My first therapy session ever

I just returned from my first meeting with the therapist. It went well, I would say.  She asked a lot of questions about me, took notes like you would expect. She wanted to know why I was there. I mentioned the easier (for me) two first: anxiety and depression.

I talked about how I pass out in really stressful situations, how I avoid them, how I don’t usually go to the doctor or dentist because of my anxiety. I talked about how I don’t like to be around people much, how I don’t like to go out, how I am happy to just sit at home. I didn’t say that I wanted to change that, I don’t. I have no interest or desire in becoming more outgoing. I hope she doesn’t try to get me to change that… I hope I was clear enough that I have no problem with that.

I talked about how I’ve been feeling lately. How I haven’t had the desire to do the things I enjoy. How I don’t understand the way I can want to draw, or sculpt, or read, but end up just sitting in front of the TV instead. I think that has become the most important one, the one that troubles me the most.

Towards the end of the session I finally bucked up the courage to discuss the reason that I had requested a meeting in the first place: my transgender curiosity.

This is the only aspect that I am not sure how I feel about how it went.  She knew why I was there, I had included it in my application-thingy. Her face made this kind of crumpled “oh you poor thing” when I finally brought it up, like she knew that I was nervous and holding off talking about it.

That’s fine though, that isn’t the part that I am wondering about though. I talked about how I came upon this desire to go to therapy, I talked about seeing the video, and crying, and then devouring all the information I could find on transgender stuff, about asking questions and people on line saying the first step was to speak to a therapist. But I was honest, I talked about never having the gender dysphoria that people talk about. I never tried dressing like a guy, I never felt like I belonged with the guys, I never felt like I didn’t belong with the girls.

In truth I’ve always been pretty neutral. I’ve never been particularly femanine, but I’ve never been particularly masculine either. And I’ve never really cared or thought about it… until now.  And I expressed that.  I also talked about how I wasn’t entirely sure that my complete self-loathing of my physical body wasn’t just all about my weight, and that it might go away when I lost weight, so that the smart thing to do would probably be to wait until I lose weight and see if I feel comfortable with who I am then.

She agreed. I think part of me is disappointed that she so readily agreed. She agreed that waiting was smart, that it could very well be just my weight, and like many other doctors she did hone in on my weight as the issue to all problems. She didn’t say that, but she did latch on to the conversation about my weight with a bit more gusto than I’d have liked.

However, she did say that she had worked with several transgendered teens and adults, and that the common thread was that they feel uncomfortable in their gender, that it usually starts around puberty, that they feel that when their body starts going through puberty it feels like their own body has turned on them. That it is a struggle that they suffer.  And I… just don’t have that.

Yes, I can try to pinpoint things about my past to make my case. I always wore baggy clothes, I preferred them. I’ve never liked tight clothing. I’ve almost always had short hair. When a little kid asked me when I was in like 4th grade if I was a boy or a girl I didn’t get angry, I asked seriously “what do you think?” and I wasn’t offended that they couldn’t tell. I’ve never liked dresses, skirts, makeup, jewelry, long hair, or other things that would be considered feminine. I’ve always preferred the scent of men’s deodorant, body spray, body wash, etc over the flowery scents of women’s.  I often have gotten men’s clothes because I like the way they fit better.

I remember once talking with a friend about my boyfriend at the time (in high school). I talked about how I really liked the way his body was like this flat board, there was no curves. From the clothes he wore he was practically straight width from the shoulders down, and I liked that. I liked it visually.

I’ve never really been physically attracted to anyone. I’ve always liked the way guys look more than women, and if I like the way women look it’s usually the more masculine women, the ones who wear jeans and tank tops and combat boots and have muscles like the work out. The ass-kickers.  Pretty, slinky, stylish women’s appearance have never appealed to me.

But even considering all that, that doesn’t necessarily mean that I myself want to be a man. And the therapist strongly insinuated that if I was transgendered I’d have been struggling with this since puberty, and I haven’t. I would say for most of my life I’ve been relatively gender neutral, with some forays into attempts at being more feminine (my few attempts at make up or skirts) and attempts at being more masculine (always taking the male roles in make-believe with my friends).

I will also admit to sometimes having these strange feelings. It’s hard to describe, but I’d be watching myself doing something—a gesture, look, or mannerism—as if I were a guy. That doesn’t quite explain it, even as I typed it I was shaking my head thinking “that’s not quite right.” But I’ve had moments were I’ve had the urge to do something…put my arm around a friends shoulder in what I feel is a masculine way for example. I don’t do it, but at the same time I watch myself do it in my mind.

I am apt to believe my therapists insinuations. I watched the videos and I hear them talk about their constant struggle. About knowing from a young age that they weren’t the gender that everyone told them they were. It was definite, it was concrete. I haven’t heard a single story like mine, where someone basically had little thought about it until some sudden “awakening” in their thirties.

I think for now the therapists advice is sound—work on losing weight. Work on finding myself on the inside. Work on fixing my depression, my weight, and my other issues. She said “everything else will begin to fall into place.” So that’s why I am going to do. I am going to focus on counting calories, getting my steps, and losing weight, and see how I feel about the gender issue when it isn’t being clouded with self-hate for my obesity.

And while I do that I shall be meeting with the therapist about every other week to discuss my anxiety and depression.

I came out of the meeting with very little hope though, and actually feel a bit down right now. Not because she insinuated I’m not transgender (which in that regard she is probably right…) but because I get the sense that these meeting will probably amount to her telling me that if I want to draw I should just draw, I just have to make the choice to be better etc.

I mean, again… she’s probably right… but I can tell myself that. I don’t need to pay someone to tell me that. I can say “If you want to write, write. If you want to read, read. If you want to draw, draw” and then maybe assume that if I don’t than maybe I actually don’t want to do those things, and all I really want to do is watch TV. Maybe the real issue is just making peace with the fact that I’ve changed. I’m not the creative artistic person I want to be, I’m a lazy TV-watching fat ass who just wants to watch netflix all day.

But honestly… if that is who I really am… if I suddenly realized I just had accept that this is my life now, this is how I really want to live it… I think the depression would spiral down much further much quicker. I’ve never contemplated suicide, even now my mind shrinks away from the very thought. I’m not suicidal right now. But I feel like if I came to the horrifying conclusion that I don’t want to draw/read/write/sculpt or generally be the person I want myself to be, that in fact I just want to sit and watch TV all day… That is no life I would want to live.

In the end time will tell. I meet with the therapist again the week after next.

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