Callback

My referral to the gender clinic was sent back and I’ve been to my psychiatrist for some complementary questions. Mostly the clinic wanted to know how I felt during my teenage years and the reason I was seeking the referral now and why I haven’t brought it up in therapy earlier. I answered all the questions truthfully as I always do when asked questions, partly out of my beliefs and partly because I’m incapable of lying. After the session I started to think that I should have answered the questions differently and emphasized my gender dysphoria more. But on the other hand this whole process is about being totally honest to and about myself, so answering the questions differently would have been counter productive in that aspect, and if that means I won’t get the help I want from the gender clinic, it’s the clinics rules that are faulty – not me or my answers.
I didn’t experience severe dysphoria during my teenage years, but on the other hand I didn’t feel much of anything during my entire childhood. My parents always taught me to act logically, not emotionally, and eventually I lost contact with all my emotions. All my feelings were on lock-down and I didn’t know how anger felt, or love, happiness, sadness, pride or any other feeling for that matter, like dysphoria. That, combined with my poor knowledge of trans people (the only trans people I knew of was cis, male transvestites). While I didn’t have outspoken dysphoria, I never felt connected to my body either. I’ve always felt like it’s someone else’s body that’ve been attached to my head but not having a set idea of how my body should have looked like. I never embraced my body, breasts and period. I never felt joy of being labeled as girl/lady/woman or looking forward to be a wife and mother. I didn’t object either, but I feel that’s because I didn’t know there were alternatives.
I’ve always known that I don’t identify as female, even before I knew about trans* people, but I’ve never seen it as a problem or anything fixable. I had accepted that I just was odd and had made peace with my body by ignoring it. Through intense therapy over more than 15 years I slowly started to reconnect with my feelings, acknowledging how angry I am over how my parents treated and continue to treat me, working through many childhood memories and managing my anxiety. Less and less of my time and energy is now consumed by thinking and dealing with these things which leaves space to think of other issues. I think that’s the reason I’ve only started to deal with my gender issues over the last year. The whole thing of noticing how I feel about different things is still new to me and my feelings take me by surprise most of the time. When I started to talk about my gender identity and noticing my feelings concerning it I realized that I’m not in between gender as I’ve always thought of myself, but a trans man. I thought I had to live with my female body forever and tried making peace with that thought but couldn’t. Now that I’ve actually started to noticing how I feel I can never go back or turn it off. It’s really annoying actually, I’ve always been able to “turn off” my thoughts and feelings when they threaten to overpower me or be of inconvenience, but now they’re always on without a volume control! So while my gender issues might appear new since I haven’t talked much about them before, they have always been there and now I can’t shush them up anymore.

6 thoughts on “Callback

  1. I respect your decision to deal with the gatekeepers honestly. There are two schools of thought on gatekeepers, tell them what they want to hear in a stereotypical trans narrative and present as masculinely as possible at all appointments, or tell them the truth in all its messy glory. It is not an easy choice, because they can be a petty obstructionist bureaucracy – but if you get a good person the psychologist can help you understand what is going on/what went on. It is a mixed bag. I’m also a bad liar, so I’ve been honest as well (but in a private health care system, not a national health system).
    I don’t think you should have to defend your decision to deal with it now, or explain that your repression delayed your realization. For the record (and it is nothing to brag about) I waited longer in therapy to deal with it – I had to deal with trust issues and transference issues before I could talk about it.

    Like

    • From what I’ve heard the Swedish system is fairly good and open minded, including treatments for non-binary trans people. If they were more “strict” I would probably act differently.

      Like

  2. I was lucky to get a open-minded and well-informed gatekeeper (on the third try)! I went in and said in the first session, ‘I don’t fit the dominant trans* narrative’ and was so happy to find out that was okay. My biggest fear was not being perceived as masculine enough, but this wasn’t an issue at all. I still had to go through all the assessment questions, which was very intrusive, but thankfully, I had already settled on and felt comfortable with an identity as a queer trans man. It took me a couple of years and a handful of therapists to arrive at this conclusion (that mental chatter you mention), but I now feel I’m on the other side of that mess and can move forward in the process of affirming my gender medically!

    Like

  3. I’m so happy once again to empathize with your writings, the way you phrase your trans experiences feel so far like mirror images 😕 I really appreciate the honesty, and the truthfulness in therapy because you are protecting yourself by doing it.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s