Today I got my first letter from the Gender Identity Clinic with West London Mental Health NHS Trust. What I’ve been waiting for!!!!!!
It’s been three weeks since I last saw my GP. That appointment came a week after my last suicidal thoughts, the day I first spoke about my decision. In the meantime I’ve done a whole lot of coming out, talking and listening to the people I love, writing my blog here and posting stuff on Facebook, emailing friends etc etc.
Mostly I have either had a really positive and warm acceptance from those that love me. I’ve received some incredibly moving responses from friends and family far and wide and I’ve been humbled by how much I appear to be valued by people who know me. There’s been some challenges for some people I recognise, and I’m sure we’ll work through these in time. But there have also been some resounding silences too. Stuff that rattles me a bit if I’m honest as I’m not now sure where I stand, if they know or not, if they’re REALLY struggling with it and don’t know how to tell me?? Or maybe they just haven’t had the time to follow the links I’ve sent them or the posts I’ve made.
Still mostly these three weeks since I last saw the doc, I’ve been feeling better and better. The depression has been lifting and I’ve been getting my energy back and looking forward to getting back to work. It was my birthday earlier this week and my mother-out-law and sister-out-law bought me (on suggestion it has to be said!) a book about Two Spirit gender identities in Native American communities. I had a wonderful birthday and this one, at 43, felt a special one to me spiritually because it was the first one where I had accepted myself for who I was.
The following day I went into work for the morning. I work in Youth Justice and there are massive changes underway with the introduction of a new Youth Rehabilitation Order and what is known as the ‘Scaled Approach’ to youth justice. I’ve been off since July now and as a way of getting me back into the swing of things I asked to attend a few mornings before I go back to work officially as it were. The first one was yesterday and while it was really great to be making those first steps, I did find it a bit overwhelming. Again, it’s the not knowing who knows and who doesn’t and how am I going to reintegrate back into the team as the New Me, as well as the stuff I feel about not being there to ‘carry my bit’ when there’s been a bit of an upsurge in young people going through the local courts while I’ve been off! It’s hard. And it was a timely reminder for me that I have to pace myself. Not only am I recovering from a serious illness (DEPRESSION IS A LIFE-THREATENING ILLNESS!!!) but I’m ALSO facing a major life-changing transition with my gender. I need to not set such high expectations of my self that just because I’ve been happy with making my decision, it doesn’t necessarily follow that I can bounce back just like Tigger at work and jump back in to the deep end!
Anyway, I digress, back to The Letter. Well after all the anticipation again, I said before that the only letters I get at my girlfriend’s place are my medical ones, I opened the letter as my nephew-out-law was being read his first birthday cards today….(Happy Birthday wee man!!!!)….and saw that the Gender Identity Clinic ‘would be happy to accept the referral’ but my GP had short-circuited the referral process and needed to get me assessed first by our local secondary care mental health team.
Hmmmm….this is what I thought I’d said to my GP in the first place, but hey-ho, she wrote off when she said she would and she seems genuinely supportive so I guess I might be her first trans-gender patient who’s requested this maybe. Anyway, the long and short of it is that the Gender Identity Clinic now know my name and I can get on the blower tomorrow and get my doc to get the local mental health team to give me an appointment.
Am happy though that it’s moving forward. I’ve realised that I now don’t want people to refer to me as Ms/Miss or any gender-identified pronouns – it feels weird to be getting letters addressed to ‘Ms …. ……..’ and I’m lucky my first name is gender-neutral so it’s easy to address letters to me just using my name.
Guess what? The letter was post-marked on my birthday. I like how the Universe works sometimes 🙂