I have been struggling with my inner demons and haunted by the ghosts of my past for most of my life, and I simply don’t knowÂ how much more I can possibly take. I’m just not strong enough to keep fighting off the darkness within that much longer, sometime sooner or later it’s going to engulf me… and I won’tÂ survive. I have always had a certain proneness to being emotionally unstable but several years ago I had a severe psychological breakdown triggered in part, by my mum’s death. Before she passed away she repeatedly asked for me and I desperately wanted to be there for her, to hold her hand and say my goodbyes, and let her know that I still loved her.Â However out of an almost paralysing fear of rejection I failed her when she needed me most… I miss her terribly.Â You see my family was in complete denial about my being transgendered, and they blamed my then boyfriend for turning me into a girl… so fucking ignorant. They never could appreciate thatÂ I had very little choice in the matter whatsoever, or that my “core identity” is innatelyÂ female. If instead of estranging me they had shown a tolerance of my difference then I might not have turned out as seriously maladjusted as I am now, it fills me with bitterness.Â But then I denied them any chance to beÂ involved in my transition, if I’d only trusted them maybe they wouldÂ have eventually accepted me for who I am… hmm, and perhaps not.Â When I was a child I obviously displayed subtle “cross gender behaviour” and if my parents had cared enough to look or to ask, perhaps they may have understood me a little better. I was always very sensitive, gentle and shy and many of my closest friends were girls, I fantasized about fairies, mermaids and unicorns… heck, I even used to imitate mum when she put her damned makeup on!Â Unfortunately my parents were fairly conservative minded and firmly discouraged me from expressing any girlish traits in the vain hope that I would eventually grow out of this “sissyish” phase. And for a time I did successfully repress my female identity and tried my hardest to be a normal boy; but that’s when IÂ inevitablyÂ became a highly confused and disturbed, angry and resentful kid indeed. Matters were made even worse by the physical and verbal abuse inflicted by my drunken father and of the frequent bullying of my peers… omg, I hatedÂ being different!Â I have vivid memories of coming home afterÂ school feeling upsetÂ and of sobbingÂ quietlyÂ in my bedroom or of dad constantly reminding me how much my laziness, stupidity and effeminacy disgusted him… or saying that someday I was going to end up dead in a gutter. Looking back with hindsight I was marginalised and made to feel worthless by nearly everyone who knew me; I obviously had a learning disorder and was extremely emotionally fragile, yet nobody ever seemed to notice I needed help.Â When I reached my mid~teens my risk taking behaviour became increasingly more and more unpredictableÂ and I began trying to numb my pain thru taking drugs, and the heavier the better, I loved the feeling of being high… it was soo blissful.Â As a very selfish teenager I never really thought for Â one moment Â of the dire consequences of my actions or of how they would echo throughout the years; so regrettably during that awful period I also hurt many of the people who loved, cared for and trusted me… and oneÂ person in particular. To this day I’m still deeply ashamed of the way I behaved then, but it would be very nice to find a sense of closure.
Regardless I began transitioning when I was just 16 years of age and have been living full time as a woman ever since, and luckily for me I’m able to “pass” without much question in society. However because of extremely poor self image, I have an embarrassing tendency to be compulsively honest with people about my being trans. According to my few friends I’m actually quite intelligent, attractive and feminine and have a really lovely personality… so why am I thisÂ unhappy? At the age of 36 I’m living in a horrible state of limbo because I haven’t had my Gender Reassignment Surgery yet, and that makes me feel profoundly depressed, yet due to my being on the Disability Pension I have woefully insufficient funds to pay for this essential but very expensive surgery. Nonetheless I have been offered a viable alternative way forward and although it may not be exactly what I had hoped for, it’s clearlyÂ better than nothing. An appointment is also being arranged sometime early next year for me to see the psychiatrist whose job it is to evaluate me for this next step; I’m incredibly nervous yet excited about finally meeting her, and am fairly confident of making a good impression. But of course if she thinks me an utter madwoman, then all is lost, for this is literally my lastÂ chance. The thing is I have been waiting soo very long for this to happen it now seems a remote possibility, almost like it’s just too good to be true. When I look at myself in a mirror I see in my “mind’s eye” someone who is disgustingly fat, ugly and deformed and accordingly I dress rather modestly. Other people though see me in a more flattering light and I always get compliments on my appearance, but I brush them off as just a polite comment. Someday I want to have Facial Feminization Surgery, but my friends say it would be a waste of money and that I actually look better than most transwomen already… I’m not convinced. I would truly love to believe the nice things people say about me and yeah I know it sounds really dumb, but I genuinely can’t see myself as others do. I haven’t had a serious relationship in ages and I deeply miss the sexual, physical and emotional intimacy that comes from being with a lover. I dream of finding that someone special with whom I can spend my life, and as a bisexual I’m more than open to being with eitherÂ a man or a woman. I just want this person, my significant other, to hold me close and say “you’re okay” I want to feel loved, safe and protected… but it’s just an incurably sentimental dream, soulmates don’t exist. And in all honesty I can’t really imagine who on earth would want to be romantically involved with a highly neurotic, socially insecure and possibly clingy woman like me anyway. Yet I still do hope there is someone out there for me, somewhere.
For almost as long as I canÂ rememberÂ I have suffered from a chronic lack of self esteem, worth and direction that’s had a detrimental effect on nearly every aspect of my life. I’m told that many of my problems are a direct consequence of being traumatised, invalidated and harassed during my childhood and that I shouldn’t blame myself… but I do, that’s just an excuse. Over the past few years I have repeatedly been placed in psych wards, have been numbed out on some pretty heavy medication and even had ECT… all to no avail. I used to have frightening dissociative episodes where I would self harm and lose touch with the world around me, which invariably led me to being scheduled. Although I am much better now than I was even a year ago I’m always afraid I could relapse and end up back in hospital, and that would be disastrous. So in the slender hope that I might get better with professional help I have been seeing a psychologist and to his credit my psyche is no longer as severely fractured, but there are still cracks. With ongoing therapy I have also learnt coping strategies for dealing with my periods of intense emotional distress, although it can on occasion still overwhelm me. There is an inexpressibly dark void inside me that sucks any positive feelings I have into it; leaving me feeling hopeless and utterly mentally, emotionally and physically fatigued. I have attempted to kill myself several times in the past and the main reason I’m still alive now is undoubtedlyÂ because of my darling children, two adorable German Shepherds! But still the horrible feelings of anxiety, alienation and emptiness inside me persist and oh gosh that upsets me. Sometimes when the memories become too intrusive and the pain too unbearable I seriously think of cutting my losses and suiciding nowÂ while I’m still quite young and relatively healthy, as the thought of going into middle~age like this literally scares me to death. When I can I frequent a Women’s Centre pretty near to where I live and the inspiring people there have openly embraced me as one of the family and made me feel most welcome, I totally love the place! They are always warm, easygoing and helpful and have gently encouraged me to come out of my shell and try to be more actively sociable. But at times I still feel kinda awkward and painfully aware of my difference, even though they’ve told me on several occasions that my being trans has never been an issue for them… I’m soo self conscious. I admit that I’m actually very lucky to have a trusted network of resourceful people willing to give me the moral, emotional and practical support I need if I am to recover from my illness and rebuild my life… however, it’s alot more complicated than that. So despite nearly everyone else being cautiously optimistic about my future prospects, I myself am not so hopeful. Just over four months ago I had Breast Augmentation Surgery… and yay, for a time I was elated! Yet while I am fairly pleased with the results, I’ve come back down to reality with a dreadful thud and my depression is back with a renewed vengeance.Â I’m smoking too much again, I don’t sleep or eat properly anymore and I’m always on the verge of tears and feeling oh so exhausted, vulnerable and miserable. And I just can’t understand why I’m still feeling this way when I should be really happy, because hey it’s such an amazingly positive step after all.
In recent years I have become estranged from my two longterm housemates whom I have lived with out of the basic need for human companionship, and financial necessity. There is in me a dawning realisation that living in this situation has actually been rather detrimental to my growth as an individual, and that it’s held me back in life. Yes I do realise my illness has been exceedinglyÂ taxing for them to cope with but at the same time they can also be infuriatingly misogynistic and also judgmental, patronising and dismissive of my fears, hopes and dreams. Both of them tend to think I’m irresponsible and manipulative, irrational and hysterical and that I’m incapable of taking care of myself… so fucking opinionated. We do actually genuinely care for one another and they have been immensely supportive, but relations between us are just too strained and fraught with miscommunication… omg, it drives me freaking crazy! I suppose Â I just wish they could accept that when all is said and done I no longer really feel a sense of belonging in this situation, and need to have my own life. Ideally I would of course move out into my own little apartment as soon as possible, however due to longterm unemployment I just don’t have the money. Whilst that’s fine for the time being somehow sometime sooner or later I mustÂ take that step towards independence, or stagnate. When I was younger I naively thought I would easily get my surgery by 21, become a successful artist, get married to the man of my dreams, be an adoptive mum and live in a beautiful old house. I’m not so gullible as to believe all my silly plans would have come true but my life seems to be one of recurring failure, missed opportunities and constant disappointments. This demoralising constancy has worn me down; leaving me with a feeling of utter despondency and a bitter resignation to the fact that life has passed me by, it’s sickening. In my darkest moments I sometimes feel like a complete waste of space and think I actually deserveÂ to die, for not only am I a needless burden on my friendsÂ but also on the limited resources of a society that I don’t contribute to in any lasting fashion.Â The truth is I suspect that even if many of myÂ life’sÂ goals had of been fulfilled I most probably would still be depressive, because at heart I’m a deeplyÂ troubled woman. There’s obviously a great deal more I could say here about why I feel suicidal but I find it quite hard to fully articulate all my feelings, thoughts and worries… my thinking is just too clouded. Suffice it to say that I’m getting awfully tired of feeling disconnected and lonely, powerless and uncertain of myself and that unless things do eventually change for the better, then I perceive only oneÂ way out of this personal hell. If there was a truly life affirming way forward for me I most certainly would take it for deep within I do want to live and prove that I am more than capable of leading a genuinely meaningful, enriching and rewarding life. Unfortunately I’ve grown so accustomed to the unremitting feelings of hopelessness and despair that even when a rare window of opportunity has been opened for me, I don’t really believe my luck. I’m intensely aware that if I do ultimately choose to end my life those people who care for me will find it absolutely devastating, but I think in the long run they’re likely to be better off without my dispiriting presence. I don’t know how much longer I can keep fighting off the darkness welling up from inside me, and I’m growing soo weary of the seemingly endless struggle that at times I long for the cold embrace of death. So in the end I can only say that too much sorrow has already been caused on my behalf and that I’m veryÂ sorry to everyone if I cause even more; but sometimes life is just too painful, perhaps I really amÂ better off dead.
Yours Sincerely, Shelly.