It's been a good end of year. I've rediscovered my running mojo, accepted, as best I can at the moment, my trans-ness and overcome the worst of my trans induced depression.
First the trans stuff.
I've been seeing a hypnotherapist as a way of helping me calm my head. She's very good as far as I can see, and if nothing else, is filling the gaping hole in the NHS mental health service. If you cut your finger, you go to A&E and get seen. Have a breakdown and it is probably 3-4 months before you get seen. By that point you've either topped yourself or found your through. Once again I'm not being theatrical here. Topping myself has been a valid way forward twice in two years now, and it's no joke to find yourself googling how best to hang yourself. But - thanks to my wife wife and my GP [and my basic positive personality] I'm 99% through that now, and can only look back in amazement at what I must have been like 2 months ago. Any way - the hypnotherapist is proving very good. I'm not going tio be cured, but it might make the thoughts a bit better. Oh BTW - before anyone asks, there has been about 100 years of study into trans-ness so far. The first 50 focused on fixing the obvious problem, the mind, but that didn't work. Nope psychotherapy, ECT, Hypnotherapy -you name it nothing worked. The only proven way to relieve the intense pain, is to change the body.
What I'm finding, is every time I visit the hypnotherapist, my energy and outlook improves. I've had one or two reallyg good trans free days, but last night was hell. From 9pm till 9am I was subjected to internal turmoil, sleeplessness and restlessness - all driven by the overpowering though that I MUST be female. I HAVE to be. This is no quirk. This is bl**dy agony.
But lets look at the running
I've had a great couple of weeks. I've fallen in love with the fell shoes I bought last year, but never wore. They have been great in the snow near home. Had a great night time head-torch run up the glen with the dog the other night. Nothing but stillness, the beam of the light and the joy of the dog to run with. so invigorating and so fulfilling. I lost a lot of my fitness through this summers depression, but it seems to be coming back quite quickly or so it seems. Unlike 3 months ago where running was just hard work and a chore, it's like floating on air now and full of joy. It's so nice to enjoy running again. I'm not fast, I'm not clever, but I do enjoy the Tao of running. So to finish the year off [hogmanay] I went for a run on the WHW near Tyndrum. It was lovely. Only saw one or two other runners skating about in the ice, but it was really good to finish the year on the WHW ahead of Fling in April. Hopefully, I'm going to be able to recover my fitness without descending back into depression [clinical depression is actually blowing a chemical fuse, and once it's blown it can take quite a time for the lymbic system to re-set itself fully - at least 6 months after you 'feel better']
Hopefully this year I'll manage to do the Fling, make better progress in accepting my trans-ness and retain the love of my family. Acceptance is hard as it means accepting physical change is necessary. There is still a battle there to be had, along with a few terrifying conversations TBH.
So, to anyone that reads this - have a cracking 2011. May you run long and far and may you cherish your loved ones as they cherish you.
Read This First Please...........
Whats this blog about?
I suffer from Gender Dysphoria, a medical condition that sets the mind against the body. It's more commonly know as transsexualism and is commonly percieved as a 'choice' or sexual in nature. It's not. It's a genetic quirk, a birth defect - no more a choice than having blue eyes or being left handed, and has nothing to do with sexuality or gratification. It is not a mental condition but a physical one of the hormonal system and the way it interacts with the brain. It's been with me since I was 3, but always pushed away as 'wrong' and a foible of my mind. in late 2008 it exploded back out into my now normal life with a loving family. It's put me into the pits of depression with this, and have been close to suicide twice now. I'm not going to fight anymore. I give up - I can't beat this and I now accept that I will have to transition to female at some point. Or I'll die. It's as simple as that.
I am, and always will be a family person, so one thing I can promise is that this blog will not contain content likely to be regarded as being offensive. It may make you think, but will never be salicious or rude. So I've blogged about fighting being trans before and I've blogged about running before. It's time to start to normalise apparently contrary things in my life [ha!] and accept that all parts of life are not incompatible.
So it's 20/12/10 today as I start this blog. In April 2011 I'd like to run the Highland Fling as a male vet. At some point in the years not too far ahead I'd like to run it as female. Now there is a target.
Please do stop by and leave comments
Tuesday, 21 December 2010
As I 've written in the intro above, I've realised that I can't beat the gender dysphoria [or GID] I suffer from. I've fought it hard for two years to try and stay as I am and be a good husband and father, but it's obvious I can't win. I 've been running for a few years now, but my late 2008 GID explosion relegated my running in 2009 to a few pitiful sessions. In early 2010 I somehow got the notion to run an ultra. In retrospect I was using this as a way of repressing the gender issues - my mantra was every time it kicked ' I HAVE TO run'. It worked, I completed an ultra and hoped to do more. In may the gender stuff cranked up the pressure, followed closely by some running injury. My one way of repressing it was retreating as the issues built. Result - a decent into severe depression through the summer as I came apart mentally trying to cope with what was happening to me. Suicide seemed more and more like the only way out between hurting my family and accepting transition. Mid summer I went to see my GP, and arranged to see a gender specialist psychiatrist. My GP had seen me during the previous serious episode in 2008/09 and I had seen various councillors and gender clinics at the time. Back then all I wanted was to stay with my family.
What happened this year then? As I descended into a mental hell, my GP and shrink helped pull me out. I'm on anti-depressants now, and the shrink let me meet a girl [who had a family] who has transitioned - that showed my life in the gutter or death wasn't the only way out. So two separate episodes of severe depression later, with two separate points where jumping into the river seemed like a sensible move, I've realised that fighting this is useless. It's too deep, too structural, impossible to beat. If I fight it I'll be back as a quivering wreck in 12-18 months and at some point I know it will get too much and I will have to jump. The only way to survive, and I'm not being theatrical about this, is to transition. It's a big jump - still one of the great social taboos and I'm scared witless. It's not going to be fast - might be several years, but I know I must not fight this if I am to be healthy.
The whole episode has destroyed my running fitness. I had no energy or drive - literally couldn't run for 3 months, but in the last few days I 've got out again, and actually enjoyed it. Sunday was a trot out with the dogs in the snow, and last night was a fantastic 4 mile run along the coast to a castle with the head torch on. Really enjoyed both of them. So I know I need to loose weight - I'm naturally big and I really don't want to be a woman with a big manly belly. I know starting on HRT tends to put weight on as well, so that comes in there as well. I've been quite fascinated with running on the West Highland Way for a bit now, but will probably never do a full WHW race, so the intention is to get running again with a target of completing the Highland Fling race at the end of April. Don't worry - you won't know it's me, I'll not be wearing a pink wig or a dress and moustache or anything else stereotypical. I'll just be there in the men, as another hopeful middle aged bloke with a gut. Only difference is I hope to be there in some year not too far any as the middle aged, slightly plain woman with a big bum I feel I am.
So this blog, will cover some of my gender issues, some of my training, but one thing it will not cover is my precious family. Hence the slightly anonymous profile. Being trans is still regarded as being a bit weird in Scotland and I neither want to be exposed to abuse personally or more importantly have my family exposed to it [some of who still do not know about my trans-ness]. If you know who I am in everyday life, please do say hello in person. I won't be embarrassed and I'll be happy to talk about this to curious polite people. If you don't like this, please have the decency to keep your opinions to yourself.
Bye for know
The Slow Trans Running.