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PTSD from "transition"

Printed with permission from the author. Name withheld by request.

...honestly I wanted the answer to be so simple and wanted to believe them that soon I would be my true self and my problems would go away. I had lived in so much pain for so long that I was desperate...

I was born a male. I have always been androgynous (and in fact, suffer from the real chemical condition known as Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome) and never fully developed secondary sex male characteristics in puberty.

In September, 2008, a series of difficult and traumatic life events brought psychotic depression caused by childhood sexual abuse to return to the forefront. I presented as a female for psychological help and therapy. The therapist met with me for a month and had me see a psychiatrist in October, 2008 - I assumed for psychiatric medication. Instead, I discovered that the psychiatrist and therapist had jointly agreed that the real cause of my problems was that I had been born into the wrong body and should really have been female.

I was referred to a urologist of their choosing in November, 2008. My surgery was scheduled in March, 2009, less than 4 months later, without a real life test, without being on hormones. All they did was make me take Finasteride to shut down any possible testosterone activity. In the middle of March, 2009 they had me chopped and mutilated.

Yes, I know, I should have gone running or gotten a lawyer or moved but honestly I wanted the answer to be so simple and wanted to believe them that soon, I would be my true self and my problems would go away. I had lived in so much pain for so long that I was desperate and also prone to depressive and delusional states.

So I had the "unnecessary genitalia surgery" in March, 2009 and in April, 2009, with the urologist's letter, legally "became female" and began taking Estradiol maintenance. Yes, you are reading that right; they waited until after "the surgery" to give me female hormones. So then I rested and waited to feel better, thinking it was just post-operative pain.

In August, 2009, I underwent a neuropsychological evaluation which stated that I had severe self-esteem issues and also had a deficit in reality testing. I kept trying to go to bed and rest and kept thinking it was all an issue of time needed for physical healing. After all, that is one heck of a surgery. This turned into me essentially staying in bed and doing nothing for the better part of year.

I was so depressed! It wasn't until March, 2010, a year after surgery, that I tried to start taking walks around town but ended up having severe panic attacks. These panic attacks got worse through May, 2010, when I landed in an ER for chest pains. By August, 2010, I was acutely suicidal and came very near to ending my own life. Were it not for my wife, I would have.

Also by this time, my appearance had changed to the point where everyone thought I was female and if I said otherwise, even doctors, even OB/GYNs didn’t believe me.

In November, 2010, I had a complete psychotic break and ended up being shuffled around from hospital to hospital until April, 2011. I was put on different antipsychotic drugs and was even diagnosed with schizophrenia. Finally I was drugged up enough that I shut up and stopped trying to tell people what happened to me and I went home.

My wife and I moved out of the Boston area and into a predominantly Catholic community in a different part of the state and have attempted to move on and rebuild life. Oh yes, and I go to therapy every week. But now I see a Catholic therapist who agrees with me that in addition to whatever else was the case, I have severe PTSD from "transition" and from them butchering my postoperative medical and mental health.

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