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


alan said...

You most certainly are not crazy! All of those fears are based in fact somewhere along the way, and just because some of the facts have changed that doesn't make the reactions go away!

I sit here watching my former employer lay people off, cut benefits, and try not to wonder when they will get around to cutting that pension check I've only drawn 4 of. I have no resources to back it up, and when that day comes will be back in the job market if not sooner.

Yet I know that worrying about tomorrow only keeps me from dealing with the things I need to today. This probably isn't of as much comfort as I would hope, but truly, you can only deal with what's in front of you this moment, and anything else is a distraction.

When it comes time to go to sleep tonight, the day is done and there is nothing that can change it; therefore mulling about it is useless. Tomorrow hasn't yet arrived, and worrying isn't going to change it, but getting a decent nights sleep might make it more bearable.

I was in my 40's before I came to those realizations; though I still have most of the same problems I had then, they don't control me nearly as much as they did then!

Debbie, you are a beautiful being with an even more beautiful soul; there is not an employer in the world who would not be blessed to have you working for them. When the time comes, things will work out somehow!

Thinking of you...


Anonymous said...

Great effort from great motives is the best definition of a happy life.

Doris said...

Hey Debbie - it has been a long time since I've been over. You know, your demons and mine ought to get together - I'm sure thay'd have a great party between them.

You know, reading this as an outsider to your life I read something different. Though I can still feel and well understand your pain. So what I am reading all the way through is that you are not actually on the roller coaster but on the home straight with a few worrying blips along the way. Maybe in a matter of weeks, feelings will ease and ways forward will clear again and it won't feel quite so bad? Or maybe, after writing it all you already are getting there? Writing it out is so therapeutic.

On the job front, I recently did job interviews and haven't had to do one for about 15 years. Scary I know but I have a tip.... why not sign up for a job agency or two as a way of dipping your toes in the water. That way you get to be interviewed by young things who may also piss the hell out of you like they did me, but it won't seem so scary when it comes to actually doing the job interviews you might want to do. Don't forget that you bring so much rich experience to any role that you do.

Good luck with the voice! You can find yours too :-)

Debbie K said...

Thank you dear Alan & Doris & my anonymous guest from mind & body

Dear Alan
You are so wise & sooooooooo kind. The voice of experience. Accept the things we cannot change, the strength & courage to change the things we can & the wisdom to know the difference. My tiny mind was taking on too many issues at once & the lack of sleep completely blurred my thinking. I hope & pray your former employer keep their hands off the pension fund that you worked so hard for. That kind of legalised theft by big business makes me so angry & really does promote a live for the day kind of attitude. What gives them the right. If it were the other way round & we just stole their money when times were hard we would rightly be arrested!

The positive quote from M & B is much appreciated. I am trying my best to live that way.

Awwwwwwwwww Doris my dear friend.
I look forward to that party but only if the demons run away & you show me (the eternal wall flower) how to dance. I feel more calm after a good nights sleep. I hope this was a blip. The therapy of writing certainly helped. I have so much to be grateful for & as you point out I may perhaps be on the home straight.

I hope you were successful with those scary job interviews? Your advice is spot on. I am in the process of arranging my first ever job interview as ME. The employment facilitator who helps me is going to get me an interview at an agency. We are going to practice some typical interview questions beforehand & then the agency will interview me. Probably some young gorgeous creature will put me through the mill & then give me feedback I can learn from. Little steps. It is so lovely to hear from you again. I hope & pray your kind, warm spirit is rewarded by better times real soon.

Lots of love

Debbie K said...

I was having one of those crisis of confidence days/nights, that happen from time to time. The unexpected recommendation that I consider CTA really heightened my insecurities. On a good day my voice is acceptable'ish, but to my ears not decent. Out & about I generally have no problems & when I think how shy & anxious I was, I cannot believe how far I have come. Day to day life, interacting with people face to face I am generally fine, accepted/passable, with relatively short conversations. I just get on with it but............ On the phone unless I start the conversation "Hi my name is Debbie etc" my gender is 90% assumed male. In an interview situation under pressure I feel sure I could not sustain it due to my anxiety in a stressful situation. Being able to fund this myself is dependent on me finding employment & only adds to the conundrum.

I am not frightened at having the surgery. Its more a case of my reasons for having it & is it viable. I have asked myself do I need it, is there a slight element of me being addicted to surgery, is it a quick fix when really I need to push myself harder to practice, practice, practice before I consider pursuing this? After waiting so long to get this far I want to run to the finish, get all the surgeries done & just get on with my life. That is just a fantasy for me & simply not possible in the real world. Having thought this through, I think I would like to have the surgery. I will see my GP a.s.a.p. & get the ball rolling. The surgery needs to be done in conjunction with more therapy & practice. If it comes down to a fight I may just have a voice by then.


Anji said...

I'm relieved to hear that you feel a bit calmer now. Four in the morning is a terrible time to lie in bed mulling things over. Thank goodness for the sunrise!

I'm sure that you will mange to tiptoe your way around the next set of obstacles. Like you I often feel that my future is a long line of problems waiting for me to solve them.

I think i've mentioned before that if there was something seriously wrong with your dad something would have been done straight away.

I'm thinking of you.

Lori D said...

Sometimes i don't need a friend, or a welcome touch. Sometimes I just need to cry my eyes out, and write, write, write! Feelings of helpnessness will subside, and the grief will pass, and it sure feels good once your past it! Glad you were able to vent!