Thursday, 31 July 2014

Dealing with low mood

It's another depressing entry into the blog of life I'm afraid but it seems that it comes with the territory of transitioning. I am not normally a negative person, but my whole escapade through the medical part of this journey has led to some very challenging times. I really wanted to do a hormone update to describe a year on them, but this is more relevant to my situation at the moment.

When I finally got through the whole process of 2nd opinion and referral for surgery, I really felt my troubles were over. I was finally on the move towards my gender reassignment surgery (GRS) and in the hands of the Nuffield group who were never going to mess me around. I should have realised it was too good to be true because sure enough there were more problems to overcome. This has come in the form of a lack of funding. As my previous entry described, last Tuesday I was cleared medically for my surgery and then told I would be given no date until the funding situation was sorted.

I have spent the last week having to deal with very up and down feelings. Some days I have been extremely low and others I have managed to pick myself and get on with things. The weekend was not helped by a supposed pair of friends deciding to lash out at me for being selfish in wanting my surgery sooner rather than waiting an undetermined amount of time.

A week on and I am still in a very sensitive place. A part of the reason for this are the emotional changes brought on by the hormones I now take. The daily dose of estradiol I take has changed the way I deal mentally with everything. As a man I could get over a problem like this and then pack it away permanently dealt with. As a woman, it is not so easy and problems need to be revisited. Speaking to cis-women confirms this so I suppose at least this is an affirmation of my gender. 

But it's bloody hard to deal with sometimes. Just this afternoon, after a positive morning, I find myself in tears and struggling to deal with things. I examine why I am like this and it is mainly because I do not know what the situation is. When I was referred, I was told to expect a date for surgery of approximately November or December. If the funding situation does not resolve, I could be expecting April to June next year. If I was contacted tomorrow, and told my surgery was mid May next year, I could probably handle that because at least I would have a goal to aim for. 

To add to the problem, people are being told different things when they go for their pre-op assessment. Some are being told they are going to get dates, and others like myself are being told they wont get dates. This is just adding to everyone's anxiety and tension.

I am also finding that I am having prolonged spells of anhedonia,, which are making day to day life difficult. Things that used to interest me or give me pleasure are not working and it is making for long and difficult days. Sometimes I feel that I am just getting up, getting through the day and then going to bed just to get to the next day. I feel like I am wasting my life and achieving nothing with myself.

Am I depressed? This is a tricky one to answer definitively. I have had periods of this in the past but they have resolved in a number of days. However, I may not get any news on this situation for a number of weeks, possibly September. I do have a friend visiting in a few days and she is staying for nearly two weeks. This should lift me for a time, and perhaps just talking to someone else may help. My partner Mandy has helped by listening, this but sometimes another pair of ears can help in different ways. This is not an criticism of Mandy, but sometimes it's hard to burden those closest to you and they can often struggle to support because they are concerned for you.

Of course my friend will be disappearing in a couple of weeks and I may be back where I was. I do have some projects that I am working on and I am hoping there will be some fruition of those so that I can have some distractions to take me away from this anxiety. Failing that, I am going to have to come up with something to get me out of this mire. If not, I am off to the GP for advice.


  1. Lucy,

    Reading this has been a painful exercise, especially coming from someone I am so fond of and who I know from personal experience gives so much without question. So much of what you've mentioned here we have, of course discussed at length. But nonetheless seeing it all laid out here brings it home to me just how much you are putting up with.

    I am so looking forward to seeing both of you in a couple of days and I hope my presence will help. It's true that I will be heading home at the end of my visit but of course I will not be disappearing, although I realise that was just a figure of speech. I'm always available anytime, if only for a girl's chatter and not much else.

    The delay with the GRS must be an awful load to bear, especially as there is no date available. But rest assured it will come and I look forward to being there when you complete your journey.

    Lots of love

    Susan XXX

  2. Hi Susan,

    Thanks for your comment.

    I know it WILL come, and perhaps I just need to start preparing for next financial year. I received and email from Liz Hills today confirming it in writing that there will be no dates given until the new financial year when funds are available.

    Perhaps it will turn around, perhaps not. One thing I do know, I am not alone in all this as I found out at a meeting last night. I am also not alone in feeling the way I do.

    Lucy x

  3. Dear Lucy, I really do feel for you at this depressingly frustrating time. Although I'm not waiting for GRS, I've been going through a similar experience myself - failing to find pleasure in things I once enjoyed, and bursting into tears at the smallest frustration, or seemingly over nothing at all. I suppose the hormones are a factor, but I've been on them for over 2 years, so surely things would have balanced out by now. Perhaps not.

    My wife does her best to empathise, but even she is becoming critical at times of my 'attitude' to life in general. Thankfully, though, there are good days as well, especially last week when my great friend and surrogate aunt, Sarah, paid us a visit.

    So I do hope that Susan is able to inject a large dose of optimism, sympathy and love into your lives. Good friends, who really understand us, certainly are a blessing.

    Angie x