What a ride it has been

So my life has been chaotically happy since I started hormone replacement therapy 6 months ago. Gaining a new wardrobe has been a slow and steady process. Finding my style has been even harder! But so much fun! Affording the hormones and testosterone blockers has been quite another challenge, the my partner and I do quite well, we get stuck with outrageously expensive and yet terrible insurance that covers absolutely nothing and has a massive deductible and out of pocket. We pay nearly 700 a month for this garbage! The cost of food and gas isn’t helping anything then to add the couple hundred dollars I pay to receive my hormones…. it’s just a nightmare. Is anyone else feeling the pain of the cost of life? All the challenges such as bills, medications, other constant medical bills, and all the other random yet necessary costs, and the continuous changes my body and mind are going through such as putting weight on in places I never have before, my breasts beginning to grow, and my general demeanor becoming more feminine. All of this and more. And you know what? I’m okay. I am making it through the emotionally boosted hard times. I drink so much less. I eat more. I am in a happy open relationship(dating is a whole other story) and of course my kids are wonderful and support me as much as they can for their age. I couldn’t ask for more, but if I did, I would ask for a feminine voice and bottom surgery. The discouraging and large amount of money it takes to achieve this is depressing but I did finally open a savings account… gotta start somewhere.

The world of dating has been….interesting? Meeting a good guy is as hard as they say. I get lots of attention but almost always with the feeling I am being fetishized or at least seen as a tool to help “straight” men explore their sexuality. At first thought I am okay with this but really I want to be treated with care and respect. I don’t want to be an object used for your own sexual fantasies or insecurities. You can look at me without feeling shame and confusion about finding me attractive. You won’t “turn” gay because you sleep with me or even just kiss me. I’m quickly getting tired. You guys need to figure your shit out. I am more than okay with a friend’s with benefits situation. And I am probably kinkier than you are, but that doesn’t mean I am going to do or be whatever you want. You have all been terrible at filling my needs and wants. It feels as though none of you can and damn I’m frustrated and tired. I’ve told some but they all need to know. Can I do it? I have my doubts and my own beliefs that I put so much faith and desire in bottom surgery that I think it would help immensely, and maybe it would but it’s looking like it’s years down the road. I’m just learning the curve of being a woman, a transgender woman at that and FUCK it’s hard. If I didn’t still enjoy it and want it so bad I would give up. I WILL NOT.

I am determined to achieve the life I want. I get closer everyday. I grow everyday. I have amazing support which is more than some can say. Anyway… I’ll end, for now, on a high note… We got a dog! A mini husky and I am so excited. I’ll probably post more about her in the near future and in the meantime good luck to all and love for everybody! Talk to you soon!

A Grateful Yet Sad Reflection Pt 2

So by 14 I was fully struggling with a heroin addiction along with my friends. We spent every moment we could finding ways to get it and school fell to the side. We managed to get good enough grades that at this point made it seem like we were trying. This lasted a lot longer than I thought it would though during this time I also became addicted to the lifestyle. The obtaining of the drug just as bad as using the drug, but not quite as wonderful as the ritual of injecting it. Doing this anywhere and everywhere I could get away with it which was usually out in the desert or a park bathroom at this time. Occasionally a convenience store and the like. The life of getting the drug and using it was life for about two years or so with no casualties but plenty of cpr and other random ways you learn to keep someone breathing. All the while we also drank and partied. Hard. We all drank a bunch which honestly is hard to accomplish when on heroin but we managed. Some nights we would pass out for minutes or hours at a time only waking up to smoke a bowl or a cigarette, and other nights we drank and went wild sometimes throwing giant parties or bonfires in the desert. The point all along being that I didn’t want to see, think or feel things, and it worked. At the same time feeling like an invincible teenager because no one had died yet. I know it went to my head. Enough that I and a couple of my friends began pushing the limits. Trying to escape in the most efficient way.

This led to tolerance building and having to get more money. This led to the selling of drugs mostly weed at the time but something ( I can’t remember what) brought me to my first charge against the law not involving alcohol at age 16. I’m trying to remember and if I remember correctly it was possession of Marijuana just under the amount for distribution and yet the charge landed me on probation and it’s difficult being a heroin addict that gets drug tested. I landed myself in juvenile detention. Where I waited 2 and a half months to get into rehab. The withdrawals at this time were significant but nothing compared to future me. I guess I should also mention I tried a number of drugs, some excessively. The only one I can think of that I did not is Crack. Meth by far was my second choice. I often used it to try to slow down or stop heroin use. A bizarre thought process, I know.

So after two and a half months locked up I got in to a rehab my parents had found. Not much to say except I turned 17 in this rehab and spent 6 months there. The most notable of events was my first, and worst death. My best friend died of an overdose and it absolutely broke me. All the progress I had made almost instantly washed away in pain and sadness and then anger at the rehab for not letting me go to his funeral. It is then, I now realize, that I had resolved to failure. That I was not yet done. That it just added to the list the things I wanted to bury. And I tried. I failed. I tried to bury a great many things that just didn’t seem to go away. It started to become clear drugs were not the solution but I wouldn’t fully admit or realize that for a few more years…

A stress I’ll never get over

Something happened last night that has had me on a high of stress ever since. Even after it was resolved. My wife calls me at 11pm while I’m at work. She is worried about our daughter who is throwing up and itchy and just not right. My mind instantly spins and I’m absolutely worried. Now I know in my head it’s probably nothing bad, but due to past experience I can’t bring my heart to accept it. The worst will happen, my heart is convinced and it’s because 3 years ago my son was given the diagnosis you always hope your child will never get. He got cancer. Leukemia to be exact. The moment we found out I was more terrified than I have ever been in my life. All the reassurance in the world could not stop the psychotic break that happened. The next 2 and a half years would be the worst. I can not even explain the pain that comes with seeing your kid fight the battle.

Because of this, any sickness my kids get is so overwhelming. It didn’t help that last night, the pediatrician was saying things like diabetes, internal bleeding, and anemia. My mind instantly assumed the worst and began preparing itself for the outcome. And the one thing the doc didn’t mention… cancer. I instantly go there now. I can’t help it. So we take her to the hospital and I’m trying my best to remain calm and positive and I know my wife is doing the same thing. There’s just some things. Some fears that never die. So inside I’m freaking out. After hours we get some results. After hours of my daughter throwing up saying she’s in pain and getting some really bad hives, the doctor has some actually good news. She is fine. It should be mentioned that my daughter has been showing signs of sickness for weeks. So honestly, my wife and I lasted longer than I feel like we wanted to before contacting someone about it.

Even now I’m still coming down from the stress and worry. I fear it will be a reaction that will never change. The fear that something will happen to my daughter or the constant fear that my sons cancer will come back or something else will happen…. I wish it on no one. It gets easier but it’s always hard and I’m always wishing I could take the sickness of the past away or atleast give it to myself. Because it is a lifelong change. Something that will always need to be watched over. I am absolutely relieved my daughter is okay, but it doesn’t change what has already happened. Because of that they will probably always have over protective parents. Nervous parents. I know for me it has changed every way I naturally reacted to pain or sickness. It sucks.

A Grateful Yet Sad Reflection Pt 1

So if I haven’t mentioned before, I spent the years between 13 and 20 as a heroin addict. This is about that journey, the friends I have lost, and maybe where I’m at now at the age of 32. We’ll see. I feel the need to mention I have severe PTSD from the events of those ages mostly surrounding the many deaths of friends and the desire and action of keeping them alive, but honestly that’s why I write about it now… searching for relief so I don’t dissociate my life away. Before I begin it’s important to mention I have experienced around 53 deaths. 7 of those being close friends. I apologize if this story gets all over the place and may make it in to separate parts. So here it is beginning almost 20 years ago…

At the age of 13 I was confused about who I was for various reasons from average things, anger at a mom that had abandoned me, and not least the desire to be a girl. I was and maybe still am a severe people pleaser and a lot of people walked all over me. Very few treated me right. Like a human being. In fact at that time I could name 4 friends that never used me and loved me for who I was, and growing up when and where I did this was a big deal. The only thing they didn’t know at this point was that I was painfully jealous of all the girls that seemed to just gravitate toward me. They didn’t know I wanted to BE them. This would much later become a big issue but all that needs to be known is that I was not okay in any way. On top of the absolute misery of being a teenager, I heard voices and occasionally saw things. My close friends knew this and a couple saw how torturous it could be. So at the age of twelve I had delved into the world of alcohol, pills, and weed. Always looking for the next best thing to bury my feelings

At 13, one day when we couldn’t find any weed one of our friends so casually said “I have something called heroin, do you guys want to try it?” We so stupidly said yes having no idea what we were getting in to. We smoked it the first time and damn I still remember the almost instant relief from all my problems. 2 of my 4 close friends appeared to feel the same relief. While the other 2 were terrified. It didn’t set them free, I selfishly thought, “oh you must have no problems” though now I understand that opiates are scary for a lot of people so I think that’s all it was. That being said about two weeks later a friend brought up heroin again and said that you can use needles to inject it straight into your vein. I, still looking for the absolute escape, quickly agreed we should try it. So hours later me my friends and girlfriend were shooting up for the first time completely oblivious to what heroin could do or the life that would soon ensnare us. That night was my first overdose experience. My girlfriend stopped breathing and just by pure luck CPR and a cold bath over a period of time actually worked. She was okay. After that terrible night I should have realized heroin was dangerous. But I loved the numbness. So much that it now haunts all of my teenage years. This is part 1. I’m still only 13. There is so much more to go

I hope it was worth the read. And if it was interesting, there is so much more. If it wasn’t I’m sorry but I feel the need to get this off my chest.

All I can do to feel okay

So in the past few weeks since I started hormone replacement therapy I’ve noticed a few differences, a couple of them brought to my attention by my beautiful wife. A friend of hers asks how she is doing, and, knowing about my transition asks how I am doing. My wife replies with…”she is happier, she hasn’t smiled this much in a long time.” While my quote may not be 100% accurate, there is nothing but truth in what I felt from what I heard. And nothing but truth connected to the words she spoke. I am becoming who I’ve been meant to be in the deepest part of me. That part still filled with shame, hate, and guilt, for some reason… guilt… why should I be ashamed or guilty of who I am? The woman I know I am? There is no reason to feel guilt. I have not let anyone down, I have not hurt anyone. Everyone I love is okay. And that’s a)l I want. I just ask that you accept me (maybe tell me I’m beautiful from time to time) and be there when I need you. As I will be for you. If my wife can do it. So can you.

All things considered I have not felt so content in as long as I can remember. My mental health is in check. My drinking. Even my smoking has decreased. I really couldn’t be feeling better except for the lack of sleep and the inability to do so, but the point is I’m okay. I’m happy. I’m excited. And let me tell you it’s been quite some time since I’ve felt any of those things, especially all at once. I can feel the peace coming and it feels fantastic! As my wife said the other day… “just imagine all the things we could have avoided had you made this decision sooner.” While this is 100% accurate, I wasn’t ready to face the judgment and the hatred I thought I would recieve, and not ready to realize who I was. For so long I buried myself. To the point to where I don’t know if I am capable of being the woman that I am, but damn, if trying feels this good then something, if not everything, is great and I will not accept less than I am worth or deserve. Be with me or not. I was meant to be who I am. Me. Elsie.

I can’t believe it

So I am only a week into my transition to the beautiful woman I believe I am, and while not much can be said in ways of change, something is happening. The hormones and T blockers have already severely thrown off my sleep schedule and while I was warned by a couple that this would happen, I wasn’t expecting it so quickly! I literally can not get more than 2 or 3 hours of sleep at a time. Most days this means that’s how much sleep I get in a night and day, a couple times I’ve been able to nap during the day.

The amazing thing is despite the total lack of sleep, I am not exhausted. I feel great! And I usually don’t usually feel so awake so easily unless I’m having a bi polar mania episode and I can tell you I most definitely am not. Not at all, and my depression is next to none. I am quite productive. I am enjoying work and listening to books. I have even almost doubled the amount of documents I process while at work! I just don’t get it! Could it really be the estrogen and testosterone blockers? Or is it just that I am so excited about what’s happening that it has improved my life in such a short time? I really don’t know but I do know when I usually go with this amount of sleep I am hit by a full force of mental illness and emotional turmoil. So far (fingers crossed) this has not happened, but I have been warned by friends and doctors that I will soon experience a mental and emotional roller coaster so maybe for now I’m just climbing up only to come back down again but I’ll take it. I mean at the very least my annual raise is coming up at work and if I can keep up the work I have been doing, it will be a good one. It is also worth mentioning that my already decreased amount of alcohol intake has dropped next to nothing.

So all around it’s been a good week, and I’m beginning to believe that what my wife says is undoubtedly true. Females are superior. Hahaha we will see if this thought still crosses my mind in the days to come but so far so good. This promises to be quite the journey and it feels so right.

Begin Transition

So it all began about 2 months ago, and it’s been rough with our health insurance going from $60 all the way up to $573 a month because my wife and I make so much more money than we did the year before. The biggest downfall is that it doesn’t cover anything. Appointments, medications, labs, all the things I need regularly cost at least double. All of this starting when I am soon to transition from male to female…yeah, it starts tomorrow and with a little luck after some change all the struggles, mentally, emotionally, physically, sexually, and financially, will not seem like such a struggle. I’ve been working hard on my mental health. While working on myself, I discovered who I really am. A woman. After admitting it to myself for the first time since I was 12, I told my wife and she was and is beyond supportive. It gave me hope that my friends and family might be just as accepting. Luck was not fully on my side. While quite a few of my friends were completely understanding and started calling me by my chosen name…Elsie! And using she/her pronouns, my very best friend and my family are not taking it quite as well. My parents being as old as they are, are very accepting but refuse to use my name. My best friend says he can’t be seen with me. Though that’s the worst of it and it could have been worse, it still sucks. Getting over that, I worked toward getting on hormone replacement therapy. I am so excited that it begins Friday! I feel better than I’ve ever felt. I know it’s going to have its struggles with family, friends, emotions, dysphoria, and not to mention the surgeries I want are crazy expensive and my current insurance will do nothing about it. In fact it’s hard to find insurance that will. But my journey begins and for now that helps. I will probably post more about my transition and experiences. I’m just so excited!

A Friend in Need

I woke up this morning to many messages and notifications telling me to reach out to my friend Carson. He needs help. So I call carson, he is a long time dear friend, one of the best I’ve had. I will do anything for him. Any time, any where.

For me, this stems from the fear of losing another friend(to death). I’ve lost enough. The other part of me just knows exactly how he feels and how hard it was for me to find help.

So the call starts out with the usual brotherly love that it always does and the usual cheerful act my friend so skillfully puts on, but I can immediately tell something is wrong. As close as my friend can come to tears, he says “look dude, I know you have been where I’m at. I am in pain, and I don’t know what’s going on.” He then explains some extreme events where in the end he has burned all family bridges and that they don’t know how to, or want to, help him. His struggle(while drinking and other things are involved) is one of pure mental health. He is losing his mind and he doesn’t know why, but it’s serious. Myself being in that exact situation for years, fully understands. Look, I drink, I do whatever I can to make these thoughts, these feelings, this obsession go away. I also know, without proper help you can drink, you can do drugs, you can escape in any way you think possible. It WILL NOT HELP.

If you truly want something different, it may take years of hardwork, an endless(yet impossible) love for yourself, and commitment that you may think impossible. It IS NOT. I myself am on that journey and have spent years figuring it out and I’m still not there, but I am better. Much better. Years of therapy of different kinds, medication changes, multiple doctor visits. All kinds of things can go right, or wrong. You just have to push through. Don’t give up. The seeming impossible, is possible.

After telling such things to my friend, he responds. Saying look, I just need help. The right person to talk to. The right treatment. The right start. So I have spent all morning on the phone with people I think can help. I want desperately to find this for my friend. My brother. I try to take myself out of the thought process of, ” I can’t lose him too.” To a thought process of…. hey, I can help. I CAN do something. I WILL do something. For him I have to. For him I would do anything no matter how uncomfortable or anxious I might get. I will not just sit and wonder and let the opportunity go.

Mental health is SO overlooked and drug addiction is the focus. But drugs and alcohol, for me, were a solution to a much more difficult beast. The solution to cure mental illness for those without proper treatment. For those like me, and my friend, we are not abusing drugs or alcohol. They are the medications we take to solve our problems. It just doesn’t work. We need guidance. It is out there. But hard to find. Especially for those without insurance. That’s where my friend carson is at. Hopeless. What he hasn’t learned but is trying to find is that there IS Hope. I will give as much hope as.i can…. for him, for anyone that I can. I will do all I can to get him the help he needs and deserves. He is the biggest(6 foot 7 inches) teddy bear and I love him so much. If you read this, please put some energy, some love, some faith and hope out in to the world that we find that help. For him, for anyone and everyone that is seeking so deeply to find some help. Let’s make that hope come ALIVE.

A Long Month of Exposure Therapy

So it’s been awhile, now as I sit here at work I look over the past month or so. I have made massive progress both mentally and emotionally, and somewhat physically. I have begun an intensive outpatient program through the OCD and anxiety Treatment Center, to treat anxiety, social anxiety, and PTSD. I have yet to begin the PTSD Treatment but have jumped right in to the others. Being that it is exposure therapy, it is nothing like any other therapy I have ever done or heard of before. I begin the treatment on PTSD on January 3rd so wish me luck! As for the social anxiety treatment goes, here is a bit of what’s going on….

So Monday through Friday from 10am to 1pm I am working on myself. The first two hours are exposures, things or acts that are designed to bring you distress, and damn do they succeed. They put me in situations I would never put myself in, especially without a few drinks. Everyday I randomly pick 2 of 9 exposures and spend one hour on each. First exposure… is to give a 5 to 10 minute presentation about a random topic given to me by somebody in which I can make up false facts and try to be confident in my lies. Second exposure… to talk about controversial topics with someone and sometimes defend the side that is the opposite of what I actually think with topics randomly given. Third exposure… Dress up in silly costumes, tell jokes, read children’s books excitedly. Exposure 5…walk around with a water tray, spill on or around someone and ask them to clean it up. Exposure 6… make phone calls to businesses and ask about random items, or make phone calls to old friends, or calls that will put me on hold.( I absolutely HATE talking on the phone). Exposure Seven… go to Walmart and ask employees for various items or help a random stranger. Exposure 8… walk in funny ways around others(I’m totally self conscious of the way I walk) and finally…. Exposure Nine… dance to various videos such as zumba, just dance, or any other even if someone is watching.

So, as you can see, these are generally based around social anxiety and are honestly harder than they might sound, but they are making a huge difference in the way I feel and how I approach things. As hard as it is, I am curious and afraid of what the PTSD treatment and exposures will be like…..Wish Me Luck….

The biggest plus so far has been that I am discovering that I don’t have to be drunk to do any social thing. I can go to the store completely sober. I can do anything without a drink, and that is a lesson that I so dearly needed to learn. It is changing my outlook on life. It is changing how I react, what I do on a daily basis, I feel so much more capable and confident. It is a great feeling, and I can’t wait to see what the next phase brings! To anyone that struggles with anxiety, social anxiety, or any form of OCD, I fully recommend exposure therapy. But be warned, it is a lifelong commitment, but it will bring boundless reward with it, and some great friendships.

So that’s what I’ve been working on these past couple months. I hope it wasn’t too boring to read about and if you would like to know more or have any questions, let me know! Thanks!

Over the Years

As I approach another year alive, I wonder… I contemplate the last 32 years. While I don’t remember much of early childhood, I remember feeling different, lonely, scared that what I experienced would scare others away. Hearing voices didn’t help, and as soon as I realized the voices weren’t real (I was 6 years old) I began to bury all feeling, all emotion that could lead to the insanity of my brain. I was successful for some years but it was hard to hide it. Eventually, at the age of 12 I turned to drugs. Pills and alcohol to be exact. They shut my mind off more than I could have hoped. I felt a freedom I’d never recalled before. It only escalated from there. By the age of 14 I was addicted to heroin and the battle continued. I watched friends overdose, I learned cpr to counter this. I overdosed myself at times. It was a dangerous life, but at the time there wasn’t anything I wouldn’t do to stop the crazy, the voices, the screaming… I don’t know exactly what kept my friends going but they did.

By the age of 17 I was quite a well known drug dealer in my town. By 18 I was making thousands a day. Thriving but miserable, I tried to change. Time and time again I tried to escape. Reaching out to anyone that could help me. At the age of 19 I was finally arrested but had fallen so low, there was barely anything to be had when the law raided the house I was staying in. Nonetheless, I went to jail, and the 7 months I spent there saved my life. Because at that point I was just waiting to die. Like a few of my friends before me, I had consigned myself to death. So I stayed alive by going to jail, by going to rehab and then entering felony drug court. It was of the most intense intensive outpatient treatment you could ever imagine, but it worked. For almost 3 years I went through this program, being placed in a special group for mental illness I went through the program.

During this time I was reintroduced to my future wife. We had met in our teenage years and reconnected. So anyway, after that time I was cleared of being a felon and began enjoying the drink that has haunted me ever since. The drink that makes all thoughts go away, but in turn brings you so low that it’s hard to escape. I’ve been battling the balance of escape and reenter for years now and it grows tiring. I doubt my own strength to continue, so I’ve been looking for outlets, for therapy that might help. For anything that might help. I’ve had a LOT of therapy, but I think this next step into therapy could make a huge dent in my struggle between addiction and mental stability. I truly hope it is, because as I approach another year in age, I am growing tired of the old coping mechanisms. I need severe change

That’s my rant, my story for the night. I may be young but I have lived through much, and I just want the chance to see more. I’m tired but not done. I’ll keep fighting til I can’t and I have amazing support to do so, from my amazing wife and kids, to my mom who is always showing support from afar and some dearly close friends, I can do this. So I will. Cheers to another year.