I posted the following in the forums. I'm not really sure if that was the proper place to post it, so I'm doing it here.
I am transgender. A girl inside, I was raised as a boyTo invoke the words of Rev. Dr. Justin Tanis:
"For children to feel that they must keep such a secret from the adults around them is a difficult, and even traumatic, experience. Those adults are ones who have the responsibility of caring for us, helping us grow, and loving us, but most of us learn, overtly or intuitively, not to trust them with this information, whether or not out fears are justified. Even with the burden of secret keeping, we learn something about who we are as our childhoods unfold. A deep isolation surrounds children who are different and who know themselves to be different. Often we feel estranged from other children, who also sense our differences, and we are subject to taunting, harassment, and even violence in school and on the playground. One of the reasons given for treating children who are gender nonconforming is the desire to spare them this negative attention from other children, although such treatment does not usually include a focus on changing the behavior of the children responsible for the harassment."
From the day I started public school, bullying became a daily reality for me. From the time I was six, I knew not to share the honest truth about how I felt and who I knew myself to be. I was told that what I asserted myself to me was in fact monsterous. That I would never be loved… not by strangers or family. That I would only know hatred from others and moreover, I would deserve that hatred.
I embarked on a rigid regimen of self denial and self hate, adapting the disgust of others and learning to become disgusted with myself. I was first sent to a therapist when I was in sixth grade. By that time, I already bore many scars and deep wounds….. some externally inflicted, many self-inflicted.
By the end of college, I found myself hospitalized twice. This introduced me to pharmacutical treatment as well as talk therapy. It also marked a crashing down of the lies I'd veiled myself in so I'd forget the truth of who I knew myself to be.
Anxiety and depression have been constant companions. I'd hoped that over the years, these would go away. They have not.
A year ago, I lost my job. I fell back into a deep depression and suicidal ideation. I was put in a day treatment program that helped, but when I was discharged, I fell back into depression. Leaving bed in the morning is still difficult, leaving the house is near impossible. Despite this, I have recently been recommended to the California Department of Rehabiliation to help me get a job. This has forced me to face the truth that my anxiety and depression are so persistant that they constitute a disability that places impediment in the way to me getting and holdiing a job.
Below, is the post I put in the forums about today's anxiety attack. I apologize if that was the wrong place for it:
"I just had a big anxiety attack, and I'm still reeling.
I'm 43, and have suffered from anxiety and depression for as long as I can remember. The past year has been a very difficult one, where the effort to leave the house has become Herculean.
Nonetheless: I'm a cartoonist, and the latest anthology in which my work has appeared was published late last year, Today, I came across a local event for the book…. book signings with creators included and I was excluded. The people included tend to be very cliquish so it's not surprising, but it freaked me out. My wife came to comfort me, and I went from hyperventilating to anger, and said a few choice words about those people. She said she'd never heard me 'call people names and I fell into a screaming, face-clawing, hyperventilating, dry heaving into the toilet panic attack that lasted for what felt like forever. With the help of a hotline, I managed to start breathing more regularly, and eventually got out of it. I also left a message with my therapist's voicemail, so we can talk about it monday. Now, I'm feeling utterly drained and lightheaded. My wife and I had a good talk. I feel better, but still very, very depressed.
I have no reason for posting this beyong the need to bear witness to my own illness and move beyond the stigmas which haunt me.
And with that, I thank you again and ask you to please be kind.