Tag Archives: therapy

Mid-month update

I seem to be stuck updating biweekly…

Therapy: not as intense as last time, but stressful nonetheless.  Talked about how I dissociate so much, both deliberately and involuntarily.  How it makes me feel safer.  How when I cried happy tears the other day, I had no idea why my eyes were watery and it confused me, and how once I realized I was happy-crying I was even more confused because how could I not know that’s what I was doing?  I have serious mind/body disconnect issues, and I want to fix it.

Reading: Saturday I started reading a book that wasn’t fanfic.  Since then I’ve read four more books and am almost done with a fifth.  The last one I finished was a novel, which delighted me.  I want to read more fiction.  I hope this lasts for a while.  Oh, yeah, and three were paper books.  Maybe I need to switch back to physical books.  Yay for good libraries!

Biking: still at it.  I’m having to take shorter rides now, though, because long ones hurt my bad knee.  I have dual rear baskets now so I can run more nearby errands on my bike.  In a little bit I’ll be riding to my sister’s to babysit…

Crafting: My ex-MIL loved the washcloths I made for her birthday.  I finished the pillow for my nephew, only for him to tell me one of the colors was wrong.  (Never mind that he had picked it out.)  So I’m waiting on new yarn to come in.  I warped for my tunic but haven’t started weaving yet.  I haven’t finished the dishcloth I started a few days ago, because I’ve been reading so much.  I got the yarn for Mom’s birthday present (washcloths that match her bathroom decor) but haven’t started those.  (Gotta finish the dishcloth first, as it uses the same needles I need for the washcloths.)  Oh, and Friday I cut out all the pieces for the change purses I’m making.  Now I just need to figure out how to sew on the zippers.  Haven’t done any spinning in a couple of months.

Mental stuff: much less depressed.  Not napping often.  Not eating junk food.  Still dissociating but not as much.  So, better overall.  I’ve been having more good days than bad.  Never did hear back from Hillary’s campaign.  I should call again.

Also… this is going to sound weird and sad.  For the last couple of years I’ve only had a libido when really depressed.  Like, I only get myself off when I’m miserable, because when I feel better I’m not interested.  What does it say about me, that arousal is a sign of depression for me?  I get anhedonic except for lust, and even then I frequently feel desire without being able to do anything about it.  But today I got turned on while in a good mood.  It felt weird, but I’m happy about it.

Also, watching cisgender porn as a trans person is hard.  Because my private fantasies are always with me in a male body, and so sometimes gay porn is awesome, but then like today I wanted to see my own physiology reflected so I was watching straight porn.  Neither feels quite right, but there’s a lack of good trans BDSM porn featuring submissives whom I can identify with even a little.  Stupid transgender problem #873987984789375…

Upcoming plans: Thursday I finally see the dentist.  (My appointment was rescheduled because of the last hurricane.)  Pride festival is Saturday, and I’m going to go for at least a little while.  Next weekend I’m going to a craft fair with Mom and ex-MIL.  In November there will be hiking in Georgia.  And cello lessons!  I resume those on Nov. 3rd.

Cycling, therapy, cello, etc.

Cello: I have cancelled my lessons for the month of October.  I need to go to the dentist instead.  Joy.

Therapy: Today’s lesson dealt with some unpleasant shit from when I was a teenager.  It was kind of awful.  Afterwards I went to the Harn Museum of Art to make myself feel better.  Except, parking was $4 and I had no cash.  Sigh.

Depression: The Sunday before last I decided to try to get a part-time job, just stocking shelves at the grocery or something.  The stress of putting together my resume made me suicidally depressed for the next three days.  So that’s not really an option.  I’m trying to volunteer for Hillary’s campaign, but haven’t gotten a call back yet about when to come in.

Crafting: I’m knitting a pillow for my youngest nephew, and knitting three washcloths for my ex-MIL as a birthday gift.  Both projects are by request.  Today I set up a spreadsheet for planning weaving projects, and I really need to warp for my black and green tunic.  And do some sewing.  Can’t focus on anything that requires brain cells at the moment.

Reading: I’ve been so scattered I haven’t been able to read anything, even slash.  Annoying.

Cycling: padded bike underwear are awesome.  They feel like wearing a overnight-strength maxi pad, but because of them I’ve been able to ride two days in a row.  Nine miles yesterday, at the Gainesville-Hawthorne Trail, and seven miles today, around my part of town.  It helps that it’s been in the low 70s in the mornings!  More about biking under the cut.

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Transmasculinity vs. male oppression

I had a weird session with my therapist today.  I was trying to explain a problem to her, and she just wasn’t getting it.  So I’ll try to explain it here.  If it’s coherent — and please, give me feedback, especially if you’re a cis-het person — I’ll send a version to my therapist.

Some humans are assholes.  A percentage of those people are cisgender heterosexual men.  This subset of assholes (a majority of whom are white here in America) have more power than the other subsets to make other humans miserable.  Sexism is part of the fabric of our culture.  It’s getting better, but it’s still there.  I watch the women I’m close to experience this sexism, and so it’s on my mind pretty frequently.

I do not identify as a woman, but I identify with women.  Do you see the difference?  I see the sexism and I cringe.  I get angry.  It makes me dislike the fact that I am mostly masculine.  (Mostly.)  It’s hard to see the good in my masculinity when I see so many masculine people being utter douchebags.  It doesn’t help that every time I go into an online space for trans men I see just as much misogyny as I do among cis-het men.  There’s a lot of butching it up when trans guys get together, it seems, and it grosses me out a little.

Given the choice I’d rather be non-masculine.  But I’m not going to deny my identity just because of douchebaggery.  I’m transgender and non-binary.  But I hate that I have that connection with assholes.

My therapist didn’t get this.  She thought I should just ignore the sexism and focus on other things.  I’m not focused on sexism, I just refuse to stick my head in the sand like she does.  So we went around and around, and when the session was over I was even more frustrated.

The Valkyrie says I’m not guilty by association, that I can be responsible and point out sexism and not be an asshole.  I try.  I am generally aware of sexism when it happens, and I do what I can to fight it.  But… yeah, I still don’t feel good about my identity.  Sigh.

Going on HRT

I’ve been struggling with a deep and persistent depression as of late.   I have brief periods where I feel a little better, but mostly I don’t give a fuck about anything including myself.  I would quit taking my meds entirely if the Valkyrie didn’t make me.  I’ve given up.  I don’t care anymore.

My therapist and the Valkyrie think I should try a low dose of testosterone.  I’ve been resistant to the idea, but apparently low doses can be helpful for dealing with dysphoria (including dysphoria-caused depression) without me turning into Buck Angel.  Therapist has had some trans clients go on small doses to achieve androgyny, which appeals to me.  I’ve always wanted to be on the masculine side of androgynous in the way I look.  So maybe that could work.

If it doesn’t work, T only lasts 8 days in the body, so if I went off it I’d be back to my former self in a week.  So the risk isn’t too terrible.  I’m nervous as fuck, but it seems like a reasonable option and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little excited.

I wanted to make the appointment today, but the doctor’s office closes early on Fridays.  So I’ll call Monday morning.  I’ll actually be at her office Wednesday with the Valkyrie, so maybe I’ll ask her to just send in the prescription — we’d already done an HRT consultation a couple of months ago, and she should still have my therapist letter on file.  Wish me luck.

Today in therapy: it’s all about reactions

Therapist told me an analogy she hear once from a NAMI instructor who taught the family members of mentally ill people about coping with the disease. Imagine this: you’re wading in the ocean up to your knees. A wave comes. To a neurotypical person, the wave hits your waist and passes by. For a sick person, it’s like a tsunami — threatening, overpowering, a crisis. Totally accurate. If a neurotypical person has a bad day, it may suck. But the same this that cause that person’s bad day can drive a mentally ill person to a dangerous and scary place.

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Busy couple of days

Taking a break from finishing a paper for school that’s due tomorrow.  I’m going to finish it tonight.  Then I can relax for a couple of days: finish weaving my rainbow scarf, play with the kittens lots, and hang out with my BFF and her house guest who is awesome.

Kitten update: they are so sweet, and so cute, and so loving.  They like to lay on the Valkyrie, especially, and wrestle on her.  Every time I stand up in the bedroom Loki (yes Boycat has a name now) hugs my feet and tries to groom them.  I’ve given up on walking fast in there.  :D  Girlcat (who doesn’t have a name yet) comes up and nuzzles my feet when I stand still.  Loki loves bellyrubs and being held.  Girlcat likes snuggling against us, and is very chatty.

We are very happy cat parents.

Exercise: Yesterday I did a 1.28 mile walk, and gave myself today off from working out.  Between homework and sore muscles, I thought this the prudent thing to do.  Tomorrow I’ll do another bodyweight workout.

Therapy today: figured out that my reluctance to get homework done and finish my degree is related to the fact that I’ve realized I’ll probably never have a normal career because of my mental illness.  It’s depressing.  It’s furthered by the fact that I can’t go to grad school this fall because of said illness.  Made me want to give up.  I’m going to get this damn paper done, though.  As long as I pass, even with C’s, I’ll be happy.  Wish me luck.

Therapy: my dissociation habit

Note: no one may care about this but me.  I’m totally okay with this.

Just got off Skype with my therapist, Ann.  (I figure her name’s common enough I might as well use it.)  I had a rather startling realization during the session — that my dissociating from reality and hiding in what I call “Fantasyland” when I’m severely depressed is actually similar to the way other depressed people might use alcohol or drugs.  It’s something that temporarily helps by letting me escape the pain, but is terrible for me in the long run because I can’t function in the real world when I do it.  So I’m going to try to reframe it so that it’s not my safety net anymore and is instead something negative.

Another useful thing from the session is making an Evernote notebook of reminders about good things in my life — a digital “happy box”, basically.  Something to look at when I’m having problems with depression or anxiety.  Pics of the Valkyrie and my family, cute cat pics found online, screencap of my last semester’s grades, a file of stupid jokes, etc.  So I’m going to set that up today after I get some homework done.

And finally, Ann said that when she was back in school a prof told her class that on average, a person thinks 8 negative things when looking in the mirror (not necessarily about one’s looks, either).  Prof said it takes 3 positives to counteract a negative, so I’m taping a list to the bathroom mirror.  It’s one of those ideas that sounds dumb but actually works.

I hope that when I get my MSW I can be at least half as good a counselor as Ann is…