Transgender versus Bi-Polar
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Years ago, when I was diagnosed having a Bi-Polar disorder, suddenly a portion of my life I had struggled through so long made sense. At the time I was going through terrible long lasting mood swings that often lasted for days on end. On some days I found it very difficult to even get out of bed and go to work. Plus, to make matters worse I tried to self medicate with immense amounts of alcohol. At the time I was seeing one of the only gender psychologists in Ohio at the time. Ironically, she almost said immediately she couldn't "cure" my gender desires to be a girl but started to question me in depth concerning the immense mood swings I was suffering through. After a very short time she explained to me my moods were not all attributed to my gender dysphoria but in reality I was suffering Bi-Polar issues.
At the time, I was relieved. She started me on medications which I remain on to this day. In addition I was able to separate the problems which were hurting my everyday life. At times it seemed unfair I needed to live with being transgender as well as Bi-Polar at the same time. But who ever said life would be fair (said my parents).
Once I found my way into the Veteran's Administration health care system, I needed to separate my two main issues. I certainly did not want one issue to interfere with the other and somehow the "experts" would say my Bi-Polar condition was due to me being transgender. Then my quest to be approved for hormone replacement therapy would be rejected. At this time I was assigned to a therapist I would never forget. Destiny was smiling on me and way back then there were few therapists who knew little to nothing about transgender issues. Defying all the odds, I was assigned to one of the few VA therapists who did. She never questioned my two issues and immediately began to fill out and approve the paperwork to allow me to begin HRT. At the same time she cleared the way for me to continue my Bi-Polar treatment so my moods and excess anxiety was kept under control. I was with my therapist non stop until last month when both of us decided it was time to conclude our sessions since so many others needed it too and VA staffing levels weren't getting any better. I am extra fortunate also to have an understanding wife who can help with any of my mental health issues.
In my past I have encountered several other transgender individuals who said as soon as they completed their gender transition all their anxiety and/or depression faded away. I was just not as fortunate. For better or for worse it seems my Bi-Polar issues are irrevocably intertwined with me being a transgender woman. It is something I just had to learn to live with. With a lot of help!
There is no question that addressing your gender issues reduces anxiety which I can also attest to. We try ignoring and distracting ourselves but nothing works until it is faced head on. Our level of happiness and calm increase :)ReplyDelete
Recently Abigail Thorne (of Philosophy Tube fame) said that gender dysphoria does not exist which I take great exception to. It does and it cannot be ignored.