Penny's Story

A cute little drummer living her dream.

The Hormone Letter – Two Years Later

One of the things I’ve been doing as sort of surgery-prep is to try and get my house in as much order as it ever is; I’ve been finding lots of cool artifacts from my life.

The other day I found the letter that my therapist wrote to approve the start of my hormone therapy two years ago. Reading it now, at such a different place in my life, was very profound.  I wanted to share some of it in my blog:

 

Ms. Larson is a 36-yo, White, married (divorcing), MtF transsexual woman who has been presenting full-time as a woman since 9/06. Based on 2 years and 5 months of regular weekly therapy (start date 8/04), and following two consultations with the transgender clinical team regarding hormone therapy in the past 4 months, I am documenting my support of Ms. Larson’s pursuing hormone therapy with her medical provider.
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Gender History
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Ms. Larson has a long history of gender dysphoria and questioning of her gender identity, although this process was repressed for many years. In childhood, she had surgery for an undescended testicle and was told that “a mass” was removed. She is the only child of a single mother, and this event marks some of her earliest memories of gender expectations from her mother, which were instrumental in her identity formation and the beginning of her repressing her female gender identity. Ms. Larson has a childhood history of self-harm directed at her male genitals.
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Ms. Larson has long identified as bisexual, has had relationships with men and women, and has incorporated gender-bending into those relationships throughout her adulthood. When she began therapy, she identified primarily as a cross-dresser, but was also beginning to use her female name on a more regular basis, and she presented primarily as gender neutral. Over the course of therapy, she has carefully explored and considered the gradual steps she has taken in her gender transition, including presenting as primarily feminine, body/face hair removal, medication for hair loss, taking her female name full-time, coming out socially and at work, presenting as a woman full-time, and changing her name legally. The significant limiting factor in her transition had been her desire to preserve her marriage to a woman who identifies as heterosexual. Over the past 8 months, the couple has separated, and Ms. Larson has been grieving and accepting that loss. In recent months, Ms. Larson has identified as a transsexual woman, or simply as a woman.
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Differential/current Diagnosis and Mental Health History
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Psychotherapy and psychopharm have addressed Ms. Larson’s anxiety and depression, in addition to gender issues. Currently she is prescribed ****** and ******. She is diagnosed with social phobia and has suffered occasional panic attacks. She is also diagnosed with major depression and has dealt with chronic but intermittent suicidal ideation. Suicidal ideation alleviated for some time when she first began ******, then recurred as she was facing the crisis in her marriage. She reports that it has remitted since late December [2006] when she experienced her only near-attempt and her only psychiatric hospitalization. While I recommend close monitoring regarding the effects of hormone therapy on mood, it is hoped that the further alleviation of gender dysphoria will have an overall positive effect in this area. Ms. Larson also has a history of PTSD following an especially traumatic car accident.”

 

Wow, right?

The part that always makes me break down and cry is the part about “childhood history of self-harm directed at her male genitals.” I usually try to tune that out. I had been in therapy for several months before I even brought it up. I did a lot to myself; I tied up my penis, I taped it inside my body, I tried to twist it off with a pair of pliers; I ~hurt~ myself. I was like six years old or so. It sucks to remember it, but I think the worst part was the confussion I felt as a child. I knew ~something~ was wrong; I knew that I wanted to do things to hide parts of my body, but I had no idea why. That’s what makes this part so hard to read, not the physical pain that I inflicted on myself, but the confusion that led to it. I wish someone could have noticed what was going on (though I hid all of this very well) and helped me sooner. There was just so much loneliness and confusion.

Ah, well…

It’s always amazing reading a summation of me from someone else’s perspective, especially my therapist’s. I brag about my therapist all the time; I think she is absolutely brilliant and incredible, does an amazing job of seeing me and understanding what I’m saying, and is just a good “fit” with my personal style. It’s been incredible working with her for these four and a half years. Reading this over again just makes me see how much she has always been able to see me, follow me where I’ve needed to go, and be an incredibly helpful partner and guide in my journey.

It’s always hard reading about my divorce, or course, but that was inevitable. My ex and I were two straight women trying to make a very unique marriage work. The more I accepted the reality of who I truly am, the more obvious it was that we just wouldn’t be able to stay married. My ex was ~much~ quicker at recognizing that than I was.  lol  And the fact that we are amazingly close friends now (after a period of estrangement) just proves to me how special our relationship has always been and will continue to be.

Some of the stuff just seems foreign at this point. I can’t even remember what suicidal ideation feels like. I had those sorts of thoughts chronically for over twenty years, but they’re just gone – I haven’t seen them in years. The social phobia, too; I’m still not the absolute most outgoing person in the world, but I love meeting new people and being with people, and I’m not all that scared of speaking in public, either. Weird. I’m off all the psych drugs, which feels amazing. I don’t really identify as bisexual anymore, either. I seem pretty exclusively attracted to men (except when my boyfriend is cross-dressed, but that seems like a very special exception, since I still want what ~he~ has hiding in ~her~ panties).

I’ve come so far in these last two years, and it’s nothing compared to the two years before this was written. I am so much healthier, happier, more functional, and a million other positive things.

I do seem to be getting very reflective as my GRS approaches, which I guess is natural. I feel like I’m on the verge of beginning the rest of my life; and while I know nothing in the real sense of my day-to-day life will change after surgery, it does seem an appropriate time to just be still and appreciate the journey I’ve been on, and the journey that is yet to be…

“The greatest adventure is what lies ahead.”
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