Sunday, July 6, 2014

Full time/Church in femme

I tried going to church presenting as female today, in a singles ward in a city nearby that was far enough away I probably wouldn't know anyone. I'd like to think I passed okay, that people saw me as female, but I don't really know. Noone stared, which lol I guess is a start.

This seemed like a good step to take because, well first, ever since my family started using female pronouns, my anxiety has just been gone. Like just somehow it's gone from panic attacks every other day or so to not really having any besides minor ones every week if that. It's made such a difference that I was able to go off my anxiety medicine, which was nice because that one made me too much of a zombie, and it's hard to live life when you're constantly thinking about your thirst for brains.

Still though, GD decided to manifest itself in another way. I mean I think it's probably been there to the side of anxiety for a while, but now that anxiety is mostly under wraps I can start addressing the second most severe thing: depression.

I've been told that, for those that do transition, they often say that it's helped their GD very well, but hasn't changed their depression. This is partially evidenced by the high suicide rates of trans people before and after SRS - probably mostly just because life as a trans person is pretty hard, sadly in our culture right now. That's why transition is so discouraged for those that can manage their GD otherwise - it's pretty much necessary for some people, which is why I'm doing it - but it sucks, and can actually be really dangerous if I'm not careful. That's part of the reason I'm writing this blog - it really helps as a hopefully more healthy way to sort through those emotions, so they don't boil up and consume me. That's also the reason I'm pretty happy we started me on meds (I'm still taking my antidepressant), because it has made a noticeable difference. We may consider some kind of mood stabelizer or anti-depressant in the future as well if it seems needed, but this seems sufficient for now, I have bad reactions to many of them, and it makes sense to work through GD first, I think.

Anyway, sorry I start getting distracted when I'm facing writing about a topic that's really close to my heart. My hope was almost that, with pronouns and some level of transition, I'd slowly be able to ease into managing GD much better than I was. And for a while, I was. I was feeling way more motivated, typically got up around 7 or 8 instead of 10 or 11 (after going to bed around 11 or 12), starting to be much more outgoing, being way more proactive in my work, etc.

Then, we had a trans family-home-evening, where two MtF trans people came that were fully transitioned and still active in the church. It was amazing amazing amazing meeting them, but it caused me to sorta have lots of things come up to the front that I'd been pushing off for a while now that I didn't understand, specifically about my faith regarding my GD. Long story short I had a very detailed discussion with a good other trans LDS friend, who helped me sorta work through it. I came back and really started trying to face the things I didn't understand. This blasted the depression on, and I slept for like 12 or 13 hours, because I guess that's how I cope/process things. I also had to sorta work through a dangerously low point again which was scary and annoying, but it was manageable, and necessary, I think.

What I mean is that, I had to consider a bit of how I would feel if I continued to live as male. It just brought this depression and hopelessness on, so much that after a bit of discussion about how our goal was to improve so in the next life we could gain the highest glory and improve forever, I asked "what's the point of improving?" I just didn't see any at all. Any point to anything. Mostly I just wanted to sit and die, to crumble up into a little black ball and sit and be nothing for the rest of forever. Because I'm worthless, hate myself, hopeless, etc. Sorry that's kinda depressing, but that's how I feel when I start considering living as male. Even if it's just a male "with all the personality characteristics and traits that I have." Just something about being a male is just all that to me. I don't really want a family, kids, someone I love, "eternal improvement," etc. All of that just seems like, alongside some of the joy it would probably bring on some level as I devote my heart to those I love and care about, I would be putting myself through torture. And I don't desire to be putting myself in that situation, because it would severely limit my ability to serve those I care about, because I wouldn't be taking care of myself first. Before I started transition I did the best I could, but it wasn't ideal. On the other side, as I've started to transition, I've started to have hopes, goals for life, and really essentially just a desire to continue living. Lots of this I think is tied around shame, something that I'll someday write a post about.

Eventually I decided to write a lot more in my personal journal, and that really helped. I'm starting to parse through and figure things out now, I think. Sorry much of this is kinda vauge though, just much of the stuff here is personal/sacred to me so I'd rather not share it in a public blog.

However, coming to some better understanding had the side effect of me being a lot more comfortable with the decision to socially transition, which meant it felt that much more pertinent now. I was just kinda pushing this off and trying to kinda go through life normally and still just be presenting as female part-time mostly around friends, but finally, when my family went up to spend the night camping on the fourth of july, GD kinda came blasting back one morning. I think it also didn't help I was around other not-immediate family that wasn't using female pronouns as well, but I don't know. Either way, I started to wake up, and just felt this twisted rush of just stuff. Hating, horrible, sad stuff. Just, gah I don't want to describe it, but I basically just had to sit back down and fall back asleep for a few hours because it was too much. I had experienced something similar the past few days, but this extreme was something new. I think it had something to do with a testosterone surge or something, that might make sense, but either way it was so severe it was really dangerous to be continuing to cause. So, something had to change.

My decision was as follows: I need to go full time, IE: Present as female 24/7. My work and school is in such a way that I can do that, as is my family and home situation. My reason is that what seems to be causing these really bad depressive episodes is when I present as male, as often they come the morning right after. Every once and a while they come from other things (big life changes and working through how I feel with regards to GD and my religion being two examples), but those are generally pretty rare, and me presenting as male seems to be the most consistent. Also, when I'm presenting as male, it's much more difficult for those I'm around to use female pronouns, even if they've gotten so good at it they normally hadn't missed one in a month or so, and that's really triggering.

So, there are a few piratical hurdles I need to jump over first to make this happen.

First, I need to work on my hair, clothes, and makeup. Work on being presentable as female. Also laser hair removal, but now all that needs is time :) I have my makeup collection all bought and and am just figuring out styles I like now, wigs and hair I am still figuring out but I'm getting much better I'd like to think at least, and am going church clothes shopping for my birthday very soon :)

Second, I need to find a church that I can attend as female. That's why I went today to that singles ward, in a longish black skirt, black laceish flats, my wig, and a white and black top. I'm setting up a meeting with my new Bishop to help him understand my situation because I feel that's fair, and mostly to talk with him about whether I should attend Relief Society or Priesthood, or just leave after the second hour as I did today then come back when the mingle thing happens. Like I'm pretty sure that's what my FtM friend in my same college singles ward did without me realizing (I didn't know he was even trans until he shared his story this year). This has actually helped with Sunday anxiety quite a bit too - I was referred to with "this young lady is looking for a ward" (to a clerk when I got lost), and "her" and "she" flawlessly by everyone. Maybe it helped that they didn't even know me as male, and that I was extremely nervous so a little shy and didn't talk much, but still that is really really nice. I would be totally happy to present as such 24/7, which is my goal.

Third, I need to find a therapist. I'd like to think that isn't needed, but I really think it probably is. Journaling, exercise, working, programming, music, blogging and such are healthy, but there is too much emotion blasting around from all this stuff to really probably be manageable on my own, even with my support of family and friends I am so grateful for and lucky to have.

,,,and that's actually all of them, I think. Obviously I also need to work through shame, depression, social anxiety, anxiety in general, and other similar things that have developed because of/alongside GD, and am working on all those as a part of my transition/living life, but I feel like that's true for most anyone.

Like, I liked what a friend said at the LGBT center a bit ago. We're never "done" with transition. Even non-trans people don't pass 100% of the time. Sure all these things (hormones, laser hair removal, "first bra", etc.) are so exciting as they should be, but they aren't required to "complete" some arbitrary goal. For anyone, even those that are "fully" transitioned, they are different people 5 years from now than they are today. That's just kinda what life does to you. Are there are some fantastic people that, though they tried to transition, they will never "pass." That doesn't mean they're still not great people though. So though transition is important to address some legitimate struggles, it's far more important to be learning to accept myself, because transition or not I'm still me.

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