It's official now, I can no longer lay as much blame hormone levels on my recent emotional difficulties as I would like. I received my results on Monday and they are sat at a low but within range level. I see my GP tomorrow and will attempt to persuade her to increase my dose but she is well entitled to leave things as they are. I still do not feel my levels are quite right for me and there is a large scope for a safe increase. I hope she can realise that I am not just thirsting for more oestrogen as some seem to want to. I feel low in mood and virtually none of the feminising effects from before surgery have returned.
So, I can no longer attribute the majority of my issues on the hormones and need to examine closer the reasons as to why I feel so low at the moment. I am generally in a better place than I was. I wrote about turning a corner a few weeks ago, and still feel that I am on the improve. However, there are times when it comes crashing back down and it takes very little to make this happen. I have been talking to others about this and it is becoming quite apparent that this post-op experience is very common.
When talking to someone very recently, I used the term "fog of war". I first came upon this term from playing many simulation games such as Civilization and they commonly use this term to denote game-play mechanics. It is a military term that was coined a couple hundred years ago and I feel about my whole transitioning as being in a fog of war.
War would be a very good term to equate the whole process. From my entry into the gender clinic, I did battle from day one. My fights varied from serious clinical errors to therapists not following clinic protocols and even outright lies from admin staff. I had to take them all on, writing complaint after complaint. It was fatiguing and battle weary was how I felt when I finally got everything on track for the final part of my treatment, my GRS. Of course even that was delayed as this blog has described. The fog side of things was the fact that everything else in my life was completely obscured because of being so driven with getting through my transitioning. I could not see any of my other issues developing, let alone even think about dealing with them. I had to be so driven and hardened that I now feel I have not given myself time to myself to deal with my emotions.
Of course now although my journey is far from over, the transitioning actually is on a practical level. There are no more major fights that I can anticipate and suddenly this fog of war has now lifted. The view is very clear and at I can see everything ahead of me. Issues that were obscured have now come into sharp focus and at times I am completely overwhelmed.
The weekend just gone brought just one such issue into my mind. Increasingly I am finding the phenomenon of triggering becoming much more common in myself. This is where an event, a phrase or even a single word brings home an unpleasant reality or memory. I was always quite resilient to triggers before my surgery but now they can be quite devastating. I was triggered in one such way on Sunday and I became very distressed because of it. It brought home a serious issue that I had ignored in the months up to my surgery; I had done this to protect myself and get past the finishing line in one piece. I was left in a position where this threatened my emotional health and I needed to deal with it. It has been a problem that refused to go away in the last 12 months despite my best attempts to remedy this.
I am now working to deal with this issue, but it is going to take some time. When trying to deal with it in the past, the core issue was always brushed under the carpet by other parties despite my best attempts to keep this from happening. Now I have managed to make the other parties realise where I am at and hopefully we can work to resolve this issue.
I am also led to wonder about my level of unhappiness and I now have an inkling of why lottery winners often seem to end up in a sorry state of affairs. They say money does not buy happiness and in practical terms I have won a kind of lottery in itself. I got several massive issues out of the way last year which included getting social housing, finalising my divorce, losing all my weight and finally getting my GRS this year. I could not want for more and yet, and I seem to be saying this a lot recently, I am not happy. Someone suggested recently that I have had too much go right for me lately and I will need time to get used to it. Perhaps they have a good point, and perhaps I have gotten so used to be unhappy, being happy is almost a scary prospect. I know when I do relax and try to take in my happy state of affairs, I feel tense and anxious. It seems to fly in the face of most of my life and it takes me out of my comfort zone.
There is still a great deal for me to work on!