Monday, 6 May 2013

Interesting Therapy Session

This should have been written at the weekend, along with my first Scrum post (that's right, still not there yet!).  But something got in the way.  And that something was beautiful weather, a garden set and a sparkling water with slice of lemon.  (After drinking too much over the weekend something light, refreshing and, above all non alcoholic was called for!).

But, I now have some time before bed.  Some time that I was going to use to make my first MVC web application (ug, I have to say at the moment I hate it - I hope I like it more as I get used to it as it's what we are using for the companies web site for the coming years...).

So...  After that rather long winded and rambling start on to the main course!

I had a great weekend (too much alcohol, home made marbled chocolate and vanilla cheesecake and good friends) and it started with a therapy session.  The first in a while.

You see late last year my therapist asked whether or not I felt OK with working up to stopping therapy.  It has to happen at some point, I was doing really well and as he said it's not something that is supposed to go forever.

And I was OK with it. Until the last few weeks when things have gone really downhill.  Not in life, but just in how delicate I am feeling at the moment.

So...  We started the session and I said about the good stuff that is happening.  It's always good to remember the good things and to make sure that you don't allow yourself to get negative.

But... There the times when I said "Except for", "Mainly good" and "That was not great, but I'm sure we'll get to that".

It has been three months since he last saw me and he was astounded at how much I have changed in that time.  I asked my normal question, "In a good way I assume?" "Of course in a good way! Would I have said it like that if it wasn't!?" (He has been telling me for the last three years that I have to learn to recognise and accept compliments...) As he said my body is *really* receptive to the hormones that I am on.

We talked about my growing narcissism, the fact that since I have started to recognise myself in the mirror the reflection just memorises me. Not that I think I am great looking,  just that after spending all my life not having any connection with the person in the reflection that I now do.  It's me.  And it really is me! It still feels strange just typing it!

Anyway, he commented on just how debilitating not actually having that connection with the reflection is, and  the fact that once it is there it's perfectly natural to be memorised - he compared it to when a baby first realises that the person it can see is in fact themselves. And on top of that the hormones are currently running in as teenage girl where making sure that the reflection is one that they like and are proud enough of.  I have the pleasure of both situations at the same time.

He is not concerned about my narcissism. In fact he told me not to call it that at all.  He told me that he would be far more worried if I was *not* looking in the  mirror and being hypnotised by seeing myself.

Of course we moved on to the bad stuff.  The fatigue, the concentration issues and the delicate / fragile feelings.  Crying for no reason, not being able to cope with things.  Not fun.

I said that I assumed that after coping so well for the three years and not having to use my extra holiday days for emergencies, but actually being able to plan time off to recuperate that it was finally catching up with me and I was breaking.

He sat smiling as I said this, and when I got to the point about being called by the VU about the plastic surgeon he started to nod at me.

No, he said, it isn't that you are finally cracking.  It's not that you are at risk of dropping into a depression that you have been holding off for the last three years.

It is about a new phase of the process and a new phase of life.  I think I may have mentioned that I am terrified.  And he confirmed, there is a chance that you do not wake up from the operation. That is is one of the longest they have - and when it's held it is that long that it is *the* operation of the room for that day - other ops are scheduled around this, not the other way around.

That there is a recovery process to go through.  And some of it is not pleasant. That there are a whole range of recoveries from really not pleasant to really quick and easy.

And that the recovery is going to eat into your time.

It is a major event and should not be under estimated, and my falling apart recently is not something to be scared of of worried about.  It's normal at this stage. Different people may react differently, but when this bit is reached it's a big moment.

And don't bottle it up.  When you need time, you take the time.  If you think you can only work 80% then you need to have it organised that you are sick for 20% and that  the workload is changed accordingly. In order for my boss to be fair with me I have to be open with him.

And savour it. This is something that will never happen to me again. Sure, it may not be the best emotions at the moment, but they are correct for the point in the process and being afraid of them and hiding them is not going to help.

And remember the same for the operation and recovery time. Work is unimportant at that time.  I am lucky enough to have very a understanding employer.  Both my boss and HR have said that I should stop stressing about work during that time.  That I will have more important things on my mind at that time!

And everything that has to be done afterwards.  I have to stop trying to work out how I am going fit everything into 24 hours and start to think about how I am going to make the process my own - to learn the new me. (I still don't know how to do that, I know I need to, but am not there yet...)

And that after everything he has said, in 15 years of him helping transsexual patients he has never known of a single death.

It was a great session, it was a hard session and I think the one in 4 weeks will be just as hard. We have decided that 4 times a year is not a good idea and gone back to 4 weeks.  If it needs to be shorter we'll make it shorter!

Sorry if that is a bit rambling, I started to type and it just sort of happened :)


  1. You have a wonderful therapist, Stace. :c) And I'm glad you're going to go more frequently too.

    I'll drop you a line privately. This was thought-provoking, and answered some questions I've been pondering.

    Hope you're feeling better!!!

    == Cass

    1. Hey Cass!

      He is a great therapist, and whilst a few weeks ago I would have still said I was winding down therapy I am now very happy that I'm going back to monthly.

      I'm glad that it's a useful post. As I said at the end I got part way through and it kind of just came out without me having to think to much (not always a good way to get a post out!)

      Getting there still!


  2. Take care of yourself Stace

    1. I'll do my very best, I promise!

  3. Stace,
    You've got a great therapist there, to go from looking at working to stop your therapy to increasing the frequency he certainly knows his stuff.

    As Cass said that was very thought-provoking.

    I'm looking at getting my second opinion this time next year with the intention of surgery at the end of next year. My therapist has said that there are things I need to think and talk about in the next year. Some of the things that you've mentioned will be what I'm going to have to think about too.

    So thank you for the prompts.

    Take care

    1. Since I started to go to him he has been great. He has given me some great advice, and of course has made me think through the transition whilst I was making my mind up. And all without pushing either to or against until I said what I knew I had to do.

      And as he used to work for the clinic you can say that he is quite experienced :) In fact I have the idea that the help he gives is the help that the psychologists at the clinic would love to be able to give if there was enough time in the week...

      And thanks, I'm glad it wasn't just another ramble!