Thursday, October 4, 2012

Mountains and Roller Coasters





Therapy has taken a new turn for me as we come into this fall season.  All my goals are falling into place except one, my biggest hurdle/goal and I still have until the end of the year to achieve it.  Of course that goal is coming out to my parents and that is the primary focus of my therapy now and I will mention that I have added another therapist to my "team of medical professionals."  Back in mid July, I had a very busy week with a total of 5 doctors' appointments between my father and I and so I rescheduled my therapist' appointment that week.  I was thinking it could be put off until the following week but the secretary set an appointment for three weeks into the future.  When it came time for that appointment I received a call the day before cancelling it.  No attempt was made by the therapist' office to reschedule so I waited a few weeks and called back to schedule another one.  As I called I was driving to Raleigh for an electrolysis appointment and they asked me if I could come in in one hour.  Since I could not, the appointment was scheduled again for three weeks into the future.  Once again the day before the appointment I got a call cancelling it.  I have never heard back from the office and I have not contacted them, although I do intend to see that therapist again.  I sent that therapist a link to this blog although I do not know if she ever reads it or even opened the email, but Therapist if you are reading this email please have the office call and schedule me an appointment.  I would like to see you and let you see the progress I am making.

 
 
In the meantime I contacted another therapist in the same area that I talked to once at the beginning of the year.  She is out of my insurance network so I have to pay out of pocket for the office visits, no copay.  There is a good chance my insurance company will reimburse me for some of the cost and I have had 2 appointments in the last 3 weeks already so next time I will fill out the paperwork and submit it for reimbursement.  It was always my intention to see 2 therapists before coming out to my parents anyway, even though I didn't feel like I personally needed it after being in therapy awhile.  This way I will have a little more credibility with them on the Gender Identity Disorder diagnosis so they won't think it was just a rogue diagnosis.  This second therapist is a PHD also and hopefully that will carry a little more weight with them.  So, things are going very good with Therapist B as I will call her but I do consider Therapist A a friend and actually do want to be seen by her again.  I have heard from several other friends, personal and on Facebook, that Therapist A has been sort of elusive lately and I know she has a lot going on besides just her practice.  I am not alone in feeling a little neglected and in some ways my personal situation is reaching a crisis again so I need a little more personal attention right now.  Things are going well in therapy now and actually this situation is a positive in that I was always reluctant to go back to Therapist B in addition to A because I did not want any feelings hurt.  However, I have learned this year that I need to be more in control of my own destiny and be my own best advocate and not let what others' think matter so much.
                                         

                                                       
Therapist A once mentioned to me that I could see another therapist for a "second opinion" if I wanted to and that she had other patients that had done that and told her they tended to talk about the same things.  That is my experience so far with Therapist B, it's the same thing only different.  I think this new therapist is going to hold me a little more accountable to achieving my goals and push me a little harder on the things (thing) I find most difficult and maybe I need that right now.  She also allowed me to send her rather detailed email before coming in that pretty much explained what has been going on with me, my situation and my dilemma.  I this this helped jump start the process and while some time is spent each session just getting to know me and making sense of Tammy World, we are also focusing heavily on my expedition up Mt. Everest (coming out to my parents).  She has compared this situation to a roller coaster.  We tend to feel a lot of fear and anticipation on the way up but once we reach the top and begin to ride down there is a great relief.  Of course the ride down the roller coaster can be quite scary but at least the dread and anticipation are behind us.  I think she liked my comparison with Mt. Everest as well and I told her that now I am closer to the peak I feel the oxygen is low and I am growing weary and weak.  Some delusions and hallucinations may be setting in and sometimes I feel as if I am not going to make it.  I told her what I told an online friend jokingly recently,  that I might just go ahead and change my name and live full time and even go off to Canada or somewhere after a time for surgery and Never tell them.  Somehow hide everything from them for the rest of their lives and they would see me changing more and more and never know exactly why.  Mom would probably just go on as if everything is the same except maybe making a snide comment sometimes.  The therapist surprised me and said Yes I could actually do that but then she asked me if I thought that was being authentic and that she thinks one of the reasons I do feel compelled to tell them is to remove the last vestige of dishonesty from my life.

                                                                         
I could never pull that off anyway because of legal implications with my name, power of attorney and wills etc. but it has become a running joke or fantasy.  She made me realize that I was so happy and content in life Because I had removed so many lies in my life and within myself that I really Needed this to finally find fulfillment.  Since my last appointment 3 days ago I thought of and have considered the question, "Why?"  Why I have I been so repressed so much of my life?  Why have I always feared the female inside me so much?  Why I have tried so hard to hide much of my life from my parents, more than just gender issues?  Why is talking to them about the biggest thing in my life so difficult for me?  Why?  I intent to bring this up in 11 days in my next therapy appointment.  I think I know the answer, or part of it, but I want to find out for sure.  I will tell y'all that I was adapted as an infant and have actually always felt blessed and lucky to have found the loving home I fell into.  I never wanted to disappoint my parents, and to me they are my true parents and only parents, but everything I have ever tried to do has fallen well short of fully doing meeting their expectations.  Still I have managed to shield them from as much pain as possible and try to do good enough to at least make them somewhat happy, even if up until this point things have not worked out the way any of us would have wanted.  The therapist has reminded me that everyone wants to be normal and no one would would wish something like this on themselves, much less the ones they love.  I think I do see that now and I hope that my parents can as well when the time comes.

So basically I have reverted back to my original goal of coming out to my Mom after Christmas and before the end of the year, and I think this is ebst for everyone in order to enjoy the Holidays.  That is a fairly brief window of time but in all honesty I have always not only been a procrastinator but worked better under the pressure of a deadline.  I will get it done but I will wait till the last minute, on anything.  Mom will not be able to hold this in from my Dad so I know next We will have to tell him, I just want to tell her first even if it all happens in the same day.  My new therapist is wanting me to get prepared as soon as possible to tell them so if a window opens up or I somehow get the courage before then I can go ahead and do it;  have my goal and deadline but be prepared in my own mind at least.  She has also said that as a therapist, she cannot hold people accountable for what they do with their lives but she intends to hold me accountable to my goals in therapy.  In this case that means that by my next appointment in 11 days I need to have a letter written out with what I want to say to them and also bring a list of what I think possible questions or responses of my parents will be.  Therapist A gave me the idea of the letter and she wanted to write and hand them a letter, then have a discussion after they read it, but I am sort of uncomfortable with that scenario.  Therapist B is saying I can present them with a letter or not but it is a good idea for me to write it out in preparation.  I had intended a few years ago to see a therapist to help me come out to my wife.  I never did and it took me a year and half of wanting to/trying to actually do it and I was not even sure I could fully transition then.  I was prepared to lose her but I could not see past Mt. Everest off in the horizon, I just wanted to be able to live my life freely, if only part time.  I didn't really prepare well for talking with her, I just got her in a good mood on a country ride one day and said "There is something I have to tell you about myself...." and basically started talking about things from my childhood up till the present.  Talking to my Mom (parents) seems a much harder goal to achieve and much more is at stake so now I am enlisting all the help I can get.  Catching her in a good mood will be helpful too though, initially if not in the long run. 

                           Transgender Voice and Communication Group
                                                  9/25/2012                                    

So on a final note I am going to mention my Transgender Voice and Communication group I wrote about in my last post.  We really have not gotten to anything about learning a female voice yet but are spending time learning voice function exercises and are now working with resonance.  We have spent much time on the spoken language and non verbal communication part (which includes manner of speaking and mannerisms, but not voice) and I do great on those.  They have only found one thing I needed to learn/work on which is self referential touching.  This is basically pointing at one's self (in a feminine manner of course) during conversation.  I do the self touching in general ( playing with necklace, playing with hair etc.) naturally when speaking, as well as everything else on the Feminine Nonverbal Behavior Checklist.  One thing that I do quite naturally from the Feminine Spoken Language Checklist is use connectors between sentences which I have previously perceived as a problem when writing this blog because it results in "run on sentences" but now that I know it is a feminine language characteristic I may not edit my sentences as much for this but I guess in written language this may not be as acceptable even though it is a natural trait of mine and honestly I could make most of these paragraphs one continuous sentence but now I am just doing it to prove my point and to show you how it's done or "modelling" as one of the graduate students said I was doing in some of our skits in this week's class even though I was doing it to benefit the other student in the class with me and she is a great person too!

                                        After class with Donna 10/2/2012
                                        UNCG Gateway Research Center

The other student in class with me is named Donna and she is a bit older than me at 74 years young.  She is married and has three grown children and some grandchildren and did not actually come to terms with her gender situation until her mid to late 60's.  Because of family and obligations etc. she does not think she will ever fully transition or even live full time as a female but she has been on hormones for 4 years and goes to a lot of support groups meetings and so forth as well as take this class with me.  I am really lucky that Donna signed up for this course because not only does it mean I am not the only group member this semester but I am also very lucky to meet this new friend because she has offered to advise me going forward in my situation/dilemma with my parents.  We ride from Raleigh to Greensboro, NC every week now and this is about an hour and a half drive and add the fact that we try to leave an hour early to stop somewhere along the way and go shopping as well as stop for dinner on the way home, this gives us quite a bit of time to talk.  I really appreciate and take to heart all her advice and one thing she has told me to immediately do is to always tell my parents I love them and how appreciative I am to spend time with them which I have been doing every time I see them lately.  Hopefully this will strengthen my relationship with them and set the stage for what I have to tell them later this year.  I also have been making it a point to be the most positive person I can be around them (all the time really) and have pointed this out to Mom and she knows that historically I have been a very negative person.  The glass used to be half empty but now it is half full. Except for this sort of crisis I am going through as far as knowing I have to do something I never wanted to do or thought I would or could do, I am happier now than I remember being since I was a small child.  Now if I can just get up the nerve to climb the final steps up to the top of Mt. Everest I can see how fun or how scary it is to ride down the roller coaster. 

                           Y'all come back now, ya hear?