Possible reasons why my anxiety has worsened significantly

I believe these are either all or most of the reasons why my anxiety has worsened significantly over the last few months:

  1. Living alone: I’ve noticed a pattern in my life that whenever I’ve had to live alone, I’ve become more detached from the world and more agoraphobic. For the vast majority of my life, I’ve lived with parents, friends, partners or roommates. Whenever I’ve had to live alone, it’s always ended badly. I need a friend-roommate type living arrangement.
  2. Drop in estrogen levels: For whatever reason, my estrogen levels have dropped to the 150’s since I’ve been here. My usual levels were in the 500-700 range. I am on the same dosage, but a different brand from the one I was taking in the UK. I’m wondering if the drop correlates with my anxiety getting worse.
  3. Orchiectomy: My last lab results showed higher than usual testosterone levels post-orchiectomy. Since starting HRT, my levels have been untraceable to 10-15. At the last count, it was 150-something. Apparently this is normal as it’s a “dump” of whatever testosterone was in my system, but the effect on my mental health has been drastic, plus my body just feels different (not in s good way).
  4. Bad experiences in Rochester: A lot of bad things have happened to me since I arrived here almost a year ago. This includes harassment, losing friends, money issues, social isolation and unwanted approaches and other intrusions. As a result, I am overly afraid of people here.
  5. Change in psych medication: There’s a possibility that the medication I’m on now versus a year ago is not only not helping me, but is actually making my symptoms worse. I need to get off Seroquel, because I know that it’s working against me, even though it puts me to sleep.
  6. Worsening dysphoria: the harassment, rejection, social isolation and comments from others has made matters worse as far as my dysphoria is concerned. And dysphoria is a catalyst for depression, self-hatred and the kind ld anxiety that makes me unable to leave my apartment.

I feel disgusting, scared and dysphoric 

I’ve been in a major funk since I woke up at 2am. I did manage to leave my apartment, albeit just to take out the trash.  Where I differ from many other people who struggle work mental illness is that I have never had a problem maintaining cleanliness. Unfortunately that makes me look more functional, which works against me.

My dysphoria is as he as its ever been at any point in my life. I’ve been on a downward slide as far as dysphoria is concerned since the security guard harassed and misgendered me over 6 weeks ago.  Also, I believe my hormone levels are still off post-orchiectomy.  At my last count 2 weeks ago, my testosterone level was 150-something – higher than it’s been since I started blockers back in August 2013.  The nurse practitioner said it’s perfectly normal after such a procedure and that it’ll disappear from my bloodstream.  However, I feel disgusting. My hair feels greasy even though I wash it daily. I smell different and my depression is becoming quite the monster.   I started taking the locker again, but my body isn’t producing testosterone, but why do I feel so nasty?  How long is it supposed to take to pass through my system? This is stressing me out so badly and just adding to my dysphoria.  My anxiety is severe and I’m hyper-sensitive to sound and light.  I feel like it has to be that poison….testosterone.  

I can’t fade going to the transgender group tomorrow – not in this frame of mind. I wish I knew what was going on with my body.  I don’t feel well at all. I wish I had a friend here or just someone I could go to. But loneliness is a lesser worry right now.

I’m going to have to do what I haven’t done for over 14 years because there’s simply no other way.      I don’t want to think or feel anymore.  

Unusually high testosterone after lab count post-orchiectomy (worried) 

I’m rather worried about my last count. For some reason, my testosterone level was high (150-something) even though I had an orchiectomy done back at the beginning of May, so I shouldn’t be producing any testosterone (or no more than a cisgender woman or post-op transgender woman). The nurse said it was perfectly normal and that eventually I’ll return to almost untraceable levels of testosterone that I had before, when I was still taking blockers.

But I’m worried. I don’t like the notion of having that much testosterone in my bloodstream. I feel extra-dysphoric and have started taking blockers again because now I’m paranoid that my body has a secret source of testosterone or is somehow still able to produce it. It also explains why my libido has been slightly higher than usual.

I’m worried.

Facing the very likely prospect of losing my health insurance and healthcare 

I’m trying to be strong in facing the very real prospect that I may lose my healthcare, but it isn’t working.  I had to take 5 Seroquel just to fall asleep.  I had a dream in which I was in Paris and trying to find S, because she was in trouble.  I woke up in tears.

Trump’s healthcare bill probably won’t pass the Senate, but knowing my (awful) luck, it will.  When I lose my health insurance then my healthcare, the only prescription I’ll be able to pay for is my estrogen.  Having just had an orchiectomy, I don’t need to take blockers anymore and I can live without progesterone.  I’ll cut down from 8mg a day to 4mg a day of estrogen, which I should be able to pay for out of pocket, though I won’t be able to afford internet access at home.  Because I’ve had the orchiectomy done and I’ve got the court order to change my name, Trump can’t ruin my transition unless I’m forced to use my old name and tied down and forced to take testosterone shots.

But even though my transition is relatively safe, I’m still in big trouble…

I take 4 different psych meds, 2 of which I know have been having positive effects.  I would most likely have to go cold turkey on all of them. I see a therapist once a week and I’d imagine that won’t be possible anymore.  I will lose all of the help and advocacy I get through care management too, because that is also currently covered by Medicaid.    I may even lose the limited support that I get at my treatment housing.

What terrifies me is that I’m going to be completely “on my own”.   I have no family or friends in this city or even in this state.  I can barely do anything on my own in the outside world here beyond what I’m doing now (and even that is often too much).  I will have to go to so many potentially triggering and even unsafe places on my own and I don’t see how that will even be possible.  I’ve had too many bad experiences in this city as it is, even when here have been people literally holding my hand to support me.    I will be reliant on the bus system here, which I’ve barely been able to use, except for one route and only at certain times.

A friend online told me I should “prepare for the worst” and contact my family in the UK to help me make plans to leave, if the healthcare bill passes.  In the past, my online friends had been urging me to stay despite the election result, but now the same friends are completely silent.  I stopped talking to my mum last month, because she wouldn’t help me return to the UK before when it looked unlikely that I’d be able to change my legal name. I certainty can’t ask her, because I already know the answer.  As for my dad, he thinks that I only contact him when I need money, so I can’t contact him either.  I’m sure both of my parents are aware of what’s happening in the news here in the US and they must know that the healthcare bill will be devastating for me and countless others like me, if it becomes law.  I have no other family in the UK. I have a friend that said she’s willing to let me stay with her and her husband.   However, I don’t have enough money to pay for the cost of getting there or supporting myself for long enough until I can find a job that I can do or be eligible for public assistance, which I’d have to wait 3 months for due to ‘habitual residency’ rules.  I’m in deep shit this time though and it isn’t just me ‘over thinking’.  This could become law and it could happen very quickly.   I can almost hear my family say “Well, you chose to go back to America“.   If they’re even thinking about it having seen the news, I’m pretty sure that’s what they’d still say to me, but I already know that I fucked up and that it was a terrible decision on my part.  Because despite the help I’ve received, I’ve had so many bad experiences since I arrived last July, including losing the friend that encouraged me to come back to Rochester in the first place.   I didn’t think that it would all turn to shit less than a year later.   The only major ‘positive’ is that I got the orchiectomy and I got my name changed.   I’d never have got an orchiectomy on the British NHS.  I would’ve had to wait 2-3 years for SRS before my body would no longer be producing testosterone.    I still want full SRS, but there is no longer any urgency.   

Even if I could return to the UK tomorrow, it would be heartbreaking, given the fact that I’ve gone through so much and have finally got a court order to change my name and begin my life.    I had even started to consider this city and this state as my home, despite not having any friends or family here.  But I don’t see how I’d be able to stay if the rug gets pulled from underneath me. I recall writing something a few weeks ago along the lines of “If you were to remove all of the care that I receive, I’d be completely and utterly alone”.  Now that seems like a very real and very terrifying prospect, in a city where I’ve had many bad experiences and no friends or acquaintances.  Let’s be honest, I won’t last 2 seconds.  If I had an idea of when the axe will fall on my healthcare and care, perhaps I could work with my care manager and therapist to “prepare”, if there was enough time (months rather than weeks).  I want to find a job that I can do and work, but who is going to hire me and how will I get to and cope with interviews?   If I had family or friends here, this wouldn’t be quite as scary, but I don’t.   I will become completely socially isolated and unable to cope with the loneliness and absence of support.  

Even if the healthcare bill doesn’t pass the Senate, they’ll tinker with it enough for it to become law next time around, which is what happened with Obamacare.     It may be less ‘brutal’ when it gets watered down, but I’m pretty sure it will still hurt transgender people.   I don’t understand why the most vulnerable people are being targeted at all, but it’s almost sadistic and it’s totally unnecessary.  

Stop TrumpCare in the Senate – National Centrt for Transgender Equality

But just as before, I’m willing to take my own life, if it comes to that.  I already have a plan – the same plan that I’ve had in my head for the last few months.  I’m far more afraid of continuing life than I am of death.  Perhaps it’s time; it’s not as if I’m happy with my life or body and it’s not as if I have anything or anyone to lose.  My prospects don’t look good, even if I don’t lose my healthcare.  Not only am I hated by society and marginalized from it, but those in power want to destroy me and countless others like me who are part of the LGBT community and / or mentally ill.  I wish they’d just put a bullet in my head and put me out of my misery, rather than subject me to more pain, which will force me to take my own life.   I’m pretty sure that I’m not the only one willing to die over this.  I wish those people would let me know that they exist, rather than people who either blindly tell me to carry on or those who are enjoying watching me suffer.  

A plea and offer of conpanionship to any Canadian citizen willing to help me

In my perpetual state of desperation regarding being afraid for my future here in the United States and the fact that things are almost as bad in the UK, I am looking into whether Canada might be a potential option and second chance at life.   It’s a long shot and I’m not even going to remotely get my hopes up, but if it becomes an avenue that I can take, I’ll take it.  It seems like a more tolerant, accepting country that isn’t going to put its LGBT population to the sword anytime soon. Anyway, this message is to all Canadians who might be reading this blog.  I have also posted a link to this blog entry in a dating app specifically for the purpose of helping Americans escape Trump and any changes in policy that could ruin their lives.  Please don’t judge me or attack me for doing this and please don’t patronize me and tell me I’ve nothing to worry about.

Here Is the message I wrote earlier:  This is not a joke or a wind-up.  I’m being 100% serious:

“Hello Canadian guys, girls and non-binary people.

This is both a plea for help and a way in which I might find someone amazing at the same time. I’m not American, but I am a lawful permanent resident and British citizen. I can’t go back to the UK because populism has taken over there just as it has here with the election of Donald Trump. I do not have any way of getting back to the UK anyway and my family are unable to help me.

My very livelihood as a transgender women is under threat here in the US because of the anti-LGBT agenda and I feel like I am at risk of losing my rights and my healthcare, even in a liberal state. I am scared shitless and would love to escape and have a second chance at life in a safer and more tolerant country where my rights and healthcare will be intact.

I suffer from mental illness: suspected Aspergers, PTSD and anxiety. Due to bad circumstances and bad decisions, I have found myself alone and socially isolated here in Rochester. I don’t know anyone here except for my healthcare provider.

I’m politically liberal / left wing. I am an intersectional feminist and against patriarchy. I am shy at first and an ambivert. Once I get to know someone and feel comfortable around them, I am very talkative and engaging.

I call myself bisexual, but the reality is that I am more pansexual than anything, but I reject gender blindness.

My hobbies include traveling, cooking, road trips, photography, shopping, listening to music and playing video games. I am clean, tidy and respectful. I would even go so far as to say that I enjoy cleaning.

My goal is to return to a level of functionality and independence and to work again. I don’t need a hand out, I need a hand up. I would give anything for some safety and stability in my life, which I have not had for over 5 years.

If you take a gamble on helping me, I promise I will do all I can to make it worthwhile for you. I will help any way I can and will continue to be proactive as far as my recovery goes, as I have been.

Medication wise, I need to he able to continue hormones, blockers and progesterone as I’ve been prescribed since August 2013. As far as mental health goes, I take Seroquel to help me sleep and Wellbutrin. What helps my mental wellbeing is being around other people in a safe environment. I have been living socially isolated in a motel since the end of October and it continues to harm me and set me back as time passes.

If you can help me, please email me at bmm847@gmail.com. I have enough money to get to most likely anywhere in Canada and I’m not fussed wheee I live within the country, as long as I’m safe and as long as i can continue my transition, which has saved my life (hence I’m scared that it’s at risk).

Thank you,
Becca.”

The Perils Of Transition (Don’t Try To ‘Go It Alone’)

I don’t like to discuss transgender issues or transition a lot, but I feel that others could learn from my experiences and avoid the mistakes I’ve made and the bridges I’ve burned. 

My three years and two months of physical transition have been a lonely road.  I’ve lost more friends than I’ve gained and circumstances and bad decisions have resulted in me moving from place to place, in search of the ever-elusive place  I long for, known as ‘home’.
 My advice to any transgender individual pre-transition or in the early stages of transition to take note. Because if I’d have known then what I know now, my life most likely wouldn’t have fallen apart in the way that it has.

If you have a supportive employer, family or group of friends, STAY WHERE YOU ARE.  I cannot emphasize this enough, as moving from place to place searching for greener grass has cost me dearly.  When I came out as transgender, I had an employer that completely supported me and my transition, even if many of my coworkers didn’t know what to make of it.  I was earning good money too, in a position that would usually require a BA (I have no formal qualifications beyond UK GCSE’s).  I had a supportive counselor and I’d started to make friends in Miami.  I made the mistake of moving back to the UK, under the illusion that if would be an easier place for me to transition.  Granted, I was paying for my hormones in Florida, but I could easily afford it and could’ve saved up for SRS within 3 years.

Since January 2015, I have moved from place to place, one bad situation to another.  I did have my family in the UK who have been extremely supportive, but now I’ve turned my back on that too.  I do have good mental health support here in New York, but I have just one friend in this city and I’m currently rather stranded.  I am also facing the prospect of being on the streets or hospitalized due to my declining mental health.

Hormone therapy (HRT) essentially saved my life.  But it isn’t an easy adjustment.  Aside from the physical changes, I became more emotional in just about every sense.  People would complain that I had become ‘bitchy’, one of my friends at the time called me a ‘teenage woman’ because HRT does cause a second puberty, so be prepared for that.  I used to cry for almost no reason at all and I became ultra-sensitive to any criticism or any perceived attack.  I guess it was a little easier for me than most people, as I had always had low testosterone prior to transition, but it still took some adjustment.  Do not be alarmed at your emotional responses to certain situations – it’s normal.  Cisgender women have had to deal with it since they started puberty.

No one warned me about the perils of male attention.  Up until being sexually assaulted in May last year, I was completely naive and that cost me.  At first I liked male attention, but that rapidly faded and eventually became dehumanizing and endlessly frustrating.  I was not used to being objectified and had no idea how to respond to it. In other words, be careful and bear in mind that many men are predatory and very sexually minded.  Beware of ‘tranny chasers’ too (men specifically attracted to transgender women). Being on the receiving end of the vulgar side of male attention is degrading, rather than validating so BE CAREFUL.  Also, beware of men who don’t realize you’re transgender at first, then flip their shit when they find out.  I feel that the safest bet IS disclosure, no matter how much you ‘pass’.

Be prepared for the intrusive and often offensive questions that cisgender people will fire at you, sometimes out of pure curiosity, other times with a hint of malice.  Do not feel obligated to explain yourself to anyone and don’t feel like you need to justify your transition.  If you’re not comfortable answering certain questions, simply politely decline.

Misgendering is something else I wasn’t prepared for and it almost sent me over the edge for the first year and a half of so of my transition.  I can’t really give you any advice to ease the pain it causes, except to say that it will get better and misgendering will become far less of an issue, or it’ll even stop completely.  In my case, I very rarely get misgendered these days, though my voice and my height often ruin it.  It still hurts when it happens, but thankfully it’s rare these days.

Do not assume that the LGBT community at large or even the transgender community will be accepting.  I’ve experienced a lot of transphobia (and biphobia) from gay men and lesbians.  The transgender community itself is essentially a hierarchy based on physical appearance, post/pre-op and age.  Activism tends to focus mainly on transgender kids/youth and I quickly learned that transgender support groups are not very supportive at all and many people who attend are transvestites rather than transgender people, which is triggering to me.

So if you’ve got support in the place where you live now, stay where you are, unless presented with a golden opportunity elsewhere.  Transition is a difficult journey and you need all the support you can get.  No one could’ve prepared me for the dangers I’ve faced and this would’ve all been so much easier and safer if I’d just stayed where I was and tried to keep my job, despite my failing mental health.

Do not make the mistakes I’ve made.  There is no such thing as a ‘transgender paradise’, unless you live in San Francisco perhaps.  Danger is everywhere as we are the most marginalized minority group there is and the easiest targets.

I hope this helps a few people who are pre-transition or going through the perils of early transition.