Friday, March 02, 2012

"How can I change the world if I can't even change myself?
I cannot change the way I am?
I don't know, I don't know."


Hey folks,

In my best New York accent, how ya doin'? :-) All good I trust. This week has been.... mixed, which I guess is par for the course for us.

Monday meant it was time for another appointment of CBT enlightenment..... and.... and.... Bum. I've run out of steam. :-\ I was hoping to say something positive about the experience, but you know what? I'm struggling. Things went okay, we talked about the power of emotions and the concept of 'armouring yourself' against the (Ed: slings and arrows? :-P ) day to day roll of negative thoughts. We also went through one of the off-line exercises - off-line as in: your task this week is to... - I'd brought in. I'd picked Pink Fog as my negative thought loop. For those of you not down with the trans massive, allow me to waffle on a bit. Oh, for those of you with enhanced wardrobe configurations, please stay with me as I go through what's in my head ;-)


So, Pink Fog? Nice at toddler birthday parties, camp discos and invading LGBT undead pirate invasions? Perhaps, but weak gags aside, not in this case. You've probably heard of Red Rage, well, Pink Fog is its jealous and despairing cousin. :-) To me, Pink Fog is something that envelopes you in its embrace. It's that pang of loss; a mix of regret, appreciation and sadness rolled into a cloying chill. Hell, it's something I can feel in my gut like a sudden ball of ice. Its cold embrace can strike when I walk by a clothing shop window, see a magazine shoot or, oftentimes, see well dressed women. Is it all about the clothes? Possibly, but is it more than that? Perhaps that's my true fear. To me as your common-or-garden cross-dresser, it feels like I'm swinging towards the why not me? call. Not so much oh woe is me, although I'm sure there's an element of that as with depression. :-P However, it's more the ignite-fuse-and-stand-well-back of why I am dressed like this when I want to look like her? vibe. The touchpaper's lit and after a microsecond pause, then comes the cascade of whys, a kiloton of why nots and then the mental anguish of trying to stop the thoughts.

For me, Pink Fog can strike at any time, but it seems to have one pattern: when my depression is playing up. It's that angle that gives me the hope that I can hang on to who I am and play both sides. I feel I will have to give up too much to indulge that fantasy. Yes, I did just use the word fantasy, but please note I'm talking about me here. I'm not speaking for all the trans folk out there and I do not mean for one second that anyone transitioning, living full-time or thinking of, is living in a dreamworld. I don't have the patience, the will and - when I'm honest with myself - the feeling that if I did go that way, all would be well. There's an old line about wherever you travel, you always take yourself and to an extent that's true of me too: no matter how I'm dressed, I'm still me.

How does all the above apply to Monday? Now I've waffled on for a good few minutes, I think I can answer that. Sort of.........

I think it's that after my opening up to how I feel was met with disinterest. I felt dismissed and for a moment I could feel myself dropping from my happy-go-lucky mood back into the edges of darkness. A heartbeat later and we're talking about the notion of "if you don't give in to negative feelings, you won't be depressed." Well, f*** me, if it was that simple, would I still be on medication and moaning like this nearly two years later!? :-\ So in summary, CBT and I are not best of friends at the mo. I'm really struggling to see the point of it and given conversations with three folk who've been through it, I can't help but feel the time might be better spent shopping for shoes and then taking the dog out for a long walk.

.

In other news I'm still alive and my home isn't being shelled.... unlike the good people in Syria. Perspective, Lynn, perspective. :-)

Work's been difficult, but it is at least done. Projects have dragged and vendors proved difficult to nail down to finish stuff off. On the upside, my workmates have really pulled together and given their all... and yes, I did thank them for helping so much.

Next Thursday will be Chams time and I'm looking forward to that. I've also got my pass sorted out for Invasion later this month. If either are half as good as the last time, the happy circuits will be well and truly recharged. Maddy was kind enough to post a me a picture of me out and about. Unusually for me, I'm happy with the snap and as way of a change, I'm looking happy too.

Sticking with the good news vibe, I completed a driving course today. No exam or anything, although it was compulsory after my accident. I was hoping it wouldn't be death-by-Powerpoint and it wasn't. Instead, we had a lively discussion around various topics and then headed out with an instructor. By sheer luck, there was just me and the instructor, so no doubling up was required. We managed a long lunch by the river, a good chat - family stuff, car stuff, etc - and I learned a lot. All in good, a pleasant end to the week.

Take care,
Lynn "I've gone mad with the italics" Jones
x

[ Today's lyric:  Salva Mea by Faithless ]

16 comments:

  1. I always look forwards to your friday posts Lynn.
    Reading this one makes me think that you should maybe indulge yourself more often, maybe then the pink fog would be more of an occasional haze in the background?

    Glad to hear your driving course went ok, did you think, even for a moment, that you didnt feel as though you should be there though?

    xoxox

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    1. Thanks, Sam.

      I wonder if more frequent dressing would help. However, it's finding the time amid work and family. Buuuuttt, in the same breath, a) you have to look after your own needs, and b) if I can find time for other activities, why can't I make time for other stuff too?

      This week, the Ever Lovely Mrs J and I had a brief chat about me going out ("again!?") to Invasion. Yet, in all honesty, going out helps. I just feel right during and afterwards. It's as if it resets a clock in my head...a bit like needing a nice Crunchie bar on a Friday afternoon ;-)

      As to the car stuff, I've had to admit to myself that if I'd not performed the maneuver that I had, the whole accident could've been avoided. Should the third party have reacted in the way they did? Perhaps not, but I'm not without blame and really, the course was cheaper in terms of time and money compared to court/penalty points. :-)

      It was also a day away from the routine and educational - in a good way. I got to see parts of Nottingham I wouldn't normally go to and listen to the instructor's life stories. Interesting stuff all in all.

      TBH, if the course was a little cheaper, I'd say it would be worth most drivers going on it. It just makes you take that step back and pick up on "yeah, why do I drive like that?" kinda thing. Useful stuff.

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  2. Sorry that the weeks not been good to you - hope that the next outings pick you up a bit!

    It sounds like you took the right attitude to the course at least, and got something out of it!

    Stace

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    1. Sh** happens as an action movie character once said, Stace. :-) It could be worse, so best to think on the brightside..... plus, a few nights out to look forward to!

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  3. Ah, Pink Fog, damn. Do you find that when you can't dress it starts invading your dreams more insistently? That always used to happen to me and was when/how I realized that it was never going away. (Not that I ever wanted it to.)

    On dressing more: is there a possibility you could integrate your femme side into your male life at all, even in a small way? It might help a bit (or not). Or do you need/want to maintain a strict division between the two?

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    1. Dreaming about it might be an interesting way of getting more T-time :-) I rarely seem to remember my dreams and when I do, they're suitably random.

      As to merging M and F together, thanks for the suggestion, although it's not really an option for me as it's not practical. Plus, I don't really like to half dress, does that make sense? I guess I'm an all or nothing type of... umm... guy. :-)

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  4. Hi Lynn, I think you've articulated the Pink Fog there quite accurately - well, that is to say that how I experience it also. I've also found that indulging more doesn't necessarily help, in fact it can exacerbate the situation. Of course frame of mind is the key.

    To avoid any possible copyright infringement however, I'm calling mine the Magenta Mist from now on...

    As for the counselling, have you considered Person Centred Counselling as opposed to CBT? Just a thought... Only thing is you may struggle to get it on the NHS.

    Maddy xx

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    1. I think you're right about the frame of mind is the key. As I put earlier, the pink fog only seems to strike when I'm on my way down the spiral. With luck, maybe it'll fade to zero as I cheer up. :-)

      As to Magenta Mist, I think you've got a perfect name should you ever decide to do drag. You can chalk me up as Maria Scary. :-D

      Not really thought about Person Centred Counselling. I think I'll have to Google it, but thanks for the suggestion.

      TBH, it's been tough enough getting through to my GP that long term tablets may not be the answer. Not that he's not tried his best. I guess he's coming at it from a medical PoV.

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  5. That's an interesting take on the term "Pink Fog". I've seen that phrase thrown about a lot on a cross-dressing forum I'm a member of, though there it's used to refer to the tendency of some CDers to go completely overboard with their dressing (to the extent of indulging in behaviours that'd be considered extreme even if a woman engaged in them). I remember experiencing both versions myself when I was younger, mainly during my teenage years; I'd take my CDing to some rather silly extremes (though what activities don't teenagers take to silly extremes?), and also get very depressed at the fact I hadn't been born a girl (I was particularly jealous of the fact I'd never know what it'd be like to bear children, and experience that whole thing of having another life - another human one, at any rate - growing inside you). I'd also get rather depressed whenever I'd see a woman in anything silver, as that was my favourite colour (it still is!), yet I'd had it drilled into my head that it "wasn't for boys" (on the other hand, my parents seemed to have no problem at all with me wearing pink, so go figure that out). I don't seem to have much problem with either form of Pink Fog now. I curbed the more foolish excesses of my dressing a long time ago, and being more than old enough to make my own clothing choices now, have lots of silver stuff in my wardrobe as well. I've even largely gotten over my feelings of anguish at not having been born female, though couldn't really tell you what made them go away (and am certainly not suggesting that the same thing should happen to anyone else on the trans spectrum). They also haven't completely gone, although the discomfort they cause me now isn't the agonizing, all-consuming thing it used to be; now, it's more on par with the niggling discomfort I occasionally get from, say, knowing I'm going to die one day.

    Unfortunately, depression is something I have a lot of first-hand experience of myself (as well as something that I'm not sure can be cured so much as simply controlled). All sorts of things have triggered mine over from the years, from the serious (eg the deaths of my father and my cat), to the somewhat less so (eg the realization I'd blown my childhood dreams of being a world-class long distance runner*), to the downright silly (the tragic deaths of fictitious characters I'd become quite attached to). Whatever the cause, though, it all ends up giving rise to the same shitty experience, so you certainly have my sympathies. With my own (and this is just what I've found works for me), I keep it in check by keeping myself busy with things like reading, creative projects, socializing... really, just anything that stops me from dwelling on my own dark thoughts too much.

    *This one always strikes me as being more than a little ironic in light of my transgenderism. After all, could there be a more stereotypically masculine cause of depression than the realization that your childhood dreams of sporting glory had come to naught?

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    1. Hi Zosi,

      Not sure were I read/heard Pink Fog from first - I think it may have been Maddie. I guess I've taken it more as a 'Dark Side' type of thing, rather than the reckless abandon of all things transtastic. Brits eh? :-P Maybe it's more a miasma than a fog? :-)

      Sorry to hear that you've had depression too. It seem very common within our number. Wise advice about keeping busy, I find that really helps. Certainly getting out walking (with the kids and/or hound) helps.... plus it keeps me trim. So what's not to like? :-) Not being doing so much creation of late, although I guess that'll come back with time.

      Do you still do a lot of running? It sounds like you really enjoyed it.

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    2. It wasn't bad, though it wasn't too kind on my knees, unfortunately, and after one knee injury too many, I decided to give it up. Now I just do a lot of cycling to keep myself fit and slim. :-)

      What sort of dog do you have?

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    3. Ah, cycling. Less impact on the joints I guess.

      We've got a greyhound and she's a right softie.

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  6. Nothing really to add following some incredibly comprehensive responses! :o)

    I get hit all the time with 'pink fog'. I spend quite a lot of time in female company really and find it hard to keep the jealousy and sadness away. Knowing what I'm not and what I should be / want to be, it leads to such a desperate feeling inside. Like you, I'm not sure I'm cut out for taking things further and transitioning, but then there are some days, I'd gladly self-operate [Lynn's Shakespeare Ed: Is that a pair of scissors I see before me?]. Brings tears to your eyes.

    I've also tried integrating more Rhiannon into my male side and actually for me, I'm not sure it really works. There is the all or nothing argument, to which I subscribe. But also it serves as a reminder that you can't completely be what you want.

    But I'm certainly going to try your therapist's advice. I'm thinking positive thoughts right now... thinking them....still thinking them.... Ah great, that's worked: I'm really happy and I no longer think I'm a girl. Wow! How come its taking you so long Lynn?? ;o)

    OK, I lied, I did have something to say, I just never realised it at the start.

    x

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    1. From an integration point of view, I'm just me: there isn't a Lynn personality and a Richard version. Sure, the name may change when I'm out, but shouting "Oi Dave*!" on a trans night out isn't the done thing. Apparently. :-) Hence the slight different name, but other than keeping the two wardrobe styles apart, I don't really see any difference. Yes, there are topics of conversation I can have in Lynn-mode, but not in Bob-mode, but isn't that fairly typical?

      If you're finding the therapist's advice so helpful, why don't you go along and I'll got shoe shopping instead? ;-)

      [ Ed: Are you Dave? Is Dave there? #Lazarou :-) ]

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    2. I completely agree Lynn. I try several things really to blend the two things together. I began to grow my hair and nails. Then I bought some androgenous tops and wore girl jeans (I like my girl jeans!) and my boots out. But I just felt weird - like I was neither girl nor boy and just a weird combination.

      Plus the hair led to some very strange looks in a professional work environment - unfortunately it didn't grow normally - i.e. down. It grow out in 90-degree angles from my head, looking like a dodgy afro.

      Would you complain if someone called out 'Lynn' when you were in Bob/Dave mode? And more importantly - do you REALLY want to be Dave's wife?

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    3. LOL..... No, you're *my* wife now, Daaave.

      BTW, I guess there will be a few non-Brits reading this and wondering what are they on about? :-)

      I could see you with a big 'fro. It would be a bit LMFAO discotastic, but perhaps not 100% suitable for the boardroom. :-D

      Back in my 20s, I had long hair - almost to my waist. But it was more a rock thing than a girlie style. All those wasted years eh? :-)

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