Wednesday, January 11, 2023

No Mo Therapy?

Photo from the
Jessie Hart
Collection

Over many many years, my Veterans Administration therapist  has remarkably stayed the same. I am talking about going back to approximately 2009. Over the years she has helped me begin my hormone replacement therapy and provided me the documents needed to secure my feminine gender markers. Including the important paperwork to change all my VA gender markers also.

It is important to note I was initially given a VA therapist because of my bi-polar/anxiety issues which I needed to prove were not part of my gender dysphoria. Out of all the available therapists, I was lucky to be assigned to one (way back then) who had a basic knowledge of LGBTQ issues. I did not have to work very hard, or at all, to explain to her my bi-polar depression had nothing to do with my gender issues. Both were totally different topics for discussion. Early on I was very nervous talking to her. Once I became comfortable, my words flowed as well as my ideas and I was prescribed certain medications to deal with my depression and anxiety. As far as my gender dysphoria went, we all know so far there was/is no magic potion to deal with my gender closet problems.

Fortunately too I didn't have to educate my therapist on the basics of being a transgender person. She already knew some of the basics. On the other hand, she changed my expectations of what therapy should offer. Along the way I didn't see any major miracles but rather a smooth transition into my life and how I could make it better. She always stood by me in offering suggestions of how I could make my VA experience better when new and improved services came along for the transgender community such as free wigs or breast forms. 

Sadly or not for all of the right reasons, all of our sessions had become relatively routine. For years now my moods have been stable due to meds and my own coping mechanisms. Plus my gender dysphoria now is also fairly stable. What triggers it now is usually lifelong issues with the public all the way to my morning meeting with the mirror. Over the years, I have come to the conclusion the process is one I will have to deal with for the rest of my life.

During our last session, we decided to shut down my VA therapy and give up my slot to a person who needed it more fully. I have her to thanks for much of the progress I have seen over the years and if I regress at all, my therapist is still just a phone call away. I am fortunate also in that my wife Liz is also in tune with my moods and can usually pull the problem out of me. It is sadly one of the negatives I have continued to fall back on from my male past is a tendency to hold my problems in and not talk about them. I am trying to do better daily.

Overall, I view my therapy as a rite of passage I needed to undergo. I know I was lucky to be placed with a VA therapist who helped me so completely. It was with her help I made it to a point of "No-Mo" therapy. February the fourth will be our final outtake session and it will be bittersweet at it's best.   

2 comments:

  1. I think it says a lot for both of you that you can now stop. It was one of the many areas of confusion in my life, was my depression linked to my gender difficulties i.e. was I depressed about something, or did I suffer with depression?

    ReplyDelete