When I was repressing the hell out of any complicated feelings about transition, it felt like my life would be destroyed if I let myself actually express even a tiny bit of that stuff.
Once I started connecting with other women who were up to talk about it, I had this excruciating sense of urgency about it. It felt like I was a balloon about to pop, and I could never release enough to relieve the overwhelming pressure. My whole Cymbalta withdrawal syndrome summer ordeal was pretty helpful here, honestly… I literally could not stop talking about any of this. Even after I stopped being physically sick from the withdrawals, I had entirely out of control mood swings and no control over impulsive speech, to a degree I have never experienced before or since. I spent an awful lot of my waking hours rambling about this stuff to somebody. I’m incredibly grateful that ended (months-long massive personality changes are really disruptive!) but I’m also pretty grateful that it happened.
By the end of it, that feeling of pressure was pretty much gone. For the last few months I’ve felt a lot more like a balloon with absolutely no air in it, which has its own pros and cons. I’m not very energetic or talkative (especially compared to how I was over last summer) but I’m also not freaking the fuck out all the time. Seems like I kind of fast-forwarded through an amount of venting that might have taken me years if I had gone at a remotely reasonable pace. My feelings about transition aren’t something I have to think about all the time anymore.
When I was actively repressing everything, getting to a point where I’d let enough out that I was neither actively losing my shit or repressing any feelings about transition was unimaginable. It did not occur to me that this was something I could work through. It felt absolutely, incredibly insurmountable… and at the time, it probably was. I think denial was pretty adaptive here. At that point, I didn’t trust anyone with feelings like that. I wasn’t alone in the world or anything, but the relationships I had were not ones where I was ready to make myself so vulnerable. I’m glad that I bottled everything up until I had the support to handle processing it, and I’m glad that processing enough of it that I don’t have to think about it all the time didn’t actually end up taking the rest of my life.
It’s not like I’m done having any new thoughts or feelings on those topics. It’s like I’m done taking a giant piss after holding it very painfully for years. I’m sure I’ll keep having difficult feelings about all kinds of things. Like, my mastiff just died. I am so super not happy about that, but like… I trust the people around me enough that I just cried about it all the time for a week straight, and you know what? I feel a lot better than I did when my yellow lab died in high school and I just held everything in. It’s really nice to be in a situation where repressing everything actually isn’t the only way to cope. Really hoping it lasts.