TESTOSTERONE

Finally, as of Friday 7th July 2017, I am no longer pre-T.

I cannot describe to you the relief I felt from finally, after over 2 years of battling through the NHS and then changing course to private treatment, to be prescribed the wonder liquid that will finally make me outwardly, who I was born to be.

250 mg, 1ml of Sustanon to be injected every 4 weeks.

Just emboldening those words seems too good to be true, like I’m going to wake up from a dream I’ve had too many times to count.

A peculiar feeling I had after having my injection was knowing that this was a life changing thing but feeling exactly the same afterwards – physically that is, mentally I was so relieved, I’ve never been so happy.

I know it’s only been a few days since my shot, but I can’t stop thinking of the exciting changes that are to come, I’m constantly trying to spot something, even a slight development. I recorded a video the night before my shot, and I will be doing recordings every month to see how I’ve progressed.

I’ve also been hitting the gym about 3 times a week, only for 2 weeks so far, but it’s progress and I’ve never felt so motivated.

From here on out it’s onwards and upwards.

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Transitioning Has Made Me A Better Person

I think about the person that I used to be, and I feel completely distant from my past self. Humans have an obsession with the idea of self, our worlds truly do revolve around ourselves. It’s no wonder that throughout my transition I’ve constantly been assessing myself, questioning myself and having conversations with myself. During one of my critical theory seminars, the tutor explained that inside the person is a sense of the ‘other’, and that’s how we can talk to ourselves, we simultaneously detach ourselves while remaining attached to give us to capacity to understand various situations and experiences, especially ones that are difficult.

With that in mind, the conversations I have with myself now and completely different to the ones I used to have before. You could put that down to me growing up, I was a teenager then and now I’m an ‘adult’ (although I don’t really feel like one). But I do think that in exploring who I really am, and working towards it I have given myself the breathing room to become a better person.

Transitioning is probably one of the hardest situations that I have ever gone through, and most likely, will every go through. Those hard times I think have sculpted my character, and so I’ve decided that I need to stop dreaming, praying, imagining if I had been born male, in the correct body. The person I am now, wouldn’t exist if my chromosomes were different. Although it would have been a much easier, less stressful lifestyle, one that I am envious of when I see other guys, I wouldn’t be who I am. I dislike many aspects of myself, but if there’s one thing I do like it’s that I always get back up after getting knocked down. In the past, I couldn’t say that for myself, and I wouldn’t want to give that up just to be ‘normal’.

My Awful Experience With The NHS

The NHS is a great concept, I can’t imagine having to pay either for insurance or for hospital visits, just to have health care. I’m grateful for the NHS because if it didn’t exist my family would be in a great deal of debt because of my mum’s brain surgery, a very expensive procedure. All things considered, it’s a pretty amazing part of the UK, however, my experience with the NHS when transitioning has been nothing but terrible.

It’s taken me a while to write about this, for a number of reasons. Mostly was that I thought eventually the NHS would help me see my hormones through, after having nearly 2 years worth of appointments with them, however, this has not occurred. Every doctor that I have seen has not explained the situation to me, I may not have asked the right questions, I was very nervous at every appointment and I did the best I could. I want to write about my experience so that others can avoid it, or learn from it at least.

I’ve covered all of my appointments on this blog which you can refer back to.

In Wales, they first refer you to a psychiatrist, Step 1 – Diagnosis. I felt like I was finally getting somewhere, the Doctor was brilliant, I had to answer a few personal questions and then I was diagnosed with gender dysphoria – a step in the right direction. I knew at this point that this was going to be a long haul.

Next, I was to see a gender specialist, Step 2 – Ok For Hormones. It was a very short visit, the Doctor said that she saw no problems with me having hormones, which felt like such as relief, I had waited months for this appointment, if I remember rightly, it had been 8 months since my visit to the psychiatrist. I was to be referred to the endocrinologist, which is where all the problems began to unfold.

Step 3 – Bloods. I should have known there was something wrong when I checked myself into the outpatient department for the appointment and they had an address listed for me from 14 years ago. One of the first things the Doctor said to me was that he wasn’t a professional, that he didn’t understand why I was referred to him, but that it wasn’t a waste of a trip because he was an endocrinologist and he could check my blood. It turns out I had been referred to the wrong doctor because of the wrong address, this hospital was the closest to my old address. He then asked me if I could travel every week for treatment. I live in Southampton for University, which is 120 miles away from my hometown, which is about 20 miles away from the hospital I would need to get to every week. I asked if it were possible for me to receive treatment in Southampton, he said he would try, but I didn’t believe that.

I got the phone call that my blood was okay and that I should make an appointment with him to discuss treatment. There was no mention of Southampton at all, so I told the receptionist I would try and find a pathway for myself, probably the hardest thing I’ve tried to do in my transition, and maybe it can be considered a big mistake, but I had to try. I promised myself that I wouldn’t let my transition be a consideration or a deciding factor when choosing my University, especially one that was quite far away. I saw my GP in Southampton, he said he would be happy to give me testosterone injections if he was authorised to do so. I had around 3 appointments with him trying to figure out how to get this done, he wrote to the gender Doctor I had seen, I rang the endocrinologist various times, I wrote to him. I waited weeks, months. To find out that no one could give the go ahead for my GP to give me hormones. My GP told me to transfer back to Wales and have my treatment there, to which I broke down, I had held everything together for so long and I felt like it all came pouring out. But I picked myself up again, I asked the endocrinologist’s receptionist if I could have the appointment to discuss the treatment, with a Dr Adlan, he was the Doctor in the area who specialised in this, who is treating people like me, the doctor I was supposed to have seen. I accepted the fact I would have to travel and waited to hear back. When I rang to check up on the situation the receptionist told me that Dr Adlan had written me a letter which would be in the post soon. I was so excited, this was to be my appointment letter, finally, I would be on testosterone. My first appointment was in 2015, it had to be soon, I felt as if I couldn’t cope anymore, that if I didn’t have a light at the end of the tunnel that I would falter.

The letter came, it wasn’t an appointment. It was practically a dismissal. Dr Adlan told me to see my GP from my hometown, to get her to refer me to a Gender Clinic. So every appointment that I had had for the last 2 years had all been for nothing, and I would be placed on a 2-year waiting list for an NHS Gender Clinic that I could have been referred to when I first went to my GP seeking help. Reading that letter I felt as if I was going to break completely.

My mum had offered from the beginning to go to a private Gender Clinic so I could be seen sooner. I wish I had listened, I didn’t want her to have to pay, I didn’t have a job at the time and I wanted to be able to do it by myself. This stressful experience with the NHS has led me to contact a private Gender Clinic, Gender Care, in London. A friend of mine who began transitioning December of 2016, just gone, had an appointment with them and had his first shot of testosterone last week. If this doesn’t work I don’t know what I’ll do.

Being His Son

I remember writing on this blog how I told my father that I was transgender, how scared I was to tell him, in fact, he was the hardest person to tell. Looking back, I see that I gave him a sort of power, over me. I let him distort the ‘label’ that I was trying hard to battle, but also at the same time, that I was trying to accept.

When I told my dad that I was transitioning to become a man, I told the world at the same time, I came out through Facebook. I don’t agree with putting your whole life on Facebook, I rarely write statuses or update, but because of school, I thought this was the best way for everyone to know so I could continue my life as Nathan. I well and truly left my dad till last. By my 18th birthday, I had been living as a male for nearly a year, I was wearing all male clothes, I was binding my chest, packing occasionally and going by Nathan at home. I remember he came to pick me up to give me my birthday present, he was only going to see me for an hour or two, but that was usual for my dad. I remember when he gave me my present, a pandora bracelet, he thought he had hit the nail on the head with that present, was proud of himself. Along with that, I had a neon pink ’18’ mug, which I actually only threw out yesterday, I’m not sure what I was holding onto, it just makes it obvious the guilt I felt, for taking his daughter away from his. I remember focusing all of my energy to not have a mental breakdown right there in the car, how when I got in I ran upstairs to my room and cried more than I’d cried in a long time. It wasn’t just that I couldn’t handle being addressed as a female, it was also that my dad had reached a point where he didn’t even know me anymore, my likes or interests because he never sees me. My mum spoke to him and explained. But still for months, I was his daughter, he completely ignored everything that my mum had told him.

When he did finally find out through Facebook, the next time I saw him he wanted to speak to me. He kept asking me if I was just a ‘butch lesbian’ because he could be okay with that. I remember once he told me that he understood lesbians because they were sexy and men like that, but gay men made him feel sick because he was a man and he couldn’t imagine it. I think I learned how hypocritical he was then.

This was all months ago, he told me that I shouldn’t think about how this affects him, and I should focus on myself, but those were just empty words. These last few months I’ve had lots of doctors appointments, getting my bloods done ready for hormones, I’ve been messed around by transfers because of University. I tried telling him the dates of my appointments, but he never once asked me how they went. I told my dad that I would be getting hormones in the next 3 or 4 weeks around 4 months ago, because he never asked, he doesn’t know that I was postponed massively because of trying to get treatment in Southampton, where I go to University. As far as he knew I was already on them, but he never asked.

Not to mention when he met my flatmates he said “I’m her father,” I can’t imagine how that would have gone down if I hadn’t of explained that I was transgender to them a few months before and how my dad was slower accepting it.

He’s visited me a few times in Southampton because he had to go to Eastleigh college for a gas course he was doing for work. A few weeks ago he was explaining to me that he can only visit me once a week because of the insurance on the car because it was a work vehicle, he said he’d ask head office if he could use it to visit his daughter

“As far as they’re concerned I’m down here visiting my daughter, they don’t need to know about all this crap.” I’ve been out as transgender for nearly 2 years, and this is what he says to me, and I freeze. I go back to the scared kid who was too afraid to tell his father how he really felt. I should have said something then, but I’m saying something now, and when I did tell him he said he thinks “it’s none of their business”. As much as that’s his choice, he didn’t have to tell me that’s what he said to them, he could have cared enough about me to replace daughter with son, even if that’s not how it really happened, just for my sake. I didn’t fight hard to become who I am, to change all my legal documents with my new name, which cost money, sweat and tears, so that my own father could say these things to me.

I’ve tried so hard proving that I am his son, but after everything, I don’t think I have the energy to prove anything to him anymore.

There’s one person I’m proving myself to, and that’s me.

Late Night Thoughts

Being able to write is liberating, even if no one reads the words, that’s not what matters. What matters is I declutter everything that I have trouble with, I think therapists call that decompartmentalization. The truth is, I never write entirely what I’m thinking or what I feel. I find it hard, to be honest with myself, let alone everyone else. I wouldn’t say I’m lying, I just choose to ignore things. Thoughts, memories, what I see in the mirror sometimes.

Problems seem to pile up, inward problems. They scatter around my head and it’s hard to drown it out. I try music, exercise, my job – nothing seems to work, not in the long run anyway. I wish I was brave enough to write down everything I think and feel, I’m going to try, not in this space. I think if I’m going to start writing down everything then it needs just to be for my eyes, at least, for now.

One thing I struggle with, that I think about a lot, is my choice to be ‘stealth’, to keep my transition a secret. When I use my brain, that makes a lot of sense. I moved over 100 miles away from my home so I could have a fresh start, away from everyone who knew the old me. I didn’t want anyone here to know what came before Nathan, to them, I am what I am. That makes sense, doesn’t it? Wouldn’t acknowledging to people I am transgender basically be telling them what’s in my trousers? It’s not exactly an appropriate topic of conversation. Yet, my heart, it tells me that I’m keeping a secret, that I’m not being true to myself, that I am ashamed of who I am. Which is true, I do feel ashamed, I feel shame when I see how I look without my clothes, that I don’t match up to who I truly am.

People started to say things about me in my seminars, one of my ‘friends’ told me that people kept asking her if I was transgender. That she thought so too. I didn’t know what to do, I just laughed it off, and joked “Well I’m not going to be offended because then that’s derogative to transgender people and I’m a supporter.” But then she started to make jokes, she kept calling me transgender, saying “which bathroom do you use?” I laughed, I don’t know why I laughed, what she was saying was wrong. She said before that she had once thought she had meant to be a boy but it was a phase, and that she was bisexual, so why was she making these jokes? More importantly, why was I letting her make them, why was I laughing too?

When she commented on my profile picture of my girlfriend and me, “what a cute pair of lesbians” I didn’t know what to do. We were away in London, I just wanted to have a nice time, so I deleted the comment and I didn’t tell my girlfriend. In the beginning, people always would call us lesbians, and that label didn’t apply to us, it caused a lot of problems with my identity issues, and my girlfriends, because we were not that label, but everyone thought it was a funny joke to make.

Like the idiot I am, when the girl mentioned I had deleted the comment I just laughed it off. Because I am a coward. What I wanted to say was that I am transgender, and what she said was offensive, insensitive, and even if I wasn’t, she still shouldn’t say things like that. But I’m scared because I know then everyone would find out, and even though we live in a more open society, other guys scare me. Every time I go into the guy’s toilets and there is a gap between the stall wall and the ceiling I’m scared someone is going to look over and see that I have a prosthetic, that they’ll hurt me.

Honestly, I struggle every day. Somedays it is easier, other days, it is the worst I’ve felt so far. It’s hard to look at the positives when it feels as if more negatives are delivered through my front door every time I wake up. I always seem to be kicked when I am down – like the world doesn’t want me to get up, but I keep going, what else is there to do?

I might be sat here right now, regretting the things I didn’t say, or the things that I have said. Kicking myself over how many times I’ve shut myself in the bathroom crying, or I’ve yelled at my girlfriend out of frustration, how jealous I have become of other guys – but I’m still going. I’m not going to stop until I get where I want to be, soon, I will look in the mirror and not see regrets, but be proud of who’s looking back at me.

A Letter To My Past Self

I don’t know what happened to you, it was as if you disappeared more and more every day and then you were suddenly gone. I still have your body but it’s an empty shell, one I had to temporarily fill.

Letting go of you was the hardest thing that I have ever done, like losing a close friend, a piece of myself. To be honest, I didn’t like you much, you were not what I ever wanted to be, I always wanted to be something or someone else.

I don’t know how to say goodbye to you, sometimes you creep up on me, in the dark or when I sleep. I remember the things you did, the rites of passage, how you always tucked your hair behind your ear, sometimes I find myself doing it and then I have to wake myself up.

You treated people badly, selfish is the most common word when I think of you. I think of all the crying you caused, the people you frowned on. I make myself sick remembering what I’ve seen through your eyes.

When I see your name my heart freezes, when I hear it I feel as if a ghost has walked right through me. I never would admit it, but you are dead, and the truth is, I’m the one who killed you.

But I can’t be sorry for that.

Nathan

I Feel Tortured

I always thought that the more I was used to transitioning, the methods, the life, it would become easier. Instead, I feel tortured, there is a constant pulse in the back of my head.

I feel so uncomfortable in my body that the only way to describe it is that even my bones feel uncomfortable as if I don’t fit in my own skin. Sometimes I sit and I stare at my hands and I feel like they don’t belong to me.


“The soul is a prison of the body.”

(Michel Foucault)


That’s the most accurate quote I can find to describe what is happening to me. I look in the mirror and I hate myself, nothing seems to fit; my voice, my appearance, my clothes. Everything is wrong.

Most of the time when I’m out in public I look at other men and I am jealous. The greenest that I have ever felt because they have everything that I’ve never been able to have, and rediculously, I feel like they take this for granted, I know I would.

One word keeps coming to my mind.

Depression.