our Diamond Anniversary. If I could I would have done. Blinded by love we all naively tried to do what we thought was the right thing for each other. Nature was always going to take its course & we were powerless to stop it.
I have never had a relationship, never mind the opportunity to marry some one. I have never dared let anyone get so close to me for fear of them discovering my truth, the real me. I was terrified of losing my loved ones from a very early age & the thought of losing someone I cared so deeply about, for living a lie was for me too much to bare. I could never have consummated a marriage not that I would ever have had the opportunity. You have to like/love yourself before there is much chance of anyone else truly loving you, I would imagine. I have been a coward as far as love goes. With my confused thoughts it was all too painful & just not an option in my case. My heart goes out to my sisters who have fallen in love & gone through my biggest nightmare & lost the family they dearly love, through no fault of their own.
Tonight I spent much of the evening comforting my Mum as she could not stop crying over her fears of losing my Dad. We are still awaiting the results of the scan. He appeared frail & weak while they were out shopping together for items for the party they are hoping to have with their friends to celebrate the anniversary this weekend. We have to treasure every moment we have left together & just pray he will get well.
In this day & age to achieve their Diamond Anniversary is a wonderful achievement.
The greatest Happiness in Life is to know that you are loved.
Peace be with you

Lots of love

Monday, 27 October 2008

Spit Fire Day

I feel like a crumpled wreck this morning. I deserve it I guess.
Why do the people we love think it is ok to say the most vilest disgusting most hurtful comments about our gender condition?
As a devoted carer I am powerless to deal with it when it happens. I cannot walk away. I try to turn the other cheek but it hurts like Hell.
I am no angel but why over the slightest difference of opinion over absolutely nothing does the cruel trick nature played on us have to be thrown in our faces?
My Mum & Dad met during the war when spitfires dominated the sky. Why now in peace time am I seen as the enemy, an easy target & shot down in pieces?
We have travelled so far. They have both come to accept me & tried so hard to understand. Then out of the blue my Mum cruelly lashes out. So cruel, so manipulative & unnecessary. I must be evil to deserve this. We are all hurting & worried about Dads scan. This is such a special week for them with their Diamond Anniversary coming up. I so want them to be happy. I love them with all my heart. I am so lucky to still have them. Do I care too much? Do I smother them with love?

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Silent Scream

I am feeling really vulnerable just now. I am sure I am not alone. I guess we all are with this world wide credit crunch & recession looming.

My life seems out of control once more. Different voices are pulling me in all directions. For so long this wonderful year since I transitioned it has been my upper voice, my heart & soul that has been guiding me. The chatterbox of self doubt has been diminishing. Just now its screaming!

Please forgive me this is going to be one of my rambling therapeutic posts where I just unload my crazy feelings.

We still have no news yet as to the outcome of my Dads scan. That is causing my Mum & I the most worry & of paramount concern.

This post is about my insecurities & inner most fears.

Perhaps a warning as to How easy it is to dwell on our failings & not our successes!

I have been very tearful today after a sleepless night. The conflict of emotions of being a carer & all the T stuff are colliding again. My heads spinning. I feel my life & my transition, is no longer in my control. Financially bills are mounting up. Doors to me continuing to fund my own transition, in particular surgery are closing fast. My chatterbox is telling me I am not quite ready to attempt a return to paid employment. I must not let my demons win.
Dam it, I will not let them win!

I started the day well yesterday. I had a lovely walk with Dad & the dog. I then got myself ready for my day trip to London for a counselling session & voice therapy. On the way I had to go to our local mental health unit to see my consultant psychiatrist's secretary, to try to establish what has & has not happened with all the paperwork for my referral for GRS. Nightmarishly I had appeared to be lost in the system & ending back right at the start where I had been twelve years ago. She thankfully proved to be a true office angel & retraced all of the paper trail to establish as best as she could that everything was in place. My depression is in remission, my anxiety clearly is not & I was close to a full blown panic attack. It was all I could do to hold back the tears. Traveling to London looking like a bedraggled Panda is not a good look. I was so relieved but my anxiety was going into overdrive at the time & I was very emotional.

My day picked up from then, it was during the night that my demons started chattering. The rest of the day I felt great. Totally me. I had a lovely journey, totally relaxed. I felt good. By my humble standards I looked good. I was conscious thanks to my chatterbox that my voice still let me down a little but I was not going to let it spoil my day. London as a commuter can be a fairly unfriendly place. There seems little opportunity for human interaction & everyone seems to keep there own space & understandably have their own lives to think about. Its always fun to people watch & enjoy the simple pleasures in life. Just to be able to go about my day & be accepted & respected as the woman I have always been is now both totally ordinary & unbelievable joy. To not be jarred constantly & reminded of natures cruel trick, by the understandable inability of humans to have telepathy or appreciate there was a woman trapped inside my shell of a male body, is simply beyond comprehension.

I was due to see my counselor mid afternoon in Fulham & then go on to voice therapy at Charring Cross hospital with the lovely Christella Antoni. I had not been to see her at that Hospital since last November. OMG how much my life has changed since then. Absolutely wonderful changes. Unbelievable changes from the shy scared timid totally zero confidence person who had visited back then. I had so many unresolved issues with my dear parent’s conflict with my need to transition then. We have all changed so much & come so far.

This was also the first ordinary counseling session for many months as I have been either having surgery or attending consultations for half the year. A lot of the T stuff now is a case of going through the processes & various treatments required. My condition is being resolved it’s a case of dealing with the life changing stuff, the social & work related aspects.

Changing genders does not make any other problems go away. I never expected it to. Where my gender dysphoria issues are largely improving my enmeshment issues with my parents are not. I love & care for them so much. We are devoted to each other. We have a wonderful close relationship which we are very lucky to have but.................. in some people cases like mine it can become too close. We have never separated. We are too dependent on each other to the point it can become unhealthy. I am aware of this but have not been able or in truth wanted to find the will to break that situation. The nightmare we have been going through has actually pushed us closer. Trying to break that cycle now & attempt to find a balance is incredibly difficult. Emotionally we are so entwined. I want to go back to work. I need to go back to work financially & for my own well being. At the same time I cannot go back full time now. As an only child & carer to my elderly parents I have responsibilities to them. It’s about time the poor loves enjoyed their retirement instead of looking after me. We tried once more to delve into resolving some of these issues which is quite a painful experience as counseling so often can be. It can also leave wounds open & perhaps yesterday in hindsight that happened to me.

We discussed employment issues in some depth. I have not had a job interview for over thirty years. How best to approach job interviews should I be lucky enough to get that far. I may unwittingly appear too nervous & withdrawn if I freeze or equally as you can see with my blog offer too much information. How best I could attempt to explain my career break, which was due to unique circumstances combing, causing me stress & depression which has now successfully been resolved. How to explain my reasons for applying for what may be considered a more menial position, due to my responsibilities as a carer & the current economic climate. How to deal with questions on job application forms, what you legally need & need not disclose e.g. for medical reasons or CRB checks. There is a lot of useful information on the press for change website. They give details of an official contact at the CRB office who has experience of people like me & the complications of legal name changes etc.

After we finished, she kindly drove me to the hospital fifteen minutes away. On the way we passed by the supermarket above which we believe the Charing Cross Gender unit is situated. With the uncertainty of my future this landmark bought a lump to my throat. I so scared of ending up there. Previous regimes from yester year appear to have been very cruel & obstructive to some of their patients. Times have changed & they appear to have good people there now, doing very good work but it still frightens me. A primal fear perhaps going back to childhood memories of hospital appointments, for ever associated with pain & anguish with my deformed lower regions.

I have now had 5 sessions with Christella & she knows enough about me now to asses my vocal situation. My voice has become slightly more feminine but because of my anxiety issues I freeze sometimes, too often in truth. I literally cannot speak. I am so conscious I have the same voice box as my Dad & have been constantly reminded of our similar sounding voices. I can sustain my new voice for only a short time & then "Bob" seems to buts in to my conversation, if that makes any sense. I need much more practice & I am prepared to go through the mental pain of pushing myself to use it. I get on with my life now regardless but it is a psychological problem which causes a physical reaction. It can undermine my self esteem quite badly when interacting with people. I have always been quiet & very shy about speaking, particularly with groups of people. Sorry I digress.

After a few minutes of the session she dropped a bit of a bombshell on me. She advised me I was an ideal patient for vocal surgery. Pitch elevation surgery (Crico Thyroid approximation). She recommends I ask my Gp to refer me to Mr Guri Sandhu ENT consultant ENT Department at Charring Cross. She assured me the operation was low risk but there is always a risk I may end up with a worse voice or no voice at all. 75% of patients find a significant improvement. As I have hardly any Adam's apple & not a very deep voice she believes it would be very good for me. She was trying to help & I totally trust her. At the same time this verdict enhanced my deep routed insecurities about my voice. It costs approx two thousand pounds. I had already asked my GP about funding for voice therapy & been told they no longer funded it. She explained this is not a cosmetic issue it is debilitating for me & comes from a surgical need so I may qualify. All of a sudden my return to health & the pace of my recovery which has been critical to me is suddenly out of reach & beyond my control.

I have waited what feels like a thousand years to transition. I have actually had over twelve years of counseling & hormone therapy, under the guidance of gender specialists, a dozen laser treatments, voice therapy all self funded by myself. I have nearly killed myself twice. Lost my career, my mind. Gradually recovered from a very dark place thanks to wonderful family, friends & medical staff guiding & supporting me. I have tried always to do the right thing. My dear parents have enough to think about with my dear Dads big health worries & them knowing I need more surgery will only add to their worries. My finances are dwindling rapidly. The countries in recession. It’s not a good time to be out of work or selling my home to pay for surgery. I hardly slept a wink last night. It feels like the walls are closing in on me.

I have to stay strong for my parents. My Dads well being is of prime consideration. I am also awhere that any wobble health wise on my part will distress them & may also give them false hope to attempt to try to convince me to stop my transition. My guilt is weighing heavily, my GD is twitching violently, my financial worries like everyone elses are growing. I have many insecurities about my body the same as half the population or more. I am doing all I can to hold myself mentally together but I feel very vulnerable & susceptible to stress because of my recent life history. I have to keep going for my loved ones, to impress the doctors who approve my referrals but above all because I know this is so right for me. I have to stay silent.

My crazy brain works in flashbacks. Certain places, situations, trigger emotions & memories yet what I was doing ten minutes ago can go right out of my head. So much of yesterday's visit to London opened up poignant memories largely positive but also some icebergs I would have preferred to have navigated more successfully or better still never encountered.

All my life I have never been able to speak up for myself. How I wish I had a voice. An adult woman's voice to go with my female brain would be nice, please God if you are listening to my wittering. How I wish I had the courage to stand up with some of our brave sisters. Where am I at the demonstrations against transphobic people & attitudes? Silent like so many others like me.

All I have to offer is a SILENT SCREAM.

Aghhhhhhhhhhhhhhh my life is back on that dammed out of control roller coaster again. It is all too easy for some one like me to spend far too long self analysing every small detail instead of just living. I thankfully walked away from my computer dump of woe. Ten hours later I feel therapeutically cleansed after writing this post. Thank heavens for the save button because if you think this was mad if I had posted this rambling dribble first thing this morning you would know for sure I am one crazy woman!

Sweet dreams & peaceful thoughts
Lots of love

Thursday, 16 October 2008


I am all mixed up today. We are all getting really nervous about my Dads MRI scan at 6 o'clock today. He does not want to go to hospital. The poor love is frightened about what they may find. We all are.


He is our Lion Heart, the leader of our family.


I took him to hospital to get a hearing aid fitted a month or so ago & he went back for what we hoped would be a routine check up only for the consultant to inform my Dad his hearing was considerably worse & needed an MRI scan to establish if there was anything that needed to be looked at. He tried to assure my Dad it was just a precaution but............. My Dad has a large number of moles on his back & has been exposed to asbestos quite a lot during his working life.


I have been privileged to have some truly courageous friends who cope with the most traumatic situations so well. They have the most incredible, selfless spirit & positive attitude to life. They are inspirational & make me feel so very humble.

I want to be there for my Dad. To stay strong for him but I feel close to tears just thinking about it. How must the poor love be feeling today? I shudder to think how we will be when we actually get there. I love him so much. All I want is for him to be well.
My biggest fear is that something should happen to my elderly parents while I transition. My poor Dad ended up in hospital a year or so ago where he was in so much turmoil over my need to transition. Some how he survived. I feel so guilty. I have dragged him through hell to selfishly get where I am today. I have just had the most wonderful uplifting period of my entire life this year. I had actually managed to start to change my negative thinking from always being a glass half empty to a glass half full. Now that glass feels broken & I am so scared.
As a family we have been through many great challenges in recent years & we may be about to face the biggest of all.

A very tearful Debbie

Saturday, 11 October 2008


One of my lovely artist friends emailed this to me. It captures perfectly how I feel about the special friends I have made here.

Dear Lord,
Every single evening
As I'm lying here in bed,
This tiny little Prayer
Keeps running through my head:
God bless all my family
Wherever they may be,
Keep them warm and safe from harm
For they're so close to me.
And God, there is one more thing
I wish that you could do;
Hope you don't mind me asking,
Please bless my computer, too.
Now I know that it's unusual
To Bless a motherboard,
But listen just a second
While I explain it to you, Lord.
You see, that little metal box
Holds more than odds and ends;
Inside those small compartments
Rest so many of my friends.
I know so much about them
By the kindness that they give,
And this little scrap of metal
Takes me in to where they live.
By faith is how I know them
Much the same as you.
We share in what life brings us
And from that our friendships grew.
Please take an extra minute
From your duties up above,
To bless those in my address book
That's filled with so much love.
Wherever else this prayer may reach
To each and every friend,
Bless each e-mail inbox
And each person who hits 'send'.
When you update your Heavenly list
On your own Great CD-ROM,
Bless everyone who says this prayer
Sent up to


You have all touched my heart.

Lots of love