CW: Depression, anxiety, dysphoria, post-surgery stuff, weight issues, restlessness
I’ve got the post-surgery blues.
It’s kind of ridiculous, from a logical standpoint, that my mental health has plummeted since the surgery, but I must explain. The air around me right now, in this room, in this house, in this desert, is stagnant and musty. I don’t have a job right now and progression towards a career or the potential move to Canada has all been put on hold. The only thing I’ve been able to do since surgery is sit and draw. I’ve gained a lot of weight in the last few months, but these last three weeks have made me feel like the largest potato. The removal of my breasts made me realize just what a tummy I actually have! I haven’t been able to exercise, getting out of the house is extremely hard when I can’t drive and it’s very hot outside already, and I can’t really DO anything.
This is, to put it bluntly, the worst my body has ever been in my life. I am fat and rightfully discomforted by my lifestyle, it is making me depressed and lowering my confidence. I am restless and lash out at my parents a lot without meaning to, even thought they don’t deserve it, far from it. My mood has been bumpy and I’m prone to be irritable, even though it’s against my nature to be impatient or irrationally angry. My responses often have an edge to them, leaving me wondering what’s possessing me to snap at people. I’m tired a lot, too, and lonely (but when I do hang out with friends I get uncomfortable and tired, like I need to be alone again for some stupid reason). It feels so frustrating not having the same level of patience I SHOULD have, with friends and family alike. I can also tell that I’m dissociating more because days are slipping by, one minute it’s the start of this month, next thing it’s two weeks in. I can be thankful for that, though, because I’m not enjoying myself at all right now. It doesn’t help that I still feel very fragile, can’t lift my arms above my head still, and my nipples look like freezer burned meat. I don’t feel very attractive, overall, haha.
I obviously don’t regret the surgery, this was the best time to do it. I’m forcing the notion into my head that this is only a low period for me, a beginning. My back feels really good so far – I’m still working on standing up straight and I know that working out will definitely help my posture, but goddamn is it a start. I haven’t had a single back spasm since the surgery and I can sit up straight without it hurting. The best thing is actually when I look in the mirror, though. I could tell straight away that this was supposed to happen, this is a very crucial step in my life. My chest looks unbelievably right like this, and it makes me kind of giddy. My men’s shirts actually fit, it’s incredible.
I’m also feeling so damn grateful to my parents. The claim information on the surgery came in, our insurance covered 60% of it, as expected, I had the full intention of paying my parents back when I got a job or even fighting to get more of it covered by insurance post-surgery. My dad told me today that he and my mom would just cover it instead and that I shouldn’t worry about it, just be grateful. And grateful I am. I hope my parents realize that this surgery is such a big deal to me and how dramatically it will have changed my life. Right now, this current moment in time, it sucks, but I’m clinging to hope that my mental and physical health will get better after I return from Canada.
Other good news, this depression bout will probably only last for another four days. I’m going to Canada again to see my long distance partner for the second time and I have a feeling it’s going to be an amazing trip, better than the first. Without all of the anxiety of meeting each other for the first time, I feel only relief that I get to be with them again. I’m very nervous because I’m cosplaying for the first time in like, 6 years and I’m at a very low point with my body, but I’m doing it with my partner. I want to believe this experience is going to be much better than other times I’ve gone to conventions for that reason. I’m also cosplaying as a couple with my partner, which is something I’ve wanted to do since I started, years and years back. And I don’t have to bind my breasts!!! I’ll actually feel relatively comfortable with my gender! There’s a lot to look forward to. Being apart from them has been rough, it feels like I had to leave part of me behind when I left them. I’m so excited that I have my suitcase open on the floor already.
I’m really relieved that it’s only four more days, I’ve found myself pacing around the house from sheer restlessness. And when I come back, there’s going to be nothing stopping me from looking for internships or jobs. I know my mental health will stabilize if I start working and progressing in my life.
And testosterone. The first day after I come back, I’m going to make an appointment with my gender therapist to go on it. It scares me a lot, but I know I want it. I can feel in my heart that this is the right direction. I found out that my parents don’t believe I’m going to look like a cis man, and it shocked me. I told my dad to look up pictures of men on testosterone, but I don’t think he’s going to unless I send it to him. He seems to think that trans people look a certain way and that you can always tell. I understand where he’s coming from, but he’s wrong, trans people go on testosterone to look cis, to PASS, to FIT IN. They seem to think that I will never pass, that I will always look this way, but that is also wrong. Feels tremendously discouraging when they say that kind of stuff to me, but I can’t let it get to me. I know I will change and ‘pass’ eventually, if I stick with it. I know if I work out and lose weight and gain muscle it will help the process and make me feel like who I’m meant to be. I’m still trying to get my mom and dad used to the whole facial hair thing, too. My dad looked shocked when I said I wanted a beard, as if I haven’t raved about facial hair and mustaches all my life.
When I picture who I want to be and how I express my gender in the future, I see a chubby but muscular man with a little scruff, floppy undercut (with no dye, completely natural is how I want to go), wearing clothes more on the feminine side (pinks, purples, floral, etc), and having the same cute and mildly tacky accessories. When I picture this man, I get wave after wave of comfort and excitement and confidence, especially when I realize I CAN look like that if I set my mind to it.
I feel this weight of hopelessness and discomfort with myself right now from my depression, post surgery and post college, but somewhere in my head I know this is all normal and completely okay. I can’t believe I’ve survived these four months, to be honest, it feels like I’ve been rotting away into my bed. I need to remain optimistic, because I know this is just the start of the greater part of my life, not the end. I’m not a powerless human being swayed by turbulent life events, I’m the commanding force in my life and I can change. I can change.
For now, I just need to remember to be grateful for how far I’ve made it and for the people who have helped and encouraged me.
(A selfie of me with my mom)