A Life with Therapy

Out of the clear blue sky, I was contacted the other day by a person in Dayton, Ohio who wanted me to be involved in some way with their LGBTQ elderly health initiative. On the negative side, the trip from Cincinnati is nearly an hour and a half (one way) but on the positive side, I could do it on the days I see my therapist in Dayton which I am done with at 11 in the morning. Which would give me plenty of time to have a meeting over coffee. It will be interesting what if anything comes of it.

Now, back to my therapist. As I was writing a chapter in my book about therapy, I began to think of all the therapists I have had in my life.

Interestingly, it was the first real gender therapist I went to who diagnosed me as being bi-polar. She correctly told me the bi-polar disorder could be controlled with medication but the gender issue I was suffering from couldn't. Somehow I would have to come to grips with it and do the best I could.

Unlike the two therapists who came before her, she tried at least to do her job. And, explain what she was doing. The others simply tried to medicate me for anxiety. Then again, back in the day, not much was known about the treatment for bi-polar disorder. At least the recommended treatment wasn't a lobotomy.

When I didn't have any insurance for awhile and was feeling very bad, a friend of mine who also was a veteran suggested I go to the Veterans Administration for help. It was there, nearly ten years ago I was set up with my current therapist. With the turn over at the VA it's hard to believe it's been that long.

Lessons I have learned along the way also are, you only get out of therapy what you put into it. A therapist is not a miracle worker. Also, don't give up if you go to a therapist you don't particularly like. One size does not fit all as far as therapists are concerned. Plus, more and more these days you have a better chance of finding gender help from someone who at the least has some sort of understanding about your issues.

You just have to understand you are a complex human being with very complex issues! 


  1. Two different songs played in my head as I read your post. The first one: "I'd Rather Have a Bottle in Front of Me (Than Have to Have a Frontal Lobotomy") The other, a parody of the Mike Douglas song, "The Men in My Little Girl's Life" changed to "The Therapists in My Little Girl's Life." (There's a girl inside, Her name is Jessie, She wants to come out, But it's oh, so messy) :-)

    I hope you're allowed to contribute to the health care issue surrounding aging trans people. Those of us who are older cannot be sure of how we might be treated, should we become institutionalized. If nothing else, though, we can try to clear the way for younger trans peoples' future. My fear is that, although I can live a positive life, now, because I have the control to do so, institutionalization, effectively, strips me of almost all control. Without my dignity intact, it could be a prolonged and drawn out death.

    1. As you know, we share the same paranoia about growing older. It will be interesting to learn what these people are up to. I was flattered they contacted a transgender individual!


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