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About my depression July 2, 2007

Posted by Tina Simmons in optimism.
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This is really hard to discuss, because it is so painful and personal.

I am dealing with a low-level depression. Some of it has to do with being trans, but not all. I also have lost people near and dear to me over the years, including my mother when I was a late teenager and my father at the end of 2005. He suffered from Alzheimer’s disease for several years before he went. The day I had to move him into a home was the hardest day of my life, and while I know it was for the best, it was also the beginning of the end. Two and a half years later he was gone.

I’ve had several friends pass away over the years, including seeing a friend get sucked underwater by a strong current when I was very young and another who had a similar experience in his early 20’s (and of whom a portion of his body was found 24 years later in the area where he disappeared). The latter was a really good friend who helped me deal with my mother’s sudden death and even stopped me from taking my own life out of despair way back then.

I’m also depressed about the roller-coaster relationship with my son. Things are going better than before, but he has finally been diagnosed as bipolar, not just depressed. He has gone through hell, and we’ve been there for the ride. Sometimes I think of the smiling little boy I used to read bedtime stories to and who just gave me hugs and told me how much he loved me. Now I’m glad when he doesn’t scream at me too much. I know he cares, and there are other transgendered people who are separated from their kids because of circumstance, but it still rips your heart out, let me tell you. But I focus on loving him. The past month, though, has seen a dramatic improvement in how we relate to each other. He did have a major relapse about a month ago, but I think that how I handled interacting with him about it went a lot better than the last few times, and I think he senses I’m really trying to reach out and be sensitive to him.

Because of my depression, and a recent relapse of my son, I’ve also gained 8 pounds. I now have to work very hard to diet. I lost 25 pounts last year, I can’t afford any give-backs. The problem was when my son went through his recent hard period I would just reach into the pantry and grab out whatever tasted good. And keep on grabbing. My father was a baker, and we learned bad eating habits when I was growing up because he would come home with a big box of day-old baked goods. It wouldn’t last the night, but the habit has lasted a lifetime.

And the kicker is – I am normally an optimist. I know I’ll get through this. I also hate to wallow in self-pity, but I don’t like to keep things hidden. (what a change for the trans-person who was hiding for 40+ years and is still hiding from most of the world). I really don’t like being dishonest or lying.

So here I am. I am not being treated for it, but I acknowledge its existence. I feel like accepting depression is a lot like accepting being transgendered. I don’t know if I’ll get treatment for it or not – my wife is not too into therapists (her experiences have been with bad therapists in the past, so I can’t blame her) and I’d really like to try to see if I can deal with it myself for a while. At least accepting it has made me more sensitive to my down moments, and that’s a good thing.

See? I told you I was an optimist!