Dysphoria is something everyone experiences differently. For me it was something I could neatly lock in a box with Emma, for months, sometimes years at a time, and not think about. But it would never really go away. It was something which would come and go in waves, each wave being taller, and harder to ignore than the one before it.
Each time a wave hit, I would try to explain it away. Clinging on to excuses. I am a very analytical thinker, an engineer by trade, and these feelings simply weren’t logical.
Then about two years ago, after being hit by a tsunami sized wave, I was at place in my life where I was genuinely unhappy with myself. I simple wasn’t the person I felt I should have been, and it was at this time that I found myself at a junction. I had to decide whether or not I could go on living like this.
Suicide wasn’t an option. Not that I haven’t ever thought about it, but I didn’t want to die. I just didn’t want to be who I was. This really only left me with one option, it was time to address my misery and start researching what I was experiencing.
I went on Amazon where I purchased at least ten books including biographies like “She’s not there” by Jennifer Boylan, and more general educational books like “Transgender 101” by Nicolas Teich.
I also searched the inter-webs for all, and any information which seemed relevant in my quest for knowledge. This included many hours of articles on various blogs and forums, as well as 100’s of hours worth of YouTube videos. Some of my favorite YouTuber’s being:
A Girl for All Seasons
While I didn’t always agree with what these people had to say, I appreciated their honesty, and I found it helpful to see others like me living fulfilling lives, post-transition. Something I didn’t think possible for much of my life.
In addition to my research, I also knew I needed to talk to someone. To seek professional help. It took me close to a year to finally work up the courage to contact a therapist. It takes a lot of trust to open up to someone, and I hadn’t trusted anyone with this secret for more than three decades.
Once I finally started contacting therapists in my area via the Psychology Today web site, it didn’t take long to narrow down my options, and make my first appointment.
I was super nervous at my first appointment with Rochely. She was warm and welcoming, but I was a mess never-the-less. I tried to tell her why I was there, but remained rather reserved for the first few visits with her. I realize that this probably didn’t work in my favor, but I needed time to warm up to the idea of sharing this with another human being. Not to mention I needed time to truly come to terms with who I am.
Rochely believed in me from the onset, and accepted me as I was, without judgement. She challenge me, forcing me to ask myself questions I may not have otherwise considered asking. My time with Rochely was something I grew to look forward to. I was antsy to tell her about any new milestones I had crossed, big or small.
I am thankful for the time I was able to spend with her, as I feel it helped me gain confidence in myself and who I am. My time with her wasn’t helpful because she gave me the answers, or told me what to do, it was helpful because she challenged me to look for answers within myself.